Without Compromise, From Miles to Wynton to Sean Jones

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Don’t miss the Saturday afternoon, September 2nd performance of the Monty Alexander Jazz Festival when the remarkable Sean Jones and his group take the stage at the Avalon Theatre at 2:00 p.m.

Mr. Jones, raised in northeast Ohio, was originally a gospel-bred drummer who discovered jazz and the trumpet when he was 10 after hearing Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and Amandla.  Jones says, “Davis’s overall vision, the way he changed with the times, the purity of the sound is probably the single most powerful influence on me as an artist.” Jones found his jazz epiphany at 19 listening to Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, which sparked his desire to explore the spirituality of the music.

Photo by Jimmy Katz

Jones perfected his technique through studies with Trumpeter Esotto Pellegini and William Fielder and developed his ears in jazz listening to Woody Shaw, Freddie Hubbard and Clifford Brown.  He earned his master’s degree from Rutgers University and began his ascent into the upper echelons of the jazz world.  He landed a six month stint with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra which led to an offer from Wynton Marsalis to be lead trumpeter for the LCJO, a position he held for six years.  Jones cites Marsalis for his “personal work ethic and ability to break barriers”  as having a deep effect on him.  Jones states, “When I saw Wynton’s picture on a classical album, I know there were no limitations on me; everything could be within my grasp.”

A highly respected and in-demand musician and composer,  Jones has been featured with artists including Charles Fambrough, Joe Lovano, Jimmy Heath, Dianne Reeves, among others.  Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter selected Jones for their Tribute to Miles tour in 2011.

Involved in jazz education, Jones has taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and he is now chair of the brass department at Berklee College of Music.  He serves as artistic director of both the Pittsburgh and Cleveland jazz orchestras and conducts master classes around the world.  This is his fifth year as a member of the SFJAZZ Collective.

In May, Jones recorded his eighth album with Mack Avenue Records, titled Live From Jazz At The Bistro.  Jones noted,“I’ve been wanting to do a live album for awhile.  I wanted to capture the band’s energy live.”  The band, together for eleven years, includes pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis and drummer Obed Calvaire.  Jones comments, “Having a band this long is really rare in jazz these days.  When we play, it’s like a conversation, like second nature.”

Be sure to be at the Avalon Theatre on Saturday afternoon, September 2nd to experience the music of the Sean Jones Quartet.

The Monty Alexander Jazz Festival is partially underwritten by the Maryland State Arts Council and the Talbot County Arts Council. Jazz on the Chesapeake is a program of Chesapeake Music. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit Jazzonthechesapeake.com or call 410-819-0380.

By Susan Koh

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