Born: June 11 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Craig started playing the trumpet at age 12. Through out high school he excelled in music, earning positions in several honor bands and winning many music awards. After high school he attended Morehead State University where two major events happened: 1) He met his hero and mentor, Mr. Greg Wing, who he credits with instilling within him a work ethic and passion for music that continues to inspire him to this day. 2) Craig discovered and fell in love with jazz music and improvising. While at Morehead Craig received the Musicians Union Performance Scholarship, The Jamey Aebersold Jazz Scholarship and received Outstanding Soloist Awards at the University of Louisville Jazz Festival. He was also selected to be a member of the annual KMEA Intercollegiate Jazz Band three times.
After graduating from Morehead State Craig moved to Louisville, Kentucky where he quickly became a regular member of the cities big band scene as well as doing other freelance work. He has since become one of the busiest trumpeters in the area and can be heard performing regularly with his own groups and as a sideman. Craig also the host of Louisville’s longest running jazz jam session at the historic Rudyard Kipling. In addition to playing Craig is also very passionate about music education. For the past 6 years he has been the trumpet instructor at the Don Wilson Music store, he is the co-director of the Don Wilson Music Jazz Academy, he has directed numerous high school jazz bands in the Louisville area and most recently he became the newest member on the trumpet faculty of the prestigious Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops.
Craig has played with numerous recognized groups/artists including The Temptations, The Jack Wilkins Blue & Green Project, Tierra Cali , Jamey Aebersold, Dick Oats, Lee Konitz, Dave Samuels, Bennett Higgins, Anderson Pessoa, Alim Nastaev, Bobby Falk and Mixolegion to name a few. In 2008 and 2009 he was selected as a semi-finalist in the jazz division of the National Trumpet Competition.
In 2007 Craig received a full scholarship to attend the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program at the University of Louisville. There he studied trumpet with Dr. Ansyn Banks and arranging with the great John Labarbera. Since the completion of his masters degree Craig has worked as a freelance trumpet player and teacher in the Louisville area.
In 2013 Craig released his debut album Away With Words on the Bugles Media label.
Throughout my undergraduate and graduate degrees I was able to gain a lot of experience directing big bands and coaching jazz combos, teaching ensemble playing and improvisation to both high school and college aged students. At UofL I was fortunate enough to be involved with the “Jazz In Schools” program. “Jazz In Schools” traveled to different Louisville elementary and/or middle schools each week to perform and teach jazz music. In addition to doing clinics and directing ensembles I have also been teaching trumpet privately since 2002. In 2006 I moved to Louisville and have been the trumpet instructor at the Don Wilson Music store since. There I’ve taught students of all levels from age 6 to 60. In addition to teaching trumpet, I am also the co-director of the Don Wilson Music Jazz Academy. I have been fortunate enough to direct numerous high school/middle school jazz bands, marching bands and trumpet sectionals in the greater Louisville area. Some of the schools I’ve worked with include Eastern High School, Ballard High School, Butler High School, Paul G. Blazer High School, Western Middle, Spencer Co. Middle, Field Elementary, and MANY more. Most recently, in 2009, I joined the trumpet faculty of the prestigious Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops where I teach trumpet masterclasses and direct student combos. I teach private lessons at the Willis Music store in Louisville, KY. To set up lessons please visit or call the store at: 1850 S Hurstbourne Pkwy #128 Louisville, Ky 40220 (502) 426-1818 www.willismusic.com