Jazz trumpeter CHRIS ROGERS has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, Canada, South America & Mexico as a featured soloist with many prominent artists in Jazz and Latin music; appearing at major jazz festivals, clubs, and concert halls; and recording on numerous projects.
Chris’ debut jazz recording as a leader - the critically acclaimed “VOYAGE HOME” (Art of Life Records) - received 4.5 stars from DOWNBEAT and was ranked among the "Best Albums of 2017" (DOWNBEAT Jan '18). An album of original acoustic modern jazz, It features typically transcendent 'new' performances from special guest soloist MICHAEL BRECKER, the legendary 15-time Grammy-winning tenor man who left us back in 2007. “VOYAGE HOME” also features the 2-time Grammy winning saxophonist/composer Ted Nash, and Grammy nominated guitarist Steve Khan, while also showcasing Chris as trumpeter/composer/arranger/producer on all tracks.
Throughout his student years and continuing well into his professional life, Chris was mentored by three of his heroes - Randy Brecker, Mike Lawrence and Lew Soloff - world-class jazz trumpeters who also happened to be close family friends! But Chris' first major break came at the age of nineteen when he joined Gerry Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band, replacing another one of his idols - the incredible Tom Harrell - as the featured trumpeter. This gig lasted for five years and had a huge impact on Chris' development as an improvisor. (It was actually Harrell himself who made the recommendation - two years after hearing & meeting a 17-year old Chris at a local rehearsal!)
In addition to Gerry Mulligan, Chris has gigged and/or
recorded with The Mingus Big-Band; Chaka Khan; Buddy Rich;
Bob Moses; Toshiko Akiyoshi; The Tom Harrell Big Band;
Eddie Palmieri, Mel Lewis & The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra;
Hilton Ruiz; Ray Barretto & New World Spirit; Frank Sinatra;
Mongo Santamaria (as trumpeter AND pianist!); Lee Konitz; Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra; Mel Torme; George Russell, Maria Schneider; Aimee Mann; Eartha Kitt; Lionel Hampton; Danny Seraphine & California Transit Authority; Marc Anthony; Mercer Ellington; Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez; Richie Beirach; The Gil Evans Jazz Orchestra; Ryan Keberley's Living Legacy Big Band; Ada Rovatti Quintet; and many more (see a comprehensive list at bottom)
Chris Rogers was born in New York City in the early sixties to a family of musicians. His father - the late trombonist Barry Rogers - was a founding member of the ground-breaking jazz-rock band “Dreams” (with the Brecker Brothers & Billy Cobham) and recorded with artists ranging from James Taylor, Elton John, Todd Rundgren, & Aretha Franklin, to Spyro Gyra, Bob James, Chaka Khan, & Don Grolnick. Barry Rogers is also widely recognized as the most influential trombone soloist in the field of Salsa & Latin-jazz through his work with Eddie Palmieri, Conjunto Libre, The Fania All-Stars, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Machito, and many others. This rich and varied musical environment had a profound effect on Chris while growing up, cultivating a love of jazz, R&B and Latin music.
At age 9 Chris received his first horn as a gift from family friend Lew Soloff who was just gaining worldwide fame for his iconic trumpet solo on “Spinning Wheel” with another great band - Blood Sweat & Tears. Chris began his formal training at the Manhattan School of Music Prep Division while being exposed to all sorts of music at home. His mom Lou Rogers (a/k/a L.K. Steiner) is a brilliant composer/lyricist; his older cousin
Fred Steiner was the majority composer for the original
Star Trek TV series; and his maternal grandmother Toni Koves Steiner was among the world's most renowned Hungarian "cimbalom" soloists - recording and working with the likes of Igor Stravinsky, Leonard Bernstein and many of the major symphony orchestras!
Chris attended the High School of Music & Art (even appearing in the film “FAME”) where he and saxophonist Bob Franceschini co-led a band with powerhouse classmates like bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Omar Hakim and guitarist Bobby Broom!
It was an awesome time to be a young trumpeter in New York and Chris found himself attending many major recording sessions with his father - gaining priceless experience observing the skill and professionalism of top trumpeters like Soloff, Randy Brecker, Alan Rubin, Mike Lawrence, Joe Shepley, John D'Earth, Tom Harrell, Victor Paz and Jon Faddis.
