Some people—the lucky ones—just know, very early on, who they are. Ted Chubb was still in his teens when he realized music was his calling. “When I was 10, the band instruments were demonstrated at school and it was never a question of if I was going to play, only which one,” he says. “For some reason the trumpet just felt like my voice. Once I began playing, it felt a part of me.”
For more than two decades now, music—specifically jazz—has defined Ted Chubb. The multi-faceted artist has not only expressed himself as a trumpeter but has also displayed a unique voice as a composer. He has served as both bandleader and sideman and has worked as an educator and music director/administrator. Since the beginning of his career, his wide-ranging diversity and a ceaseless drive to fine-tune his craft and pay it forward have marked his approach. On his own recordings—2009’s New Tricks, with saxophonist Mike Lee, 2011’s Alternate Side and, most recently, his brand-new album Gratified Never Satisfied—and in his work with others, Chubb has demonstrated an innate ability to adapt his knowledge, talent and worldliness to every aspect of his art and work.
Chubb grew up surrounded by music. He was born in Ohio, his mother a cellist, pianist and soprano singer. “I sang in church choirs, played Suziki violin for a short time and took piano lessons,” he says. “We were always going to local concerts that my mother was playing in. As a child it was not uncommon in my house at family gatherings for everyone to be around the piano singing as my mother or grandmother played.”
It wasn’t long before the young Ted was drawn to one particular genre. “Music was always something that was natural to me but not something I put a lot of emphasis on until I found jazz,” he says. “Music was just something that I did that was a natural part of being in my family, but when I found Miles Davis’ ’Round About Midnight, and Lee Morgan with Art Blakey on A Night in Tunisia, it held a whole new meaning for me. It was a sound that, as a kid growing up in a small town in Ohio, I had no idea existed. I was completely enthralled with it from the moment I heard those records.”
By age 10, Chubb was playing trumpet. He was fortunate to find teachers who not only taught him technique but put the music into context. Chubb credits one early mentor, Dennis Reynolds, “who helped set me on a path that was rooted in the principles of the music that I still hold dear to this day. Without him I am not sure I would still be playing today.”