Lafayette Gilchrist ’92, Africana studies, may be best known in Baltimore as the pianist and composer at the helm of the New Volcanoes, ever-evolving, avant-garde big band. But before he became a big name in the jazz scene, he could be found practicing his skills in UMBC’s practice rooms.
“Gilchrist… describes himself as a ‘ghost’ in the music department. ‘My Grand-mommy said, ‘You’re going away to a fancy college; make sure you meet the people who scrub the toilets.’ I did. And they had keys to everything,’ Gilchrist recalls. He began to spend nights in the practice rooms, waving goodbye to the janitors as he left early each morning,” writes Baynard Woods in the Urbanite.
Today, Gilchrist finds that Baltimore’s eclectic music scene provides the perfect home genre-bending sound.
The story, “Explosive,” appeared on the Urbanite’s website on September 28.
Gilchrist was also the subject of a segment on WAMU’s “The Signal.” Before becoming a jazz pianist, he used to lace up the boxing gloves. “The Signal” talks with Gilchrist about his years as a fighter and the musical inspiration he took from the sweet science.
The piece aired on Saturday, October 8, and was repeated on Sunday, October 9. It can be heard here.