While it's sad to see a good thing end, the Savannah Jazz Festival finale offers a chance to hear the music of the renowned Jon Faddis.

"He is and has been one of the premier jazz trumpeters for many, many years," says Howard Paul, a Coastal Jazz Association Hall of Fame guitarist and CEO of Benedetto Guitars. "He is a brilliant, brilliant trumpet player, one of the greats."

In addition to playing trumpet, Faddis is a conductor, composer and educator. Born in Oakland, Calif., he began playing trumpet at the age of 7 after seeing Louis Armstrong on the "Ed Sullivan Show."

At age 10, Faddis began learning Dizzy Gillespie's music. He had the opportunity to meet Gillespie at the Monterey Jazz Festival when he was 15.

At the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco, Gillespie invited Faddis to sit in and play with him. As a result, Gillespie became Faddis' mentor, and their friendship lasted for 30 years.

In Savannah, Faddis is going to honor his mentor.

"I sent down some arrangements of Dizzy Gillespie's music," Faddis says. "I'm going to be playing with Randy Reese, who's going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. We'll be doing a celebration of Dizzy Gillespie."

When listing the highlights of his career, Faddis names Gillespie first.

"The first time I played with Dizzy at the Jazz Workshop of San Francisco is one highlight," Faddis saying. "Playing with Dizzy at the White House is another.

"I had a chance to record with Duke Ellington, of doing a duet with Eubie Blake," he says. "I led the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band for 10 years."

After high school graduation, Faddis joined Lionel Hampton's band as a featured soloist. Faddis moved to New York and became lead trumpeter for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band.

Faddis has performed and recorded with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Gil Evans and Charles Mingus. His album, "Teranga," was released in 2006 and his recording credits include more than 500 albums, including soundtracks for film and television.

Today, Faddis also teaches music.

"It's part of my DNA," he says. "My father was a teacher.

"I learn so much from the kids," Faddis says. "Hearing them work and hearing their talent and trying to help nurture and guide them - it's really rewarding."

Faddis began composing after taking lessons.

"Sometimes you hear about musicians who can visualize a composition and write it down," he says. "I remember one time I had a dream that I wrote some music.

"I got up in a sleep stupor and went to the piano and wrote it down and went back to sleep," Faddis says. "When I woke up I went to the piano to play it, and it was awful. My process of composing is to sit at the piano and work things out at the piano."

Faddis finds all aspects of his career rewarding.

"Conducting is always something special, teaching is special, and composing and playing music are very, very special," he says. "All of those are parts of me and I enjoy them equally."

Faddis has played the Savannah Jazz Festival before.

"I'm excited to be coming down to Savannah again," he says. "I know this is a free festival put on by the city.

"I really appreciate the fact that the festival happens," Faddis says. "There aren't too many festivals supported by cities; they usually have sponsors who want big rock stars. A jazz festival is something rare."