Photo by Jennifer Ceci

Photo by Jennifer Ceci

Kris Tiner (b. 1977) is a California-based trumpet player, composer, and educator. Featured on NPR Music as one of a handful of new trumpet voices impacting modern music, his playing has been described as “extraordinarily inventive” in Signal to Noise Magazine, and the LA Weekly claims “Trumpeter Kris Tiner can turn barbed wire to beauty.” Incorporating ideas from various fields of psychological and transpersonal inquiry, Tiner’s compositions explore connections between improvisational world music traditions and systemic compositional practices, blending deep jazz roots with references to many diverse streams of contemporary and experimental music. Tiner’s music has been performed on five continents, his 60+ recordings have been enthusiastically reviewed in the international jazz press, and he has been recognized with awards from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, Chamber Music America, the John F. Kennedy Center, the International Association for Jazz Education, the Kern County Music Educators’ Association, and the Norman Levan Center for the Humanities. In 2012 he was awarded a Composers Fellowship at the Lucas Artists Residency Program at Montalvo Arts Center, where he collaborated with Parisian artist Stéphane Thidet on a video performance entitled for emptiness. In addition to interdisciplinary projects involving dance, spoken word, visual art, film and animation, he has recorded music for radio, television and motion picture scores, and his trumpet playing has been heard on MTV, NBC, PBS and Comedy Central.

He is a member of the acclaimed Empty Cage Quartet, whose 2008 CD Stratostrophic on Portugal’s Clean Feed record label was hailed as “One of the best things in jazz to emerge in the new millennium” by the UK magazine The Wire. He also collaborates with New York guitarist Mike Baggetta in the duo Tin/Bag; their CD Bridges was chosen as one of the ten best jazz recordings of 2011 by Hank Shteamer of Time Out New York. Tiner performs regularly with the Industrial Jazz Group, Chris Schlarb’s Psychic Temple, Vidya Trio (with pianist Motoko Honda and saxophonist Beth Schenck), Tone Drift Trio (with Steuart Liebig and G.E. Stinson), pianist Cathlene Pineda, the Los Angeles Trumpet Quartet, and the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. He has collaborated with Wadada Leo Smith, Vinny Golia, Kraig Grady, Tatsuya Nakatani, Donald Robinson, Nels Cline, Lukas Ligeti, Gerry Hemingway, Angelica Sanchez, Gianni Gebbia, Joe La Barbera, Jeff Kaiser, Phillip Greenlief, Nate Wooley, Jack Wright, Todd Barton, Ken Filiano, Taylor Ho Bynum, Renee Baker, Sara Schoenbeck, Harris Eisenstadt, and Michael Vlatkovich.

A California native, Tiner holds an MFA in African-American Improvisational Music from California Institute of the Arts and a BA in Music from California State University, Bakersfield. His principal teachers included Wadada Leo Smith, Leroy Jenkins, Edward Carroll, Charles Brady, Doug Davis, and Kobla Ladzekpo. He is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Jazz Studies at Bakersfield College, and he has also taught at California Institute of the Arts, CSU Bakersfield, Taft College, and the Academy of Creative Education in Los Angeles. He has been a visiting lecturer/performer at schools and universities throughout the United States and in Europe, and he has given presentations at conferences of the International Society for Improvised Music, the California Art Education Association and the Music Association of California Community Colleges. He has been featured at the FONT Festival of New Trumpet Music (New York), Clean Feed Festival (New York), Aperitivo in Concerto (Milan), Angel City Jazz Festival (Los Angeles), Is That Jazz? Festival (Seattle), Gateshead Jazz Festival (UK), In The Flow Festival (Sacramento), Trummerflora Spring Reverb Festival (San Diego), The Outpost Creative Soundspace Festival (Albuquerque), NMASS Festival (Austin), Mission Creek Arts Festival (San Francisco), and the Bakersfield Jazz Festival. His recordings appear on the Clean Feed, Nine Winds, Innova, Asthmatic Kitty, Transparency, Evander Music, and pfMENTUM labels. Tiner is a board member of the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop, and he has organized a successful series of concerts and multimedia performances in the emerging Arts District of Downtown Bakersfield for over a decade. He is the founder of Epigraph Records, an independent label dedicated to the documentation of new creative music recorded in Bakersfield.

Curriculum Vitae | Press Photos | Bios for Print | Discography | Compositions | Teaching


Kris is an endorsing artist for Torpedo Bags trumpet cases.








“Kris Tiner is a superbly fluid trumpeter, with a clean articulation in the upper register, deft valving, and a winning lyrical bent.”
– Jason Bivins, Cadence Magazine

“Extraordinarily inventive… suggesting still-untapped potentials in Miles Davis’s legacy – it’s as if Tiner has plumbed the most daring, piercing moments in Davis’s music to propose a boldface musical language utterly different from the usual stylized fragility of Miles disciples.”
– Nate Dorward, Signal to Noise Magazine

“Smart, kicking and as natural as a heartbeat… an unaffected, personalized amalgam of the most significant creative (as opposed to political) developments in jazz from the past several years.”
– Chris Kelsey, JazzTimes

“Tiner has the incredible power to make his trumpet tone wail like Lester Bowie could, in an almost human-like fashion, stretching the tone, and then bending it upwards like a blues guitar string, or just – equally Bowie-esque, producing low bluesy grumbles alternated with crystal-clear joyful jubilation.”
– Stef Gijssels, Free Jazz

