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Greg Hopkins

Performer, composer, and arranger Greg Hopkins first picked up the trumpet as a boy in Detroit, and to this day it would be hard to spot him without his horn. Hopkins plays even when caught in traffic on commute to Berklee College of Music, where he’s been teaching since 1974 - the year the London Times called him “a real find” for the Buddy Rich Orchestra.

That symbiosis of man and musical instrument is evident in Hopkins’ solo performances by which he has served the orchestras of Louis Bellson, Billy Maxted, Rich, and Herb Pomeroy, as well as his own small ensembles and big bands. Hopkins began his professional career in 1965, freelancing in the Detroit area for such acts as the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Gladys Knight until 1969, when he graduated Michigan State.

From 1969 to 1974 he toured nationally and internationally, appearing at the Newport, Monterey, and other major jazz festivals. Hopkins has also performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, the Supremes, Burt Bacharach, Nancy Wilson, Lou Rawls, Mitzi Gaynor, Michel Legrand, Johnny Mathis, Shirley MacLaine, Marvin Hamlisch, and Lena Home, as well as the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, and the Boston Brass Ensemble.

He recorded as soloist and arranger the "Roar of ‘74" and "Stick It" with the Buddy Rich Orchestra, "Afrodisia" with Lonnie Smith, "Pramlatta’s Hips" with Herb Pomeroy (Shiah). "Together" with Maggie Scott (MM and R), "Orange Then Blue" with George Adams (GM Recordings), "Jumpin’ in the Future" with Gunther Schuller (GM), "Dreams Come True" with Suzanne Dean (NOVA), and numerous others.

His theater work includes 42nd Street, Dancin', Some Like It Hot, Annie, Tommy Tune Tonight, Catskills on Broadway, West Side Story, Porgy and Bess, My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison, The King and I with Yul Brynner, Into the Woods, Ragtime, and A Chorus Line.

His own 16-Piece Jazz Orchestra CD, "Okavongo", is out on the Summit label, as is his quintet CD, "Quintology", featuring Bill Pierce, Mick Goodrick, and Gary Chaffee. Just released this spring was the trio CD with Tim Ray's chamber jazz group "Tre Corda", featuring Tim on piano, and Eugene Friesen on cello. Hopkins is also featured on the new Grammy® winning jazz cd by composer Joel Pallson and his Septet, on the Icelandic label. Most recently he was trumpet soloist with the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra on Arthur Welwoods composition for jazz trumpet and orchestra, on Albany Records. "Wind, Sky, and Clouds".

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Greg Hopkins Nonet Follows in Davis' Footsteps


Greg Hopkins, the inspired trumpeter/composer who is one of Boston’s unappreciated jazz treasures, was listed as the leader of the nonet that appeared at Scullers on Tuesday. On the band’s debut CD “Jazz!” (Summit), he shares billing with pianist Chuck Marohnic and tuba player Sam Pilaflan, Arizona-based musicians who (together with drummer Dom Moio) traveled to New England for the group’s East Coast debut.

Given the instrumentation (four brass, two saxes, and rhythm), the CD’s cover art by sometimes-painter Miles Davis and the inclusion of three original arrangements from the influential “Birth of the Cool” recordings, this band might appear to be a mere recreation of the Davis nonet. Yet that legendary unit of the late ‘40s is only one of the models that has inspired this new unit.

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Primary Instrument





Professor, Jazz Composition — Berklee College of Music Advanced Jazz Arranging for Large Ensemble Jazz Composition 3 Post Bebop Harmonic Innovations Directed Study in Jazz Composition Concert Jazz Orchestra


Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson





Summit Records



Summit Records



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