Jazz Artists

John “Lil John” Lumpkin

After speaking to his young drummers about showing love for music, John Lumpkin, Jr. sat down at his drum kit and pounded out an example that left them smiling. John Lumpkin, Jr. conducted a jazz drum set clinic Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at the University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, FL. (The Florida Times-Union/Bruce Lipsky)

John “Lil John” Lumpkin is an up-and-coming producer, arranger, and drummer through the Jazz, R&B and Gospel scene.

John grew up in the Pentecostal church and still plans to exercise his gifts there as well as other national venues. He says, “The church is the root of my zeal for music and forever shall be”.

His decision to become a professional musician came through an audition at Florida Community College of Jacksonville’s South Campus. It was at this present time that band director Paul Weikle helped him to establish a future as a professional musician.

He obtained a Bachelors Degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Florida under the direction of Danny Gottlieb and Charlotte Mabrey.  He received his Masters Degree from Florida State University under the leadership of Leon Anderson and Marcus Roberts.

“Lil John’s” style is driven by simplicity and repetition, somewhat of the attributes of the African drum. He says, “I love the atmosphere that a constant pulse creates. You can create anything musically with a strong root of rhythm and everyone within the the spirit of music can support the drive. My overall style depends on the subject at hand musically, but the root of Pentecost will never change within my hands.”

Through his career John has shared the stage with greats such as Arturo Sandoval, Ben Tucker, Curtis Fuller, David Baker, Delfeayo Marsalis, Ed Calle, Hironobu Saito, Houston Pearson, Isaac Byrd, Jr., James Moody, Jon Irabagon, Jon Reshard, Kevin Bales, Lynne Arriale, Marco Panascia, Marcus Printup, Marcus Roberts, Nathan Davis, Pat Bianchi, Rodney Jordan, Rufus Reid, Slide Hampton, Stephanie Jordan, Wallace Roney, Winard Harper, and Wycliff Gordon.

He also has worked within the gospel industry with musicians such as Calvin Rodgers, George “Spanky” McCurdy, Jeremy Haynes, Kim Burrell, Stephen Hurd, Pastor Lamar Simmons, Leon Timbo, and Lisa McClendon.

John’s many recognition’s include the 2005 IAJE Community College All-Star Big Band, invitations to participate in the 2008 Steans Institute for Young Artists in Chicago directed by Dr. David Baker, and the 2009 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., to which he was then place in DownBeat Magazine in March 5, 2009.

John "Lil John" Lumpkin

John “Lil John” Lumpkin

John’s future plans include touring, recording, teaching his private students, and pursuing his spiritually led professional career.  His ultimate goal is to become the instrument that Jesus Christ would have him to be to the world.


  • 2005 IAJE Community College All-Star Big Band
  • 2008 Steans Institute for Young Artists
  • 2009 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. to which he was then place in DownBeat Magazine in March 5, 2009.

The first time I heard or should I say felt John Lumpkin give life to drum, I believe the sound had a spirit of it’s own. My inner being took flight to the heavens and to the ends of the earth… the awe of his ministering allowed me to dance with the Ancient. I could only inhale joy as he took my breath away. — PEF