Scott Whitfield (trombonist, composer, arranger, and vocalist) is internationally recognized for his work with many contemporary big bands, including the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra and the new edition of Johnny Griffin’s Big Soul Band, as well as his own Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestras (East and West). Whitfield’s discography includes 7 recordings as leader and more than 50 recordings with other artists. In addition to his own recordings, his compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by such artists as Diva, Maurice Hines, The Pied Pipers, Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band, and Pete Petersen’s 23-strong Collection Jazz Orchestra.
A clinician and guest artist for Bach Stradivarius trombones, Whitfield has appeared throughout the world, from Australia to Zurich, sharing his expertise on trombone technique, improvisation, composition, arranging, and jazz history. He was featured as guest soloist with the United States Army Blues Jazz Ensemble at the 2007 Eastern Trombone Workshop. His transcription book “The J.J. Johnson Collection” (published by Hal Leonard) has inspired not only trombonists, but also jazz improvisers on many instruments, young and old.
Upon settling in New York in 1993, Whitfield became a member of the Nat Adderley Sextet, which also included Jimmy Cobb, Walter Booker, Vincent Herring and Rob Bargad. The group’s engagements at Sweet Basil led to fruitful associations with Nnenna Freelon, Frank Wess, Lionel Hampton, Wayne Andre, and many others. Whitfield has also performed in many Broadway show orchestras, and backed the likes of Robert Goulet, Rita Moreno, Marilyn McCoo, Vic Damone, Jack Jones, and Frank Sinatra, Jr. Most recently, he was part of the orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl for a special seventieth birthday tribute to Nancy Wilson, which also featured Nnenna Freelon, Patti Austin, James Ingram, Tom Scott, Terence Blanchard, Natalie Cole, and a host of others.
Whitfield served on the jazz faculty at Rutgers University from 1998 to 2002, teaching trombone, composition and arranging, and improvisation, while also coordinating the school’s combo program. During this period, one of his composition students placed third in a worldwide field of contestants in the Thad Jones International Jazz Composition Competition.
The Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra (first founded in 1986, while Whitfield was pursuing his Master’s degree at North Texas State University) now has two incarnations: the SWJO East, based in New York; and the SWJO West, based in Los Angeles. Both of these aggregations feature the top players in the business.
For more than a year, the Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra East was in residence at New York’s Birdland, the Jazz Corner of the World, culminating in the exciting “Live at Birdland” CD, released in April 2004 on Summit Records. “The Minute Game,” featuring the SWJO West, was released in February 2005, and features Whitfield’s groundbreaking composition “Hiccups.” Most recently, “Diamonds For Nat,” released in February 2006, is a special 75th Birthday tribute to Whitfield’s mentor, the late Nat Adderley, featuring the SWJO East once again. The CD skyrocketed to number five in jazz radio airplay in its third week!