Known as one of the most eclectic trumpet players in New York City, Bailey is an in-demand musician and teaching artist in all forms of jazz, R&B, pop and classical music. He became a member of the Buddy Rich Band while still in college, and his career has included tenures with Ray Charles, Ray Barretto and New World Spirit, The Woody Herman Orchestra and Frank Sinatra, Jr. He has performed and recorded with James Moody, Kenny Burrell, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Barrett Deems and many others. His work with Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra won two Grammy awards.
In Real Time features:
John Bailey – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Stacy Dillard – Tenor & Soprano Saxophone
John Hart – Guitar
Cameron Brown – Bass
Victor Lewis – Drums & Cymbals
A trumpet prodigy, Bailey’s spectacular gifts began to be noticed as a high school musician in 1984 when DownBeat Magazine cited him in its annual Student Music Awards for outstanding performances in both the classical and jazz trumpet categories, noting “Shades of Wynton!” The same year, he was a finalist in the National Foundation for Advancements in the Arts (NFAA) Arts Recognition and Talent Search, along with Donny McCaslin and Bill Charlap; and won the National Association of Jazz Educators’ Youth Talent Contest. Later, as a senior at the Eastman School of Music, he won DownBeat’s Best Instrumental Soloist award.
Bailey, who continues to teach privately, believes that educating the next generation of musicians is essential for any artist. “In American culture, where the arts are often ignored or deemphasized in both schools and the mainstream media, it is up to us, the artists, to inspire an appreciation for great art.” he says. “By keeping performance standards as high as possible and sharing our devotion with others, especially children, we enrich countless lives.”
In Real Time, John Bailey (Summit Records), reveals a trumpeter in his prime, reeling off runs and phrases with consummate technique and admirable logic. John leads a piano-less quintet featuring Stacy Dillard, tenor and soprano saxes; John Hart, guitar; Cameron Brown, bass, and Victor Lewis, drums. Seven of the CD’s nine tracks are originals by the leader that range from hard bop to blues to a swinging waltz. The two other tunes are by giants of Brazilian music.
On Milton Nascimento’s “Morro Velho,” John plays flugelhorn with Leo Grinhauz, cello; John’s wife, Janet Axelrod, flute; Cameron and Victor. His captivating, exotic arrangement pairs flugelhorn and cello echoing and soloing with each other. Tandem soloing from trumpet, guitar and tenor sax also dominates the other Brazilian tune, Gilberto Gil’s bossa “Ensaio Geral,” the bright, short conclusion to the album.
The CD kicks off with John’s “Rhapsody,” a piece that belies its name with a rollicking rhythm and joyful, exuberant solos. John mines his bebop and hard bop knowledge on three originals: “Triplicity,” a multi-strand theme with quick-step trades between the horns and guitar; “Blues for Ella,” a fast, staccato bop blues line with an especially fluent, crisp trumpet solo; and “Stepping Up,” a hard bop piece that culminates in exhilarating four-bar trades.
John’s versatility comes to the fore on three other tracks. “My Man Louis!” (for his teenage son, not Satchmo) rides over a jaunty ostinato riff from bass and guitar and a trumpet solo of precisely clipped notes. “Lovely Planet” is a melodically elegiac ballad with Cameron’s bass prominent under John’s trumpet. And “Children’s Waltz” is in a seductively swinging 3/4, John’s flugelhorn joined by Stacy’s only outing on soprano sax.