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Roy Campbell

ROY CAMPBELL, JR. (trumpeter, flugelhorn player, pocket trumpeter, flutist; composer, arranger, bandleader, educator, writer, and actor) 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.

As a young fan, Roy met Lee Morgan at the Bronxwood Inn in the late '6O's, and in 1971 Roy began participating in Jazzmobile workshops, working with jazz masters Kenny Dorham, Howard McGhee, and Lee Morgan, as well as with Howard McGhee and Joe Newman in Jazz Interactions workshops. Later, as a trumpet major at Manhattan Community College, his professors were Leonard Goines and Dick Vance, and Roy studied music theory, arranging, and composition with Yusef Lateef, graduating in 1975 with an Associate's Degree in music.

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; he played with the bands of Ruud Bergamin, Klaas Hekman, and Dennis Winter; he led a Thursday-night jam session in Rotterdam; and he also played as a side man in numerous ensembles. In this period, the Eindhoven and Groningen Festivals commissioned Roy to compose music for brass ensembles.

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.

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Album Review

Roy Campbell: Visitation Of Spirits

Read "Visitation Of Spirits" reviewed by John Sharpe

A former stalwart of the New York avant jazz scene, which finds expression at the annual Vision Festival, trumpeter Roy Campbell died in January 2014, aged 61. While not quite forgotten, his name does not spring readily to the lips a decade on. Perhaps Visitation Of Spirits, an archival live recording from 1985, will help redress that situation. It features the Pyramid Trio, one of Campbell's more enduring groups, which issued three albums over a lifespan of more than 25 ...

Album Review

Roy Campbell / John Dikeman / Raoul van der Weide / Peter Jacquemyn / Klaus Kugel: When The Time Is Right

Read "When The Time Is Right" reviewed by John Sharpe

This date from 2013 presents New York City based guests trumpeter Roy Campbell and German drummer Klaus Kugel with three Amsterdam-located improvisers as part of the DoEK organization's annual Festival. Campbell, a stalwart of the NYC avant scene who died in 2014, gained early exposure with Jemeel Moondoc's Ensemble Muntu and went on to helm his own Pyramid Trio and co-lead the revered cooperative Other Dimensions In Music, among a host of other projects. He brings his fiery updating of ...

Album Review

TEST and Roy Campbell: TEST and Roy Campbell

Read "TEST and Roy Campbell" reviewed by John Sharpe

This archival recording does what it says on the tin, capturing trumpeter Roy Campbell Jr. (who died in 2014) with free jazz quartet TEST in a high octane live date from April 1999. These five are masters of the genre. TEST were the archetypal New York City underground band, who could be found in their heyday busking on the subway, as well as igniting the downtown clubs. Multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter and reedman Sabir Mateen provide the firepower, while bassist Matthew ...

Album Review

TEST with Roy Campbell: Live at The Hinton House

Read "Live at The Hinton House" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

More exquisite madness from Brooklyn's barn burning free jazz label 577 Records, home to the free and the brave. This time it's a hard core NY borough blowout recorded live in April 1999 that cantankerously and vividly chronicles the only known performance of the late, free/avant, Harlem/NoBro legend, trumpeterRoy Campbell. Unrestrained, Campbell raises the roof with a loosely defined autonomous collective of downtown alchemists, namely drummer Tom Bruno, bassist Matt Heyner and the rioting reeds of Sabir Mateen ...

Multiple Reviews

Roy Campbell: Songs & Themes & Akhenaten Suite

Read "Roy Campbell: Songs & Themes & Akhenaten Suite" reviewed by Marc Medwin

Spring Heel Jack Songs & Themes Thirsty Ear 2008 Roy Campbell Akhenaten Suite AUM Fidelity 2008

Trumpeter Roy Campbell is presented here in two starkly different contexts yet his playing greatly enhances both. His work on Spring Heel Jack's Songs & Themes is meditatively translucent, subtle timbral shifts placing each note ...

Album Review

Roy Campbell: Akhenaten Suite

Read "Akhenaten Suite" reviewed by Lyn Horton

Any relationship to ethnicity or artistry that an individual advocates predisposes how that individual might be viewed from the outside, yet strength of self-perception cancels out the superficiality of any invisibly barbed labeling. Music becomes a means to translate self-perception into a language which not only transcends social divides but also can relate the story of origin.

For the 2007 Vision Festival, trumpeter Roy Campbell was commissioned to write “Akhenaten Suite," in which he paid tribute to his heritage using ...

Album Review

Roy Campbell: Akhenaten Suite

Read "Akhenaten Suite" reviewed by John Sharpe

"You might say jazz came from the sun priests of Egypt opined Sun Ra, and while trumpeter Roy Campbell might not be so forthright, he has long been inspired by the nation alongside the Nile. One of Campbell's most enduring ensembles is the Pyramid Trio. In some ways this suite follows the trajectory delineated by that combo, with a swinging world music lilt allied to taut free-bop and incisive outside elements. Not that there is anything daunting about this well ...

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Excerpt from Cosmic Canticles

From: For Those Who Cross The Seas
By Roy Campbell



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