Biography:ROY CAMPBELL, JR. (trumpets, flute, percussion, voice, bandleader) was born in Los Angeles in 1952 and grew up in New York. Initially inspired by his trumpeter father, Roys musical journey began with piano lessons; by the time he entered high school, he was also playing flute, recorder, and violin, and he took up trumpet in his senior year of high school.
As a teen, he was taught by trumpeters Kenny Dorham, Howard McGhee, Lee Morgan, and Joe Newman, and he learned music theory, arranging, and composition from Yusef Lateef. He graduated from Manhattan Community College with an Associates Degree in music and by the age of 20 was leading his own band and was in great demand as a side man and studio musician as well.
In 1978, Roy met master bassist William Parker, who introduced him to Jemeel Moondoc, who in turn invited Roy to join his Ensemble Muntu, and this association led to many dates and tours abroad, allowing Roy to develop an international following. He lived in the Netherlands from 1990 to 92, working as a free-lance musician and lecturer, holding conservatory workshops, leading several European big bands, and composing commissioned pieces for brass ensembles in the Eindhoven and Groningen Festivals.
All along, there was a part of Roy Campbell, Jr.s creative spirit that polished musicianship alone could not satisfy, and back in the States, Roy expanded into writing and arranging music for himself and others, scoring documentaries, and composing and arranging for off-Broadway productions. Roys TV credits include appearances on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, UPN, and cable networks. In addition, he is an actor who has appeared in independent films and plays, he often provides musical accompaniment for dancers and poets, and he has been known to contribute to those art forms himself.
As a bandleader, he has long maintained several stellar working units. The Pyramid Trio was begun in 1983 and offers music of many world cultures with a jazz overtone; the collective group Other Dimensions in Music plays improvised music of all styles; Shades and Colors of Trane gives tribute to master saxophonist John Coltrane; Tazz, a reflection of many musical styles, languages, backgrounds, and sources, has a mission to break down cultural barriers through a sound that is at once eclectic, progressive, polished, and funky; and the latest addition is Downtown Horns.
Roys composing, arranging, and playing embrace a wide range of roots and styles, including jazz, funk, rock, R&B, hip-hop, rap, classical, reggae, and more. Whether performing, writing, arranging, or producing, his abilities burst forth in an electrifying stream of talent and originality. His virtuoso instrumental performances, inspiring and uplifting, have been praised by fans, critics, and fellow musicians alike.
A few of the leading innovators among contemporary musicians Roy has worked with include: Rashied Ali, Billy Bang, Evelyn Blakey, Hamid Drake, Carlos Garnett, Henry Grimes, Eddie Harris, Hannibal (Marvin Peterson) Lokumb, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Joe McPhee, Jemeel Moondoc, David Murray, Sunny Murray, William Parker, Sun Ra, Woody Shaw, Cecil Taylor, Charles Tyler, Wilbur Ware, Frank Wright, John Zorn, and countless others.
In 2001, "JazzTimes" designated Roys CD "Ethnic Stew and Brew" (Delmark 528) number three of the top 50 CDs of the year; Roy was also nominated trumpeter of the year by the Jazz Journalists Association in 02.
Roy Campbell, Jr.s life experience reflects his belief that music is the voice of universal truth. His sound combines ancestral voices, modern artistry, and futuristic vision. Roy is a master trumpeter, musician, and being, and a universal force to be reckoned with.