ROY CAMPBELL, JR.
ROY CAMPBELL, JR. was born in Los Angeles in 1952 and grew up in New
York. His musical journey began as a child with piano lessons, initially
inspired by his father, whose trumpet was the first one he used. By
the time he entered high school, young Roy was playing flute, recorder,
and violin, and he began studying trumpet as a high~school senior.
By 1972, Roy was leading his own band, Spectrum; he had just turned 2O. He was also in great demand as a side man and studio musician. During the time from 1974 to 1976, Roy co-led with Radha Reyes Botofasina a band called the Spirits of Rhythm, which included, at various times: Omar Hakim, Rodney Jones, Kenny Kirkland, J.T. Lewis, Zane Massey, Cecil McBee, Jr., Andy McCloud, Marcus Miller, Charles Neville (of the Neville Brothers), Ricardo Strobert, Rudy Walker, Kenny Washington, and Bobby Watson.
In 1978, Roy met master bassist William Parker, who recommended him to Jemeel Moondoc, who in turnl invited Roy to join Ensemble Muntu, an association that led to many dates and tours abroad. Roy's travels and worldwide exposure allowed him to develop an international following in Europe, Japan, the Caribbean Islands, and the USA. He lived in the Netherlands from 199O to 1992, working as a freelance musician and lecturer and holding conservatory workshops. He was the leader of the Thelonius New World Orchestra in Rotterdam for two years;
Yet there was a part of his creative spirit that polished musicianship
alone could not satisfy. Back in the States, Roy expanded into writing
and arranging music for himself and others, scoring documentaries, and
composing and arranging for off~Broadway productions. He scored the
documentaries "The Selling of Harlem" and "Survival in New York," his
compositions and arrangements were featured in the off-Broadway productions
"Ludwig" and "Parole by Death," and "Hughes' Dream Harlem," a Black
Star Entertainment special about Langston Hughes directed by Jamal Joseph,
features Roy Campbell, Jr.'s recorded music. Roy's television credits
include appearances on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, UPN, and cable networks,
participating in interviews, new programs, and profiles. He appears
in Zakariah Sherzad's Vision Festival documentary "What's All That
About?" as well as several other concert films; his composition
"Malcolm, Martin, and Mandela" was played during a WBAI "Democracy
Now" broadcast on Malcolm X's birthday, 'O3; and Amadou Diallo's
mother played Roy's "Amadou" from "Ethnic Stew and Brew"
on the air during an interview in California.
As a bandleader, Roy Campbell, Jr. has long maintained several stellar
working units. TAZZ (with Andrew Bemkey, Chris Sullivan, and Michael
Thompson) is a reflection of various musical styles, languages, backgrounds,
and sources, with a mission to break down cultural barriers through
a sound that is at once eclectic, progressive, polished, and funky;
in a word, TAZZ is hot! Roy Campbell also leads THE PYRAMID TRIO (with
William Parker and Hamid Drake), which he began in 1983 and which includes
music of many world cultures with a jazz overtone. In addition, he founded
the collective group OTHER DIMENSIONS IN MUSIC (with Daniel Carter,
William Parker, and Rashied Bakr), which plays improvised music of all
styles. In 1995 he formed SHADES AND COLORS OF TRANE (with Walden Wimberley,
Hilliard Greene, and Warren Smith), a tribute band for master saxophonist
John Coltrane. And in 1999 Roy added the group DOWNTOWN HORNS (with
Daniel Carter and Sabir Mateen).
A few of the leading innovators among contemporary musicians Roy has worked with include: Rashied Ali, Billy Bang, Evelyn Blakey, Dave Douglas, Carlos Garnett, Henry Grimes, Eddie Harris, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Jemeel Moondoc, David Murray, Sunny Murray, William Parker, Hannibal Marvin Peterson, Sun Ra, Woody Shaw, Cecil Taylor, Charles Tyler, Wilbur Ware, Frank Wright, John Zorn, and a countless host of other bands and ensembles. Roy and his contemporary bands play virtually constantly in concerts, on tour, and in festivals all over the world.
In the year 2OO1, "JazzTimes" designated Roy Campbell's CD "Ethnic Stew and Brew" (Delmark 528) number three of the top 5O jazz CD's of the year. Roy was also nominated trumpeter of the year by the Jazz Journalists' Association in 2OO2, and he will receive an award as a Harlem Unsung Hero of Afrikan~Amerikan Classical Music at the Lenox Lounge in November, 2OO3.
On the summer 2006, Roy Campbell and KJ Holmes (dance) perfomed their project "Constellation" at the Covent Garden Opera House in London, for the dance festival.
On October 2006, after playing the Newcastle free improvisation festival, Other Dimensions in Music recorded a double milestone album on the French label of Gerard Terronès "Futura", called "Live in Paris" w/ Daniel Carter, William Parker and Hamid Drake. This was followed by an extended European Tour with Marc Ribot's Spiritual Unity (featuring Henry Grimes and Chad Taylor). And two other european tours with Jemeel Moondoc quartet, and Burton Greene quartet in spring 2007.
At the 12th Vision Festival in June 2007, Roy Campbell received a commission and composed and recorded the "Akhenaten Suite", featuring Billy Bang on violin, Bryan Carrott on vibes, Hilliard Green on bass, Zen Matsuura on drums. It will be released on Arts for Arts Vision Label soon. His band Tazz is going to record in the fall 2007.
Roy Campbell's life experience reflects his belief that music is the voice of universal truth. His music has continued to grow throughout the '9O's and into the new millennium. His sound combines ancestral voices, modern artistry, and futuristic vision. He is a master trumpeter, musician, composer and arranger, and a universal force to be reckoned with.