Biography

Joel Yennior is an American trombonist, composer, and educator currently residing in the greater Boston area. As a trombonist, Joel has performed and/or recorded with an array of notables including Bennie Maupin, George Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, Miguel Zenon, Antonio Sanchez, Ran Blake, Mulatu Astatke, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Mahmoud Ahmed, John Tchicai, the Spinners, Robert Goulet, the Boston Brass All-Stars, and the Miami Symphony Orchestra. 

As a member of the Grammy-nominated Either/Orchestra since 1998, Joel has recorded five albums and a DVD, and has toured extensively throughout the USA, Canada, Africa, and Europe. Yennior is also a founding member of the critically-acclaimed jazz quartet Gypsy Schaeffer, and has produced three CDs with the group.

 

“Big City Circus,” released in 2010, was Yennior’s recording debut as a leader, featuring several original compositions and arrangements (Monk, Bacharach, Blake) performed by an innovative “bass-less” trio with guitarist Eric Hofbauer, and drummer Gary Fieldman. The release was described as “soul music” and  “beyond categories” by renowned author and NEA Jazz Master, Nat Hentoff and prompted Joel to be recognized as a “Rising Star” on Trombone in the Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll in 2013 and 2014.

A passion for world music led Yennior to connect with Ethio-Jazz great Mulatu Astatke, and to serve as Astatke’s Musical Director from 2008-2010, performing as a soloist, conducting, and penning arrangements for concerts in the US, Canada, and the UK. This collaboration also produced the albums “Mulatu Steps Ahead,” “Inspiration Information 3,” and the DVD “Timeless – The Arranger/Composers Series“ featuring jazz luminaries Bennie Maupin, Azar Lawrence, Phil Ranelin, Munyungo Jackson and others. 

Yennior has also been a long-term collaborator with Brazilian jazz saxophonist Felipe Salles, and has performed with Latin artists Tony Lujan, Jon Benitez, Edsel Gomez, Richie Flores, Eguie Castrillo, and Sony recording artist Miles Peña. Joel also recorded with Argentinian bassist/composer Alejandro Cimadoro (featuring saxophonist George Garzone, and drummer Antonio Sanchez), and toured the Northeastern US college circuit in the late-1990’s with the Boston hip-hop collective Down Low Connection, opening for a number of classic hip-hop acts including Run DMC, Salt-N-Pepa, The Roots and The Pharcyde.

Joel Yennior is the author of Spotlight on Slide Hampton: 11 Solo Transcriptions with Analysis and Exercises for Additional Practice (Brass Wheel Music), and The Real Jazz Method, Building Blocks of the Jazz Vocabulary, an 81-page ebook written in conjunction with an online course he designed for Learn Jazz Faster.com. Joel has also contributed professional articles and/or blog posts to the Huffington Post, International Trombone Association Journal, Learn Jazz Faster.com, and the Massachusetts Music News, for which he also served as editor of the recurring Contemporary Music column from 2012-2016. 

As an educator with more than twenty years of experience working with a wide range of students, Joel is most interested in exploring new ways to enlighten, engage, and encourage artistic exploration, and to challenge and inspire developing musicians to refine their personal musical voice. A faculty member at the New England Conservatory of Music since 1999, Joel teaches classes in Jazz Theory, Ear Training, Jazz Arranging, Jazz Composition, and Jazz History, and conducts private lessons in Jazz Trombone, Theory, and Arranging. He has also directed a variety of Jazz, Contemporary Improvisation and Brass Ensembles through NEC’s Conservatory, Preparatory and Continuing Education levels. 

Joel is also a Visiting Instructor of Trombone at Brandeis University (since 2019) and previously taught Trombone and Music Education classes at Eastern Nazarene College. An experienced clinician and guest artist, Joel has presented workshops on Jazz, Trombone and Ethiopian Music at numerous schools and universities throughout the US, and internationally at the Yared Music School (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), the National Theater (Kampala, Uganda), and the Yaroslavl City Jazz Center (Yaroslavl, Russia). Also a licensed public school educator (MA), Joel has served as an Instrumental Music Teacher for the Westwood and Pentucket Regional school systems, as well as in the Boston Public Schools. 

 

Over the years, Joel has been fortunate to mentor many talented developing artists, several of whom have continued their music studies at Julliard, NEC, Berklee, University of Miami, Columbia University and Oberlin Conservatory (among other institutions), and a number of whom have also established successful music careers of their own.

BM (University of Miami); MM (New England Conservatory), Studies with George Russell, Ran Blake, John McNeil, Hal Crook, David Taylor, John Mosca, Tom McIntosh, and Scott Hartman.

