Trombonist, composer, and conductor JC Sanford is a musician of rare breadth, deeply rooted in the traditions of Jazz and Classical music, yet constantly pushing at their boundaries. Equally at home in many roles, Sanford works regularly as a composer, performer, arranger and conductor.
As a trombonist, JC has performed with many of the jazz world’s leading figures, such as Matt Wilson, Danilo Perez, and George Schuller. His improvisational trio Triocracy – with saxophonists Andy Laster and Chris Bacas – serves as an outlet for his unique compositions and improvisational concepts.
As co-leader of My Band Foot Foot (along with John McNeil and Andrew Green), Sanford has helped breed a “mad science project” exploring and recreating music of The Shaggs. An interest in film has led to several projects, including recordings with Danilo Perez for the soundtrack of Hugo Pool – directed by Robert Downey. JC’s original works often defy labels such as ‘Jazz’ or ‘Classical’.
While he originally built a reputation through big band writing, JC has forayed into many other areas – composing for solo piano, wind and brass formations and various mixed chamber ensembles. A founding member of the composers’ federation Pulse (with Darcy James Argue & Joseph C. Phillips, Jr.), JC was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers’ Workshop led by Jim McNeely and Mike Abene for 5 years. His works have been performed by John Abercrombie, Lew Soloff, Dave Liebman, Danilo Perez, and a number of universities and high schools across the United States.
Founder and co-conductor of the Schumacher/Sanford Sound Assembly, whose CD “Edge of the Mind” was released in 2009 to high reviews, JC is in increasing demand as a conductor. He regularly conducts the Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, the Joel Harrison 19, the Alan Ferber Nonet with Strings, and the Alice Coltrane Orchestra featuring Ravi Coltrane, Jack DeJohnette, and Charlie Haden. He now leads the JC Sanford Orchestra and is also curating the “Size Matters” large ensemble series at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
JC currently is on the faculty at Long Island University and the New York Jazz Academy, and is the recipient of a D.M.A. in Jazz Studies from New England Conservatory of Music. At NEC, he studied with Bob Brookmeyer and conducted the NEC Little Big Band. A Minnesota native, Sanford’s undergraduate years were spent at the University of Northern Iowa where he was mentored by reputed jazz pedagogue Bob Washut.