Jon Thornton

 Jon Thornton’s proficiency as a jazz trumpet player was discovered early. Before beginning higher education, he had the opportunity to perform with jazz legends Marian McPartland, Donald Byrd and Herb Ellis. Likewise, prior to leaving for the University of Miami, he was asked to join a big band tour of Romania, sponsored by the U.S. State Department.

In 1986, Jon had the opportunity to open a concert for legendary jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. In 1989, he was selected to become “Artist in Residence” in the North Carolina Visiting Artist Program. While tenured at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Jon was selected to tour with jazz great Max Roach and T.S. Monk Jr. for the Thelonius Monk Institute. While an “Artist in Residence” at Brunswick Community College, Jon performed with Milt Hinton, Jane Jarvis, Freddie Redd, David Pike and Ron Free. He was also featured in “Gentleman Jim’s”, a television documentary about North Carolina jazz musicians for the BET network.

Over the years, Jon has had the honor of performing with some of the legends in the music industry, including the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable Orchestra, Loonis McGlohon, Al Jarreau, Joe Williams, Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra of San Francisco, the Les Elgart Orchestra, Emily Remler, the Four Tops, the Temptations, the O’Jays, the Shirelles, Jim Brock, Don Dixon, Marti Jones and with the hip-hop artist, Deltron 3030 Orchestra. As co-founded the Charlotte Jazz Orchestra and Latin Jazz group, Fuego Lento, he performed with the Coalition Jazz Orchestra, the Montuno Jazz Orchestra and the Unifour Jazz Ensemble.

As a recording artist, Jon has spent hours in the studio as a staff musician for Sound Source Studios; he played on more than 500 recordings for backing tracks and karaoke music. His trumpet playing can be found on over 50 CD recordings by jazz and popular music artists alike. Among these are 3 Grammy nominated records and one Grammy Winner for R&B artist Anthony Hamilton. Jon’s trumpet can also be found on two PBS documentaries: “A Man Named Pearl” and “North Carolina’s World War II Experience”. Over the years, his playing can be heard on numerous local and national television and radio commercials.

Jon’s formal music education includes the University of Miami (Fla.) school of music (on scholarship), Berklee College of Music, Winthrop University and private study with world-renowned jazz educator Jerry Coker at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.




© John Valerio 2019