ADJUDICATOR - VICTOR PROVOST
Victor Provost is one of a small group of musicians who have tirelessly sought to change popular misconceptions about the role of the steelpans (aka steel drums) in jazz. In addition to being a pannist, he is a composer, educator, and recording artist. As a sideman with deep jazz and Caribbean music bona fides, he has toured and recorded with a long list of luminaries including Wynton Marsalis, Hugh Masekela, Nicholas Payton, Ron Blake, Wycliffe Gordon, and many others. His own recorded work has been acclaimed and awarded.
Based in Washington, D.C., Provost was born and raised in the U.S. Virgin Islands. His musical education began at the St. John School of the Arts when he was ten. Under the guidance of Rudy Wells, he learned to play the pans and became a member of the youth steel pan orchestra, Steel Unlimited II. Throughout the course of his musical education he was exposed to -- and learned to play -- everything from soul and blues to calypso, reggae, soca, and jazz, it was the latter that held the greatest sway over him. By the time he was out of school, he was already playing music festivals with a number of different groups. In 1999, he became the first steel pan player to be featured at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy.
Provost toured with Real Silk Band, and was a full-time member of Dion Parson & the 21st Century Band (the latter featuring Ron Blake); he is also a member of Paquito D’Rivera's Grammy-winning AfroBop Alliance. His debut album as a leader, Her Favorite Shade of Yellow, was chosen by several jazz publications as a Top Five year-end jazz album in 2011. Touring with his own quintet, he played the international festival and club circuits while maintaining a busy schedule as a sideman and educator.
Provost is an adjunct professor of music at George Mason University, and conducts residencies and master classes throughout the United States and the Caribbean, at schools including the Berklee College of Music, University of Akron, Miami University, New York University, and Northern Illinois University. He is an Arts Ambassador to the U.S. Virgin Islands, he was honored with a Special Congressional Recognition in 2014, and he returns frequently to perform and teach as part of Parson's community-based arts initiative, the United Jazz Foundation. Provost has been awarded "Percussionist of the Year" by the Washington, D.C.'s City Paper six years in a row. He signed to Sunnyside in early 2017 and issued his label debut, Bright Eyes; it peaked at number five on the jazz charts.