Charleston Jazz announces new CJO member

August 19, 2020

Charleston Jazz announces a new member of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. Gavin Smith will join the trombone section, replacing Jay Jehl, who has moved back to Indiana to begin a new teaching gig.

Music is a gift that has always been constant in Gavin Smith’s life. The music of Ella Fitzgerald and, in particular, Louis Armstrong, were the main reasons Gavin Smith picked up a horn and began his jazz journey. Gavin began playing the cornet at 9 years old and eventually switched to the trumpet. He went on to perform with the Oakbrook Middle School Band during his 4th and 5th grade years. He then went on to attend the Charleston School of the Arts and switched to the trombone once he went to high school and began playing with the SOA Jazz Band.

Growing up in the Lowcountry, Gavin’s music education brought him in contact with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra. Former CJO music director, Charlton Singleton, was Gavin’s 6th grade band director and current CJO member, Ken Foberg, became Gavin’s life-long teacher, mentor, and friend. During his time at SOA, he attended many CJO concerts and fell in love with the orchestra with the hopes to share the bandstand with those musicians one day.

After high school, he attended the Berklee College of Music and was fortunate to be under the tutelage of Tia Fuller, Phil Wilson and many more amazing musicians. In his senior year, Gavin was featured in the film “Detroit” alongside a few other notable musicians in the city. After college, Gavin returned to Charleston and continues to perform with various groups in town and abroad. Recording and performing with Hootie & The Blowfish on their song “Turn It Up” has been one of the highlights in his music career, especially because he was able to share the experience with two musicians he holds in high regard – Charlton Singleton and Mark Sterbank.”

“Although I have performed with the Charleston Jazz Orchestra on many occasions up to this point, I consider it an honor and a privilege to be an official member of this amazing group of musicians. I look forward to continuing my development as a musician, and being a part of the musical lineage and history that has come out of our city of Charleston, while aiming to have a positive influence and inspire the next generation of talented musicians,” said Gavin Smith.


About the Charleston Jazz Orchestra
Under the direction of Robert Lewis, the Charleston Jazz Orchestra has been performing for audiences in the Lowcountry for over 11 years. The CJO is comprised of 18 accomplished jazz musicians and is an entertaining and educational example of the rich history of jazz in Charleston. The Charleston Jazz Orchestra offers a six concert subscription series known for its unique, enthusiastically received performances that contribute mightily to the ever-evolving Lowcountry arts scene.

About Charleston Jazz

Charleston Jazz is a non-profit organization whose mission is to grow a local and global community for jazz through performance, education and outreach while celebrating and preserving Charleston’s rich history in jazz. Established in 2008 as Jazz Artists of Charleston, the organization has earned a reputation for presenting, producing, and advocating for all things jazz and the artists who bring this music to life in dynamic ways. The organization manages the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, the Charleston Jazz Festival, and the Charleston Jazz Academy.