As a young musician on a coast to coast USA tour with Columbia Records, Jr Choy, born Delano Choy Jr. was referred to by a music critic after one of the concert performances as an “erupting Volcano” on the trumpet, who hails from Hawaii. The other musicians on the tour jumped on that immediately and so “Volcano” has been his nick-name ever since for some 25 years now. Born into a musical family, being the nephew of Alto Sax Great, Gabe Baltazar of Stan Kenton and LA studios fame (Mother's side), and Father a retired career musician, Volcano joined the Musicians Union Local 677 in Honolulu as a teenager.
He soon landed a gig being the horn voice in a quartet led by one of the great piano players from Hawaii, Betty Lou Taylor, aka “Lady Fingers," and they backed Hawaii’s Premier Jazz vocalist, Jimmy Borges. Together they held a gig performing 6 nights a week for a couple of years at the Hyatt Regency’s upscale supper club called “Trappers” located on the strip in Waikiki.
"This was such a great learning experience for me being a young guy, to play every night with such wonderful musicians! Betty Lou Taylor knew every tune in the book and could play it in any key at the drop of a hat, and so for me, it was like going to school every night! The Hyatt also brought in a featured Jazz Artist every couple of months and we were the house band, so I got to perform with Jazz Greats like Bobby Hutcherson, Stan Getz, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Sample, Anita O’Day and Bill Watrous to name a few!”
Trumpet greats Freddie Hubbard and Wynton Marsalis both urged Volcano that if he wanted to grow as a Jazz Artist, he would likely have to leave his native Hawaii and relocate to the 'Mainland.' He soon got an offer for a steady gig at Walt Disney World in Orlando which gave him the opportunity to leave Hawaii and relocate to Orlando where he lived and performed for the next 3 years.
After getting married, Volcano and his wife, Terri, resided for a number of years in Pittsburgh, PA, where he landed the trumpet chair with one of the great living Jazz drummers, Rodger Humphries. In Volcano's own words: “When I first walked in that club in Pittsburgh, Rodger Humphries was playing. I could not see him, but at that moment, from what I was hearing, I knew that THIS WAS IT! I asked if I could sit in, being new in town, after the set, he asked for my number. Then a couple weeks later, he called and invited me to join the band! With all due respect to Hawaii and my up-bringing there, I myself along with many of his band alumni that has had the privilege to work with him through the years, refer to him as our “Musical Dad." And along with that, I consider Pittsburgh to be my “Musical Home," because there is a vibrant music scene there with a lot of great musicians. I really “grew up” musically there and really am forever indebted to Rodger Humphries for giving me that opportunity to be a part of his group for some 7 years.”
Currently residing in Cleveland, Ohio, Volcano continues to perform not only as a Trumpeter/Vocalist, but also as a Pianist/keyboardist and Ukulele Player!