Vincent Gardner is a composer and musician from Chicago, Illinois. He was also the winner of the 2014 DOWNBEAT Critic’s Poll For Trombone. Gardner is a bandleader and has four albums released under the SteepleChase label. In addition to performing with his own bands, Gardner is also the lead trombonist of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra which features Wynton Marsalis. Gardner performs frequently with Derrick Gardner, his brother and trumpeter, as well as his jazz band, The Jazz Prophets. Gardner was raised in a musical family. His father, Burgess Gardner (a trumpeter who played with many groups such as Ray Charles, Count Basie and Horace Silver), and his mother, a pianist, were both music educators. Gardner’s family moved to East Lansing in Michigan at the age of five. Gardner’s mother, Burgess Gardner, was a trumpeter who played with many groups including Ray Charles, Count Basie, and Horace Silver. Gardner also grew up in a musical family. His mother, a pianist and choir director, was also surrounded by music from an early age. This provided him with his first musical experiences. Gardner began his musical journey on the Violin as a beginner, but quickly switched to the saxophone, and French horn. He began playing trombone at the age of 13, after his brother and father both played trumpet. After being invited to join the Hampton All-City Jazz Ensemble and being introduced by its director to jazz trombonist J.J. Johnson, he began to take an interest in jazz music in the 11th grade. He had decided to become a professional musician by the time he finished high school.