Jason Gaines was born in 1979 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He moved to Sacramento, California shortly thereafter and was soon introduced to music. Jason began playing trumpet at the age of eight. He had aspired to play the alto saxophone, but only trumpets were left in the band storage room. It now seems as if fate had intervened.
Music was something that seemed to come very naturally to him. He began touring as the lead trumpet player with the Monterey Jazz Festival All Star Big Band, under the direction of Bill Berry, at the age of fifteen. Bill Berry has said of Jason,
"He plays excellent lead trumpet and is a good jazz soloist."
During his three-year stay with the band he collaborated with artists such as Arturo Sandoval, Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Gerald Wilson Ron McClure and others. He participated in three tours of Japan and various performances on the main stage of the Monterey Jazz Festival with the band.
Jason moved to New York in 1998 to attend the Manhattan School of Music. Since moving to New York, he has studied with trumpet masters Lew Soloff, Cecil Bridgewater, Laurie Frink and Vincent Penzarella, of the New York Philharmonic. When asked about Jason, Cecil Bridgewater replied,
" I have been impressed by his high degree of musicianship and his ability as a trumpet player."
Jason graduated with a bachelor of music in jazz trumpet performance from the Manhattan School of Music in December 2001. He also recently completed his graduate studies at New York University, where he earned a Master of Music Degree in Jazz Composition and Performance. Jason is a recipient of scholarships from the Eubie Blake Foundation as well as New York University. He has also received jazz soloist awards from the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Reno Jazz Festival. Jason recently finished the limitied run of the off-Broadway production of Vivace at the New Victory Theater. He is also performing regularly with his new group, Tonic System. Jason is currently teaching and freelancing in the New York City metropolitan area.
"He is an outstanding musician as well as a delightful individual." -Ronald D. McClure