John Gray is an award-winning music educator, musician and entrepreneur based out Baton Rouge, La. A proud alumni of McKinley High School and the Southern University Music Department, Gray’s foundation began on the stadium fields as a member of both the McKinley High and Southern University marching bands and has manifested into an astonishing career in the realm of music education, independent artistry and music business. Under the mentorship of the late jazz great/Master Teacher, Alvin Batiste, Gray received his Associate of Arts in Jazz as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Classical Performance from Southern University. A little over a decade later, Gray has been named Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra Teacher of the Year (2013-2014), recipient of the Master Teacher Award at the Dunham School, Arts Ambassador of the Year for the Greater Baton Rouge Arts Council along with a wealth of other noteworthy accolades.
As one of the city’s most acclaimed musicians, Gray has been the performer of choice for a multitude of events ranging from the private sector to government to the Miss USA pageant. His extensive musical training has afforded him the opportunity to play with bands in a variety of genres from ‘Dixieland’ to R&B to Latin to Gospel, and all points in between. He is the leader of popular local bands (The JGray Jazz Trio and The Soul Jukeboxx) and is a frontman for the critically acclaimed/fan favorite brass band, The Michael Foster Project.
In addition to these bands, Gray has performed and/or recorded with Mojeaux, Bobby J & Stuff Like That Band, Louis Ford & His New Orleans Flairs, and Gary Brown & Feelings Band. He currently performs regularly with the Treme Brass Band and Delfeayo Marsalis’ Uptown Jazz Orchestra. His impeccable reputation and commitment to craft has taken him around the nation and the world as a trumpeter, thrilling audiences from south Louisiana to China and beyond.
Respected as an astute businessman, Gray is also the owner of Continuum Music, a company specializing in booking services for events, independent recordings and live music event production. Through Continuum, Gray has been at the helm of album releases by acclaimed musicians such as jazz vocalist, Ernest Jackson, The Michael Foster Project and The Soul Jukeboxx. The company has also been responsible for the curation/organization of some of the area’s most electrifying live music events including the extremely popular Funkin’ With Friends and Kick Some Brass series, housed at the historic Varsity Theater.
Ever the champion for arts and culture in the city of Baton Rouge, Gray reached a career milestone when he was chosen as a speaker for the TEDxLSU series. His talk, titled “Music is a Connector”, stressed the importance of music as a tool for classroom learning as well as the power of music as a bridge that connects us historically and culturally. The talk served as one of many crowning moments in an extensive career in the arts, as Gray mesmerized the audience with his wealth of music knowledge complemented with riffs from his trumpet to accentuate his points.
Other notable accomplishments include being named Role Model of the Year by the Baton Rouge chapter of The Links Inc., on of the People to Watch in 2015 by The Drum Magazine, Top 40 Under 40 Black Entrepreneurs for 2014-2015, a recipient of teaching artist training through the renown Kennedy Center for the Arts and 2015 graduate of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber’s Leadership Class.
John Gray can currenly be followed and reached by visiting his website, www.jgrayjazz.com