“I was driving in my car at the time and I had to pull off the road. All at once, everything just came together for me. My past, my present, my future. I knew the course I needed to pursue.”
After earning a Masters degree from Rutgers, Jones set out on his professional career, working with an impressive list of major artists including Joe Lovano, Tia Fuller, Tom Harrell, Steve Turre, and Nancy Wilson, among others. From 2005 to 2010, Jones was lead trumpet for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, recording a pair of albums and criss-crossing the globe with the masterful ensemble before stepping down to devote time to new endeavors.
Since 2004, Jones has released seven albums as a leader, all on the Mack Avenue label, including his 2014 quartet release, im*pro*vise: Never Before Seen. He has continued his session and tour work as a sideman, performing with bass giant Marcus Miller and vocalist Dianne Reeves, and won Rising Star trumpet nods from DownBeat as well as a Best New Artist in JazzTimes’ 2007 Reader’s Poll. His current quartet features pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis, and his SFJAZZ Collective bandmate Obed Calvaire on drums.
In tandem with the 37-year-old’s career as a performer and composer, Jones is steadfastly committed to music education. He is currently the Brass Department Chair at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and has taught at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University as well as Ohio’s Oberlin Conservatory. He served as Artistic Director of the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra for five years, and presently serves as trumpeter and Artistic Director of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra. Locally, Jones holds the position of Jazz Artist In Residence with San Francisco Performances, and officially joined the SFJAZZ Collective in August, 2015.
Below, Jones shares his wisdom on the trumpet, and on jazz education. Get to know the newest Collective member!