Artist Spotlight: Marshall Gilkes


Simply considering the range of music that Marshall Gilkes has played over the course of his career, it would be easy to assume that the trombonist/composer is a musical chameleon, able to alter his sound to fit into whatever situation he finds himself. After all, it seems unlikely that an individual sound would be able to express itself in such diverse contexts as the lush impressionism of the Maria Schneider Orchestra; the exotic chamber jazz of Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda’s trio; or the fiery combustion of New York’s thriving Latin music scene.

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But listen to the four albums that Gilkes has released under his own name – in particular his latest, a stunning set of compositions for the WDR Big Band named for its home base, Köln  – and it immediately becomes clear how the versatile trombonist can integrate myriad influences into a singular and distinctive voice.

Check out Gilkes’ Trombone-centric writing style in the track Edenderry, below.

Köln received two Grammy nominations for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album and Best Instrumental Composition. Gilkes combines the spontaneous invention of jazz with the elegant architecture of classical composition; straightahead swing with adventurous modernism; virtuosic technique with passionate emotion. It’s a rare combination that has made Gilkes an in-demand performer, composer, sideman, and clinician since his arrival in New York City in the late 1990s.

Want to know more about Gilkes’ approach to trombone playing?  Check it out below!

Catch Marshall and so many more outstanding artists at the 2018 Festival in Iowa City!