John Rutherford

Freelance Trombone, Educator - Detroit

John Rutherford, one of Detroit’s most diverse musicians, has been a leading freelance trombonist for over twenty years. He studied at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music and The University of Michigan School of Music. He has been on the faculty of Oakland and Madonna Universities, and has held teaching positions at the University of Toledo, Albion College, and Henry Ford Community College.

John has performed extensively and recorded with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and Michigan Opera Theatre. He has performed with the Sarasota Opera Company, Jerusalem International Symphony, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Palermo (Sicily), the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra, and at the Santo Domingo Music Festival in the Dominican Republic. He has also served as guest principal trombonist of New York State’s Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

An active chamber musician, John has performed with the Boston Chamber Ensemble, Detroit Chamber Winds, Spectrum Brass Quintet, and he is the founding member of the Motor City Brass Quintet, whose 2009 debut CD features the premier recording of Pulitzer Prize winner John Harbison’s Christmas Vespers. He has recorded with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble (Silk Road Journeys: When Strangers Meet) for Sony Classical, as part of the Silk Road Project. With the Silk Road Ensemble, John toured a large part of North America, including performances at Carnegie Hall.

He has appeared as soloist on multiple occasions with the Motor City Brass Band, a British-style brass band and the Grosse Pointe and Birmingham-Bloomfield Symphony Orchestras. He spent 12 summers as an artist-in-residence with Spectrum Brass at the Bay View Music Festival in Petoskey, MI, where he ran the Spectrum Seminar for talented college-age musicians.

John also performs with many of Detroit’s leading jazz ensembles. He performs on tenor trombone, bass trombone, and tuba for pit orchestras at many theaters in Michigan and Ohio and has played in bands and orchestras for artists including Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, The Who, Jimmy Heath, Christian McBride, Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, George Russell, Terence Blanchard, Patti Austin, Gladys Knight, Debbie Gibson, Shara Worden/My Brightest Diamond, Andrew Dost/Fun, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Fifth Dimension, and Dennis DeYoung of Styx.

John is the founding member of the Motor City Horns (MCH), who joined Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band in 2006 and have toured and recorded with them since that time. The Motor City Horns have appeared on over 40 commercial recordings and have collaborated with Robert Randolph and The Family Band, Noel Gallagher from Oasis, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Clarence Clemons and the Temple of Soul, The Verve Pipe, Frankie Ballard, Carl Craig and Tribe, and frequently with Alexander Zonjic.  With Zonjic, the MCH have shared the stage with many well-known jazz artists, including Bob James, Jeff Lorber, and Kenny G. The Motor City Horns toured France with Detroit Bluesman Johnnie Bassett (and Thornetta Davis) 2009 and can be heard on his recordings on Mack Avenue Records. John has recorded for radio and television commercials at studios in Detroit, Nashville, Los Angeles, and is a voting member of the Recording Academy (GRAMMYs).

As founder of Brass Jar Music, John has contracted musicians and produced musical groups for a variety of events in Michigan and around the world, most notably for Mercedes-Benz/AMG at the 2012 New York International Auto Show and other Mercedes events in New York, New Mexico, Tennessee, Montana, California, and Washington.  Partnering with Executive Travel & Incentives, his groups have performed in the Bahamas, Cancun, Miami, Scottsdale, Park City, and at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. As a record label, Brass Jar Music has released six CDs featuring Detroit musicians, with two of them receiving Grammy consideration. He established a non-profit, The Rock City Music Foundation, with Jim Dailey in 2016, to provide musical education and instruments for students in need. He is co-owner of the world famous Cadieux Café in Detroit.

Visit John’s Website here: