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About John

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John Bailey is a New York City based trumpet player, composer, band leader and educator.


He became a member of The Buddy Rich Band while still in college, and his career has included long-running gigs with Ray Charles, The Woody Herman Orchestra, master conguero and bandleader Ray Barretto, and Frank Sinatra, Jr. His work with Latin Jazz innovator Arturo O'Farrill won him two Grammy awards for the albums The Offense of the Drum and Cuba - The Conversation Continues. He has played on more than 80 albums as a sideman and has recorded 3 albums as a leader: “In Real Time” (2017), “Can You Imagine” (2020) and “Time Bandits” (2023). As a jazz educator John has taught at the University of Miami and Florida International University.

A trumpet prodigy, Bailey's spectacular gifts began to be noticed as a high school musician in 1984 when DownBeat Magazine cited him in its annual Student Music Awards for outstanding performances in both the classical and jazz trumpet categories, noting “Shades of Wynton!” The same year, he was a finalist in the National Foundation for Advancements in the Arts (NFAA) Arts Recognition and Talent Search, along with Donny McCaslin and Bill Charlap; and won the National Association of Jazz Educators’ Youth Talent Contest. Later, as a senior at the Eastman School of Music, he won DownBeat’s Best Instrumental Soloist award.

Looking back, he says, “It all started for me when I discovered Clifford Brown and Miles Davis, among others. Clifford and Miles were central to the golden era of jazz trumpet, and a great place to begin my lifelong study of the music. They were influenced by everyone before them, and have influenced everyone who came after.”

Bailey, who continues to teach privately, believes that educating the next generation of musicians is essential for any artist. “In American culture, where the arts are often ignored or deemphasized in both schools and the mainstream media, it is up to us, the artists, to inspire an appreciation for great art.” he says. “By keeping performance standards as high as possible and sharing our devotion with others, especially children, we enrich countless lives.”

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