Jazz critic Ben Ratliff of the New York Times has described Shorter as "probably jazz's greatest living small-group composer and a contender for greatest living improviser." Many of Shorter's compositions have become jazz standards. His output has earned worldwide recognition, critical praise and various commendations, including 10 Grammy Awards. He has also received acclaim for his mastery of the soprano saxophone (after switching his focus from the tenor in the late 1960s), beginning an extended reign in 1970 as Down Beat's annual poll-winner on that instrument, winning the critics' poll for 10 consecutive years and the readers' for 18.
Shorter first came to wide prominence in the late 1950s as a member of, and eventually primary composer for, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. In the 1960s, he went on to join Miles Davis'sSecond Great Quintet, and from there he co-founded the jazz fusion band Weather Report. He has recorded over 20 albums as a bandleader.
Wayne Shorter is playing TENOR METAL JAZZ # 10*
World-renowned saxophonist Branford Marsalis, born in 1960, has always been a man of numerous musical interests, from jazz, blues and funk to such classical music projects as his Fall 2008 tour with Marsalis Brasilianos. The three-time Grammy winner has continued to exercise and expand his skills as an instrumentalist, a composer, and the head of Marsalis Music, the label he founded in 2002 that has allowed him to produce both his own projects and those of the jazz world’s most promising new and established artists.
The New Orleans native was born into one of the city’s most distinguished musical families, which includes patriarch/pianist/educator Ellis and Branford’s siblings Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. Branford gained initial acclaim through his work with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and his brother Wynton’s quintet in the early 1980s before forming his own ensemble. He has also performed and recorded with a who’s-who of jazz giants including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Sonny Rollins.
Known for his innovative spirit and broad musical scope, Branford is equally at home on the stages of the world’s greatest clubs and concert halls, where he has performed jazz with his Quartet and his own unique musical approach to contemporary popular music with his band Buckshot LeFonque. In recent years, Branford also has become increasingly active as a featured soloist with such acclaimed orchestras as the Chicago, Detroit, Düsseldorf and North Carolina Symphonies and the Boston Pops, in a growing repertoire that includes compositions by Copland, Debussy, Glazunov, Ibert, Mahler, Mihaud, Rorem and Vaughan Williams.
As Marsalis continues to establish his presence in the classical realm, his propensity for innovative and forward thinking compels him to seek new and challenging works by modern classical composers. One such composer, Sally Beamish, after hearing Branford perform her composition “The Imagined Sound of Sun on Stone” at the 2006 North Sea Jazz Festival, was inspired to reconceive a piece in progress, “Under the Wing of the Rock,” which he premiered as part of the Celtic Connections festival Beamish’s home country of Scotland in January 2009. This performance followed on the heels of his two month classical tour with the Philarmonia Brasileira in a program featuring the music of Brazil’s master composer Heitor Villa Lobos and his friend, French composer Darius Milhaud, allowing the saxophonist the opportunity to more thoroughly engage the music and make it his own.
Marsalis’s nearly two dozen recordings in these various styles have received numerous accolades, with his latest CD, Metamorphosen, scheduled for release in March 2009. Metamorphosen marks the tenth anniversary of Marsalis’ quartet, which features pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, and includes original compositions by all four members in a variety of moods, as well as features for Marsalis on tenor, soprano and alto saxophones.
His previous disc, the Grammy-nominated Braggtown, was acknowledged as his quartet’s greatest recorded achievement to date. The Marsalis quartet’s Eternal also received a Grammy nomination as well as virtually universal inclusion in lists and polls for the best jazz recording of 2004. Marsalis’ playing on the DVD Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ Live in Amsterdam also received a Grammy nomination for best instrumental jazz solo, while also garnering awards for music and video excellence from the DVD Association.
Marsalis is also dedicated to changing the future of jazz in the classroom. He has shared his knowledge at such universities as Michigan State, San Francisco State, Stanford and North Carolina Central, with his full quartet participating in an innovative extended residency at the NCCU campus. Beyond these efforts, he is also bringing a new approach to jazz education to student musicians and listeners in colleges and high schools through Marsalis Jams, an interactive program designed by Marsalis in which leading jazz ensembles present concert/jam sessions in mini-residencies. Marsalis Jams has visited campuses in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Southwest, and established an ongoing Marsalis Berklee Jams series with the Berklee College of Music in 2008.
These diverse interests are also reflected in Marsalis’ other activities. He spent two years touring and recording with Sting, and was the musical director of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for two years in the 1990s. He has collaborated with the Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby, acted in films including Throw Mama from the Train and School Daze, provided music for Mo’ Better Blues and other films and hosted National Public Radio’s syndicated program Jazz Set.
