Jazz trumpeter/composer CHRIS ROGERS has performed extensively throughout Europe, Japan, South America and the United States as a featured soloist with many prominent artists in Jazz and Latin music.
At the age of nineteen Chris began a 5-year association with Gerry Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band, replacing the legendary
Tom Harrell as the primary featured trumpeter. Chris has also gigged and/or recorded with The Mingus Big-Band; Tom Harrell; Chaka Khan; Buddy Rich; Bob Moses; Toshiko Akiyoshi:
Mel Lewis & The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra; Eddie Palmieri; Mongo Santamaria (as both trumpeter AND pianist!); Machito; Ray Barretto & New World Spirit: Frank Sinatra; Mel Torme; Hilton Ruiz; Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra; George Russell, Maria Schneider; Lee Konitz; Lionel Hampton; Danny Seraphine & California Transit Authority; Aimee Mann; Eartha Kitt; Mercer Ellington; Charlie Palmieri; Richie Beirach; Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez; The Gil Evans Jazz Orchestra; Ismael Quintana; Orlando Marin; Oscar De Leon; Larry Harlow; Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra; Tonya Pinkens; Christy Baron; La Charanga Sensual; The Westchester Jazz Orchestra (WJO); Mike Longo; Gary Morgan & Pan Americana; Valery Ponomarev; The Marty Sheller Ensemble; Jens Wendleboe; The Hitmen;
The Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra; Andy Farber; Larry Elgart;
Neil Sedaka; The Woody Herman Orchestra; Guanabara;
Terese Geneco; and others....
Chris’ debut jazz recording as a leader - the critically acclaimed “VOYAGE HOME” (4.5 stars by DOWNBEAT - May 2017) - features the legendary tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker along with Steve Khan, Ted Nash, Xavier Davis, Jay Anderson and Steve Johns. This CD is available on Art of Life Records and also showcases Chris’ considerable talents as composer/arranger on all nine tracks.
Chris 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 eventually 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 City and Chris soon 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, 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 New York City.
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 and Randy Brecker. These recordings 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; 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-principle 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 Chris was recognized by DOWNBEAT magazine for "outstanding perfomance", and later by JAZZIZ magazine as a winner of the 1997 “Brass Player on Fire’ talent search for his original composition “Pandora’s Box”.
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”. He has also gigged with various classical ensembles such as:` The New Amsterdam Symphony; The Bronx Symphony;
The NY Brass Historical Society; The Sassafrass Brass;
The Gotham City Brass; The Broadway Brass Quintet; and the Waldo Park Brass Players. As an educator, Chris has directed clinics & workshops at The New York Jazz Academy (NYJA); The New York Jazz Workshop (NYJW); The New York Society for Ethical Culture; Long Island University; Union College; and has been a featured guest lecturer/composer/soloist for the
“Jazz Room” concert series at William Patterson University.
These days, Chris can often be heard performing with the Mingus Big Band; The Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra; The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra; The Valery Ponomarev “Our Father Who Art Blakey Big Band”; Danny Seraphine & CTA; the Pete McGuiness Jazz Orchestra; and his own groups including the Chris Rogers Band, and the “Woody Shaw Project” - a collaborative group with valve-trombonist Mike Fahn.
Finally, Chris is a “multi-instrumentalist” who plays the AKAI EWI (electric wind instrument) and has even toured Europe with Mongo Santamaria as a pianist!