J.J. Wright

Notre Dame


J.J. Wright's style cannot be easily categorized. Trained as a jazz improviser at the New School for Jazz in NYC, he's also passionate about sacred music. Palestrina and Bach vie with Monk and Cannonball Adderley as just a few of his harmonic and melodic inspirations. While with the U.S. Naval Academy Band, Wright performed for the President—as well as several other high-profile diplomatic gigs—and with the Caribbean Jazz Project: Afro Bop Alliance, recording and performing with vibraphonist Dave Samuels. The album was nominated for a GRAMMY for 'Best Latin Jazz Album' and won the Latin GRAMMY in the same category.  In addition to Mr. Samuels, J.J. has had the privilege of performing with Billy Hart, Ike Sturm, Nate Wood, Chris Cheek, Zach Harmon, Mark Ferber,  Matt Ulery, and Delfeayo Marsalis. 

In November 2016, O Emmanuel, debuted at the top of the Billboard Classical Charts where it remained for eight weeks.  Based on the 'O Antiphons' of Advent, O Emmanuel was commissioned by the Notre Dame Children’s Choir, and is scored for children’s choir, adult vocal soloists, string quartet, woodwind trio and Wright’s jazz piano trio.

His latest release, Vespers for the Feast of the Transfiguration, is a participatory jazz vespers that incorporates improvisation and popular music with congregational singing. The service was was recorded and filmed live at Saint Peter's Church, NYC. 

J.J. is currently Director of the Notre Dame Folk Choir. Last year, his studies brought him to Rome where he researched and wrote his dissertation on early Baroque oratorio. In addition, he studied at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music and interned with the Sistine Chapel Choir. When he's not conducting, composing, or recording, he's a husband and father to three beautiful children.

Tags Spiritual Jazz/Sacred Jazz, Crossover