Among the most socially conscious voices in the arts, Marsalis quickly immersed himself in relief efforts following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. He is the honorary chair of the New Orleans Habitat for Humanity effort to rebuild the city, and together with his friend Harry Connick, Jr. conceived the Habitat Musicians' Village currently under construction in the city's historic Ninth Ward.
Whether on the stage, in the recording studio, in the classroom or in the community, Branford Marsalis represents a commitment to musical excellence and a determination to keep music at the forefront.
Brian Landrus is a low woodwind player and composer based in Brooklyn NY. He grew up in Reno NV and was born September 14th, 1978. He began playing saxophone at 12 and was performing professionally by 15. He has become one of the strongest original voices in the music world on baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, bass saxophone, bass flute, and alto flute. He specializes on the low end of the audio spectrum but plays nearly all woodwind instruments. He has been called a "Low Woodwind Expert" by Time Out New York, and a "baritone saxophone and bass clarinet ace", by JazzTimes. He has been voted rising star baritone saxophonist in Downbeat Magazine's International Critics Poll in 2012, 2011, & 2010. Landrus plays in many different ensembles and currently tours the world in Esperanza Spalding's band where he plays baritone and tenor saxophone.
Landrus started his own record label, BlueLand Records in 2011 and has released two CDs on it with a third already recorded and to be released in 2013. "Traverse" was released in 2011 with the Brian Landrus Quartet featuring Michael Cain on piano, Lonnie Plaxico on acoustic bass, and Billy Hart on drums. "Capsule" by the Brian Landrus Kaleidoscope was also released in 2011. This band features Nir Felder on guitar, Michael Cain on Rhodes & piano, Matthew Parish on acoustic bass, and Rudy Royston on drums. The third recording on BlueLand will be released in 2013 with the Landrus Kaleidoscope plus string quartet. The band is Brian Landrus on bari sax, bass sax, bass clarinet, contra alto clarinet, and bass flute. Nir Felder on guitar, Frank Carlberg on Rhodes and piano, Lonnie Plaxico on acoustic and electric bass, Rudy Royston on drums, Mark Feldman on violin, Joyce Hammann on violin, Judith Insell on viola, Jody Redhage on cello, and Ryan Truesdell conducting and co-producing. All the music on these recordings was composed and arranged by Brian Landrus.
He has been blessed to play with some of the greatest musicians in the world including Bob Brookmeyer, Jerry Bergonzi, Rufus Reid, Lonnie Plaxico, Michael Cain, Danilo Perez, Frank Carlberg, Ryan Truesdell, Frank Kimbrough, Gary Smulyan, Ronnie Cuber, Maria Schneider, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Martha Reeves, The Coasters, The Drifters, George Garzone, Jason Palmer, Billy Hart, Rakalam Bob Moses, Esperanza Spalding, Louis Nash, Peter Epstein, Nicholas Urie, Darryl Harper, David Ake, Allan Chase, Francis Vanek, John Lockwood, Ayn Inserto, Alan Ferber, Omar Thomas, Scott Robinson, Ralph Alessi, and many more.
Brian earned his Bachelor's degree in saxophone performance at UNR and two Master of Music Degrees at the New England Conservatory. One in Jazz Composition, and the other in Jazz Saxophone. Brian teaches at The 92Y School of Music in NYC & The Lagond Music School in Westchester NY.
Mark Turner is one of the most admired saxophonists of his generation, renowned for his exploratory intellect and intimate expressivity on the full range of the tenor horn. Lathe of Heaven is his sixth album as a leader, but the first under his own name since 2001. It’s also his debut as a leader for ECM, following two fine albums for the label in the cooperative trio Fly with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard, plus appearances on key ECM recordings by Billy Hart and Enrico Rava. Turner leads a quartet of kindred spirits here, often entwining with rising star trumpeter Avishai Cohen as they play long, introspective lines of hypnotic grace; and with the lithe rhythm section of bassist Joe Martin and drummer Marcus Gilmore, there is subtle volatility in the air.
Playing Tenor Hard Rubber LR chamber #7
David Liebman was born in Brooklyn, New York on September 4, 1946. He began classical piano lessons at the age of nine and saxophone by twelve. His interest in jazz was sparked by seeing John Coltrane perform live in New York City clubs such as Birdland, Village Vanguard and Half Note. Throughout high school and college, Liebman pursued his jazz interest by studying with saxophone guru Joe Allard as well as jazz musicians Lennie Tristano and Charles Lloyd. Upon graduation from New York University (with a degree in American History), he began to seriously devote himself to the full time pursuit of being a jazz artist.
In the early 1970s, Liebman took the leading organizational role as Founder and President of Free Life Communication, a cooperative of several dozen young musical. Free Life became an integral part of the fertile New York "loft" jazz scene in this period and was funded by The New York State Council of the Arts with a residence in the Space for Innovative Development with several other famous performing groups (the Alwin Nicolais Ballet Company).
