He is a trumpeter, composer, director and teacher born in Oakland, California, who took an interest in the trumpet when he was eight years old and became influenced by seeing Louis Armstrong on the television. He was proficient in the instrument by the time he was a teenager and thanks to his teacher Bill Catalano, he met up with Dizzy Gillespie when he was 15. He became his mentor and their friendship lasted until Dizzy passed away in 1993.
In 1971 he graduated from high school and moved from California to New York to become a member of Lionel Hampton’s band and followed that by becoming the lead trumpet for Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, forming his own quartet, touring with Charlie Mingus and recording with Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson.
In the 1970s he concentrated on working as a studio musician but by the mid-1980s he decided to concentrate on his career as a solo artist. Before long he was releasing his own albums and was asked to take on the position of soloist and director of Dizzy’s United Nation Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie 70th Birthday Big Band.
When the 1990s came along he found himself leading the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band from 1992 and remained with them for 10 years, premiering pieces by at least 35 arrangers and composers. He was also composing his own works including his 1997 jazz opera Lulu Noire and his 1999 recording Remembrances received a Grammy Award nomination. At the same time he made an appearance as a member of The Louisiana Gator Boys in Blue Brothers 2000.
He came into the 2000s as the leader of the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars and their Big Band but left them in 2004 to join the Chicago Jazz Ensemble as their artistic director. He also leads his own Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, which is the successor to the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, and Jon Faddis Quartet alongside being one of New York’s “first call lead players” and being a guest leader of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.
During the course of his career he has performed with countless acts with just a few that include Ashford & Simpson, Patti Austin, Roy Ayers, Count Basie Orchestra, Eubie Blake, Blood Sweat & Tears, Luiz Bonfa, Teresa Brewer, Michel Camilo, Change, Stanley Clarke, Hank Crawford, Deodato, Jackie DeShannon, Manu Dibango, Bo Diddley, Charles Earland, Maynard Ferguson, Aretha Franklin, Eric Gale, Gene Harris, Lena Horne, Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson, Mick Jagger, Hubert Laws, Michel Legrand, Lemon, Ralph MacDonald, Mike Mainieri, The Manhattan Transfer, Wynton Marsalis, Van McCoy, Delbert McClinton, Meco, Bette Midler, Idris Mohammad, Teddy Pendergrass, Esther Philips, The Players Association, Lou Reed, Buddy Rich, David Sanborn, Slave, The Spinners, Richard Tee, Joe Thomas, Tina Turner, Stanley Turrentine, Luther Vandross, Sarah Vaughn, T-Bone Walker and Tatsuro Yamashita.
He has featured on numerous albums during his career to date including his own Youngblood, Good and Plenty, Legacy, Hornucopia, Jon & Billy and Teranga as well as Ruby, Ruby by Gato Barbieri, Body Talk by George Benson, Red, White & Brass by Canadian Brass, Get on the Good Foot by James Brown, Feel Me by Cameo, C’est Chic by Chic, August by Eric Clapton, Four Symphonic Works by Duke Ellington, Anything Goes by Stephane Grappelli & Phil Woods, Innocent Man by Billy Joel, Sounds…and Stuff Like That by Quincy Jones, Crazy For You by Earl Klugh, Best Of… by Gladys Knight & The Pips, Ladies Night by Kool & The Gang, Valotte by Julian Lennon, Chuck Mangione’s Finest Hour by Chuck Mangione, Shoogie Wanna Boogie by Dave Matthews & Whirlwind, Fifth of Beethoven by Walter Murphy, Stolen Moments: The Lady Sings Jazz & Blues by Diana Ross, In My Stride by David Ruffin, Latin Jazz Suite by Lalo Schifrin, Song by Neil Sedaka, Take a Bite by Marlena Shaw, L.A. is My Lady by Frank Sinatra, Against the Grain by Phoebe Snow, Hello Big Man by Carly Simon, Graceland by Paul Simon, We Are Family by Sister Sledge, Closeup by Frankie Valli, Soul Box by Grover Washington Jr. and the soundtracks of Chorus Line, Fame and The Wiz.
In the world of musical education he is recognised as a clinician and performer on a gold-plated Schilke trumpet with custom built mouthpieces and holds many workshops and masterclasses. He is a teacher at Purchase College-SUNY’s Conservatory of Music and a guest lecturer at Columbia College Chicago.
Van McCoy recordings
The Shuffle (Van McCoy)
That’s the Joint (Van McCoy)
Here he is performing “Here’s That Rainy Day” with the Dizzy Gillespie Sextet ’77…..