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Scott Whitfield (trombonist, composer, arranger, and vocalist) is rapidly gaining international recognition for his work with contemporary big bands, including the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra and the new edition of Johnny Griffin’s Big Soul Band, as well as his own Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestras (East AND West). In addition to Whitfield’s own recordings, his compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by such artists as Diva, Maurice Hines, The Pied Pipers, Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band, and Pete Petersen’s 23-strong Collection Jazz Orchestra. The discography of Scott Whitfield includes 7 recordings as leader and more than 50 recordings with other artists.
A frequent clinician and guest artist for Bach Stradivarius trombones, Whitfield has appeared throughout the world, from Australia to Zurich, sharing his expertise on trombone technique, improvisation, composition, arranging, and jazz history. His “The J.J. Johnson Collection” (published by Hal Leonard) has inspired many trombonists, young and old.
Upon settling in New York in 1993, Scott became a member of the Nat Adderley Sextet, which also included Jimmy Cobb, Walter Booker, Vincent Herring and Rob Bargad. The group’s engagements at Sweet Basil led to fruitful associations with Nnenna Freelon, Frank Wess, and Steve Turre, among others.from 1998 to 2002, Whitfield served on the jazz faculty at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, teaching trombone, composition and arranging, and improvisation, while also coordinating the school’s combo program. During this period, one of Scott’s composition students placed third in a worldwide field of contestants in the Thad Jones International Jazz Composition Competition.
The Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra (first founded in 1986, while Scott was pursuing his Master’s degree at North Texas State University) now has TWO incarnations: the SWJO East, based in New York; and the SWJO West, based in Whitfield’s new home of Los Angeles. Both of these aggregations feature some of the top players in the business. Plans are in the works for a large project featuring the combined, bi-coastal orchestra.
For more than a year, the Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra East was in residence at New York’s Birdland, the Jazz Corner of the World, culminating in the exciting “Live at Birdland” CD, released in April 2004 on Summit Records. “The Minute Game,” featuring the SWJO West, was released in February 2005, and features Whitfield’s groundbreaking composition “Hiccups.” Most recently, “Diamonds For Nat,” released in February 2006, is a special 75th Birthday tribute to Scott’s mentor, the late Nat Adderley, featuring the SWJO East once again. The CD skyrocketed to number FIVE in jazz radio airplay in its THIRD WEEK!
Although Scott now makes his home in Los Angeles, he continues to commute to New York for appearances. His writing has been compared to that of some of his biggest influences, including Thad Jones, Sammy Nestico, Bill Holman, Rob McConnell, Bob Florence, and Ernie Wilkins.