October 22, 2019 News & Features » Cover Story

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Trey Pollard, 36 

Arranger, Composer, Co-Owner Spacebomb Group

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Ash Daniel

Almost from the start Trey Pollard has been Spacebomb Studio’s secret weapon. His adept string arrangements were a perfect complement to Matthew E. White’s horn charts, creating the sweeping romantic lushness of the latter’s 2012 breakout “Big Inner” that made Richmond a musical mecca for artists looking for a big sound with polish and heart.

Since then Pollard’s been juggling roles as touring music director, notably with Natalie Prass and Foxygen, writing orchestrations and producing for artists and running the publishing side of Spacebomb. Belying his deep involvement in classical and jazz, his late 2018 debut, “Antiphone,” is a stunning set of classical preludes and fugues.

Such a singular set of talents comes at a cost. A few years back, Pollard was one of the best jazz guitarists in town. “I will never be as good as I once was,” he says, a bit wistfully. “There are only so many hours in the day and a sea of amazing guitar players in the world, and maybe not so many great arrangers. And I can do this till I’m 80.”

For now, he’s writing string arrangements for an upcoming Charles Owens Trio gig at Vagabond and composing a concerto for world-traveling Virginia Commonwealth University trumpet virtuoso Rex Richardson, which they hope to debut in 2021. Pollard is both sensitively curating the Spacebomb reputation and valuing the hard-won artistic challenges it brings.

“You try to be true to yourself,” he says. “At this moment in time I have these opportunities. Maybe someday I won’t.”

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