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“[Castellanos] plays with élan, evincing a more individual, ever-large sound offering hard

swinging, often ear-grabbing solos…[proving] that music with deep roots in jazz’s glorious

’50s and ’60s can sound completely contemporary today.”

Los Angeles Times


"I love playing music with people who light up the bandstand.  That's what drew me to Gilbert.

I knew we needed his voice in the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra family.  I embrace every

opportunity with him in sharing this music together."

Jeff Hamilton, American jazz drummer and co-Director of the Clayton- Hamilton Jazz

Orchestra (2017)


“Gilbert Castellanos was a true gem to have on my new CD ”The Art of Latin Jazz.”  In my 

opinion, he is one of the top trumpet players on the scene today. His playing was brilliant,

and he added just the spark that took the music to another level.”

Oscar Hernandez, Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer & band leader of the

Spanish Harlem Orchestra (2017)


“He’s just good for the city, because he involves himself. He’s always looking for ways to expose

jazz to a larger audience, and in particular, the youth. That’s admirable because everyone

doesn’t have a gift for doing that, or even wanting to. He wants to get involved. He’s smart and

dynamic, and on top of all that, he’s a wonderful player.”

Bebop legend Charles McPherson (2017)


“I will never forget the first time that I saw Gilbert at the 1994 Monterey Jazz Festival, where

he was playing with the landmark West Coast young lions group, Black/Note. I could not have

been more thrilled when Gilbert moved to San Diego a few months later and I had my first

chance to work with him. It seems like from the very beginning he was a catalyst for bringing

together and growing the San Diego jazz community. I began to see so many more young

people at Athenaeum jazz concerts, people who were on fire about the music because of

Gilbert’s weekly jam sessions. I don’t think we can overestimate the influence he has had on

several generations of listeners and players in this community. And now he is carrying on this

mission year-round with the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory. As an artist, Gilbert clearly belongs

among the top trumpeters who are keeping the tradition alive and vital. Gilbert certainly

deserves to be recognized on the national stage and we are so fortunate to have him as a

leader in our own jazz community.” 

Daniel Atkinson, Jazz Program Coordinator @ San Diego Athenaeum Music & Arts Library;

Founder-UCSD Jazz Camp (2017) 


“He leads by example, his stellar musicianship and a tireless work ethic have helped create one

of America's most thriving jazz scenes. Gilbert is San Diego's jazz ambassador. He has helped create a thriving jazz scene filled with incredibly young talented musicians. With the recent creation of the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory San Diego has taken a huge step forward in being recognized as one of America's premier jazz cities.”

Rob Thorsen, bassist, instructor at the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory (2017)


“Our kids have learned responsibility and accountability through their time with Gilbert because he makes it very clear that he won’t accept anything less than their full effort. The expectation is high so they work hard to deliver - he has nurtured their love for the music and turned it into a true passion, and they are inspired to do their best because they know he sincerely cares about them and their growth. They’ve gained so much confidence and have evolved as individuals since working with Gilbert, and there’s not much more parents could ask for from a teacher.” 

Leslie Murray, President - Young Lions Jazz Conservatory (2017)


“Studying with Gilbert has really changed my life, because of all the opportunities he gives us to be leaders. He gives us gigs where we have to form our own bands and put together set lists, getting us to take initiative. He shows us the amount of work that goes into being a musician, but we also get a taste of how rewarding this hard work is.” 

Zion Dyson, 16, Young Lions Jazz Conservatory Student (2017)

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