Ray Callender was born in Winfield, Illinois. The son of Charles Callender, a Chicago trumpeter and craftsman at Schilke Music Products, his love for the instrument began at an early age. However, his love for the music didn't develop until early high school, sparked by a double-sided tape of Kind of Blue and Jazz at Massey Hall. He was hooked. Callender began to study the masters, especially Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and Miles Davis, and his diligence earned him numerous honors while still in high school, including “Best Soloist” at the Chicago Area Jazz Festival, “Outstanding Soloist” at the Rolling Meadows Jazz Festival, and the 1996 Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. Callender graduated Cum Laude from the University of North Florida jazz program where he studied with legendary alto saxophonist Bunky Green. He performed with and composed for the top jazz ensemble and combo and was the featured trumpet soloist on UNF's Down Beat award-winning albums, Things To Come, Second Thoughts, and Through His Eyes, as well as recording with notable pianist/educator Dr. Keith Javors on his 2004 Zoho Records release, Mo' City Jungle.
While this young man's primary influence on his horn is
clearly Freddie Hubbard, there are also discernible stylistic
resemblances to Lee Morgan and Woody Shaw, giving him a
well rounded approach that is both spirited and intelligent.
— Russ Musto, All
Callender's trumpet solo is especially impressive; a thematic
solo that is
the definition of spontaneous composition.
— John Kelman, All
Ray Callender represents the cutting edge of trumpet
— Bunky Green,
alto saxophone legend
…trumpeter Ray Callender (obviously influenced by Freddie
one moment delivering urgent coiling lines of improvisation
at the next
retreating to draw attention to a softened final note.
— Don Williamson,
…brooding hard-bop led by Ray Callender’s supercool
Music teacher at numerous private schools in Jacksonville
Former administrator and teacher for First Coast Community
Music School at Florida State College
3 years experience teaching music in Duval County Public
Currently on faculty at Morris Music Academy in Jacksonville
and the Friese Studio of Music in St. Marys, GA
Jazz improvisation: Imitate, Assimilate, and Innovate
Trumpet fundamentals: Effortless Efficiency Through Daily