Lafayette Gilchrist Music
Gig Seeker Pro

Lafayette Gilchrist Music

Baltimore, MD | Established. Jan 01, 1993 | INDIE

Baltimore, MD | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1993
Band Jazz Acid Jazz




"Lafayette Gilchrist Full Bio"

“Lafayette Gilchrist lives in Baltimore but grew up in D.C., knee-deep in the city's go-go music and hip-hop. Go-go dance beats inform his piano the same way freight-train boogie-woogie does. Players like Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson and Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith could keep going for hours without exhausting their folkloric materials. If there's one thing Lafayette Gilchrist loves, it's feeding a groove like that. There's something trance-inducing about dance music in general, and in the textured patterns that Lafayette Gilchrist plays at the keyboard. His two-handed piano also has techno and minimalism behind it. It's not just about the notes; it's also about the waves in which they come, and the troughs in between.” Kevin Whitehead, Jazz critic, NPR Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Lafayette Gilchrist leads the New Volcanoes and the Sonic Trip Masters All Stars. Gilchrist's bands are genre-defying; featuring a propulsive rhythm section and a dynamic horn line, which never fails to raise the roof. His solo work and trio Inside Out invite adventurous ears everywhere.
While steadily leading his Baltimore-based bands with a progressive stream of new music, Lafayette Gilchrist toured with David Murray in his octet and quartets for 13 years. During his time with Murray, he performed at the Berlin Jazz Festival, recorded on Murray’s Sacred Ground EP for the National Hungarian Radio and Television, and played the Winter Jazz Festival and Vision Jazz Festival in NYC to name a few.
He has performed with a host of prominent artists such as Carl Grubbs, David Murray, Cassandra Wilson, Macy Gray, Oliver Lake, Marshall Keys, Orrin Evans, Paul Dunmall, Allyn Johnson, TK Blue, Robert Shahid, Alan Blackman, Hamid Drake, William Parker, Michael Formanek, Tarus Mateen and many more.
His compositions, Assume the Position and Coded Sources, are a part of the original score for David Simon’s The Wire and Treme, respectively. Gilchrist was also a recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council’s Maryland Traditions Master/Apprentice award in which he mentored Ethan Simon in 2010. - Lafayette Gilchrist Music

"2018 Baker Artist Award Winner"

2018 Baker Artist Award Winner for Music. The Baker Artist Award is a program of the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance (GBCA). - Baker Artist Portfolio

"Best of Baltimore 2017"

Lafayette Gilchrist--LOCAL LEGEND
“Jazz lovers are guaranteed to have run into this world-renowned icon playing the keys in his trademark chapeau. His feats as a composer are especially poignant and timely, like his piece “Blues for Freddie Gray,” which has brought ecstatic crowds to their feet.” - Baltimore Magazine (August 2017)

"Best Band: Lafayette Gilchrist and the New Volcanoes"

“Lafayette Gilchrist and the New Volcanoes are one of those bands that get more love in Europe than they do at home. But they have been banging out their big band concoction of funk, go-go, jazz, blues, and soul for over a decade now. And they keep getting better and better—and there is nothing throw-back about this music. It is now. This year’s “Blues for Freddie Gray,” with vocals by Brooks Long, is one of the band’s best recordings and shows Gilchrist at the top of his writing game. It’s music that swings and thumps and bounces—with a heady dose of wailing avant-garde horns and a subterranean sorrow that sweeps along underneath it all. The New Volcanoes rock an existential groove that shouts out the pain and the glory of being alive. Now the band is set to reach new audiences as Gilchrist’s song ‘Assume the Position’ serves as the closing credit music on “The Deuce,” the new ‘70s New York porno drama made by David Simon and George Pelecanos. But before we die, we salute y’all as the last Best Band in this last best city, a hard town by the sea (sort of).” - Baltimore City Paper (Sept 19, 2017)

"Best Music of 2017"

