Gordon Au – trumpeter, composer, educator, bandleader, writer
Called “comfortable in any idiom and fearless” by music writer Michael Steinman, Gordon draws upon a palette ranging from the traditional jazz of Louis Armstrong to the modern jazz of today. In New York, Gordon leads the Grand St. Stompers, a traditional jazz band called “a pillar of New York’s hot jazz scene” by The New York Times, and appears with the Grammy-winning Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks, the Louis Armstrong Eternity Band at Birdland, Dandy Wellington, and others. He is in demand around the country as a soloist (International Trumpet Guild), festival guest artist (Redwood Coast Music Festival, Monterey Jazz Bash By the Way), swing musician (Lindy Focus, DC Lindy Exchange), arranger (Terence Blanchard, Lizzy & the Triggermen), and clinician and educator (Jazz at Lincoln Center). Gordon is a graduate of the renowned Monk Institute and Berklee College of Music.
As an undergraduate, Gordon studied jazz composition and performance at Berklee College of Music, where he recorded with Danilo Perez, co-arranged and recorded with Tiger Okoshi, and performed with Max Weinberg, Jimmy Heath, Makoto Ozone, Bob Mintzer, George Garzone, and Ralph Peterson. Under the tutelage of Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Joanne Brackeen, Hal Crook, Tiger Okoshi, Phil Wilson, Ed Tomassi, and Dave Santoro, among others, Gordon graduated in 2007 with a full scholarship and top departmental awards in both jazz composition and performance.
Following Berklee, Gordon was selected as one of just seven fellows at the inaugural New Orleans class of the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance, where, under the artistic direction of Terence Blanchard, he and his colleagues honed their skills at performing, composing, and teaching. They gave concerts, clinics, and private lessons in Louisiana as well as around the globe, including New Delhi, Mumbai, the Panama Jazz Festival, Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre. Through the Institute, Gordon studied and performed with some of greatest living masters of jazz and beyond: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Chaka Khan, Zakir Hussain, George Benson, Ravi Shankar, Shankar Mahadevan, Brian Blade, George Duke, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Danilo Perez, Lewis Nash, Ellis Marsalis, Buster Williams, Nicholas Payton, John Scofield, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Jimmy Heath, Kenny Barron, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terri Lyne Carrington, Steve Coleman, Barry Harris, Kurt Elling, Nnenna Freelon, James Genus, Kendrick Scott, Brice Winston, and artistic director Terence Blanchard. In 2009, Gordon and the Institute toured India with Herbie Hancock and others as part of the US State Department’s “The Living Dream” tour.
TRADITIONAL JAZZ & SWING
While at the Monk Institute, Gordon co-founded the New Orleans Moonshiners, a group described in the press as “a trad jazz band with new souls" that has “taken the area by storm, gaining a huge fan base and lots of critical acclaim," and had their east coast debut at Lincoln Center in 2010. Their second album, including four of Gordon’s originals, was nominated for traditional jazz album of the year by New Orlean’s Offbeat
magazine. Presently, Gordon frequently appears at music festivals around the country as both bandleader and featured guest artist. In New York City, Gordon leads the Grand St. Stompers
, a traditional jazz band hailed as “a pillar of New York’s hot jazz scene” by The New York Times
, “one of the pioneering bands of New York hot jazz and swing dance revival” by JAZZed
, and “the past, present, future rolling on!" by music writer Michael Steinman. The Stompers perform around the nation, at such venues as the famed Cafe Carlyle and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Gordon is also in high demand as a soloist with some of the most popular swing dance bands and orchestras around the country, including Jonathan Stout and His Orchestra, the Mint Julep Jazz Band, Michael Gamble’s Rhythm Serenaders, the Glenn Crytzer Orchestra, and others; he performs at the largest swing dance events in the nation, including Lindy Focus, the Washington DC Lindy Exchange, the International Lindy Hop Championships, and others. In New York City, Gordon can also be seen with the Grammy-winning Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks, Dandy Wellington & His Band, Baby Soda Jazz Band, Tamar Korn & a Kornucopia, and others. Gordon also co-leads the Au Brothers Jazz Band
, appearing at festivals and dances throughout the west coast.
In the modern vein, Gordon has performed with Wayne Shorter, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Ellis and Jason Marsalis, Ron Carter, Wycliffe Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Kurt Rosenwinkel, John Scofield, Lewis Nash, and George Benson; toured internationally with Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, and George Duke; and recorded with the Danilo Perez Big Band and Grammy winners Brian Blade and George Garzone, among others. In 2011–12, Gordon toured internationally with tenor saxophonist and Monk Competition winner Melissa Aldana; their 2012 album Second Cycle
, featuring an innovative chordless quartet and three of Gordon’s original compositions, won the Altazor National Arts Award in Chile for Best Album. His musical tours in both traditional and modern jazz arenas have taken him to India, Japan, Australia, England, France, Italy, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Israel, and Panama.
WRITING / PRODUCING
In addition to producing and writing albums for the Grand St. Stompers and Au Brothers Jazz Band, Gordon has written big band arrangements for Terence Blanchard, co-arranged and recorded with Tiger Okoshi, transcribed for Chaka Khan, written commissions for the third-stream Blue Moon Ensemble, arranged vintage jazz versions of pop songs for Hollywood actress/singer Elizabeth Shapiro / Lizzy & the Triggermen, and arranged in various styles for Margaret Gianquinto / Margi & the Dapper Dots at Lincoln Center. In 2013, Gordon served as Musical Director, conductor, and arranger for the genre-blending album Ejazz Con Jota
by Carmen París, featuring Gordon’s big band jazz arrangements of Spanish jota songs.
Gordon has served as guest lecturer at Loyola University of New Orleans, taught at UC Berkeley, served as Visiting Artist at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, served as clinician and adjudicator at the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Youth Band Festival, presented at the International Trumpet Guild, taught at many music camps, and given clinics in New Orleans, New York, Panama, Finland, and Japan. Currently, Gordon teaches and appears as Guest Artist for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s WeBop program.