Trombonist Melissa Gardiner graduated with a bachelor’s degree from The University of Michigan where she studied jazz with Dennis Wilson and classical music with David Jackson. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in jazz performance from The Juilliard School of Music under Steve Turre. Gardiner is presently the trombone instructor at Le Moyne College and Cornell University and her professional career includes performances alongside Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Geri Allen, Wycliffe Gordon, Patti Austin, and Arturo O’Farrill.
On June 21st, Gardiner is set to release her sophomore album, EMPOWERED, featuring her jazz organ trio MG3, comprised of Andrew Carroll on Hammond B3 and Byron Cage on drums, alongside special guests Tia Fuller on saxophone, Ingrid Jensen on trumpet, and Weedie Braimah on djembe and percussion. You can stream the newest single from the release, the dynamic and invigorating “Brass Ceiling”, below.
In Gardiner’s own words: “Although ‘Brass Ceiling’ is instrumental, it tells a powerful story, and quite possibly embodies the concept of EMPOWERED the most. The artwork for this album shows that I am lifted up by other women who have empowered me, and those women in my life include Ingrid Jensen and Tia Fuller. I was only able to get to the top and crash through because of these women who I look up to, who are ahead of me and put the ladder there in the first place for me to climb up. In this song with our all-female horn section, we are climbing up together. The bridge of the song illustrates this in the call, and while the response is a little edgy, demonstrating that we may fall back a few steps here and there, ultimately, the music demonstrates that they are holding my hands throughout as I am making the climb to success. This song is fun, upbeat, and strong, to represent the light and energy from other women that I am exposed to throughout my journey.”
EMPOWERED, the sophomore album by trombonist Melissa Gardiner drops June 21st.