Dr. Joseph Jefferson, assistant professor of Trombone/Euphonium and director of Jazz Studies at Southeast, recently held a Zoom masterclass with his Jazz Lab and Studio students featuring Vincent Gardner, lead trombonist of jazz with the Lincoln Center Orchestra and artistic director of Jazz Houston.
“This was an excellent opportunity for our students!” Jefferson said. “Jazz at Lincoln Center lead by Wynton Marsalis (internationally acclaimed musician) is arguably one of the best institutions for jazz education and performance in the world.”
“Jazz at Lincoln Center also tagged us in a post!” Jefferson said. “I’m constantly working on ways to keep (the students) motivated during this unprecedented time. The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves.”
Jefferson was able to arrange the masterclass with Gardner through their relationship that began as fraternity brothers. Gardner was born in Chicago in 1972 and raised in Hampton, Virginia. After singing, playing piano, violin, saxophone, and French horn at an early age, he decided to pursue the trombone at age 12. He attended Florida A&M University and the University of North Florida. He soon caught the ear of Mercer Ellington, who hired Gardner for his first professional job. After graduating from college, he moved to Brooklyn, New York, completed a world tour with Lauryn Hill in 2000, then joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Gardner has served as instructor at The Juilliard School, visiting instructor at Florida State University and Michigan State University, and adjunct instructor at The New School. He has contributed many arrangements to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and other ensembles. In 2009, he was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center to write “The Jesse B. Semple Suite,” a 60-minute suite inspired by the short stories of Langston Hughes. Gardner is featured on a number of notable recordings and has recorded five CDs as a leader for Steeplechase Records. He has performed with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, Harry Connick, Jr., The Saturday Night Live Band, Chaka Khan, A Tribe Called Quest, and many others.