A look inside The Jazz Gallery

Photo by Peter Gannushkin // DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET

The “incisive and often surprising trumpeter” (The New York Times) Jonathan Finlayson hails from Oakland, CA, where he grew up sparring with fellow young trumpet phenom Ambrose Akinmusire. Both trumpeters were surrounded by talent when they attended Berkeley High School, where their classmates included drummers such as Thomas Pridgen and Justin Brown.

After graduating, Jonathan made the move to New York to attend The New School for Social Research. Before long, he began to perform with the musical pioneer Steve Coleman, who first heard Jonathan when he was in high school. Jonathan has honed his approach as a member of the saxophonist’s ensembles for the past decade: “Playing and studying with Steve, you learn what’s behind certain musical ideas. There are the technical elements, and that’s one level to absorb. But then there are the things that are less apparent, things you have to be close to the music to grasp. This is priceless information to be privy to.” In addition, the young trumpeter has also worked regularly alongside several of the most innovative artists in the field, including Ravi Coltrane, Steve Lehman, Mary Halvorson, and Tomas Fujiwara, and has been heralded as one of “25 Trumpeters For the Future” by DownBeat.

Jonathan has been leading his own groups at The Gallery since 2004. On Friday, we will welcome him back for the return of Sicilian Defense, which features the trumpeter Shane Endsley, the pianist David Virelles, the bassist Keith Witty, and the drummer Damion Reid.

Watch footage from a 2010 performance by Sicilian Defense at The Gallery.