Paul Dietrich has been described as “an apt bandleader, an exceptional composer, and a superlative performer” (All About Jazz) and “a skilled composer” (JazzTrail) and his music has been praised as “stunningly beautiful” (Audiophile Audition) and “captivating” (Chicago Jazz Magazine).
A composer, trumpet player and educator based in the Midwest, Dietrich has been the leader of the Paul Dietrich Quintet since 2012 and the Paul Dietrich Jazz Ensemble since 2016. The Chicago-based Quintet has released two albums: Focus (2017, ears&eyes) and We Always Get There (2014, Blujazz). The Paul Dietrich Jazz Ensemble’s 2019 album Forward features guest artist and world-renowned drummer Clarence Penn (Dave Douglas, Maria Schneider) alongside many of the Midwest’s best jazz musicians, including Greg Ward, Russ Johnson, Dustin Laurenzi, Matt Gold, and Andy Baker.
In demand as a composer, Dietrich has completed over a dozen commissions for schools and organizations including Lawrence University’s Jazz Weekend, Ripon College, Madison College with the Edgar Knecht Trio (Germany), The Mount Horeb Middle School Jazz Festival, The UW-Whitewater Brass Quintet, and various high schools throughout Wisconsin. In 2017, Paul was commissioned by the Wisconsin Union Theater in Madison to write an extended work in honor of the Isthmus Jazz Festival’s 30th Anniversary. This piece was premiered at the festival in June 2017 by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Jazz Orchestra. Paul’s pieces have been played throughout the United States, and were performed as part of a cultural exchange program in Camagüey, Cuba in 2019.
Paul has twice been the recipient of the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium’s Artistic Development Grant. In 2017, he wrote the four-part suite “Forward,” inspired by the sights and sounds of his home state, which became the core of his 2019 album of the same name. In 2020, Paul received a grant to write and perform a project for a nine-piece ensemble including a string quartet, which debuted in late 2021 and was recorded in early 2023. That album, 5+4, will be released on Shifting Paradigm Records in October 2023.
As an educator, Paul is on the music faculty at Ripon College where he directs the jazz ensemble and jazz combo and teaches private lessons. He has also spent a term teaching jazz trumpet at Lawrence University, coordinated the jazz program at Prairie Music & Arts in Sun Prairie from 2014-2020, and directed the Jazz Orchestra at Madison East High School from 2016-18.
Paul holds a Bachelor’s degree in trumpet and jazz studies from Lawrence University (2010) and a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from DePaul University (2012). While at DePaul, Dietrich wrote several pieces that were performed by the DePaul University Jazz Ensemble, including an arrangement of Phil Woods’ “Pairing Off,” which was recorded on the Jazzed Media release Right to Swing (2013) and featured Woods and the composer. Of this recording, All About Jazz called it “the sizzler of the disc, with a pronounced performance by the trumpeter.”
Paul is an active member of the Wisconsin music scene. In addition to his own groups, he has played regularly with many Madison-area groups including the Afrobeat ensemble Immigré, Michael Brenneis's Plutonium Ensemble, the Ben Ferris Octet, Grupo Candela, and numerous area big bands. He also served as the president of the non-profit organization Madison Music Collective from 2017-2020.
While not performing, writing, or teaching, Paul loves a wide variety of films and is an avid Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers fan. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, who makes Paul the second best trumpet player in his own family, and their dog, Obi.