WYCLIFFE GORDON, trombonist, was born a musician’s son in Waynesboro, Georgia. He began playing music at age 12, drawn early to jazz by an extensive record collection bequeathed to his family. Wycliffe hard-swinging, straight-ahead style earned him Downbeat’s Critics Choice Award for Best Trombone (2016, 2012-2014), as well as their Rising Star Award for Tuba (2014). Named Trombonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association nine times since 2001, Wycliffe tours regularly as a soloist and leads the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet. He has recorded 20 solo albums and eight co-leader albums including Hello Pops, A Tribute to Louis Armstrong and Dreams of New Orleans. Wycliffe has been featured on the Kennedy Center Jazz series and his work has been celebrated extensively via radio, television and film, including Wycliffe’s appearance as a soloist in Ken Burns’ documentary, Jazz. A composer and arranger, Wycliffe’s work is frequently commissioned: his arrangement of NPR’s All Things Considered theme is heard daily worldwide and he received the ASCAP Plus Award in 2016 and 2015 for his contributions as a composer. He has authored three educational books and is a dedicated instructor, having served as a resident at numerous institutions, and, formerly, as a faculty member at the Manhattan School of Music.
JAY LEONHART, bassist and vocalist, has been recognized as a very accomplished bass player for a long time now. He has been named the Outstanding Bassist in the Recording Industry three times and is always mentioned when the discussion turns to the outstanding. At age 13, while playing banjo with his brother in a Dixieland band in Baltimore, Jay watched and listened to the bass player and knew that the bass was the instrument he would play forever. Since that time Jay has been privileged to play with the likes of Judy Garland, Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Buddy Rich, Jim Hall, Peggy Lee, Mel Tormé, Marian McPartland, Kenny Barron, Sting, James Taylor, Papa Joe Jones, Roy Eldridge, Jim Hall, Louie Bellson, Dick Hyman, Luciano Pavarotti and many more. Over the years, Jay Leonhart has been writing and singing his own very individualistic songs about his life as a bass player. He now performs his music worldwide to very receptive audiences. Jay now appears primarily with his trio, which plays regularly at Birdland in New York, when not gainfully employed elsewhere.