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Born in 1953, Faddis began playing at age eight, inspired by an appearance by Louis Armstrong on television. Meeting Dizzy Gillespie at 15 proved to be a pivotal beginning of a unique friendship that spanned over three decades. Shortly after his 18th birthday, Faddis joined Lionel Hampton's band, moving from Oakland, CA to New York. Faddis worked as lead trumpet for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra at the Village Vanguard, formed his own quartet, and soon began directing orchestras, including the Grammy-winning United Nation Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie 70th Birthday Big Band, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band (1992-2002), and the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York (2003-present). The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, celebrating its 40th anniversary at Columbia College Chicago in 2005-2006, named Faddis as its Artistic Director in autumn 2004. Faddis will continue to conduct both the JFJONY and the CJE in the future. Faddis has also served as guest conductor and featured guest with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
Faddis' original compositions include the Jazz opera Lulu Noire (1997) (named a "Top 10" pick by USA Today); others may be heard on his Grammy-nominated Remembrances (Chesky), Into the Faddisphere (Epic), and Hornucopia (Epic). Faddis' forthcoming CD, TERANGA (KOCH Records, June 2006), features new compositions by the trumpeter, joined by members of the Jon Faddis Quartet - David Hazeltine (piano), Kiyoshi Kitagawa (bass), & Dion Parson (drums) - together with special guests Alioune Faye (sabor), Abdou Mboup (djembe & talking drum), Russell Malone (guitar), Gary Smulyan (baritone saxophone), Frank Wess (alto flute) and Clark Terry (flugelhorn & vocals).
Faddis remains true to the tradition of honoring mentors, regularly leading master classes and clinics worldwide, and also teaching as a full-time faculty member at the Conservatory of Music, Purchase College-SUNY (where he is Artist-in-Residence, Professor & Director of Jazz Performance) and as guest lecturer at Columbia College Chicago.
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