Vincent Gardner was born in Chicago, and as an early musician, he started on violin, but soon switched to saxophone and French horn. Since his father and brother played trumpet, he decided to play trombone. He developed a strong interest in jazz music after being introduced to trombonist J.J. Johnson while playing in an award winning Hampton City Band while in high school.
Gardner attended Florida A & M and the University of North Florida, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in jazz trombone in 1996. He then moved to Brooklyn and began playing with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Illinois Jaquet, the Saturday Night Live Band, Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath and others.
He is lead trombonist with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has taught classes in their Jazz 101 series of sessions for adults and is the director of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra.