Jelani Bauman was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where he began playing the trumpet at the age of 13. Jelani comes from a long lineage of jazz musicians that spans five generations. His great-great grandfather, J.B. Humphrey, taught music and established brass bands in Southeast Louisiana as early as 1880. Jelani’s grandfather, the renowned trumpeter, Emery Humphrey Thompson (Umar Sharif) performed with such musicians as Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, and Ella Fitzgerald. His musical training began in New Orleans, Louisiana under the instruction of Ronald Benko, trumpeter with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Benko is known for coaching such musical giants as Wynton Marsalis and Nicholas Payton.
Jelani’s enriched training and passion led him to being accepted into the one of the country’s top performing arts high schools, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), which is known for developing some of the world’s top musicians, such as Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., and Terence Blanchard. At NOCCA, Jelani studied with legendary jazz educator Alvin Batiste. During his training outside of NOCCA, he has also been taught or appeared with: Nicholas Payton, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Belgrave, Charles Lewis, Tiger Okoshi, Wessell “Warmdaddy” Anderson, Ralph Peterson, Donald Harrison, Delfeayo Marsalis, Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, John Pattitucci, Sean Jones, Mark Whitfield, Jeremy Pelt, Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, David Murray, Pat Bianchi, and Christian Scott. After attending NOCCA, Jelani attended Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in New York and is currently attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Jelani has performed at various venues in New York City such as the Jazz Standard and Smoke Jazz Club, and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. In 2009, Jelani was a NFAA Regional Award Winner for Jazz Trumpet in the State of New York. Bauman has also performed at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage and the Domaine Forget Jazz Festival in St. Irenee, Quebec, Canada. He is expected to graduate from Berklee in May 2011.