Heralded for his “solos of mercurial poetry and high craft.” (Chicago Tribune), Chad McCullough has matured into an integral part of the international jazz scene with his playing, composing, and vast knowledge of the music business. His albums regularly receive wide critical-acclaim, and he collaborates with a diverse collection of musicians, each addition speaking to the depth of his musical palette.
“He is a rare instrumentalist who makes each note sound as if it were imbued with a deeper meaning. Certainly a player with great chops, his approach is one that is measured and deliberate, often introspective, sometimes gorgeously melancholic, and one that employs a continuity of mood and atmosphere that the best recordings have.” –Dan McClenaghan
Chad has performed with several of his own groups across the globe, including the Festival of New Trumpet Music (New York), the GG Jazz Festival (Krasnodar, Russia), Earshot Jazz Festival (Seattle), Appeltuin Jazz Festival (Belgium), and the Chicago Jazz Festival. Many of his albums have been released internationally, and several have reached the top 100 for jazz airplay in the US.
When not leading his own projects, McCullough busies himself as a vital member of other ensembles. One such group, the West African-inspired The Kora Band were awarded a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant for their record New Cities, released on UK-based Whirlwind Records in 2015. This is a follow-up to their record Cascades, which won the NW Recording of the Year in Earshot Magazine. He also tours with the sextet Tunnel Six, which has been awarded five Canada Council of the Arts grants. Their debut record, Lake Superior, made the top 100 albums of 2011 on eMusic, and the follow-up, Alive, was released in 2013 and Journeys, Places, Stories in 2016. His all-star group The Spin Quartet’s debut album In Circles, was heralded as one of the top chordless releases of the year, and the follow-up live album Starting from Zero, was released in the Fall of 2015 with an international tour.
As a composer, McCullough has scored for film, written for various large ensembles, dancers, string and chamber groups- in both classical and jazz idioms. Many of his pieces have been featured music spots on NPR. As an educator, he has been involved with mentoring projects run by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the radio station KPLU, and has done educational outreach in several internationally-recognized high school and college music programs. He is currently a member of the Jazz Studies faculty at DePaul University in Chicago.
Chad holds a M.M. from the University of Washington, and a B.M. from the University of Idaho, where he was a Lionel Hampton Scholar, and the first student to graduate with a jazz emphasis on his degree. He has played and arranged for the Disneyland College Band, toured extensively playing both piano and trumpet in the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and in 2009 was selected to attended the jazz & creative music workshop at the Banff Centre in Canada. In 2015 he was part of a residency with MacArthur Grant recipient Steve Coleman. He was awarded a City of Chicago DCASE Grant in 2016 to study with Grammy-nominated trumpeter Tim Hagans.