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Vincent Gardner | Three-Five – [SteepleChase, 2009]

Vincent Gardner - Three-Five

Vincent Gardner (born in Chicago, Illinois) is an trombonist and composer. As a bandleader, Gardner has released four albums under the SteepleChase record label. He performs with his own groups frequently, in addition to being the lead trombonist for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (which also features Wynton Marsalis). Gardner also performs often with his brother, trumpeter Derrick Gardner and his ensemble, The Jazz Prophets.

Being born into a musical family in which both his father, Burgess Gardner, a trumpeter who has played with many groups including Ray Charles, Count Basie, and Horace Silver, and his mother, a pianist and choir director, are both music educators, Gardner was surrounded by music at an early age. The family moved to East Lansing, Michigan when Gardner was five, while his mother and father completed their doctorate studies at Michigan State University, and then to Virginia Beach, VA when Gardner was six years old, later settling in Hampton, VA. His mother being a church musician, he was at church often for services and choir rehearsals, and began singing in the choir as soon as he was of age, providing him with his earliest musical experiences.

As a beginning musician, Gardner started on the Violin, but soon switched to saxophone and French horn. Around age 13, since his father and brother both played trumpet, he decided to play trombone. He developed an interest in jazz music around the 11th grade after being selected to play in the Hampton All-City Jazz Ensemble, and being introduced to jazz trombonist J.J. Johnson by its director.

By the time he graduated from high school, he had made up his mind to pursue a career as a professional musician, and attended Florida A&M University, studying classical trombone and Music Education. In 1995 he transferred to The University of North Florida, and in 1996, Gardner obtained an undergraduate degree in Jazz Trombone Performance. He then moved to Brooklyn, New York to pursue his musical career, subsequently performing with several notable ensembles and musicians, including The Count Basie Orchestra, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Illinois Jacquet, The Saturday Night Live Band, Lauryn Hill, Matchbox 20, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, and others.

During the 2003-2004 academic year, Gardner became the Visiting instructor of Jazz Trombone at Michigan State University. He has continued to be an active educator, having taught at Florida State University, and The New School in New York City. Most recently Gardner was the Instructor of Jazz Trombone at The Juilliard School.

During the years 1998 through 2000, Gardner was part of a world tour with Grammy Award winning Hip Hop Singer and Rapper Lauryn Hill. Later in 2000 Gardner joined The Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, with which he continues to perform. As a member of the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, he has contributed many arrangements for various performances of that ensemble. In 2009 he was commissioned by Jazz At Lincoln Center to compose a work entitled: “The Jesse B. Semple Suite” which featured his original compositions intertwined with the short stories of author Langston Hughes featuring his character Jesse B. Semple.

Music Review available @ AllAboutJazz.com