Paul Dietrich was born in Ripon, Wisconsin and played a variety of instruments as a child including piano, violin, drum set, guitar and bass. Finally focusing on trumpet as a college student, Dietrich graduated with a Bachelor’s of Music degree in trumpet from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2010 and a Master’s of Music in jazz studies from DePaul University in Chicago in 2012.
Since 2012, Paul has led the Chicago-based Paul Dietrich Quintet, a modern jazz group formed to showcase his small group writing. The band, which features some of Chicago’s top young talent, has released two albums, 2014’s We Always Get There on Blujazz Records and 2017’s Focus, on ears&eyes Records. Focus was praised by the Chicago Jazz Magazine as “a cinematic work” and a “captivating record” that “demonstrates the trumpeter’s artistic evolution.” We Always Get There prompted allaboutjazz.com to state, in a four-star review, that with “this superbly imaginative and cohesive recording, Dietrich proves himself an apt bandleader, an exceptional composer and a superlative performer.”
Paul is also the leader of the Madison-based Paul Dietrich Jazz Ensemble (PDJE), an 18-member professional jazz ensemble that showcases not only his music but the broader modern jazz big band repertoire. Having started writing regularly for big band in 2012, he has completed commissions for Lawrence University Jazz Weekend, Ripon College, Madison College and the Edgar Knecht Trio (Germany), Ripon High School, James Madison Memorial High School, and Berlin High School. His big band compositions have been performed throughout the United States.
In 2017, Paul was commissioned by the Wisconsin Union Theater and the UW Jazz Orchestra to write an extended work to honor the Isthmus Jazz Festival’s 30th anniversary. The piece was premiered at the festival in June 2017 by the UW Jazz Orchestra. He was the 2017 recipient of the Greater Madison Jazz Consortium’s Artistic Development Grant, for which he has written a suite of new music, entitled Forward, inspired by the sights and sounds of his home state. The piece was debuted by the PDJE in November 2017.
As an educator, Paul has been teaching private trumpet and jazz lessons since 2007. He has been coordinating Prairie Music & Arts’ jazz program since 2013 and is also the director of Madison East High School’s Jazz Orchestra. In lessons, Dietrich stresses technical proficiency in order to unlock access to a student’s musical ideas and tendencies. Beyond music, Dietrich loves a wide variety of films and is an avid Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Brewers fan. He also enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, also an acclaimed classical trumpet player, and his exuberant golden retriever, Obi.