Photos by J. Emilio Flores

James Ford III, a professor of music in the College of Arts and Letters at Cal State LA, was recognized for excellence in teaching and outstanding achievements during University Convocation 2023.

Ford teaches studio trumpet and courses in jazz studies, as well as serves as director of the Cal State LA Jazz Orchestra. He was presented an Outstanding Professor Award on Aug. 17, for his significant achievements in scholarly inquiry or creativity, as well as professional activities and community service.

Ford’s career took root as a child when he began playing the trumpet. Since 2003, he has established an impressive reputation as an accomplished trumpet player. Ford’s dexterity and warm sound have allowed him to cross many musical boundaries. He performs in diverse musical settings, including big band, small groups, orchestral, chamber, pop and early music ensembles. Ford continues to experiment and broaden his musical palette.

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Ford is a member of the Grammy-nominated Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, John Beasley’s MONKestra and the Benjamin Wright Orchestra. He has performed in venues in Europe, Asia, South America, South Africa, Canada and the United States. Some of the artists he has performed or recorded with include John Beasley, Jeff Clayton, John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton and Benjamin Wright. Ford has taught and shared his expertise at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa, as a 2020-2021 Fulbright Scholar.

While doing his graduate work at the University of North Texas, Ford coauthored the first epidemiologic study of brass players while serving as a research assistant for Kris Chesky, professor of music and medicine, and studying trumpet with Leonard Candelaria, now professor emeritus of music.

Results of his study were published in the Medical Problems of Performing Artists journal and showed that about 60% of 739 brass players reported instrument-specific musculoskeletal problems. This important contribution is widely cited in performing arts medicine literature.

A Cal State LA faculty member since 2003, Ford earned his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of North Texas. He is a Los Angeles resident.