Wycliffe Gordon has enjoyed an extraordinary career as a performer, conductor, composer, arranger, and educator, receiving high praise from audiences and critics alike. Gordon tours the world performing hard-swinging, straight-ahead jazz for audiences ranging from heads of state to elementary school students. Gordon received the Jazz Journalists Association Award for Trombonist of the Year in 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, and 2008, the Critics Choice Award for Best Trombone in 2000, and the ASCAP Foundation Jazz Vanguard Award in 2007.
In addition to his thriving solo career, Gordon tours regularly with the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet, headlining at legendary jazz venues throughout the world. Gordon is a former veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and was a featured guest artist in Billy Taylor's Jazz at the Kennedy Center series. He has worked with many of the most renowned jazz performers of the past and present.
A native of Waynesboro, Georgia, Gordon was first introduced to music by his late father, Lucius Gordon, a classical pianist and teacher. His interest in the trombone was sparked at age twelve by his elder brother, who played the instrument in his junior high school band. Egged on by sibling rivalry, Gordon’s relentless pleading to his parents led to his first trombone. A year later, an aunt bequeathed the Gordon family her jazz record collection, and so began his passion for jazz music.
Gordon’s musical prowess has been captured on numerous recordings, including 15 solo CDs and seven co-leader CDs. His latest recording, Cone and T-Staff, released in February 2010, is performed by a quintet featuring trumpeter Terell Stafford. Gordon is featured on recordings with the Wynton Marsalis Septet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and many other musicians.
Gordon is also a gifted composer and arranger. He was commissioned to compose a vibrant new score for the 1925 classic silent film Body and Soul (notable as the screen debut of Paul Robeson), which was premiered at the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra’s opening night performance at Avery Fisher Hall in 2000, and was released on DVD in 2008. Gordon's I Saw the Light, a musical tribute to Muhammad Ali, was commissioned and premiered by the Brass Band of Battle Creek in March 2004 and is scheduled for release on DVD in 2010.
Gordon’s compositions have been performed by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Wynton Marsalis Septet, the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet, the Brass Band of Battle Creek and numerous other ensembles in programs throughout the United States and abroad. Two of Gordon’s arrangements have been featured as a part of the PBS series Marsalis on Music. The first in a series of print editions of his big band, small ensemble and choir compositions will be available in 2010.