Staff Writer for The Horn RVA
Less than two months ago, Victor Haskins was preparing to graduate from VCU with a degree in Jazz Studies and Performance. He had just released his first album, “The Truth,” in March and was still making regular appearances at Bogart’s bar and restaurant on Cary Street every other Wednesday night.
Today, the jazz trumpeter is looking to expand the reach of his talents beyond the Richmond jazz scene.
“Right now I’m not firmly (in Richmond),” Haskins said. “I’m trying to play regularly as I make the move to New York City. I’m actually playing my first gig up there in July with this guy named Peter Pollock.”
For Haskins, integrating himself into New York City’s thriving jazz community is about growing as a musician.
“Ever since I came to Richmond, I was always going to other people’s gigs,” Haskins said. “I mean, that’s how you get better; you play with people who know more than you and that are better than you.”
Haskins is driven by the ambition to improve his already polished sense of jazz as an art form. He credits local musicians and VCU professors with helping him improve his musicianship, but said that only those students who seek advice will actually attain it.
“People complain a lot, like ‘Oh, this program at VCU is this and that,’ but I had a great time. I learned a lot and had a lot of fun,” Haskins said. “But then again I’m also very active in seeking out knowledge and seeking out professors to answer a question.”
As he plans his next trip to the Big Apple, Haskins’ explanation for what someone should get from his music is, in a sense, his mantra for the future.
“You have to be open to the music and not have any expectations,” Haskins said. “Jazz is not, ‘OK, check out all of these patterns I can play or how fast I can play,’ it’s about putting the music first. If you’re open to that and you accept the music for what it is, then it’s beautiful. You allow the music to take you somewhere.”