“Peerless technique with a rigorous, Miles-like economy, and a folksy sort of lyricism that one does not usually find in avant-jazz.”
– Dave Wayne, JazzReview.com

“Trumpeter Kris Tiner and guitarist Mike Baggetta give their lyricism all the space it needs to expand and interact in lovely plaints that can’t help but get inside your heart.”
– Greg Burk, MetalJazz.com

“Tiner plays through a spectrum of tones and approaches.”
– Rex Butters, All About Jazz

“Tiner’s trumpet is hot and brittle, and his phrasing combines fleet, boppish runs with fat smears and Don Ayler-esque multiphonics.”
– Clifford Allen, Bagatellen

“A big part of the sound on the album is trumpeter Kris Tiner’s, which can at turns sound elated, mournful and soulful all within the span of a few bars.”
– Cesareo Garasa, The Bakersfield Californian

“Tiner’s hungry enthusiasm and obvious joy for the music is apparent.”
– Gene Armstrong, Tucson Weekly

“Trumpeter Kris Tiner has a beautifully clear swing-to-freebop sound and a gift for phrases that hang provocatively in the air.”
– Nate Dorward, Exclaim! Canada’s Music Authority

“California-based Kris Tiner feeds off the energy of others with his compositions. The Empty Cage Quartet, in particular, is a thoroughly modern and multifaceted jazz ensemble that stakes out a singular voice… For Tiner, his trumpet technique is part of the bigger piece, a function to the whole.”
– Lars Gotrich, NPR Music

“Trumpeter Kris Tiner can turn barbed wire to beauty.”
– Greg Burk, LA Weekly








The Stone, New York, NY
The Blue Whale, Los Angeles, CA
Aperitivo in Concerto at Teatro Manzoni, Milan, Italy
FONT: Festival of New Trumpet Music, New York, NY
Gateshead International Jazz Festival, Gateshead, England
Is That Jazz? Festival, Seattle, WA
In The Flow Festival, Sacramento, CA
JazzPOP at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Clean Feed Festival, Living Theatre, New York, NY
Angel City Jazz Festival, Los Angeles, CA
NMASS Festival, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Austin, TX
Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, Pittsfield, MA
ResBox at the Steve Allen Theater, Los Angeles, CA
The Jazz Bakery, Los Angeles, CA
Slow Sound Festival, Long Beach, CA
Berkeley Arts Festival, Berkeley, CA
Cornelia Street Cafe, New York, NY
CBGB, New York, NY
Dizzy’s, San Diego, CA
Stone Fox, Nashville, TN
The Nash, Phoenix, AZ
Zeitgeist Gallery, Cambridge, MA
Bowery Poetry Club, New York, NY
El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, NY
Mission Creek Arts Festival, San Francisco, CA
Trummerflora Spring Reverb Festival, San Diego, CA
Center for New Music, San Francisco, CA
Soundwaves Concert Series, Santa Monica, CA
REDCAT at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Castillo/Corrales, Paris, France
Le Mandala, Toulouse, France
I’Klectik Art Lab, London, England
Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
High Mayhem, Santa Fe, NM
Elastic Arts, Chicago, IL
Clawhammer Music and Arts Festival, Oshkosh, WI
Goodbye Blue Monday, Brooklyn, NY
Chris’ Jazz Cafe, Philadelphia, PA
Barking Legs Theater, Chattanooga, TN
Ventura New Music Festival, Ventura, CA
Aroma Spring Jazz Festival, Idyllwild, CA
Outpost Creative Soundspace Festival, Albuquerque, NM
Luggage Store Gallery New Music Series, San Francisco, CA
12 Miles West Arts Center, Bloomfield, NJ
so.cal.sonic Festival, Long Beach, CA
Dazzle, Denver, CO
Khon’s, Houston, TX
The Knitting Factory, Hollywood, CA
Friday Night Jazz at LACMA, Los Angeles, CA
SASSAS Sound. at the Schindler House, Hollywood, CA
Mateel Summer Arts and Music Festival, Garberville, CA
LA Sounds New Music Festival, Goethe-Institut, Los Angeles, CA
Zeitgeist Concert Series, Mat Bevel Institute, Tucson, AZ
The Roost Creative Music Series, Albuquerque, NM
Line Space Line Festival, Los Angeles, CA
The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Washington D.C.
Bakersfield Jazz Festival, CSU Bakersfield, Bakersfield, CA
Gold Lion Arts, Sacramento, CA
Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, CA








Durham University, Durham, England
Montalvo Arts Center, Saratoga, CA
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA
ICIT New Ears Series at UC Irvine, Irvine, CA
University of New Mexico Arts Lab, Albuquerque, NM
Scottsdale Community College, Scottsdale, AZ
The Art Institute of Seattle, Seattle, WA
Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn, NY
Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID
University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV
Los Angeles Harbor College, Wilmington, CA
The Oakwood School, North Hollywood, CA
CSU Long Beach, Long Beach, CA
Bennington College, Bennington, VT
Baloard, Montpellier, France
Apollo Jazz, Montpellier, France
UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Academy of Creative Education, North Hollywood, CA
The Center for Improvisational Music, New York, NY
UCSD Center for Research in Computing and the Arts, San Diego, CA
CSU San Marcos, San Marcos, CA
CSU Bakersfield, Bakersfield, CA
Mesa College, San Diego, CA
Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, CA
The Jazz School, Berkeley, CA