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"Listen up Miles Davis fans�" from the Austin American-Statesman and "� channels Miles Davis�" from the Daily Texan were some of the early reviews of jazz trumpeter Jeff Lofton when he arrived in Austin in 2007. Mostly unknown to the local jazz scene, word-of-mouth drew people to hear his unique sound at small bars in East Austin. Lofton's Miles Davis Tribute debuted at the historic Victory Grill and was quickly booked at the Elephant Room, Austin's famous jazz bar. Soon his shows were being described as "...crazy good and crazy crowded." (Joe Gross, Austin American-Statesman/Austin360.com).
Scheduled for release in the fall of 2009, Lofton's CD titled "Jazz to the People" includes mostly originals with Alex Coke on sax, Red Young on piano, Chris Jones on bass and Masumi Jones on drums.
In 2008 he performed at the fourteenth annual Jazz at St. James Festival in Austin which featured jazz legends Curtis Fuller and David "Fathead" Newman. The Jeff Lofton Quartet featuring Donna Hightower will open the Jazz at St. James Festival in 2009.
To honor Jeff's contribution to the local jazz scene, Austin's mayor proclaimed January 15, 2009, as "Jeff Lofton Day" in the live music capital of the world.
The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau selected Lofton's original, "Shana's Song," for it's Music Compilation CD Vol. 8 released in February 2009. Jeff Lofton's Miles Davis Tribute kicked off an Elephant Room series in conjunction with the Blanton Museum's spring 2009 show "Birth of the Cool" with a sold-out show.
"Jazz is the musical background for all American music. I want people to know that what they're listening to now would not exist without Louis Armstrong, without Duke Ellington, without Miles. These people are directly responsible for R&B, for rock 'n' roll, for soul music," Lofton said in a recent article, "In Search of Austin Jazz," in Good Life magazine which featured him on the cover.
Lofton's sound garnered press clippings such as from the Austinist.com: "... Lofton's brand of jazz is in the Davis/Gillespie/Coltrane vein, sultry and sensual as a summer afternoon"; The Brownsville Herald, "Critics in Austin give trumpeter Jeff Lofton serious kudos for his blend of the old school and new styles of jazz, comparing him to the likes of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane�"; and The State, "Jeff's trumpet flies onto tracks like singing birds into morning sunshine."
Since arriving in Austin, Lofton has shared the stage with the Marc Devine Trio at Reed's Jazz and Supper Club, and often sits in at the Elephant Room's Mike Mardecai Jazz Jam on Monday nights. He frequently plays with local jazz greats Alex Coke, Red Young, Marc Devine, Michael Stevens, Ed Friedland, Masumi Jones and many others. Austin performances include the Victory Grill, Waterloo Ice House, Central Market, Club 40, Kick Butt Coffee, the Austin Light Bar, Club 1808, Jerry's Artarama Artist Festival and a Barack Obama fund raising event. Other recent Texas shows include Scat Jazz Lounge in Fort Worth, Kirby's Fine Dining in San Antonio, Cine El Rey historic theatre and Espana Mediterranean Cuisine in McAllen, and Shenanigan's in Brownsville.
Lofton debuted his first jazz CD, Jazz Therapy, in 2005, with the Jeff Lofton Quartet. The self-produced CD mixes old style be-bop with modern forms of jazz in the tradition of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane. In addition to Lofton on trumpet, the CD also includes Roland Haynes on piano, Reggie Sullivan on bass and Kenneth Salters on drums. Since he plans to record again soon, Lofton offers free downloads of Jazz Therapy on his website.
Born in Germany to American parents, Lofton grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, where he studied music at the University of South Carolina. Playing trumpet for thirty years, Lofton has spent time on the road in Chicago and New York City. He has performed with such musical talents as guitarist Jim Mings, saxophonist Rene Sandoval, Ron Westray and Wycliff Gordon of the Wynton Marsalis septet, Fred Wesley of the James Brown horn section, Fred Hampton of the Chicago A.A.C.M., and South Carolina musicians Skip Pearson, Robert Gardner, Dr. Dick Goodwin, Dr. John Enkey, Teddy Linder and many others.
Lofton also works as an R&B and hip-hop producer, producing such artists as Legend and The Gutsmen. As a winner of the juried competition, Lofton was an artist in the music category of the South Carolina Arts Commission's Arts in Education Roster. The program provides grants for work in educational settings statewide. He has lead jazz clinics for high school students in Austin.
In South Carolina, the Jeff Lofton Quartet had a strong local following from a long-running Friday night show at Meritage in the Vista, as well as performances at Mac's on Main. Lofton is also well known for the Jazz Therapy Jazz Quintet featuring himself and Skip Pearson performing on Sundays at the club Group Therapy. Other groups Lofton has played with include Defellas (an avant guard jazz group), Deja Voodoo (a hip-hop/jazz fusion group) and Wadada (a reggae group).