From Naussau to New York

20-year old Bahamian trumpeter Giveton Gelin, started teaching himself to play the trumpet at 10 years old after his mother bought him the instrument in his hometown of Nassau.  He’s just now finishing his degree at Juilliard, but his live-schoolin’ has paved a wide path for the artist to find his own way in the crowded New York jazz scene.

Gelin began singing through his instrument from how he learned to play in the gospel church. The lyrical style of those spirituals shines through and is underscored by round warm tone in his playing.  As a teenager he attended a jazz concert led Musical Director and bassist, Adrian D’Aguilar who was his first inspiration, teacher, and jazz band-mate.  You-tube was the other inspiration. Finding video of Clifford Brown and Miles Davis kept him inspired in a part of the world with very few jazz musicians.

Later Gelin attended Oberlin University where he studied with Eddie Henderson.  Gelin was a recognized talent at the Young Arts Foundation and the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program. The recognition he received, brought him to the attention of other great mentors and players to collaborate with.  From performing with Wynton Marsalis at Julliard, he’s gone on to play with the Lincoln Jazz Orchestra. He’s collaborated on recordings with Harold Mabern and Jon Batiste, and Roy Hargrove was among his teachers.  Now, leading his own band. The players he assembled for his 2020 album, True Design are Immanuel Wilkens – Alto Sax, Micah Thomas – piano, Philip Norris – bass, and Kyle Benford – drums.  Before Covid shut down live performance, they headlined at New York’s Small’s Jazz Club and the Black Cat in San Francisco. Giveton and Immanuel blend beautifully while Thomas plays around the harmony. It’s the community that jazz provides that Gelin aspires to include in his collaboration with band mates and bring to the compositions he shares. – Carol Handley/


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