“As for many of us, 2017 was a year of introspection and growth for the Baltimore music community. Familiar faces returned home, launched new ventures, or released seminal albums. New artists popped out of the woodwork and made their mark on the local scene. Collaboration was prolific, emotions were liberated, and a sort of homegrown catharsis ensued. A sense of change is in the air, and with the amount of talent we saw this year across all genres, we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for 2018. We couldn’t fit them all, but here are a handful of our favorite musical moments from the tumultuous past 12 months…” “Local jazz legend Lafayette Gilchrist released a new album this spring with a powerful single titled “Blues for Freddie Gray.” Riddled with Gilchrist’s pounding piano keys, a full brass section, and the soulful vocals of old-school virtuoso Brooks Long, the song is post-2015 Baltimore in a bottle. The lively, driving number is full of energy and emotion, with audio samples from actual television footage following the death of Freddie Gray and subsequent officer trials. But despite the opening police sirens and closing whirr of a Foxtrot helicopter that both speak to the lack of closure in Gray’s case, Gilchrist ends on a hopeful note. “I want to know that there’s a day that’s coming soon and fast,” howls the ever-talented Long. “I want a justice and a peace that’s made to last and last. Don’t ya tell me that we can’t all get it done.”
By Lydia Woolever - Baltimore Magazine (Dec 13, 2017)

"Blues for Freddie Gray-Top 30 Pick"

"Baltimore music made its excellence known in 2017 through captivating music videos, fully conceptualized albums, free mixtapes, earworm singles and the myriad other ways the Internet has made music consumption feel like a never-ending pursuit. And when the songs are this good — embedding their nuances and most-obvious thrills into our heads long after they end — that’s a journey we’ll happily embrace, year after year. Once again, we chose 30 tracks from Baltimore artists that stood out most this year, presented below in no particular order... "Lafayette Gilchrist, “Blues for Freddie Gray” (Manta Ray Records): Mixing go-go rhythms with the jazz piano playing of Baltimore’s Lafayette Gilchrist, this lively, horns-filled track finds guest vocalist Brooks Long, another Baltimorean, singing, “I want a justice and a peace that’s made to last and last.”
By Wesley Case, Contact Reporter - Baltimore Sun (Dec 19, 2017)

"Pre-release of Blues for Freddie Gray--starts at 34:43 on video" -

"Lafayette Gilchrist / Paul Dunmall / Mark Sanders trio"

There’s good reason why jazz fans and critics alike are so excited about Lafayette Gilchrist. The Baltimore-based pianist hit the scene hard with his debut, The Music According To Lafayette Gilchrist, and went straight to earning rave reviews for his second release, Towards The Shining Path. Emerging from jazz legend David Murray’s Black Saint Quartet, Gilchrist has an approach and presence that’s drawn comparisons to royalty such as Andrew Hill and Sun Ra. - EFG London Jazz Festival

"The GoGo Suite: Live at the Windup Space Vol. 2"

"Gilchrist, a wildly talented local jazz pianist, has long claimed an affinity with D.C. go-go music. Until now, that influence has mostly been implied. But over the course of these four compositions, Gilchrist more overtly nods to the music as the propulsive drummer Nate Reynolds and a robust horn section match the fury, if not always the form, of go-go."

~John Lewis - Baltimore Magazine

"Lafayette Gilchrist Harnesses the dance-floor solidarity of go-go and jazz, on 'Go-Go Suite'"

“The Go-Go Suite” opens with ‘The View From Here,’ which builds from go-go’s instantly recognizable pulse and spreads into a tapestry of brassy horns and driving funk. Gilchrist’s band, the New Volcanoes—trumpeter Michael Cerri; reeds players John Dierker, Tiffany DeFoe, and Gregory Thompkins; guitarist Carl Filipiak; bassist Anthony “Blue” Jenkins; percussionist Kevin Pinder; and drummer Nathan Reynolds—chews into the song, using the backing beat as a launching pad for soaring, intertwined solos and finishes with Gilchrist’s piano walking away from the melody to a more poignant, reflective moment..."

~Bret McCabe - Baltimore City Paper

"Lafayette Gilchrist's New Volcanoes Debut the "Go-go Suite...""

"Lafayette Gilchrist is one of the most powerful piano players to come out of Washington, D.C. in the past half-century. Though he’s recently been living up in Baltimore and touring widely, he holds a deep connection to his hometown. That’s borne out in his 2014 album The Go-Go Suite, which he recorded with a killer nine-piece band called New Volcanoes."