At age 15 Chris' first professional jazz gig came as 4th trumpeter for a one-week road tour of upstate New York and Canada with the Larry Elgart Orchestra. Chris quickly gained more professional experience in all sorts of musical situations, including Salsa bands; recording sessions; church gigs; brass quintets; local symphony orchestras; rehearsal big-bands and the many jazz & funk gigs which were ubiquitous in NYC.
While continuing his 'legit' studies (and also cultivating a deep admiration for Ronald Romm of the Canadian Brass), Chris immersed himself in the music of Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard, Clifford Brown, Chet Baker, Tom Harrell, Woody Shaw, Mike Lawrence, and Randy Brecker. Their recordings & live gigs literally provided the curriculum for Chris during an intensive period of self-motivated study and transcribing. Pretty soon he found himself rubbing elbows with the top professionals around town - gigging with the Latin bands of Eddie and Charlie Palmieri, Machito, Ray Barretto and Louie Ramirez; rehearsing with George Russell's group and the Mingus Dynasty Band; and even nightclub sit-ins with amazing musicians such as Woody Shaw at the Village Vanguard;
Lew Soloff's Quintet with Branford Marsalis at Possible 20;
and the Brecker Brothers Band at their legendary nightclub Seventh Avenue South.
It was during this time that he met and made an impression on the great Tom Harrell. Harrell became a good friend and later recommended Chris to succeed him on the solo chair with Gerry Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band. The ensuing association with Mulligan was not only a chance to work closely with a true Jazz legend - but also led to meeting and performing with Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry and a young Wynton Marsalis. After a brief but invaluable stint as Harrell's sub with Mel Lewis and The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, things eventually came full circle when Chris joined Tom's own big band and appeared on his Grammy-nominated CD "Times Mirror".
Chris’s formal schooling came at the Manhattan School of Music (Preparatory Division, trumpet student of William F. Rohdin); the ‘famed’ LaGuardia High School of Music & Art (under the direction of the acclaimed jazz educator Justin DiCioccio); Long Island University; and the University of Miami. While a high school senior, Chris served as co-principal trumpeter in New York's prestigious All-City Orchestra; and as featured trumpet soloist in the McDonald's Tri-State All-Star Jazz Ensemble. At UM under the guidance of Whit Sidener, Chris was recognized by DOWNBEAT magazine for "outstanding perfomance", and later by JAZZIZ as a winner of the 1997
“Brass Player on Fire’ talent search for his original composition “Pandora’s Box”. He's had the distinct honor of performing at many of the world's most famous venues and festivals including: Carnegie Hall; The Perugia Jazz Festival; Grand Parade Du Jazz, The North Sea Jazz Festival, The Pori Jazz Festival, The Maderao Jazz Festival, The Kool Jazz Festival, Concerts By The Sea, The Kennedy Center, The Newport Jazz Festival, The Saratoga Jazz Festival; The Playboy Jazz Festival; The Roberto Clemente Collesium; The JVC Jazz Festival; the SS NORWAY Floating Jazz Cruise, Avery Fisher Hall and classic New York clubs such as: The Village Vanguard, The Blue Note, The Village Gate, The Bitter End, The Jazz Standard, Iridium, and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.
An accomplished studio & classical trumpeter as well - having studied extensively with Vincent Penzarella of the New York Philharmonic - he’s recorded on many jingles, record dates & soundtracks. His Broadway-Show credits include: "Fosse", "42nd Street", Paul Simon's "Capeman”, "Kiss Me Kate”, “Annie Get Your Gun”, “Wonderful Town”, “On Your Feet” and “CATS”; and national tours of "Chess", "CATS" and "Senator Joe". He's gigged with various classical ensembles including The New Amsterdam Symphony, The Bronx Symphony, The Sassafrass Brass, The Gotham City Brass, The Broadway Brass Quintet, The Waldo Park Brass Players, The Harlem Hellfighters Ensemble, The Santa Brass Band, and the Rochester-based Empire Film Music Ensemble as principal trumpeter for the web-based fan series "Star Trek Continues". Additionally, Chris has been a music copyist for Ornette Coleman, Larry Harlow, Orchestra Broadway, Eddie Palmieri, and composer Michael Kamen.
