Rising Moorestown Musician Featured on Magazine Cover

NEW JERSEY — If you had asked Moorestown native Liam Sutcliffe about 15 years ago if he had ever seen himself on the cover of a magazine playing the trumpet, he would probably have answered “no.”

This is because his first instrumental experience came from ticking the ivories of a piano, not pressing the buttons of a trumpet.

“When I was about eight, my mom made me take piano lessons,” Sutcliffe told Patch in an interview. “I wasn’t really into it, [but] she should really force me to take piano lessons.”

Watching a video of Dizzy Gillespie convinced him to switch to trumpeting. He hasn’t given up copper for most of the past 13 years, he continued.

“I really liked the music I heard, even though I hadn’t heard much of this type of music before,” Sutcliffe said.

He soon began watching and listening to South Jersey musician Bob Pollitt.

Pollitt, according to the perhaps aptly named Jersey Jazz magazine, had previously played with some of the biggest names in jazz history, including John Coltrane and Sonny Stitt.

Making the switch and watching Pollitt seems to have paid off for Sutcliffe.

This story from the February 2017 patch discussed the winners of that year’s Berklee Jazz Festival, including how Sutcliffe won the Judges’ Choice award in the competition’s large ensemble division.

Then in May 2021, Patch mentioned how he and his band would be attending a series of Sunday brunches at Lillipies Bakery in Princeton.

In the years between those bookends, Sutcliffe enrolled in the jazz studies program at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts. Then, last spring, he was named the first recipient of a $1,000 performance grant from the New Jersey Jazz Society.

“The competition was open to all students currently enrolled in a New Jersey undergraduate music program. In addition to cash prizes, winning students will also receive counseling, mentorship, and the opportunity to perform with a music professional. industry,” said Jersey Jazz.

Sutcliffe told Patch that another benefit of winning the scholarship was not immediately known.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” he said of the cover of Jersey Jazz’s June issue. “I just knew I was going to be featured in an article in the magazine.”

When not practicing the trumpet, Sutcliffe said he spends most of his time playing in one of many different bands and teaching the next generation of trumpeters.

“Being a complete trumpeter and musician has also made me a better jazz player,” he told Jersey Jazz.

Do you have a topical tip? Story idea? Email me with the details at [email protected]