Trumpet Summit – Playing the Music of Duke Ellington
Dashill Smith – Ken Trimmins– Ray Callender – Kirk Lee Bios
Dashill Smith is a trumpeter, singer, songwriter, composer and lyricist who has graced plenty of stages during his career. He has performed with legends such as Roy Ayers, and JB’s alumni such as Bernard Purdie, Jabo Starks, Fred Wesley, Clyde Stubblefield. He has also shared stages with the likes of The Brand New Heavies, Outkast, Les Nubians, Dionne Farris, Roy Hargrove, Angie Stone, and Common. He recently appeared in the Emmy Award winning film “Bessie” starring Queen Latifah. He leads his band The Omega Level; a musical ensemble that combines jazz improvisation, hip-hop, funk and soul to create a unique invigorating blend of mind bending, edgy, body moving music.
Ken Trimmins is a dynamic trumpet player who’s success as a military musician and band leader was instrumental in his outstanding reputation and notoriety around the world. As a young musician Ken studied with some of the noteworthy jazz musicians including Bobby Shew, Willie Thomas, Vinnie DiMartino, Duffy Jackson and many others. Ken holds a Bachelor of Art in Music Education degree (Valdosta State University), Master of Music Performance degree (Mercer University), and Doctor of Music degree (Florida State University) and is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Music at Albany State University (Albany, Georgia).
As a jazz soloist he has performed in numerous jazz venues including (to name just a few) The Clearwater Jazz Holiday, The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Atlanta Montreux Jazz Festival, BET on Jazz, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In February 2014, Dr. Trimmins, along with his “Classically Jazzed Quartet,”was the featured soloist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra.
A featured international classical soloist, Ken has performed with the Honduran Philharmonic Orchestra in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The U.S. State Department officials herald his performances as “great success(es) in our cultural exchange program and enabled us to showcase teamwork at its best.” Ken plays Fred Powell Custom Trumpets and is a professional performing artist for Powell Trumpets from Elkhart, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois.
Ray Callender was born in Winfield, Illinois. The son of Charles Callender, a Chicago trumpeter and craftsman at Schilke Music Products, his love for the instrument began at an early age. However, his love for the music didn’t develop until early high school, sparked by a double-sided tape of Kind of Blue and Jazz at Massey Hall. He was hooked. Callender began to study the masters, especially Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and Miles Davis, and his diligence earned him numerous honors while still in high school, including “Best Soloist” at the Chicago Area Jazz Festival, “Outstanding Soloist” at the Rolling Meadows Jazz Festival, and the 1996 Louis Armstrong Jazz Award. Callender graduated Cum Laude from the University of North Florida jazz program where he studied with legendary alto saxophonist Bunky Green. He performed with and composed for the top jazz ensemble and combo and was the featured trumpet soloist on UNF’s Down Beat award-winning albums, Things To Come, Second Thoughts, and Through His Eyes, as well as recording with notable pianist/educator Dr. Keith Javors on his 2004 Zoho Records release, Mo’ City Jungle.
In 2003, after winning an audition amongst hundreds of emerging jazz artists from all around the globe, Callender was selected by jazz legend Curtis Fuller as a “Jazz Star of Tomorrow.” As a result, he performed in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. where he worked with esteemed artists including Fuller, Winard Harper, Carmen Lundy, Jimmy Owens, and John Clayton. He was also one of only four trumpeters nationwide selected to attend a summer residency at the Steans Institute Program for Jazz at Ravinia, where he had the opportunity to work with such venerable mentors as Dr. David Baker, James Moody, Rufus Reid, Danilo Perez, and Nathan Davis as well as perform with up and coming players like Aaron Parks, Kim Thompson, and Maurice Brown. In addition, he was recognized twice by Down Beat magazine for Best Collegiate Jazz Combo (2002-2003).
Callender has performed in concert with such artists as Dave Brubeck, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath, Slide Hampton, Jon Faddis, James Moody, Antonio Hart, Benny Green, Dave Holland, Chris Potter, Snarky Puppy, Billy Childs, Pat Martino, Maurice Hines, Eddie Palmieri, Conrad Herwig, Dennis Mackrel, Percy Heath, Doug Carn, Ben Tucker, Calvin Newborn, Michael Carvin, Delbert Felix, Von Barlow, Steve Nelson, John Lee, Billy Kilson, Ignacio Berroa, Albert “Tootie” Heath, Houston Person, Bobby Shew, Marcus Printup, Rene Marie, the Ritz Jazz Orchestra, the St. Johns River City Band, Bruce Paulson, and Bob Mintzer. Groups featuring Callender have performed at such venues as the Montreux Jazz Festival, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Vienne Jazz Festival, the Savannah Jazz Festival, the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room, Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase, the Velvet Lounge, the International Association of Jazz Educators conference, the Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and the Notre Dame Jazz Festival. Callender has held faculty positions at Florida State College and Duval County Public Schools and currently teaches at the Morris Music Academy and the Friese Studio of Music as well as performing regularly throughout the Southeast.
Kirk Lee – Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Originally from California then the mid-west, Kirk is a long-standing member of the Savannah Jazz Orchestra and has shared the stage with Jazz Greats including Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Clark Terry, Ben Tucker, Claudio Roditti, Bobby Watson, Bob Berg, Vincent Herring, TeddyAdams, and Wycliff Gordon. He is called on regularly for both the high energy lead work required in Big Band and Latin ensembles as well as the more intimate flugelhorn and small group approach appropriate to the club and event setting, and is a frequent performer at regional venues such as The Jazz Corner, Good Times, and Rancho Alegre.