Trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso started playing professionally in and around Detroit, Michigan where he was born in 1964. Jon began early, playing in a big band at age 11, in the International Youth Symphony at age 13, and in a concert alongside Wild Bill Davison at age 17. Kellso played with a wide variety of groups there, including the J.C. Heard Orchestra.
In '88 Jon-Erik joined James Dapogny's Chicago Jazz Band with whom he's made appearances throughout North America, concertized on PBS TV, and recorded extensively, including a new CD with Maria Muldaur entitled "Naughty, Bawdy, and Blue," and a DVD with her as well.
Since moving to New York City in 1989 to join Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, Jon has enjoyed performing and recording with the likes of Ralph Sutton, Dan Barrett, Howard Alden, Marty Grosz, Milt Hinton, Dick Hyman, Linda Ronstadt, Banu Gibson, Leon Redbone, Ken Peplowski, Bob Wilbur, and Kenny Davern.
Recent engagements include a tour of Brazil with pianist Judy Carmichael; various appearances on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" live Public Radio International show; several jazz fest at sea cruises; concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. with John Lithgow; a week as featured artist at Jazzland in Vienna; a 10 week tour of the U.S. with Ken Peplowski's Kingdom of Swing big band; concerts as a featured soloist in the U.K., Germany and Australia; annual appearances in jazz clubs and festivals in New Orleans; and jazz parties and festivals throughout the United States and Europe.
Other bands that Kellso is currently a member of in addition to Dapogny's and Giordano's are: (Matt Munisteris) Brock Mumford, (Orange Kellin's) Manhattan Ragtime Orchestra, and David Ostwald's Louis Armstrong Centennial Band (a.k.a. the Gully Low Jazz Band).
Kellso can be heard on several television and movie soundtracks, including the Nickelodeon children's show "Blue's Clues," and the recent movies Ghost World, "The Aviator," and "The Good Shepherd" with Vince Giordano's Nighthawks.
Recently Jon was featured on a soundtrack recording session with Wynton Marsalis for an upcoming movie about legendary New Orleanian cornetist Buddy Bolden entitled "Bolden!" Watch and listen for Kellso, Vince Giordano, Leonardo DeCaprio and Kate Winslet in "Revolutionary Road," due out Dec. 26, '08.
Jon has recorded several times on Arbors Records, including three CDs as a leader and two with Ruby Braff. Jon pays tribute to Braff on his new "Remembering Ruby" CD, on Gen-Erik Records. His latest Arbors release, "Blue Roof Blues: A Love Letter to New Orleans," is dedicated to Jon's friends in the Crescent City and all those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
A SAMPLING OF REVIEWS:
Joe Lang wrote for the July/August '07 issue or Jersey Jazz: "Blue Roof Blues: A Love Letter to New Orleans" is an exceptional album. Conceived as a tribute to the city that suffered so much from the devastation of Katrina, it is a triumph that evinces both the pain and joy of the city....Trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso assembled a company of outstanding musicians who are steeped in the traditional jazz sounds of the Crescent City, but who are constantly taking the music to places where it has not been before....Kellso once again proves that his is a unique and exceptional voice on trumpet....In addition, this album highlights his strength as a composer who honors the tradition, but adds a personal and contemporary sensitivity....Suffice to say that you will find that each (track) is a gem. This is an album that is ostensibly aimed at an audience inclined toward the sounds of traditional New Orleans Jazz, and, indeed, it will certainly find great favor with those devotees. Give it a listen, however, and you will hear music that defies classification. I expect that there will be many who consider themselves modernists in their taste being drawn to the music on "Blue Roof Blues."
His debut album, "Chapter One" captured the attention of noted jazz critic Owen Cordle, who wrote, "Kellso has a fluent gift of melody and a knack for spicing it up with a Roy Eldridge-like rasp, a Howard McGhee-like excitability, and Rex Stewart-like tonal effects. Kellso debuts with a warm, swing-oriented session with no stray notes. The effortless, swinging mood is sustained throughout all 13 performances. Kellso is a most welcome discovery."
In Scott Yanow's recently published book entitled "Swing," Kellso's "Chapter 2: The Plot Thickens" received 9 of 10 stars. He is described as being "one of the finest Mainstream and trad cornetists to emerge during the 1990s." Jon is also featured in Yanow's "Trumpet Kings" book.
Jack Sohmer reviewed "Chapter 2" for the Mississippi Rag, writing, "Kellso emerges as one of today's most fulfilling mainstream trumpeters and cornetists. His poignant, rounded tone suggests a seamless combination of Buck Clayton, Bill Coleman, Cootie Williams, Frankie Newton, and Roy Eldridge, a synthesis of which anyone may be justifiably proud. From the listener's point of view, it is difficult to think of anyone, save Ruby Braff, who so successfully embodies the best traditions of the past while at the same time bringing them convincingly into the present. Kellso is telling his story in the hallowed tradition of great yarn-spinners throughout history. He entertains, informs, and keeps our interest whetted for the next installment."
When asked by writer Michael Steinman to make a few comments about me for some upcoming liner notes, Scott Robinson (crazy man/musical alchemist) had this to say:
Jon-Erik Kellso performs music that assimilates the attenuative
properties of intra-spacial malfeasance with regard to the bufurcation
of hitherto inextricably fused polymorphic dynamisms within which are
inculcated the predominant diffeomorphisms of pan-galactic cultures.
This being the case, I fail to see the relevance of heliocentric
posturings insofar as the protostellar injection of hypocycloidal
variables into such an admixture may be observed or calibrated.
Furthermore, it has been demonstrated to the satisfaction of a majority
of experts in the fields of cognitive reciprocity and sonic filtration
that no single admixture of psychosonic, bathylithic or preternatural
materials may be regarded as synaptically definitive or statistically
pure. From this it is easily surmised that the introduction of
nonlinearities of intent or arrhythmicities of apperception, far from
destabilizing the structural integrity of any one locus of cultural
materiality, serve rather to delimit the intersticial strata of works
and governances of organized materials without which artistic conflation
would surely be obviated. And this is precisely the juncture at which
Mr. Kellso's music asserts its portentousness in terms of its
inclination toward the recalibration and redelineation of humankind's
otherwise captious predilection for entropy and torpor.
Hence, his massive CD sales.
- S. R.
I think Scott really understands me.