One of the most exciting and dynamic trumpeters on the current scene, Joey Morant works as a soloist, in duet and trio settings, and as a part of larger bands and orchestras, including the Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Harlem Blues Jazz Band. In addition, he has performed with jazz, soul, and rock 'n' roll greats, including Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, and James Brown. He electrifies audiences with his dazzling horn technique, skillful scat singing, and humorous asides. His Louis Armstrong interpretations, both playing and singing, are extraordinary.
Morant is a native Charlestonian, a brass instrumentalist and vocalist. He is the quintessential trumpeter from the Jenkins Orphanage band tradition of the 1950s. At age 11, inspired by the piano, he became interested in classical music. When Fletcher Linton, a teacher at Charleston's Henry P. Archer Elementary School, put a school band together, Morant began studying the trumpet. A generous benefactor, recognizing his talent, arranged for him to spend the summers of his high school years studying theory at the Berklee School of Music. By age 15, Morant was teaching theory and saxophone to Oscar Rivers. Later, he joined the Metronome All-Stars under the direction of music educator Melvin Hodges Jr., a member of the 1996 Olympic Committee.
Known as "Mr. Entertainer," Morant has traveled the world - Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France, and Mexico - performing in an array of venues, including the London Paladium with Frankie Lymon and a performance for Queen Elizabeth. He has performed and recorded with hundreds of musicians, including the Harlem Blues and Jazz Band, Ray Charles, James Brown, Tina Turner, George Benson, Lionel Hampton's Orchestra, Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, and Jabbo Smith. He has also performed regularly with a septet at Merv Griffin's Hotel Resorts International in Atlantic City.
In Charleston, Morant was a regular performer at the Chef and Clef and conducted a 17-piece orchestra at the Dock Street Theatre. He is a former director of Charleston's MOJA Arts Festival. He also credits himself with starting the first jazz society in Toronto and having guitarist George Benson tour with him for two years. He has written and recorded with Lee Morgan and worked with Art Blakey on the arrangement of Aretha Franklin's rendition of "Dixie Melody" for her first album, recorded with saxophonist King Curtis. His first recording, Better Late Than Never, was released in 1998.
Morant won Showtime at the Apollo and has performed on Black Entertainment Television's Jazz Discovery program. He received heartfelt recognition from around the world for his deeply-moving musical tribute at Ground Zero on December 11, 2001, and in 2003 he received the Harlem Jazz and Music Festival Instrumentalist of the Year award. For 35 years, he has also been a martial artist with Shoto-Kwon Do Productions, a company he owns in Jersey City, where he resides.
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