As an educator, arranger, author and documentarian, Chris Rogers keeps busy in a multitude of arenas. His work has been performed by the critically acclaimed big bands of Tom Harrell and Diane Moser. He's directed clinics & workshops at The New York Jazz Academy (NYJA), The New York Jazz Workshop (NYJW), The University of Virginia (UVA), Long Island University, The New York Brass Conference for Scholarships, The Danish Academy of Music; The NY Society for Ethical Culture, and Union College; he's conducted & adjudicated entrance auditions for the prestigious LaGuardia High School of Music & Art; and has recently been a featured guest artist/lecturer for William Patterson University's “Jazz Room” concert series. In addition to his roster of private students, his instructional articles have been previously published in "The Brass Player"; and his highly personal & detailed recollections of the late, great musicians Michael Brecker and Lew Soloff have been widely appreciated and shared on Facebook.
Since 2013, Chris has kept up an active performing schedule with his own bands at NYC clubs such as the Zinc Bar, The Bitter End, and Silvana; and as a sideman with groups including The Mingus Big Band, Sammy Figueroa's Latin Jazz Explosion, The Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Eddie Palmieri, Valery Ponomarev's “Our Father Who Art Blakey Big Band", Danny Seraphine & CTA, The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra, Diane Moser's Composers Big Band, Gary Morgan's PanAmericana, The Eddie Allen Aggregation, Big Beat, The Red Bank Jazz Orchestra, Oscar Hernandez' Spanish Harlem Orchestra, The Chardavoine Band, Mike Longo's State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, The Andy Farber Septet, The Mambo Legends Orchestra, Funk Shui, The New York Jazzharmonic,
The Harlem Hellfighters Ensemble (in a special performance conducted by Scottish trumpet virtuoso John Wallace at the Brass Historical Society Symposium); and on recordings as the featured trumpet soloist for the popular web-series "Star Trek Continues".
Finally, Chris is a part-time “multi-instrumentalist” who occasionally is called upon to perform on mellophone, alto horn, AKAI EWI (electric wind instrument), and piano. (He filled in admirably as the "emergency pianist" for two unforgettable weeks during a 1991 Mongo Santamaria tour of Europe, and is probably one of the very few to have sat-in for an impromptu piano solo with the Maestro Eddie Palmieri's band!)
UPDATE!! (Jan 2018)
- A very special documentary project from Chris is now in the pre-production stage, entitled "Song For Barry". Drawing it's title from the classic Michael Brecker composition of the same name, "Song For Barry" will reveal "new" never-before-seen footage & unique insider perspectives on some of the most incredible music created during the 1960's and 1970s. Featuring Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Eddie Palmieri, DREAMS, The Fania All Stars, and of course, Barry Rogers! Stay tuned...
- The VOYAGE HOME CD-release party at Zinc during August 2017 was a tremendous success. Video to be posted soon...
Chris Rogers comprehensive performing/recording credits:
Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band
The Mingus Big-Band
Buddy Rich Band
Toshiko Akiyoshi / Lew Tabakin Big Band
Tom Harrell Big Band
Mel Lewis & The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
Ray Barretto & New World Spirit
Mongo Santamaria (as trumpeter AND pianist!)
Lee Konitz Nonet
Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra
Danny Seraphine & California Transit Authority
Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez
The Gil Evans Jazz Orchestra
Oscar De Leon
The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra
Woody Herman Band
The Westchester Jazz Orchestra (WJO)
Lisa Maxwell Shiny Project;
Gary Morgan & Pan Americana
The Marty Sheller Ensemble
The Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra
The Woody Herman Orchestra
Vince Giordano & The Nighthawks
The Red Bank Jazz Orchestra
Steve Johns/Peter Brainin Group
The Eddie Allen Aggregation
The Spanish Harlem Orchestra
Alex Brofsky (AB+)
Ryan Keberley's Living Legacy Big Band
Ada Rovatti Quintet
Lynn Welshman Tentet
Max Weinberg Jazz Quintet
Max Weinberg Orchestra
Jean Chardavoine Band
The New York Jazzharmonic
Ricardo Marrero & The Group
The Chelsea Funk Orchestra
The White Carrot Big Band
John D'earth Band
Sammy Figueroa's Latin Jazz Explosion
Mike Zilber Big Band
Star Trek Continues (with the The Empire Film Music Ensemble)
The Harlem Hellfighters
The Mambo Legends Orchestra
Anna Maria Alberghetti
The Four Tops
The Waldo Park Players
Gotham City Brass
The Sassafrass Brass
The New Amsterdam Symphony
The Bronx Symphony