Andre Hayward is an extremely gifted trombonist with the sound and clarity reminiscent of the late J.J. Johnson. His gospel-tinged approach is refreshing and will warm the hearts of anyone he comes in contact with. He is by no means a purist and can function in a wide range of musical settings.
Born in Houston, Texas in 1973, Hayward's first exposure to the world of music was through his parents, Melvin and Barbara Hayward where musical talent exists on both sides. Hayward began playing trombone and tuba at the age of 11 under the tutelage of Leon Schreiber and 2 years later with Bob Odneal who was lead trumpeter for Maynard Ferguson. Hayward continued playing through high school where he attended the High School for Performing and Visual Arts under the direction of notable jazz educator Robert Doc Morgan. He continued to hone his skills with Houston's legendary educator Conrad O. Johnson. It was Conrad's instruction, and the opportunity to work in his big band The Big Blue Sound, where he really started to gain experience working in an ensemble.
He landed his first engagement with trumpeter Roy Hargrove for a European tour after being heard at a jam session during a festival while playing with the Texas Southern University Jazz Ensemble. After Hargrove, Hayward performed and recorded with singer/bandleader Betty Carter for five years in her acclaimed Jazz Aheadprogram. Other acclaimed performers include Joe Williams, Slide Hampton, John Lewis, Mingus Dynasty Big Band, Gerald Wilson, Kirk Whalum, Jimmy Heath, The Duke Ellington Orchestra and Illinois Jacquet's Big Band.