Trumpeter and Artist, Jay Phelps is a Vancouver-born Canadian with an instantly recognisable warm and projecting tone. He was tutored by the city’s top Jazz and Classical trumpeters and distinguished himself early on as the youngest band-leader in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival’s history.
In 1999 aged 17, Jay moved to London, determined to immerse himself in the jazz scene and immediately attracted the notice of Gary Crosby (Dune records), who offered him work with Jazz Jamaica in 2002 and the opportunity to be a ‘Tomorrow’s Warrior’. Citing Louis Armstrong, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown and Miles Davis as his early influences, Jay went on to create and co-lead the UK Jazz sensation Empirical. They spent two years touring major festivals and events with their self titled debut album, while garnering worldwide media attention that UK Jazz musicians hadn’t enjoyed for years.
Jay has performed and recorded with a veritable who’s who of international Jazz and famed artists such as; Courtney Pine, Andrew Hill, Wynton Marsalis, Ray Brown, John Hendricks, Nasheet Waits, George Benson, Jamie Cullum, Sir John Dankworth, Jean Toussaint, Dennis Rollins, Guy Barker, Amy Winehouse, Charlotte Church, Hugh Masakela, Jazz Jamaica, Soweto Kinch, Skatroniks, Ska Cubano, Chineke Orchestra.
“Assured, clever, fluent, with a lovely soft-edged tone, he is already a player you could easily recognise after hearing him just once.”
In 2012, Jay guested with Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Linclon Centre Orchestra for Marsalis’ epic, ‘Congo Square’, taking the chair of the master himself as he conducted the band. Later that summer he proceeded to have two sell out nights featuring the Jay Phelps Big Band at the world renowned Ronnie Scott’s jazz venue in London.
Jay expanded his wings into TV where he featured in the band on BBC’s Dancing on The Edge, written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff.
After a successful year of hosting the Late Show at Ronnie Scott’s with various bands, Jay moved his night to the Hippodrome Casino, Leicester Square, where he continued with his signature style.
As well as being a late night host and performer of London’s top music venues, Phelps regularly tours nationally and internationally with his own bands (JPQ, Projections:Of Miles, Jay’s Jitter Jive). Recently, when not on the road with his own groups, Jay has been touring with two of Brazil’s great musical exports, Ed Motta and Banda Black Rio and Afrobeat Master Orlando Julius, American Soul singer Liv Warfield. Also with renowned director Peter Brook’s play ‘The Suit’.
“…he has been compared to Wynton Marsalis, but Phelps has much more of a playful side to his approach.”
All About Jazz
Currently Phelps recorded his second solo album ‘Free as the Birds’, which is a departure from the more traditional approach of his first and spanning over 2 years of intense world travelling and recording, due for release on Ropeadope Records March 23, 2018. London is currently home for Phelps and he is the musical director of one of London’s top new clubs Jack Solomons.
Jay has also joined forces with producer and Trombonist Courtney Brown to form a new project called ‘NBOC’, a group pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and modern creative music, due to start releasing from April 2018.