E-Press Kit

Jon-Erik Kellso


Since moving to NYC in 1989 to join Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks, trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso has become the go-to player for many of the greats. He’s on well over 100 albums, including several he’s led, as well as many movie and TV soundtracks, including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Photo by April Renae

Full Bio

Trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso moved from Detroit, Michigan to New York City in 1989 to join Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, and has since enjoyed performing and recording with many greats, including Ralph Sutton, Dan Barrett, Milt Hinton, Bob Haggart, Dick Hyman, Catherine Russell, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Kat Edmonson, Elvis Costello, Linda Ronstadt, Leon Redbone, Wycliffe Gordon, Bob Wilbur, and Kenny Davern.  

Recent engagements include a week in Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola with Wynton Marsalis celebrating Louis Armstrong's Hot 5s and 7s; leading The EarRegulars at the Detroit Jazz Fest, Moab Music Fest, and the Bohém Ragtime and Jazz Fest in Hungary; and jazz festivals and concerts in New Orleans and all over the world. 

At home in New York City Kellso has been leading The EarRegulars at the Ear Inn on Sunday nights since 2007. On Mondays Jon plays with Giordano's Nighthawks at Birdland. Jon can also be seen performing at all the great NYC venues, including Dizzy's, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Mezzrow. 

Jon-Erik can be heard on several television and movie soundtracks, including “Ghost World,” "The Aviator," "Mildred Pierce," and "Bessie" with Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. He can also be heard and seen in "Revolutionary Road,"  "Boardwalk Empire," for which the Nighthawks won a Grammy, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and Martin Scorsese’s recently released "Killers of the Flower Moon."

Jon is on well over a hundred recordings, including several as a leader. The latest, “Jon-Erik Kellso and the EarRegulars: Live at the Ear Inn” was recently released on Arbors Records in August, 2023.


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NPR Fresh Air


Mr. Kellso's solos on "Buddy Bolden's Blues" and Rex Stewart's "Low Cotton" showed why he is one of those masters of traditional styles who has the capacity to transcend the genre. Where some brassmen vary their approach by switching between trumpet and flügelhorn, Mr. Kellso employs a veritable painter's palette of mutes (consisting of everything from cloth to rubber to metal) that make him sound as though he's playing at least five different instruments. He's such an eloquent and expressive player on the horn that I'll be disappointed if, next year, he isn't invited to play in the Festival of New Trumpet Music.” - Will Friedwald

The New York Sun

Jon-Erik prefers lyrical sound-painting to brass exhibitionism, ... Like his hero Ruby Braff, he is a great subversive, digging inside the music to find what others have missed. And he is a model bandleader/on-the-spot arranger, adding intuitive telepathy to any ensemble ... His singular individuality has made him admired worldwide.” - Michael Steinman

Hot House Jazz

Granted that this is, for lack of a better term, pre-modern jazz, but it’s so effectively played, so aggressive, and so full of ideas and spirit that the last thing one thinks about when listening to it is trying to pigeonhole it into a specific subgenre ...” - Will Friedwald

The New York Sun

But they have surprises in store, too. The sassy take of Thelonious Monk's "Bye-Ya relocates bop to a funky New Orleans street parade, with the leader's gritty cornet complemented by Christopher's Pee Wee Russell-like clarinet and a bit of humor from Munisteri's dissonant banjo.” - Ken Dryden

All About Jazz

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