Jazz Arts Dept.
Hailing from Houston, Texas, Frank Lacy received honors as high school All State, All Area, All District classical euphonium in 1976 and began his professional career with Joe Tex the same year. From 1977 to 1979, he was a studio trombonist at Allen Toussaint studios, playing on sessions with the Meters and Labelle; studying physics and music at Texas Southern University; co-leading an R & B group; and touring Army forts and Air Force bases throughout the U.S. as trombonist/trumpeter/background vocalist. He studied jazz composition at Berklee College of Music from 1979 to 1981 and performed with the Chi-Lites, the New Edition, and the Boston Pops. Upon moving to New York in 1981, he performed with Slide Hampton’s World of Trombones, the Sugarhill Gang, KRS-1, and Lionel Hampton while studying physics, music, and acting at Rutgers University. Deemed super-exec John Hammond’s last “find” in 1984, he also performed with the Eurythmics and won honors as Best Composer/Arranger/Trombonist at the 1984 Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival.
From 1986 to 1988, after leaving Rutgers, he performed, toured, and recorded with Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Lester Bowie’s Organ Group, Illinois Jacquet, Henry Threadgill, Bobby Watson, Don Pullen, Hamiett Bluiett, Julius Hemphill, Butch Morris, David Murray, Oliver Lake, Rufus Reid Quintet, McCoy Tyner, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Dizzy Gillespie. He was the musical director of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers from 1988 to 1990.
Frank Lacy has received four Grammys, with McCoy Tyner, Roy Hargrove, and the Mingus Big Band, and has recorded with Common, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Elvis Costello, and Kid Cudi. A four-time winner as trombonist of the Downbeat Critics Poll for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, he was also recently named the Rising Star Jazz Vocalist in the 2016 Downbeat Critics Poll. He has twenty ensembles, spanning all music genres, and has taught, as well as performed, internationally, in Iceland, Ukraine, and Israel. He joined the MSM faculty in 2013, teaching trombone and the Mingus Ensemble.