Pete McGuinness

Jazz Trombonist  •  Composer-Arranger   Vocalist   Educator

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Originally from West Hartford, Connecticut, Pete McGuinness has been an active New York City-based jazz musician since 1987. His creativity is expressed in many capacities…GRAMMY-nominated composer/arranger, award-winning jazz vocalist, and long time jazz educator. Pete also had spent over 30 years as a long-time in demand NYC-based freelance jazz trombonist. 

After his many years of studies, starting back as a teenager in the renowned Hall High School jazz program (West Hartford, CT),  going on to college studies at New England Conservatory and University of Miami (bachelor of music, 1986), and Manhattan School of Music (master of music, 1987), Pete quickly became involved in the NYC jazz scene. His credits as a jazz trombonist over the years are many, including performances with such jazz artists as Maria Schneider, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Heath, The Woody Herman Orchestra (dir. Frank Tibieri), Mike Holober’s “Gotham Jazz Orchestra”, Dave Pietro, the nonets of Mike Kaplan and Jim Cifelli, Manny O’Quendo’s “Libre” and Bill Mobley's "Smoke Big Band". Pete appears as a sideman on over 50 jazz CDs, including the GRAMMY-winning CD by Maria Schneider “Concert In The Garden” He has performed in the pits of many Broadway shows throughout the years. Pete is also featured as a trombonist on 7 CDs he has either lead or co-lead through out the years.

As a jazz composer-arranger, Pete has been equally active. A former student of Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam (the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop), Pete has gone on to write music for his own projects as well as being commissioned to write for many well-known jazz artists and schools. Some of these include Dave Liebman, the University Of Miami (Florida), The Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Charles McPherson and the New Jersey City University Jazz Ensemble, The Swiss Jazz Orchestra, as well as having received grants from such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts.

He writes for his own big band, “The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra”. The group has performed live at such NYC clubs as The Blue Note, The Jazz Gallery, Birdland and Iridium. Its debut CD “First Flight” (2007) was released nation-wide on Summit records to much critical acclaim and radio play. Pete’s arrangement of “Smile” from the CD was officially nominated in 2008 for a GRAMMY award. The band's second CD "Strength in Numbers" (2014) received TWO GRAMMY nominations;  Best Instrumental or A Capella Arrangement for “Beautiful Dreamer” AND Best Instrumental Arrangement With Vocals for “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” The most recent CD "Along For The Ride" (2019) also received much acclaim and peaked at #17 on the Jazzweek national radio charts. Many of his charts are available for purchase through Kendor Music (pro-level arrangements) and (both pro and student-level arrangements), as well as directly from Pete. His music has been performed by high school, college, and professional big bands across the country, as well as in Europe, Mexico,  and Japan. 

In his late 20’s, Pete added jazz singing to his areas of creativity. Having been inspired by the great sound and scat singing styles of Chet Baker and others, Pete has gone on to forge his own jazz vocal concept, including a very “horn-like” ability to scat singing and improvisation. Some of his achievements in this area include being chosen for the semi-finals of the 1994 Thelonious Monk Vocalist Competition, being the featured singer with Jimmy Heath’s Big Band (S.S., Norway Jazz Cruise) and being chosen the winner of the 2010 Jazzmobile vocal competition in New York City. He has been listed on both the Downbeat magazine Critics' and Readers' poll. Pete has been a member of jazz vocal groups, including ‘The Manhattan Vocal Project” and “The Faux Freshmen” (which includes former members of “The Four Freshman”). In 2016, Pete joined the NYC-based bebop/vocalese style jazz vocal group "The Royal Bopsters", for which he sings tenor and contributes many compositions and arrangements. The group's new CD "Party of Four" was released in 2020 on Motema Music Records and landed the group with the #1 Jazz Vocal Group award in the JazzTimes magazine 2021 Critics' Poll. 

Finally, Pete is an active jazz educator. He was a member of the jazz studies faculty at New Jersey City University (Jersey City, NJ) for 17 years. He is currently an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies/Arranging at William Paterson University (Wayne, NJ). He has given concerts and clinics with jazz students throughout the US and abroad, including 13 years at the Poysdorf Summer Jazz Workshop in Poysdorf, Austria. He is a frequent guest conductor of jazz ensembles and choirs as well, including for various NYC area all-county and all-state high school and college-level groups.

Pete currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Joan and their wonderful pooch Phoebe.

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