Dave Guy

When you hear Dave Guy play his trumpet you know it is him right away. Like many of the greats before him he has a distinct tone and sensibility that sets him apart from his peers. Unless you are the type to read album credits you may never have heard his name, but you have heard him play. In fact, you have likely seen him play. Whether in person at a show or on national television he has lent his talents to a who’s who list of world famous artists both in the recording studio and on stage. And now, with his first solo LP on Big Crown Records, Dave is stepping from a band’s flank straight to the front—with a well deserved light shining directly on him and his sound. 

Raised in NYC’s East Village, Dave was surrounded by hip-hop and the hustle that defined the city in the ’90s. In those formative days, he and his playing were influenced by jazz greats like Donald Byrd and Hugh Masekela but also by the Native Tongue sounds of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. His time at LaGuardia Performing Arts High School furthered this path. Dave remembers sharing playing time with Big Crown co-founder Leon Michels and drumming powerhouse Homer Steinweiss. “Being in the All-City Jazz Big Band, I would see them rehearsing all the time,” Dave recalls. “They were already doing things with the Dap-Kings back then—which was crazy.” It was here Dave’s voice as a player began to take shape and continued to be refined through his studies at the Manhattan School of Music and The New School.

After a few stints with live hip-hop group Dujeous—Dave was touring with The Sugarman 3, an organ-driven soul jazz group. Through those gigs he was recruited to play with the late great Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, touring with and recording on all of her albums until her untimely passing. During those years he lent his playing to countless records from the likes of Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson, Pharell, The Menahan Street Band, Lee Fields, Al Green, and countless others. But fast forward to now, and you may best know Dave Guy as the trumpeter playing with Black Thought, Questlove, and the rest of The Roots crew—both on tour, in the studio, and on TV with Jimmy Fallon. 

On his new record Dave steps to the front of the stage with a debut album that could have only come from a seasoned veteran. It’s a record that mixes his musical influences with the energies of the city that raised him. A New York jazz record that pushes the boundaries of the genre by incorporating shades of hip hop and soul making it both unique and modern. This is what you get when someone hones their talent for years while rubbing elbows with the best of the best. As fate would have it, a classic case of “when one door shuts, another opens” was really what got the ball rolling. “I never wanted to force my own project,” Dave explains. “There was always a lot going on between things—the timing was never right.” But then, that timing finally fell into place. The Tonight Show had to pause with the writers’ strike and unexpectedly, there was a free moment. Within days Dave started recording at NYC’s fabled Diamond Mine studio with friends and longtime collaborators Homer Steinweiss and Nick Movshon. What started out as just looking to make music and create, quickly took shape and direction and they ended up laying down something wildly special and authentic. An album of songs that capture different moods and an invitation into the world as Dave Guy sees it and feels it.