Born: October 20, 1971 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
If one were attempting to design a prototype for the quintessential contemporary musician in the African-American tradition, trumpeter/fluegelhornist/composer Russell Gunn would be an ideal model. A certified member of the hip-hop generation by age (born in 1971) and geography (the hardcore ghetto of East St. Louis), Russell's early aspirations in the world of rap music took precedence over the trumpet that he began playing in fourth grade. When he reached sixteen, the deadline he set for his hip-hop career to take off, his dedication to the art of jazz took shape.
Rather than abandoning the music he loved, he simply applied its energy, spirit and fiercely proud intellectual rage to the jazz idiom, creating a synthesis that is truly contemporary and singular, exemplified by his groundbreaking group, Ethnomusicology....