Bio

Jeff FairbanksCOMPOSER/BANDLEADER: Deemed a “rising multi-faceted star if not musical voice on the New York scene” (@CriticalJazz), 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow Jeff Fairbanks has won a number of highly competitive awards for composing, including the USAF Sammy Nestico Award, the Jerome Fund, ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, and the BMI Charlie Parker Award.  He has won eight grants from the following institutions: the Aaron Copland Fund, the Queens Council on the Arts, and New Music USA (formerly American Music Center). Jeff’s music has been performed at major European Jazz festivals such as at Montreux; in Merkin Concert Hall and other venues throughout NYC; and by performers in Korea, Japan, and the US.  A busy composer, he’s been commissioned by the likes of the BMI Jazz Orchestra, West Point Band’s Jazz Knights, Airmen of Note, Hora Decima brass ensemble, and more.

BANDLEADER: Jeff leads two ensembles.  Project Hansori, his 17-piece Jazz band, often blends different musical cultures together.  Its award-winning album Mulberry Street  documents Jeff’s fusion of various East Asian traditional music and Jazz, released on the Brooklyn Jazz Underground label in 2011 to international critical praise.  His “working” quintet Street Beat Brass Band is a Nola-inspired mobile brass and drums band that plays an array of styles from Mexican Banda, Gospel, Klezmer, Funk, Polka, and Caribbean, to Nola trad and Nola funk.  Street Beat performs frequently in the greater NYC area and has toured internationally through the US State Department.

PERFORMER: Jazz Times praises Jeff’s trombone playing for its “fluid lines and lyrical sensibilities”, and the blog @CritcialJazz goes so far as to say “his instrumental skills as a trombonist are second to none”.  He has played with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestras, and Wito Rodriguez, to name a few. He has toured in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and throughout the U.S, in venues such as Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden.  Always looking for new musical territory, he has more recently collaborated with various Eastern instrumentalists and other small group situations.  More recently Jeff began playing the piri (Korean double reed instrument) and the sousaphone.

BACKGROUND: Fairbanks is a native of South Florida.  After earning a Master degree in Jazz Composition from USF in 2005, he moved to New York to join the BMI Jazz Composer Workshop under Jim McNeely.  Now, in addition to leading and writing for Project Hansori and other projects, Jeff freelances as a composer and performer and teaches with the New York Jazz Academy.  He lives in Queens, NY with his wife, Heun Choi, and their two children.

AWARDS
◾NYFA Fellowship 2016 (New York Foundation for the Arts)
◾Finalist, Singapore International Competition for Chinese Orchestral Composition 2015
◾ASCAP Plus Award, 2012, 2013, 2014
◾Independent Music Award (IMA), Best Jazz Song 2013
◾USAF Sammy Nestico Composer Award 2012
◾BMI Foundation Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize 2008
◾ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award 2006
◾ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award, Honorable Mention 2003
◾University of South Florida Outstanding Merit Award, Brass 2000, 2001
◾Treasure Coast Jazz Ensemble Young Artist Award 1998

GRANTS
◾American Composers Forum Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund) 2014
◾Queens Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant 2013
◾Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Recording Grant 2011
◾American Music Center Composer Assistance Grant 2011
◾American Music Center Recording Grant 2010
◾Queens Council on the Arts Individual Artist Initiative 2010
◾American Music Center Composer Assistance Grant 2009
◾Queens Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant 2008
◾American Music Center Composer Assistance Grant 2007

RESIDENCIES
◾International Gugak Workshop, National Gugak Center. Seoul, Korea 2013
◾Con-Edison Composer Residency, administered by Exploring the Metropolis. NYC, 2012-2013
◾West Point Jazz Knights Composers Forum. Marlboro, NY 2011
◾LaGuardia Performing Arts Center LPAC LAB. NYC, 2010-2011
◾BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop. NYC, 2005-2008

PANELS
◾Panelist in Korean Culture Forum: Korean Traditional Music, Today and Tomorrow at Flushing Town Hall, 2012
◾MTNA National Competition Finals adjudicator 2012
◾Queens Council on the Arts panelist 2011, 2012, 2013 rounds
◾New Music USA (formerly American Music Center) panelist 2011

MEMBERSHIP
◾American Federation of Musicians, Local 802
◾New Music USA (formerly American Music Center)

EDUCATION
◾M.M. Jazz Composition, University of South Florida 2005
◾B.M. Trombone Performance, University of South Florida 2002

COMMISSIONERS
◾Jerome Foundation
◾USAF Airmen of Note
◾West Point Band Jazz Knights
◾BMI/NY Jazz Orchestra
◾Hora Decima Brass Ensemble
◾JongEun Lee, violin soloist

SELECTED PAST HIGHLIGHTS
1/5/14: Project Hansori at Asian Arts Festival hosted by the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Led performance and conducted workshop covering my work on piri and taepyeongso, and on incorporating East Asian elements into my compositions.
2/17/13: Appearance at Composers Now Festival.  Lectured about the unique composition process I conceived and undertook during my  composer residency at Flushing Town Hall, a program funded by Con Edison and administered by Exploring the Metropolis.  Detailed in  a series of blog posts tagged here.
9/16/12: Collaboration between Project Hansori (my Jazz big band) and Soh Daiko (oldest Taiko group on East coast), as part of Locating the Sacred festival presented by Asian American Arts Alliance.  Included a 45-minute sound collage involving over 30 Jazz and
Taiko musicians split into five separate factions, performing independently and simultaneously in five rooms.  At New York Buddhist Church.  Detailed here.
August 2011:  Multiple performances as duet/trio with Heun Choi (cello) in South Korea and Philippines; master class at Faith Academy (Philippines).
6/2/11:  Produced interdisciplinary art event at LaGuardia PAC (Queens, NY).  Exhibit of contemporary art of Queens artists, led by Daniel Cho.  Followed by concert of Project Hansori.  One of several concerts as part of the LPAC LAB residency.
11/4/10:  Appeared as guest trombonist on solo recital of Rami Seo (kayageum) at The Korea Society (NYC).
3/4/10:  Recording of original piece Joy Everlasting used in installation of visual artist Daniel Cho Berlitz Gallery at Rockefeller Center, NYC.  With live performance of Jeff Fairbanks and Heun Choi (cello).
12/4/09: Project Hansori performance at Flushing Town Hall (Queens, NY) with special guests Fred Ho (bari sax), Rami Seo (kayageum), and Seven Heaven (Korean percussion ensemble).
Jan 2007: Conducted BMI/NY Jazz Orchestra on performance of original piece Rain Dance at 2007 IAJE conference (NYC).
July 2005:  Led USF ‘Bone Band on European tour including the Montreux, Vienne, and North Sea Jazz festivals.