Selected Performance Experience

SELECTED PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE

Concerts, United States

 

Clubs

  • Regattabar, Cambridge, MA

  • Scullers, Boston, MA

  • Ryles, Cambridge, MA

  • House of Blues, Cambridge/Boston, MA

  • Knitting Factory, New York, NY

  • Tonic, New York, NY

  • The Jazz Standard, New York, NY

  • The Jazz Gallery, New York, NY

  • Deer Head Inn, Delaware Water Gap, PA

  • Ortelib’s Jazz Haus, Philadelphia, PA

  • World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA

  • The Green Mill, Chicago, Il

  • Maintenance Shop, Ames, IA

  • Jazz Bakery, Los Angeles, CA

 

Concert Halls

  • Jordan Hall, Boston, MA

  • Berklee Performance Center, Boston, MA

  • Sanders Theatre, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

  • Olin Arts Center, Bates College, Lewiston, ME

  • Flynn Theater, Burlington, VT

 

Art Galleries

  • Painted Bride Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA

  • Zeitgeist Gallery, Cambridge, MA

 

 

Concerts, International

 

Clubs

  • Av@ngard, Yaroslavl, Russia

  • Le Scimmie, Milano, Italy

  • La Palma, Roma, Italy

  • Bitches Brew, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italy

  • Travers, Brussels, Belgium

  • Jazztone, Lorrach, Germany

  • Cargo, London, UK

  • Sanja Jazz, San Paulo, Brazil

 

Concert Halls

  • Barbican Theatre, London, UK

  • National Theater, Kampala, Uganda

  • Dobrynin Cultural Center, Yaroslavl, Russia

  • Teatro Goldoni Musica, Bagnacavallo, Italy

 

Music Schools/Community Centers

  • Yared Music School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • City Jazz Center, Yaroslavl, Russia

  • Circolo degli Artisti, Faenza, Italy

 

Music Festivals

 

Domestic

  • Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City, New York, NY

  • Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago, IL

  • Festival of Cultural Exchange, Portland, ME

  • 29th Annual IAJE Conference, Long Beach, CA

  • Cambridge River Festival, Cambridge, MA

  • Boston Globe Jazz Festival, Boston, MA

  • Central Pennsylvania Mellon Jazz Festival, Harrisburg, PA

 

International

  • Glastonbury Music Festival, Pilton, Somerset, England

  • Ethiopian International Music Festival, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

  • Festival of Dance and Music on the Volga, Yaroslavl, Russia

  • Ancona Jazz Festival, Ancona, Italy

  • Guimaraes Jazz Festival, Guimaraes, Portugal

 

 

Radio and Television Appearances

 

  • BBC, Worldwide with Gilles Peterson, London, UK

  • WNYC, New Sounds Live, New York, NY

  • WGBH, Eric in the Evening, Boston, MA

  • WGBH, Jazz from Studio Four, Boston, MA

  • WERS, Jazz Oasis, Boston, MA

  • WMBR, Eavesdrop, Cambridge, MA

  • Radio Populare, Milan, Italy

  • BET, Live at the Knitting Factory, New York, NY

PERFORMED WITH
(Selected Listing)

Jazz

Either/Orchestra

Medeski, Martin and Wood

Ran Blake

Bevan Manson/John McNeil Group

George Garzone

Jerry Bergonzi

Jaleel Shaw

Miguel Zenon

Antonio Sanchez

Dafnis Prieto

Bennie Maupin

John Tchicai

Felipe Salles Group

Matt Wilson

Charlie Kohlhase’s Explorer’s Club

Nando Michelin

Commercial/Pop/Rock  

The Spinners

Robert Goulet

Juliana Hatfield

Willie “Loco” Alexander

 

“World” Music

Mulatu Astatke

Mahmoud Ahmed

Getatchew Mekurya

Orchestral/Classical

New Amsterdam Symphony, NYC

Miami Symphony Orchestra

Boston Brass Quintet – Brass All Stars

 

Off-Broadway Productions

“Hello Dolly” featuring Carol Channing

“Damn Yankees” featuring Jerry Lewis

AWARDS AND HONORS

“Rising Star” on Trombone, Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll, 2013 and 2014

“Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, Big Band,” Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll (with the Either/Orchestra)

Arts International Grant with the Either/Orchestra

International Association of Jazz Educators “Award for Service to Jazz Education”

 

First Prize, Robert Ayasse Memorial Composition Contest (IAJE), 1996

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

National Association for Music Education (NAFME)

Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA)

International Trombone Association (ITA)

Massachusetts Association for Jazz Education (MAJE)