In addition to being a gifted jazz trumpet player, the multi-talented Rod McGaha is a composer, vocalist, lyricist, and producer. McGaha was born and raised in Chicago, where his jazz-loving father would play Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong records constantly, perking up his son's interest in music. By the fourth grade, McGaha was learning both the guitar and trumpet (but eventually gravitated to the trumpet full-time), as he looked to such modern day funk/dance acts as Parliament Funkadelic, James Brown, and Kool & the Gang for inspiration. Straight out of high school, McGaha began his professional music career, touring with Gene Chandler, before attending Northeastern University in Chicago and then DePaul University on scholarship, during which time McGaha became interested in traditional jazz. McGaha caught a break when fellow trumpeter Clark Terry (who had performed with the likes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie) caught a performance by the up-and-coming player, and took him under his wing. McGaha then landed numerous gigs as a sideman for Kenny Rogers, Bebe and Cece Winans, the O'Jays, Take 6, and Lou Rawls (visiting Egypt, Nigeria, Europe, and Japan in the process), and racked up such impressive awards as the Maynard Ferguson Award from the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for Outstanding Jazz Trumpeter, the Oak Lawn Jazz Festival All Star Award, and the Outstanding Trumpet Soloist Award from the National Association of Jazz Educators. In addition to playing with others, McGaha has issued a few solo albums on his own, including the 1997 debut The Servant and 1999's Preacherman.
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