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Tony, Winning

By Jerry Hicks

Photography by Becca Batista

11.20.17

Fresh off the debut of a holiday duet with Jane Lynch and Dick Van Dyke, local musician Tony Guerrero hits a high note.

HER HUMOR IS known as acerbic, sardonic. His is friendly, charming. But O.C. songwriter-producer Tony Guerrero discovered that Glee’s Jane Lynch and TV icon Dick Van Dyke were huge fans of one another—so much so, in fact, that asking them to duet on his holiday track “We’re Going Caroling” didn’t take much convincing. It’s the latest example of Guerrero’s three decades of unique musical stylings.

Songwriter, arranger, producer, studio musician and on-the-road trumpeter, Guerrero’s sound runs the gamut from jazz to rock to big band—he even spent a decade as the director of creative arts at Saddleback Church. He’s produced 12 solo albums of his own and worked with scores of greats: Freddie Hubbard, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Paul McCartney and Billy Idol, among them. There was also a performance with Chance the Rapper at the Grammys last year. While he’s touched countless genres, jazz remains Guerrero’s primary love (he collects Louis Armstrong memorabilia). “The great trumpet player Freddie Hubbard was nicer to me than he ever needed to be,” Guerrero recalls. “He would often call just to chat about music.”

All that experience has lent itself well to Guerrero’s role as musical director for Jane Lynch’s touring cabaret show (she’ll stop by O.C. Jan. 18 at the Irvine Barclay). “She would tell the audience how much she loved the old Dick Van Dyke TV show,” he shares of his thought to put the two together. This year, Guerrero played solo trumpet and sang a duet on a jazz album with Van Dyke, who’s still making music at 91. “He was everything you would expect [him] to be—just marvelous.”
Another phase to Guerrero’s life: He and wife Candice are working to stop human trafficking through their nonprofit, FACT Alliance. While the New Year will take him out on the road with Lynch again, his trumpet and composing pen are always in perfect harmony with passion for the org, which took root a decade ago. How’s that for art and soul? 

Shot on location at Master Recording Studios in Tustin