Kirk Garrison is a professional musician residing in the Chicago area. He attended Mankato State University in his home state of Minnesota from 1978-1983. During a nine year United States Air Force Band career he developed his unique abilities as a lead trumpet player, creative jazz soloist and writer. One of the peaks of his military career was an assignment as musical director for a select band deployed to the Middle East during operation Desert Storm. Kirk left the Air Force in 1992 to complete his Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies at DePaul University (June 1995). While at DePaul he received many music awards and academic honors, including Downbeat Magazine's Outstanding Jazz Soloist (1995), and Outstanding Combo Awards (1994).
Kirk performs and records with several notable jazz ensembles throughout the country. Recent performance credits include, The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra Brass (Blechschaden), the Chicago Jazz Festival, The Chicago Blues Festival, and with the Ravinia Festival Orchestra. His compositions and arrangements are used in an array of contemporary performing mediums throughout the music industry. Commissions include: DePaul Univerity, Rob Parton's Jazz Tech Big Band, The Chicago String Ensemble under the direction of Allan Lewis, the Millar Brass Ensemble at Northwestern University, and dozens of other professional organizations.
Howard Reich, jazz critic for the Chicago Tribune wrote, "The spectacular trumpet solo that Kirk Garrison offered... reminded listeners why the Jazz Members Big Band stands among the best repertory units in the country." Cadence Magazine's jazz critic Jack Bowers wrote "Kirk Garrison's marvelous trumpet work ... so moving it brought tears to my eyes." His trumpet artistry was described as "cool work" by John Von Rhein, music critic of the Chicago Tribune. John Killoch of Mainly Big Bands (UK) wrote in a review, "This guy nails the section with a big, accurate lead sound and when he flexes his chops ... the sound is again right down the middle, in tune, big and so high. Musical is a good way to put it. An object lesson to anyone who aspires to be a top lead trumpeter."