Trumpeter, improviser, and educator, Jon Ailabouni creates life-affirming music which emphasizes the aesthetic ideals of interaction, spontaneity, and self-actualization. Emerging from the jazz tradition, Jon’s work freely embraces diverse styles from the blues to the avante-garde and from the Caribbean to the Arab world. His improvisation as a soloist has been described as “sharp and resourceful” (AllAboutJazz.com). Ailabouni has been featured at the Jazz Showcase in Chicago, the Detroit International Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City and in concerts alongside Kurt Elling, Paquito D’Rivera, Bob Mintzer, Fred Hersch, Donny McCaslin, Bobby Watson, Edward Simon, John Clayton, Jamey Haddad, and the New York Voices.
Ailabouni's interest in interdisciplinary work has led to multiple large-scale collaborations featuring his composition including In Search of America with author Robert Wolf, Highway 57 with dancer-choreographer Blake Nellis, and Body of Water, The Invitation Game, and Who Do You Trust? with choreographer Jane Hawley. In partnership with pianist J.J. Kaufmann, the duo has delved into the improvisational possibilities of classical forms (such as Bach’s Goldberg Variations), standard jazz repertoire, contemporary pop tunes, spirituals, and one another's original compositions. The Explicit Quartet (Ailabouni, Kaufmann, and dancers Hawley and Andrea Vazquez Aguirre) explores the analogs between movement and music, allowing their disparate processes to inform, influence, and interact in live, improvised performance settings.
Jon is an adjunct faculty of music at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where he directs the Jazz Band and jazz combos and teaches courses in jazz theory and arranging and improvisation and studio lessons in trumpet and jazz improvisation. A summa cum laude graduate of Luther College with a degree emphasizing classical trumpet performance, Ailabouni went on to receive a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Western Michigan University (WMU) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Jon then joined the WMU music faculty, where he taught jazz brass lessons, directed the Jazz Lab Band, and served as co-director of the Western Invitational Jazz Festival.
Jon is a Twin Cities-based artist and educator offering private lessons and clinics in improvisation and trumpet performance.