Indie Soul Spotlight: John R. Lamkin II


— When you talk jazz and music with John R. Lamkin II, be prepared to talk for hours about the many places he has been, the artists he has performed with, and his love of teaching music to children.

“Music has been a part of my life for so long. I want others to experience the music that I so appreciate,” said Lamkin.

The native of Atlantic City, New Jersey, credits friends and family for support of his career, but more importantly God.

“You have to have a very strong family support system as a musician, or any artist for that matter, to survive in this business. You must be grounded spiritually first and foremost, because without that, you can’t make it,” said Lamkin

John R. Lamkin II, who plays trumpet, is a historian and an icon in the music business in Baltimore. He understands the value of music and its cultural significance. He really wants Baltimore to get behind a bigger and greater jazz movement.

“We have certain areas in Baltimore that get the music but I think we can do a better job of music education and support of events. Jazz is a huge part of the black experience and we need to teach that or it will be lost,” he said.

Lamkin was a music educator at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. He has numerous stories about taking students to see different shows and to hear artists perform. He lights up when talking about those experiences with kids. Every summer, he and his wife offer a music camp where they teach music to students in the Baltimore.

By far one of his greatest accomplishments was being able to perform with his son. “The family is a musical family. I am truly blessed,” said Lamkin.

You can catch a live performance by John R. Lamkin II at 4th Thursday’s at Phase 10, located at 885 N Howard Street in Baltimore at 7 p.m.