Saxophonist/composer Gary Campbell’s life as a jazz musician began in his hometown of Indianapolis Indiana, the city that spawned jazz greats such as J.J. Johnson, Freddie Hubbard, Slide Hampton, Wes, Buddy and Monk Montgomery, and many others. As a teenager he was introduced to the “Naptown" jazz community through his teacher and mentor David Baker.Learning the ropes by sitting in at local clubs and jam sessions, he played with the likes of organist Mel Rhyne and guitarist Ted Dunbar. After brief stints at Indiana University and the University of Miami, Gary migrated to New York City. From the late 60’s through the 70’s he was active in the innovative, energetic, and notorious loft scene - the testing ground for dozens of creative young jazz musicians. As a performing member of Free Life Communications, an organization of young jazz artists founded by David Liebman and Richie Beirach, Gary presented concerts of original music
with John Abercrombie, Jan Hammer, Michael Moore, Bobby Moses, and many others.
He appeared on records alongside Randy Brecker, John Abercrombie, Dan Wall, Adam Nussbaum, David Friesen, Ira Sullivan, and others. He has shared concert, festival and night club stages with (in addition to the above) John Scofield, Dave Liebman, Tom Harrell, Jaco Pastorius, Andy Laverne, Red Rodney, James Moody, George Adams, Hank Crawford, Mose Allison, Arturo Sandoval, Conrad Herwig, Barry Ries, Eddie Gomez, Aydin Esen, Nasheet Waits, Gerald Cleaver, and is currently working with the Miroslav Vitous Quartet.
Since moving to Miami in 1982 Gary has become a prominant figure on South Florida’s jazz scene - giging and recording with jazz greats Ira Sullivan, Chubby Jackson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Bobby Thomas Jr., Rene Luis Toledo, Andy Laverne, and the great Cuban drummer Ignacio Berroa.
Gary is a sought-after jazz educator both in the U.S. and in Europe. He taught for 12 years at the University of Miami (where he earned a Master of Music Degree in Jazz Performance), is now Professor of Jazz Studies/Saxophone and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Florida International University, and for many years has been a performer/clinician at the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops. Gary is a Fulbright Scholar, and has been awarded numerous National Endowment for the Arts performance grants, and has published five highly acclaimed books on jazz improvisation: PATTERNS FOR JAZZ (co-authored with Jerry Coker); EXPANSIONS - a
method for developing new material for improvisation; HANK MOBLEY TRANSCRIBED SOLOS; CONNECTING JAZZ THEORY; and TRIAD PAIRS FOR JAZZ. He recently performed and presented improvisation clinics at the Paris Conservatory, and at the Hochschulen fur Musik in Helsinki and throughout Germany, Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary; Conservatories of Music in San Juan, PR; Quito, Ecuador; and San Jose, Cost Rica.
His compositions have been recorded by John Scofield, Ira Sullivan, Jeff Palmer, Duffy Jackson, Mike Orta, and the University of Miami Concert Jazz Band.
His exciting CD - INTERSECTION (Milestone Records) - provocatively blends the currents of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music into the mainstream of modern jazz. His most recent CD release - THICK & THIN (Double-Time Records) - features guitar great John Abercrombie.