George Caldwell

George Caldwell.

George Caldwell

George Caldwell

Professor of Practice (Jazz Piano)


BM, Oberlin College


George Caldwell hails from Clarksdale, Mississippi.

After a brief stint with Clifford Jordan, Caldwell followed Mulgrew Miller into the piano chair of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, leading to seven years with The Count Basie Orchestra, under the direction of Frank Foster. Some of the many great artists he has shared the bandstand with include Dizzy Gillespie, Cab Calloway, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Joe Williams, George Benson, Kenny Garrett, Art Blakey, Savion Glover, Lou Rawls, Lionel Hampton, George Coleman, Louis Smith, Joe Newman, Roy Hargrove, Bobby McFerrin, Max Roach and Jon Faddis.

A sampling of Caldwell's discography includes five discs with the Basie organization: 'The Count Basie Orchestra Live at El Morrocco', 'Basie's Bag', 'Joe Williams and The Count Basie Orchestra Live at Orchestra Hall', 'Jazzin' with Tito Puente, and 'The Count Basie Orchestra live at The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild w/ the New York Voices' (for which the band won a Grammy); his arrangements and original compositions were featured on Craig Bailey's 'A New Journey', Lewis Nash's 'Rhythm is My Business', Hank Crawford's 'South Central', and Bill Easley's 'First Call'.

Caldwell studied at Memphis State University and Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He was awarded a Ralph Bunche Fellowship for masters work at Rutgers University and has garnered many prestigious awards throughout his career.

He is also compiling material for a recording which will include his own compositions as well as his arrangements of tunes from the American standard songbook.

In Buffalo, Caldwell leads a quintet of top-tier musicians performing original compositions and standards from the American songbook. In 2022 he was inducted to the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame.

George Caldwell, director of the UB Jazz Ensembles, discusses his strategy of working with students, and sharing his experiences of making music with some of the great jazz performers of the 20th century.