At 22 years old, New York City based trombonist, bass trombonist, tubist, educator, composer, and activist Jacob Melsha is one of the finest young forces on the scene today.
Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Jacob has enjoyed performing in local venues like Jazz at the Bistro and Powell Symphony Hall with groups such as the Funky Butt Brass Band, the Jazz St. Louis All-Stars, the St. Louis Philharmonic, the Gateway Festival Orchestra, the Cecil Cope Swing of Hearts Orchestra, and with his own small groups. As a student at Kirkwood High School, he enjoyed participating in the 2017 Grammy Band, Jazz Band of America, and All-National Jazz Ensemble. The product of two music educator parents, Jacob is thankful for his supportive, Midwestern upbringing.
Since splashing into the New York music scene in 2017 to pursue his Bachelor’s of Music in Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School, Jacob has enjoyed working throughout the city in a variety of ensembles, bringing music to venues like Dizzy’s Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Smalls Jazz Club, The Blue Note, The Jazz Standard, Fat Cat, Ginny’s Supper Club, The Django, and more. He’s had the pleasure of playing with Frank Lacy’s Tromboniverse, Ben Vereen, The Evan Sherman Big Band, The Nate Sparks Big Band, The Abdias Armenteros Quintet, his own small ensembles, The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis to name a few.
Jacob has travelled the world, playing at festivals and clubs in both hemispheres. He’s toured with Davina and the Vagabonds, performing at the Vail Jazz Festival, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Victoria Island Blues Bash, Seattle’s Jazz Alley, and the Flood City Music Festival. In 2019 he joined the Tazelaar-Moseholm Superband at the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Prior to that, Jacob travelled with Juilliard Jazz ensembles to play in São Paulo, Brazil at the Ilhabela In Jazz Festival, as well as the 2019 Jazz Education Network Convention in Reno, NV.
When he’s not playing the trombone, Jacob is committed to helping transform the future of music and the country we live in. He’s taught a large private lesson studio for years and has done clinics and workshops at high schools, summer camps, and youth programs in St. Louis. A volunteer and Campus Core Leader for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign, he’s made sure to educate, empower, and organize fellow students to help catalyze real change on a national and global scale. He's also worked as a strategist for the student-led political organization, BeThere, since early 2020, fighting for political representation for young people and people of color in swing states by getting them to the polls and staffing polling locations with college students.
Jacob is thankful for his many musical mentors, including his parents Jeff and Martha, Gary Lipsutz, Jonathan Reycraft, Wayne Coniglio, Jason Jackson, Frank Lacy, Elliot Mason, and Wynton Marsalis.
Jacob has played on a custom BAC (Best American Craftsmen) trombone since 2019.