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2x Grammy Nominated trumpet player, composer, recording artist, and educator Al Strong is a cultural innovator. His distinctively unique sound captivates audiences melting hearts at a whisper volume while being gracefully dynamic when the music calls for more intensity, his natural ability to strike listeners at their core is unmatched. He is the co-founder of the Art of Cool Project, which spawned the original Art of Cool Music Festival in Durham, N.C.
A native of Washington, D.C., Strong is a graduate of the renowned Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from North Carolina Central University and a Master’s in Jazz Performance / Pedagogy from Northern Illinois University.
Strong’s discipline and dedication to his craft has forged a prominent career that includes performances with music legends such as Aretha Franklin, The Count Basie Orchestra, Dwele, Eric Roberson, and The Hamiltones. He’s also served as music director for hip-hop pioneer Rakim and has headlined shows at the Blue Note Jazz Festival, Winter Jazz Fest, and Blues Alley.