Berklee College of Music has named trumpeter Sean Jones chair of the college’s Brass Department. Jones succeeds trombonist Tom Plsek, who served as chair for 25 years. Jones, a widely acclaimed composer and trumpeter, recently released his seventh album as a leader, im•pro•vise never before seen, on Mack Avenue Records.
“Sean Jones brings an amazing portfolio to Berklee—performances at the highest level with the greatest musicians of his and prior generations, successful teaching experience, personal commitment and integrity as an artist, and a desire to help foster future great contemporary musicians,” said Berklee president Roger H. Brown. “We are very excited to welcome Sean to our musical family.”
“When I was looking for colleges, Berklee seemed to be this shiny beacon on a hill that a kid from Warren, Ohio, couldn’t quite get to,” said Jones. “Fast forward 18 years; I never thought that I’d be in a leadership position at that shiny beacon. It’s surreal to me, and I’m honored to be given the opportunity.”
Jones was originally a drummer but discovered the trumpet at the age of 10 upon hearing Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue and Amandla. He graduated from Youngstown State University in Ohio. Soon after earning his master’s degree from Rutgers University, he was named lead trumpeter for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra (LCJO)—a position he held for six years while continuing to tour, perform, and record regularly.
A respected and in-demand musician, Jones has performed with a number of esteemed artists, including Joe Lovano, Chico O’Farrill, Jimmy Heath, Nancy Wilson, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Dianne Reeves.
Education has also been a major element in Jones’s ongoing activities. Shortly after joining the LJCO, he began teaching at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. In 2012, Jones also became a professor at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. In addition, he conducts master classes and clinics around the world. Jones serves as artistic director of both the Pittsburgh and Cleveland jazz orchestras.
“I envision propelling [the department] into the future,” said Jones of his new position. “I don’t feel that my job is to rewrite what has been done, but to add a few new ideas that will stay true to the traditions of the Brass Department while making it the preeminent program for brass studies in the world.”
Photo credit: Jimmy Katz