Gerald Cannon

  • Associate Professor of Jazz Bass

Areas of Study

Education

  • Studies at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and Marquette University

Biography

Gerald Cannon joined the Oberlin Conservatory jazz faculty in fall 2020 and was appointed associate professor of jazz bass in spring 2022.

A native of Racine, Wisconsin, Cannon was given his first electric bass at age 10 and soon began playing in his father’s group, the Gospel Expressions. While attending the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, he met jazz legend Milt Hinton, whose influence inspired Cannon to switch career paths from physical education to music—and from electric bass to upright. At the recommendation of Hinton, Cannon promptly transferred to the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.

Upon moving to New York City at age 28, Cannon played his bass in the subway and took part in jam sessions at the Blue Note. That exposure led to opportunities to perform with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Scott, Dexter Gordon, Elvin Jones, and other jazz luminaries. A chance meeting with Roy Hargrove led to a seven-year gig in the renowned trumpeter’s band, with which he toured throughout the world. Cannon also served as McCoy Tyner’s musical director, a role that saw him play many tours alongside Oberlin faculty saxophonist Gary Bartz.

Cannon remains active on the New York scene, performing regularly at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and Smalls Jazz Club, among other venues. He has played on dozens of recordings throughout his career and released Gerald Cannon (Woodneck Records)—his debut as bandleader—in 2003. His most recent recording, Combinations (Woodneck), was released in 2017.

Cannon’s teaching engagements have included the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, the New School, Long Island University, the Conservatory of Maastricht in Holland, and the Juilliard School, where he continues to teach. He frequently presents master classes and has participated in the North Sea Jazz Festival, Cape Town Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, and the Montreal Jazz Festival. His teachers include Ray Brown, Ron Carter, and Buster Williams.

Away from music, Cannon has earned acclaim as a painter of vibrantly colored, abstract works that draw heavily on emotional themes.

Spring 2022

Prin Pvt Jazz Bass: — PVST 030
Sec Pvt Jazz Bass: — PVST 083
Jazz Improvisation II — JAZZ 202
Jazz Ensemble-Small Group — JAZZ 803

Fall 2022

Prin Pvt Jazz Bass: — PVST 030
Sec Pvt Jazz Bass: — PVST 083
Jazz Improvisation I — JAZZ 201
Jazz Ensemble-Small Group — JAZZ 803

Notes

Gerald Cannon appointed Associate Professor of Jazz Bass

March 29, 2022

Gerald Cannon has been appointed associate professor of jazz bass at Oberlin Conservatory after a two year stint as a visiting professor. The multi-talented sideman, leader, composer, recording artist, and painter has taught in master classes across the United States and Europe, and has served on the faculties of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, the New School, Long Island University, the Conservatory of Maastricht in Holland, and the Juilliard School. He performed with the Oberlin Jazz Ensemble and Oberlin's complete roster of jazz faculty in a special performance at Finney Chapel on March 28.

 

News

Basses Loaded

April 21, 2021

Conservatory athlete Ian Ashby ’22 divides his days between music and the mound.