New Director of Jazz Studies
James Burton III, trombonist, composer, arranger and educator is
among a new wave of musicians hitting the jazz scene with an
expressive sound, steeped in the tradition. James is a Summa Cum
Laude graduate of Jackie McLean’s Institute for Jazz Studies, and
the Juilliard Jazz Studies Artist Diploma program. During this time
he was a student of world-renowned trombonists Wycliffe Gordon,
Steve Davis and jazz luminary Jackie McLean. James has also had the
opportunity to study with NEA Jazz Master Curtis Fuller via the
Skidmore Jazz Institute and the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency at
the Kennedy Center. James has recently completed a master’s degree
in jazz studies from the Juilliard School, studying with trombone
icon Steve Turre.
James has performed alongside many great jazz artists, including Illinois Jacquet, Gerald Wilson, James Moody, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Jon Faddis, and Eric Alexander. James has also performed with the Ray Charles Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and the Roy Hargrove Big Band. In addition to his musical credits, James has appeared in the major motion picture Bolden, as well as a national television ad campaign for Grey Goose. James has played many venues and festivals around the world, some of these include Tanglewood, the Litchfield Jazz festival, the Berghausen jazz festival (Germany), the Spoleto festival (Italy), the Tim Festival (Rio de Janeiro), the JVC jazz festival (NYC), the Lionel Hampton Festival, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Aaron Davis Hall, the Blue Note, Birdland, Iridium, Jazz Standard, Smoke, Dizzy’s Club, Rose Theater, Smalls, Scullers, Regatta Bar, B.B. King’s Club and the Sporting Club of Monte Carlo, Monaco.
James has also participated in many educational outreach programs including two NEA Jazz in the Schools tours in conjunction with Jazz at Lincoln Center, as well as residencies at Georgia Academy for the Blind and the University of Costa Rica. James has also taught at Jackie McLean’s Artist Collective and served in an adjunct capacity at the Hartt School of Music’s jazz program since 2002. James is currently a Morse Fellow, and a Gluck Fellow at the Juilliard School, providing musical instruction for 2nd grade students in Harlem, as well as providing jazz performances for nursing homes and pediatric care facilities in NYC.
Dean of Fine Arts, Vance Larsen adds, "Burton first attended college on a football scholarship and reports he can still bench press over 300 lbs. and is also rumored to be the 'best basketball player of any active jazz musician in Manhattan."