George Brandon, PhD, is an anthropologist, composer, and integrative sound and music practitioner. He founded and leads the Blue Unity Orchestra, an ensemble whose programs include gospel music, Yoruba chant, blues, jazz standards, Afro-Pop, and more.
Brandon's musical roots began with guitar lessons from his father and continued in junior high school with the trombone. By high school he was playing professionally in local swing bands, and rhythm and blues, gospel, and classical ensembles. His brass teachers include Samuel Lillienstein, Robert Nagel, Curtis Fuller, Grachen Moncur III, David Baker, and Dick Griffin.
Brandon has performed or jammed with Frank Foster's Loud Minority Big Band, Jimmy McGriff's Big Band, the Rene McLean Sextet, Sun Ra and his Arkestra, Charles Earland, The Mighty Sparrow, and the jazz Mobile Workshop Orchestra under the direction of Frank Foster, Earnie Wilkins, and Jimmie Heath.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and anthropology from Reed College; a master’s degree and a doctorate in anthropology from Rutgers University; and a certificate of African Studies from the University of Ghana at Legon.
In 1977, he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study theory and composition with George Russell in the Afro-American music department of the New England Conservatory. Brandon is currently director of sociomedical sciences at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, City University of New York.
In appreciation of Ysaye Barnwell's and George Brandon's leadership and inspiration for the past quarter century, Omega is establishing a Vocal Community Scholarship Fund in their honor. Contributions of any amount are welcome.