Born in Oakland, CA, on July 24, 1953, Jon Faddis began playing trumpet at age eight, inspired by an appearance of Louis Armstrong on The Ed Sullivan Show. Three years later, his trumpet teacher Bill Catalano, an alumnus of the Stan Kenton band, turned the jazz- struck youngster on to Dizzy Gillespie. By his mid-teens, Jon had not only met Dizzy, he'd even sat in with his hero's combo at the famed Jazz Workshop in San Francisco.
Upon graduating high school in 1971, Jon joined Lionel Hampton's band as a featured soloist and moved to New York. That same year, responding to an invitation from Mel Lewis to drop by the Village Vanguard whenever he got to New York, Jon sat in with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band on one of their regular Monday night sessions. That sit-in turned into four years of Monday nights playing with the band, as well as a tour of the Soviet Union with the highly acclaimed unit. Jan also toured with Charles Mingus and recorded on the Pablo label with Dizzy and Oscar Peterson.
Other highlights included filling in (at age of 18) for an ailing Roy Eldridge in an all-star concert led by Charles Mingus at New York's Philharmonic Hall; a Carnegie Hall gig with Sarah Vaughan; two years in attendance at the Annual Colorado Jazz Party where he was featured in a historic duet with Eubie Blake; performances with Gil Evans' and Count Basie's big bands; appearances at Radio City Music Hall and festivals here and abroad; and sitting in with Dizzy whenever possible.