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.