Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

September/October 2011: Babs Asper

Sean Jones

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I like to think that I had a small part in Sean Jones’ development as one of today’s top jazz trumpeters. In 2000, I was teaching at Ohio State University. I met Sean at a “battle of the bands” in Columbus, and when Sean let loose on his first solo, I was floored by his very mature sense of improvisation and the raw fire and intensity in his playing.

After the gig, we had a chance to talk. He was interested in attending a graduate school where he could study with a trumpet teacher who could help him address particular concerns. When I asked him he was sure he wanted to take that path, he responded with a definitive yes, so I recommended he study with my former teacher, Professor William Fielder at Rutgers University. I contacted Prof, as we used to call him, and after describing Sean’s talent and potential, Prof was hooked.

Within a year of studying with Prof, you could hear a huge difference in Sean’s playing and you knew that when he finished school and hit the scene, he was going to be a huge force in the jazz world.

And that’s exactly what’s happened. In 2004, he released Eternal Journey, his first recording as a leader, and this year you can get your hands on his sixth, No Need for Words. Along the way, he’s snagged two Downbeat Rising Star awards. Sean Jones is fulfilling the promise I heard over a decade ago: he’s a brilliant musician with a truly exciting sound.

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