~Giovanni Russonello - Capitalbop

"Lafayette Gilchrist: An Old Soul, At Ease In A Modern World"

"For someone who came to piano rather late, at 17, Lafayette Gilchrist has dug deep into its history. He loves the old piano professors who'd pack the punch of a dance band into two hands at the keyboard. Players like Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith could keep going for hours without exhausting their folkloric materials. If there's one thing Lafayette Gilchrist loves, it's feeding a groove like that, as on his new solo album The View From Here."

~Kevin Whitehead - NPR: Fresh Air

"Concert Reviews: Ai Confini tra Sardegna e Jazz"

The last day of concerts started with Lafayette Gilchrist’s piano solo, a performance that passes through the genres, with a handful of personality. Gilchrist has great clearness of exposition of his own ideas, a particular taste for splintering the phrases among his two hands, always without taking too much care of bass-line and melody, of which he possesses the sense inside. Among the most grooving tunes he played new compositions like Phase 3, Dried Goods and The Naif, then also Bubbles on Mars (from his album "Towards the Shining Path"), and the romantic ballad Thorn Bush, closing his set with Black Sunshine, recorded live at Vision Festival in duo with Hamid Drake. Being a quite long standing sideman of the eminent reed player David Murray, the set proves Gilchrist to be a player who knows his job well. - JazzReview 29.01.2011

"Moment's Notice"

There’s probably no duller conversation to be had about jazz music than attempting to finesse the difference between “inside” and “outside” playing. Even the sham-fight of “composition vs. improvisation” is still riveting in comparison. There’s a useful analogy with sports here. If the ball, or a player’s foot crosses the line then (depending on your game), you’re out. If some part of it remains in, then you’re in. Lafayette Gilchrist has pretty much resolved the issue. He plays insideout.

Gilchrist’s evolution mostly happened outside jazz proper and with reference to hip hop, house and Chuck Brown’s go-go. But he’s one of the movers in the music now. I feel he’s best described by Herbie Nichols’ ugly but serviceable self-definition: Gilchrist is a jazzist. He thinks this music with his fingers. He’s a real-time student of its quiddities and its unresolvable theorems – a thoughtful guy whose medium is closer to dance than to “concertizing.” The other obvious comparison, one that makes the “dance” element intriguingly problematic, is with Prince, another artist who evolved away from the dominant music scene of the moment and who pretty much asked and answered all his own questions about music is constructed, performed and disseminated.

There’s nothing on Insideout with quite the impact of “Assume the Position,” which remains the obvious Gilchrist pick for a contemporary jazz sampler and a theme susceptible to almost infinite repositioning and re-interpretation. Thus: a contemporary “classic,” or new jazz “standard.” But – and it’s a substantial but – Insideout is by far his most satisfying record to date. It begins with the Frankenstein’s footsteps intro to “Breakout,” which then erupts into something kinda Monkish, a flowing line that like most of Gilchrist’s writing leaves ribbons of potential melody waving in its wake. He hits the keys hard on “Spotlight” after a deceptive raindrop opening that has hints of Debussy about it, maybe conscious, maybe not.

Tunes like “Waves” and “Connections” seem like ideas spontaneously generated in improvisation, with procedural – rather than formal – structure. Indeed, it is difficult to distinguish between “theme” and “solo” in much of what Gilchrist plays. It just takes whatever direction it points towards and the journey is always worthwhile. “Delicate Dancer,” a skater’s twirl and jump over a deliberately clumpy left hand and rhythm line, doesn’t sound like its title. More than once I found myself wondering whether Gilchrist names his tracks almost randomly or whether there are narratives and associations here that are closed to us. “Spontaneous Combustion” is perhaps an exception, and “The Naif” certainly is, for this is surely the pianist saying: This maybe doesn’t sound like much, and you may not think I can play more than simple fours, but try this on ... and the music gets away. In this, he’s ably assisted by Michael Formanek, who has enough experience leading his own innovative projects to know that these aren’t just routine blowing themes, and by Eric Kennedy, who has a singer’s approach to the kit, enunciating figures with verbal accuracy. Formanek’s solo on “The Naif” is a key moment in terms of how the trio functions.

It’s exciting contemporary jazz with few of the more obvious hip hop flourishes that make some recent attempts to hybridize jazz and street culture not so much “outside” as, for more conservative listeners, positively beyond the pale. Gilchrist isn’t a newcomer, and this isn’t a young guy’s show-off record. It’s a major statement by a major artist.

