If any musician can be said to exemplify the continuum of jazz, from its roots to the 1990s, it is certainly Jon Faddis. This trumpeter extraordinaire's career includes working associations with Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, and Charles Mingus; and recordings with Oscar Peterson, Frank Sinatra and Clark Terry.
Born in Oakland, CA on July 24, 1953, Jon Faddis began playing trumpet at age eight. Three years later, his trumpet teacher Bill Catalano, an alumnus of the Stan Kenton band, turned Faddis on to Dizzy Gillespie. By his mid-teens, Jon had met Dizzy and sat in with his combo at the famed Jazz Workshop in San Francisco.
After graduating high school-only two days before his eighteenth birthday-Faddis joined Lionel Hampton's band as a featured soloist, appearing in the company of Roy Eldridge, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Mel Torme, Milt Hinton and other jazz greats many years his senior. That same year, Faddis moved to New York and responded to an invitation from Mel Lewis to sit in with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band on one of their regular Monday night sessions at the Village Vanguard. That led to four years of playing, touring and recording with the band. During this time Faddis also studied at the Manhattan School of Music, worked with Gil Evans and Charles Mingus, and recorded on the Pablo label with Dizzy and Oscar Peterson.
By age 20, Faddis had already won accolades from the press, recognition in the jazz polls, and heady praise from jazz greats. Mel Lewis called Faddis "the greatest young trumpet player I've heard since Dizzy." Gillespie himself declared, "He's the best ever-including me!" A performance with the Charles Mingus Sextet at the Loosdrecht (Holland) International Jazz Festival drew raves, "The audience at Loosdrecht has witnessed the birth of a giant" (Coda, December 1972).
Other highlights include a Carnegie Hall gig with Sarah Vaughn; an historic duet with Eubie Blake at Dick Gibson's Colorado Jazz Party; performances with Gil Evans', Count Basie's and Benny Carter's big bands; and an appearance at Radio City Music Hall with Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey, Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock and Charles Mingus.
From 1975-82, Faddis became one of the most in-demand session musicians in New York. His distinctive trumpet voice can be heard on albums by performers as disparate as Duke Ellington, the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel, Paul Simon and Stanley Clarke. Faddis also toured with Gillespie, performing and recording at the 1977 Montreaux Jazz Festival. In 1982 he accepted an invitation from Gillespie to accompany him on the PBS series "In Performance at the White House" in which they and several other major American artists showcased talented young colleagues. A year later, Faddis debuted his own new combo at the Village Vanguard. In 1987, he organized and rehearsed Dizzy's big band for the legend's 70th birthday tour in the U.S. and abroad. He later performed the same duties as musical director of Dizzy's United Nation's Orchestra-an international all-star group formed in 1989. Faddis also served as musical director for the Carnegie Hall Centennial Jazz Band, setting the groundwork for a lasting association with the world-renowned music hall.
In December 1991, Carnegie Hall announced the formation of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, an 18-piece all-star orchestra with Jon Faddis as its Music Director. The band made its debut on October 22, 1992, and has since played to packed houses and been praised for its swinging sound, tight ensemble work and original arrangements. The band recently released its first album on the Blue Note label and has toured the U.S. and Europe. Frequently tapped for his conducting prowess, Faddis also served as music director for the 1995 Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's "The Majesty of Louis Armstrong Tour" (Armstrong was Faddis' boyhood idol); the "Newport Jazz Festival 40th Anniversary Tour;" the "Tribute to King Oliver" concert for the Olympic celebrations in Savannah, featuring the late Doc Cheatham; and the 50th Anniversary Dizzy Gillespie Tribute Band at the 1996 Chicago Jazz Festival.
"...voluptuous accompaniments that run the gamut from updated Percy Faith to Miles-era Gil Evans. Above it all rides Faddis, a lyrical trumpeter with impeccable taste...The music is captured with remarkable clarity in Chesky's 96 kHz/24-bit high-resolution recording." - Chris Albertson, Stereo Review, October '98
"Jon Faddis is perhaps best known for his formidable chops, his ability to hit those notes off the staff consistently, but on Remembrances the trumpeter demonstrates he can get inside a song and touch those often elusive tender spots." Down-Beat, July 1998
"Mr. Faddis has a gift..." - The New York Times
"...a trumpeter who has found the meaning of life through the mastery of his instrument." - DownBeat
"Trumpeter Jon Faddis is known as a high-note bebopper. He breaks out of that pigeonhole on the beautifully lush Remembrances... One of the albums of the year." - Jeff Bradley, The Denver Post, May 3, 1998
"...[Remembrances] is an absolutely fabulous recording by one of the baddest lead trumpeters in New York history... Faddis' performances on this release...will astound you... the name 'Faddis' should no longer be just a synonym for 'stratosphere.' These fabulous arrangements give way to some of the most tasteful, melodic trumpet playing ever heard on record." - Jim Hurley, Test O Spin/Jazz Trumpet Journal, Bassett, CA
"...a powerhouse trumpeter... His work is excellent, and so is that of the band around him... Faddis' playing is consistently strong and wonderfully beautiful... It's a stunning departure from the man who can rip through faster tunes with remarkable technique and range." [***1/2] - Bob Karlovits, Tribune Review, April 30, 1998