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A Portland, Oregon, native, Gavin Bondy took up trumpet at the age of nine under traditional jazz player Warren Dillon, and piano at the age of 12 under Carolyn Boomer. In his late twenties, amidst the doubts of his peers, he began to prove he could make his living as a freelance musician in Portland, playing in every imaginable circumstance. He joined Pink Martini in 1996. Early in 1999, Gavin began creating The Shanghai Woolies, showcasing the early music of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and others. Among its highlights are 27 full-band transcriptions of early Louis Armstrong performances. He led the Woolies until 2012, while touring with Pink Martini. In 2014, Gavin and two friends formed Kate and the Crocodiles, in which he plays French horn, alto horn, mellophone, flugelhorn, cornet, and occasionally, trumpet.