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Home » Member Profiles » AFM Entertainment Spotlight: Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm

AFM Entertainment Spotlight: Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm


Jenn Wharton Photo: John_Abbott

Jennifer Wharton’s Bonegasm
Leader Name: Jennifer Wharton
Member: Local 802 (New York City)
Genre: Jazz

Bio: Jennifer Wharton is a low brass specialist based in New York City. Though getting her start classically, Wharton has deep roots in jazz, commercial, chamber, and Broadway music.

Wharton leads the trombone-forward ensemble, Bonegasm, commissioning over 30 works from jazz heavyweights and newcomers since 2017. Downbeat magazine called the band trombone ecstasy. Bonegasm has recorded three albums: Bonegasm (2019), Not a Novelty (2021) and newly released, Grit & Grace (October 2023). They have been awarded grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts Women’s Fund, Chamber Music America, and Jazz Road.

Wharton is currently performing on Broadway in Sweeney Todd and has held positions at Paradise Square, West Side Story, King Kong, Beautiful, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Jekyll and Hyde, Scandalous, Wonderland, 9 to 5, and Curtains, as well as subbing in many other Broadway productions. She has won the Radio City Christmas Spectacular bass trombone chair six times.

In addition to being an in-demand freelancer, Wharton is an active studio musician. She can be heard streaming on shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, both seasons of Schmigadoon, Vivo, and Jerry Seinfeld at The Beacon, The Incredibles 2, The Greatest Showman, and more. She has also been on over 40 big band recordings.

She is a member of four Grammy-nominated ensembles, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Alan Ferber Big Band, and the Terraza Big Band. Wharton also plays in the Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra, which won the 2023 Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. She has performed on the Grammy-nominated cast albums for The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess, 9 to 5:The Musical, and Curtains, as well as the Grammy-winning recording of Beautiful, The Carole King Musical.

Wharton is an XO Professional Brass artist and plays their 1240-LT bass trombone. She teaches bass trombone at Rutgers University and Montclair State University in New Jersey and gives clinics and master classes regularly throughout the United States.

Most Memorable Gig: “With my band, the gig right after my dad passed away. It was literally two weeks after he died. I don’t remember how I played or anything, but I remember it being a very soft landing for me emotionally. Music heals!

“Or if you are asking most memorable gig ever—probably playing tuba, simulating fog horn sounds for a Brooklyn Academy of Music benefit. I was on a pedestal, all alone with a striped sailor shirt on. Every time a light was shone on me, I was supposed to play three long, low notes. Weird, but memorable!”

Advice for Other Musicians: “If someone is tearing you down, that person is not for you. Doesn’t matter if it is a teacher, parent, friend, or colleague. They are not for you. Find your people and your life (and music) will be better.”

On Joining the Union: “I’ve been a member of two locals. The first was Local 6 (San Francisco, CA). I joined in 2000 when I started doing Chinese funerals in—a union gig! That is where I met the person who hired me for my first musical—the pre-Broadway run of Wicked. When I moved back to NYC in 2005, I joined Local 802 fairly quickly and started subbing on the Broadway production a couple months later.”  ---  Make every gig a Union Gig!
Are you a solo artist, the leader of an ensemble, or self-contained band? Are you a member looking for a platform where every gig will be a union gig? 
If so, AFM Entertainment is here for you. Net wages will be at or above local union wage scales, and locals will receive both work dues, if applicable, and contracts. We handle all communications with potential bookers, allowing you to focus on your music and performance.
Bookings include corporate and private events/parties, municipal and labor events, sporting events, weddings, and more.
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