San Diego based trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos is a major force on the San Diego jazz scene and one of the leading trumpeters in the Southern California area. Castellanos is known equally for his work as a leader and as a member of two top jazz ensembles in the Los Angeles area-guitarist Anthony Wilson's Nonet, and one of today's most critically acclaimed big bands, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
Gilbert follows in the footsteps of his father Gilbert B. Castellanos, who, with his own group Gil Castellanos y Su Copacabana scored some popular records in Mexico in the late 1960's. It was Gilbert Sr. who gave his son his first trumpet. Born in Guadalajara in 1972, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos has been playing jazz since the sixth grade and graduated from Fresno's Roosevelt Performing Arts High School in 1990. Castellanos continued on to the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, and after that, to the California Institute of the Arts (Cal Arts) Los Angeles, where he studied for two years. While at Cal Arts, Castellanos joined four fellow students in the group Black/Note, which received critical acclaim.
His recording career includes performing on projects such as Jungle Music (Colombia Records) and Nothin' But the Swing (Impulse Records) as a member of Black/Note.Gilbert Castellanos has performed and recorded with many of today's great jazz musicians, including Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Hayden, Les Mccann and Poncho Sanchez, to name a few. He has taken part in some of the best known jazz festivals around the globe, from Montreal to New York to Japan, Holland, Italy, Spain, and Germany. Gilbert appears regularly in San Diego, leading bands in clubs and producing tribute concerts to Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Clifford Brown and other jazz giants.
His debut cd, The Gilbert Castellanos Hammond B3 Quartet, features six standards by such well known jazz artists such as Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter and Lee Morgan, combined with three of his own, including 'Manny Brown', which is featured as the theme to KPBS radio's 'These Days' broadcast.
Since arriving in San Diego in the mid 1990s, he's managed to spark a major interest in jazz, more importantly, local jazz. The only game in town when he showed up was Croce's. Now you can't walk a block in downtown San Diego without bumping into a new jazz club that's packed with attentive listeners, eagerly hanging onto every note. People are listening, and enjoying for the first time in quite awhile, music for what it is. In addition to playing almost every single night and bringing people downtown, Castellanos practices every day. And it shows. Every year, every month, every week, every gig, Castellanos just keeps getting better. With a nod to the great Blue Note classics, mixed with a healthy dose of bop, Castellanos brings his own fresh ideas to jazz.