~Brian Morton - Point of Departure

"Lafayette Gilchrist: Soul Progressin'"

IF JAZZ got its start by transforming such pop music as ragtime and swing into creative improvisations, why can't it do the same with today's funk and hip-hop? Opponents of the idea can point to hundreds of stiff, lifeless fusion and smooth-jazz records as evidence that it just doesn't work. Proponents can point to Lafayette Gilchrist's four albums for Hyena Records as proof that it most certainly does. His new CD, "Soul Progressin'," is his most persuasive arrangement yet.

Gilchrist, the pianist in David Murray's current quartet, grew up in the District and Prince George's County, listening to go-go and hip-hop before falling in love with Thelonious Monk. Like Monk, Gilchrist has a knack for composing short, catchy melodies with unexpected rhythm accents. … - The Washington Post

"Lafayette Gilchrist: Soul Progressin'"

"Stylistically similar to the aesthetic concepts explored by fellow pianists Jason Moran and Matthew Shipp, but with his ear closer to the street, Gilchrist offers a revealing look at the developing crossroads between jazz and funk with Soul Progressin', a raw interpretation of the jazz tradition informed by contemporary beats."

~Troy Collins - All About Jazz

"Lafayette Gilchrist & the New Volcanoes Soul Progressin’"

Pianist Lafayette Gilchrist has played with David Murray’s Black Saint Quartet and as a leader. His third disc shows that he knows how to write for a large group. The New Volcanoes’ frontline includes two tenors, two trumpets and an alto, and Gilchrist exploits the combination for some rich sounds, as well as some beautifully dissonant ones. For example, “Detective’s Tip” is Gilchrist’s foray into film noir and the group responds in kind with the latter approach. The title track, which opens the album, is built on a spare, funky groove that begins sounding like a New Orleans riff, a little more Meters than second line.

For contrast, Gilchrist plays a solo piece at the mid-point, paying homage to Andrew Hill in “Uncrowned.” The setback on Soul Progressin’ is that while the horns expand and move into different realms on different tracks, the rhythm section stays in the same frame of mind. Drummer Nathan Reynolds turns the beat around on the opener, but for most of the album he largely sticks with a basic backbeat, while bassist Anthony “Blue” Jenkins relies on easy vamps. The result sounds great on a couple of songs, but with all that harmonic possibilities unfolding with the horns, the back end of the group doesn’t live up to the music’s potential. - JazzTimes

"The Music According to Lafayette Gilchrist"

"When Lafayette Gilchrist celebrated the release of his 2005 album Towards the Shining Path at Highlandtown's Creative Alliance at the Patterson, he wore his gray Kangol hat with the gold piping at a jaunty tilt and stomped on the keyboard pedals with his basketball shoes. He would not have looked out of place in a Run-D.M.C. video, and the rhythms of his compositions hinted at the hours he spent watching hip-hop videos as a teenager in Prince George's County. But as Gilchrist's big hands massaged the keys of his Kurzweil PC88, the Bolton Hill resident did things to those funk and hip-hop beats that had never been heard on MTV..."

~Geoffrey Himes - Art in the American Outback: News Roundup

"Music Reviews July 2018"

Lafayette Gilchrist & The New Volcanoes
Deep Dancing Suite (Manta Ray Records)

If Baltimore had a music hall of fame, Lafayette Gilchrist would be one of our first ballots. While he’s revered for his iconic scores in David Simon’s HBO series The Wire, Treme, and The Deuce, it’s his pure talent and unbridled spirit that have earned this D.C. native and longtime Baltimore resident his much-deserved praise. The 2018 Baker Artist Award winner’s lively compositions capture the essence of this city—its energy, its joy, its struggle—with each melody unfolding in a jubilant freestyle of jazz, blues, and funk with a go-go flair. Time after time on this five-track EP, the pianist and his eight-piece band bring the house down with propulsive rhythms, vibrant horns, and virtuosic keys. Prepare to be moved—in your soul, and out of your seat. - Baltimore Magazine

Discography (Performance with Cassandra Wilson and David Murray and the The Black Saints)



Lafayette Gilchrist leads the New Volcanoes and the Sonic Trip Masters All Stars. Gilchrist's bands are genre-defying; featuring a propulsive rhythm section and a dynamic horn line, which never fails to raise the roof. His solo work and trio Inside/Out invite adventurous ears everywhere.

Band Members