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Gilbert Castellanos

Gilbert Castellanos, renowned musician, composer, curator, educator and arranger based in San Diego, is one of the hottest jazz trumpeters in the United States today. 

Adept in straight-ahead, as well as Latin and Afro Cuban jazz, Castellanos has become a leading figure of the vibrant, diverse and flourishing jazz scene in America’s Finest City. An established scene-maker on the West Coast, Castellanos is the Artistic Curator of both of the San Diego Symphony's highly successful jazz series - Jazz at The Jacobs and Bayside Summer Nights - which have featured some of today's brightest stars including ‪Gregory Porter‬, Chick Corea, ‪Chucho Valdes‬, ‪Dianne Reeves‬, ‪Cecile McLorin Salvant‬, John Faddis and more. 

Castellanos’ talents are also renowned in the dance community. He has been creating commissioned original music for the San Diego Ballet since 2014; the acclaimed Latin jazz infused suites - “Azuca” and “Dia de Los Muertos” - come to life movement after movement through the extraordinary choreography of SDB Artistic Director Javier Velasco. In 2017, he was officially named Resident Composer for the thriving ballet company.

In 2017, he began a new collaboration with the San Diego Museum of Art - Portraits In Jazz - a concert series that introduces the American art form to the museum’s global members and supporters. He has consistently been voted Best Jazz Artist in San Diego CityBeat’s annual Reader’s Poll (2018, 2017, 2016). At the 2013 San Diego Music Awards (SDMA), Castellanos become the first jazz artist to be awarded Artist of the Year across all genres; he is six-time SDMA Best Jazz Artist. Both of his recordings, “Underground” and “Federal Jazz Project” (in collaboration with the San Diego Repertory Theater for a musical by the same name) were recognized by SDMA as Album of the Year.

The award-winning Young Lions Jazz Conservatory (YLJC) launched in Summer 2017, was founded by Castellanos who serves as Artistic Director and is the faculty’s primary educator; mentoring the next generation of jazz is one of his greatest passions. In 2014, he launched the precursor to the YLJC, The Young Lions Series at Panama 66 at The San Diego Museum of Art, to highlight up-and-coming middle and high school jazz musicians; over 250 have been featured to date. His popular Wednesday Jazz Jam at Panama 66 is the longest running jam in the city - two decades and counting.

Castellanos has worked with world-renowned artists ‪Dizzy Gillespie‬, ‪Wynton Marsalis‬, Charlie Hayden, ‪Horace Silver‬, Oscar Hernandez, ‪Poncho Sanchez‬, ‪Diana Krall‬, ‪Willie Nelson‬, ‪Michael Buble‬, and ‪Natalie Cole‬, to name a few. He has toured nationally and internationally as a current member of the renowned ‪Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra‬.

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“[Castellanos] plays with élan, evincing a more individual, ever-large sound offering hard swinging, often ear-grabbing solos…[proving] that music with deep roots in jazz’s glorious ’50s and ’60s can sound completely contemporary today.” Los Angeles Times

"I love playing music with people who light up the bandstand. That's what drew me to Gilbert. I knew we needed his voice in the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra family. I embrace every opportunity with him in sharing this music together." Jeff Hamilton, American jazz drummer and co- Director of the Clayton- Hamilton Jazz Orchestra

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Charlie Parker
saxophone, alto


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Espérame en el Cielo

Z Note Records





Listen Here

OpenArt Productions



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