Trumpeter Jay Phelps is at the forefront of the young and creative generation of jazz musicians in the UK, with an instantly recognisable warm and projecting tone. A Vancouver-born Canadian, Jay was tutored by the city’s top jazz and classical trumpeters and distinguished himself early on as the youngest band-leader in the Vancouver International Jazz Festival’s history.
In 1999 aged 17, Jay moved to London, determined to immerse himself in the jazz scene and immediately attracted the notice of Gary Crosby who offered him work with Jazz Jamaica in 2002, the opportunity to be a Tomorrow’s Warriors. Citing Louis Armstrong, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown and Miles Davis as his main influences, Jay went on to create and co-lead the young and hip jazz sensation Empirical, where he spent two years touring major festivals and events with their self titled debut album, while garnering worldwide media attention that UK jazz musicians haven’t enjoyed for years.
Jay has performed and recorded with a veritable who’s who of both UK and international jazz artists such as; Courtney Pine, Andrew Hill, Wynton Marsalis, Ray Brown, John Hendricks, Nasheet Waits, George Benson, Jamie Cullum, Sir John Dankworth, Dennis Rollins, Guy Barker, Amy Winehouse, Charlotte Church, Hugh Masakela and Jazz Jamaica.
Jay Phelps has never been work shy and over the years has toured and is featured in a diverse range of bands such as Soweto Kinch The New Emancipation project and new project The Legend of Mike Smith, Skatroniks, Ska Cubano, Courtney Pine’s Jazz Warriors project, and leads his own Jay Phelps Big Band project featuring BBC Radio 2’s Clare Teal.
He has guested with Wynton Marsali’s Jazz at Linclon Centre Orchestra for Marsalis’ epic, Congo Square. Then later that summer proceeded to have two sell out nights featuring the Jay Phelps Big Band at the world renowned Ronnie Scott’s jazz venue in London. Then capped off that year playing in the London Jazz Festival with David Murray Big Band featuring Macy Gray and supporting the performance with his own quartet.
Jay expanded his wings into TV where he featured in an 1930s band on BBC’s Dancing on The Edge.