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Wycliffe Gordon: No Shortcuts in This Music

A conversation with the trombonist about doing the gospel show for the jazz cruises and about his life as a player, composer, arranger and educator

Wycliffe Gordon
Wycliffe Gordon

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Trombonist, composer and occasional vocalist Wycliffe Gordon rose to prominence in the ’90s as a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet, alongside Todd Williams, Wess Anderson, Marcus Roberts, Reginald Veal and Herlin Riley. Since then, he’s become one of the foremost players on his instrument and a successful bandleader, and recently he’s been performing with saxophonist David Sanborn. His latest album is I Give You Love and features his group the International All Stars. He’s also an experienced educator, both through his regular clinics and workshops and through his teaching at Augusta University, for whom he recently gave a commencement address. A Yamaha artist, Gordon has been working on developing his own model of a soprano trombone or slide trumpet. He’s a regular on the Jazz Cruise presented by Entertainment Cruise Productions, for whom he has organized a gospel show for many years. He is one of the few musicians, along with Marcus Miller and Kirk Whalum, who performs on the Jazz Cruise as well as the Smooth Jazz Cruise and the recently developed Blue Note at Sea cruise. Gordon spoke with JT’s publisher Lee Mergner about his development as a musician, as well as about his approach to teaching and his involvement with the various jazz cruises.

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