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When Jon Faddis burst on the jazz scene as a teenager, observers were amazed by his technique and his ability to sound like an identical twin of Dizzy Gillespie (whose complex style had never been successfully duplicated before).
After a period, he was typecast as a Dizzy imitator but Faddis’ remarkable range (hitting higher notes than Gillespie ever could) and the gradual development of his individual sound have helped him overcome the early fault. In fact, Faddis can now also imitate Roy Eldridge and Louis Armstrong quite well, too.
Gillespie was always Faddis’ idol, from the time he started playing trumpet at age eight. After moving to New York in the early ’70s, Faddis played with Lionel Hampton and Charles Mingus (guesting on a recorded concert with the bassist when Roy Eldridge became ill) and then recorded two notable albums for Pablo including a duet session with Oscar Peterson.
After playing a bit with Gillespie (their best encounters in the mid-’70s were unfortunately not recorded), Faddis seemed to disappear, sticking to studio work and playing first trumpet with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra.
After re-emerging in the mid-’80s, Faddis recorded for Concord and Epic and in 1993 became the musical director of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra. He released Teranga on Koch in 2006.
Under the direction of Associate Professor, J.B. Scott, the University of North Florida Jazz Ensemble 1 is the flagship ensemble of the prestigious University of North Florida Jazz Studies Program, headed by legendary alto saxophonist Bunky Green. Thanks to the visionary leadership of Rich Matteson in 1986, UNF’s Jazz Ensemble 1 has enjoyed the reputation of being one of the finest collegiate jazz ensembles worldwide. That all members of the UNF Jazz Studies Program are undergraduates makes this achievement that much more impressive.
Jazz Ensemble 1 has won numerous group and individual awards and has been consistently recognized by such publications as Cadence, Jazz Times, Jazz Educators Journal, and DownBeat for its improvisational prowess and precision ensemble playing. The band has received performance awards from DownBeat each year since 2002, and has been invited to perform at prestigious jazz festivals in both the U.S. and in Europe. The Ensemble also has been invited to perform at International Association of Jazz Educators Conferences in Atlanta, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans, the prestigious Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, the Suncoast Jazz Festival in Tampa, the Savannah Jazz Festival, the Mobile Jazz Festival, and annually at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival.
A special component of the UNF Jazz Studies Program is the Great American Jazz Series, which regularly brings in stellar jazz artists as residents. This series, along with other opportunities, has enabled Jazz Ensemble 1 to perform in concert with more than 100 esteemed artists, such as Herbie Hancock, The Count Basie Orchestra, Joe Henderson, Pat Metheny, Michael Brecker, Dave Brubeck, Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Louie Bellson, Dr. Billy Taylor, Arturo Sandoval, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Kurt Elling, Doc Severinsen, among others.