Gilbert Castellanos, trumpet

Jazz @ The Jacobs and Thursday Night Jazz Series Curator

Gilbert Castellanos is the leading top-call jazz musician, band leader, composer, producer, and educator on the local and international circuit. Zan Stewart of the Los Angeles Times says: "[Castellanos] plays with élan, evincing a more individual, ever-large sound offering hard swinging, often ear-grabbing solos...[proving] that music with deep roots in jazz's glorious '50s and '60s can sound completely contemporary today."

Recognized as a new American master by Downbeat magazine, Mr. Castellanos is also a strong advocate of promoting and educating various communities about Jazz: “America’s classical music,” as he calls it. Mr. Castellanos takes pride in being a member of the prestigious Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, working with one of his mentors, the great John Clayton. He has recorded and performed with a multitude of world-renowned musicians from Dizzy Gillespie to Michael Bublé to Willie Nelson (to name a few), and even doing a stint on American Idol for millions of listeners. On one memorable occasion, his “Star Spangled Banner” on solo trumpet opened a San Diego Symphony “Star Spangled Pops” concert. He was a 2012 San Diego Music Awards “Artist of the Year” honoree.

Mr. Castellanos has a passion for jazz education, and in 2013 he started The Young Lions series, a program (currently presented weekly at Balboa Park's Panama 66 restaurant) that showcases young blooming jazz artists (ages 10-18) with whom he works closely as instructor and mentor. Mr. Castellanos recently founded The Young Lions Jazz Conservatory (YLJC) and is its artistic director. He also gives jazz masterclasses and performances all over the world.

Gilbert Castellanos is series curator for the San Diego Symphony’s Jazz @ The Jacobs series and the summer Thursday Night Jazz series.