Born: May 8, 1964 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
Trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso started playing professionally in and around Detroit, Michigan where he was born in 1964. Jon began early, playing in a big band at age 11, in the International Youth Symphony at age 13, and in a concert alongside cornetist Wild Bill Davison at age 17. Kellso played with a wide variety of groups there, including the J.C. Heard Orchestra.
In '88 Jon-Erik joined James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band with whom he's made appearances throughout North America, concertized on PBS TV, and recorded extensively, including a recent CD with Maria Muldaur entitled Naughty, Bawdy, and Blue, and a DVD with her as well.
Since moving to New York City in 1989 to join Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, Jon has enjoyed performing and recording with the likes of Ralph Sutton, Dan Barrett, Howard Alden, Marty Grosz, Milt Hinton, Bob Haggart, Dick Hyman, Linda Ronstadt, Leon Redbone, Levon Helm, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Ken Peplowski, Bob Wilbur, and Kenny Davern.
Recent engagements include a week at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis' Louis Armstrong Continuum; various appearances on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion live Public Radio International show, including a live cinecast to movie theaters everywhere with Elvis Costello; several jazz fest at sea cruises; concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with John Lithgow; tours of the U.S. and Japan with Ken Peplowski's Kingdom of Swing big band; annual appearances in jazz clubs and festivals in New Orleans; and jazz parties, festivals, and concerts all over the world.
At home in New York Kellso has been leading the EarRegulars with guitarist Matt Munisteri and various guest artists at the Ear Inn on Sunday nights for three years now. On Mondays and Tuesdays Jon plays with Vince Giordano's Nighthawks at Sofia's in the Hotel Edison. Aside from these steadies, Jon can also be seen performing at all the great NYC venues, including Birdland, Small's, Dizzy's, the Blue Note, the Iridium, the Jazz Standard, etc.
Jon-Erik can be heard on several television and movie soundtracks, including “Ghost World,” The Aviator, The Good Shepherd, and Revolutionary Road with Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. He was on screen in Revolutionary Road, and can also be seen and heard in the HBO series, Boardwalk Empire.
Jon has recorded several times on Arbors Records, including three CDs as a leader and two with Ruby Braff. Jon pays tribute to Braff on his new Remembering Ruby CD, on Gen-Erik Records. Blue Roof Blues: A Love Letter to New Orleans, is dedicated to Jon's friends in the Crescent City and all those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Awards:Pulitzer Prize, Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Murray, Congressional Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, Magenta Heart, Time Magazine Man of the Year, blah, blah, blah....
His debut album, Chapter One captured the attention of noted jazz critic Owen Cordle, who wrote, Kellso has a fluent gift of melody and a knack for spicing it up with a Roy Eldridge-like rasp, a Howard McGhee-like excitability, and Rex Stewart-like tonal effects. Kellso debuts with a warm, swing-oriented session with no stray notes. The effortless, swinging mood is sustained throughout all 13 performances. Kellso is a most welcome discovery.
In Scott Yanow's recently published book entitled Swing, Kellso's Chapter 2: The Plot Thickens received 9 of 10 stars. He is described as being one of the finest Mainstream and trad cornetists to emerge during the 1990s. Jon is also featured in Yanow's Trumpet Kings book.
Jack Sohmer reviewed Chapter 2 for the Mississippi Rag, writing, Kellso emerges as one of today's most fulfilling mainstream trumpeters and cornetists. His poignant, rounded tone suggests a seamless combination of Buck Clayton, Bill Coleman, Cootie Williams, Frankie Newton, and Roy Eldridge, a synthesis of which anyone may be justifiably proud. From the listener's point of view, it is difficult to think of anyone, save Ruby Braff, who so successfully embodies the best traditions of the past while at the same time bringing them convincingly into the present. Kellso is telling his story in the hallowed tradition of great yarn-spinners throughout history. He entertains, informs, and keeps our interest whetted for the next installment.
New York, NY
Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
I'm good. The best in my price range, as a matter of fact.
melodic improvisation, and collective improvisation.