After one year spent with Ten Wheel Drive, one of the early jazz fusion groups, Liebman secured the coveted saxophone/flute position in the group of John Coltrane’s ex-drummer, Elvin Jones. Within two years, Liebman reached the zenith of his apprenticeship period when the legendary trumpeter Miles Davis hired him. These years from 1970 thru 1974 were filled with tours, recordings and the incredible experience gained by being on the band stand with two masters of jazz. At the same time, Liebman began exploring his own music-first in the Open Sky Trio with Bob Moses and then with pianist Richie Beirach in the group Lookout Farm. This group recorded for the German based ECM label as well as A&M Records and touring the U.S., Canada, India, Japan and Europe.
In 1977, Liebman did a world tour with pianist Chick Corea followed by the formation of the David Liebman Quintet with John Scofield as featured sideman. After several world tours and recordings by the quintet over three years, he reunited with Richard Beirach in the duo format and formed the group Quest in 1981. Beginning with bassist George Mraz and drummer Al Foster, the group solidified with the addition of bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart. Through 1991 the group recorded seven CDs, toured extensively and did many workshops with students worldwide, garnering high critical praise worldwide. The group has reunited for special tours and recordings since 2005.
From 1991 through 2012, the Dave Liebman Group featuring guitarist Vic Juris toured and recorded nearly twenty CDs representing a very n eclectic direction that ranged from jazz standards to Puccini arias, adaptations from the John Coltrane and Miles Davis repertoires, as well as original compositions in styles ranging from world music to fusion and free jazz, always maintaining a repertoire that balances the past, present and future.
Over the past several decades, Liebman has often been featured with top European musicians such as Joachim Kuhn, Daniel Humair, Paolo Fresu, Jon Christensen, Bobo Stenson, Michel Portal, Wolfgang Reisinger and Jean-Paul Celea among others. His reputation in Europe has led to big band and radio orchestra performances with the WDR in Koln, Germany; Metropole Orchestra, Netherlands; “new music” groups Klangforum, Vienna, and the Ensemble Intercontemporain from Paris, Avanti from Helsinki, Finland playing music specially commissioned to feature Lieb's unique soprano saxophone style.
David has been featured on over five three hundred recordings, of which he has been the leader or co-leader on nearly two hundred with several hundred original compositions written and recorded. His artistic output has ranged from straight ahead classic jazz to chamber music; from fusion to avant garde and world music. Other ongoing performing/recording combinations include the group “Different But The Same” featuring saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, drummer Jim Black and bassist Tony Marino; the “We3” trio with bassist/composer extraordinaire Steve Swallow and long time Lieb associate Adam Nussbaum on drums; duo work with both pianists Phil Markowitz and Marc Copland.
His newest group formed in 2013 features musicians from the new generation of jazz players living in New York; Bobby Avey on piano, Matt Vashlishan on reeds, Alex Ritz on drums along with the perennial Tony Marino on bass. The music for this group reflects current trends and styles being played by the new crop of jazz players.
Lieb’s published materials include a wide variety of books considered classics in the field as well as instructional DVDs and chamber music (Aebersold Publications, Caris Music and Advance Music): Self Portrait of A Jazz Artist, A Chromatic Approach to Jazz Harmony And Melody, Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound, several of which have been translated into multiple languages. Liebman’s biography is titled “What It Is”-The Life Of A Jazz Artist in conversation with Lewis Porter (Scarecrow Press).
His teaching activities at universities and in clinic settings have taken him literally around the world as a result of his varied musical directions and expertise on several instruments, along with an ability to articulate the intricacies of the jazz language, aesthetic and technique. Over the years, he has regularly received grantees to study with him funded by the NEA (U.S.), the Canadian Arts Council, as well as arts councils of numerous European countries. In 1989 he founded theInternational Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ), an organization dedicated to networking educators and students from international jazz schools through periodic meetings, exchange programs and newsletters. Liebman presently serves as the Artistic Director of the IASJ and is Artist in Residence at the Manhattan School of Music, NYC. He has consistently placed among the top three finalists of the Downbeat Critics Poll since 1973 in the Soprano Saxophone category, gaining the top place in 2011 as well as placing first in the Jazz Times Critic’s Poll in the same year.
David playing is new Hard Rubber Soprano AT chamber custom #9*
Walter Smith III
“A line of fans young and old hoping to see a show that had sold out of advance tickets
stretched past a nearby ramen shop...This was a Jazz show, mind you. In 2012.” From a recent
performance review, The Los Angeles Times simply states the future of Jazz is bright with rising
saxophonist Walter Smith III. !
! Although it may appear Smith is a young gun on the scene at age 31, he is widely
recognized as an adept performer, accomplished composer, and inspired educator. Smith’s
debut recording as a leader was released in March of 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent
label and features many of the brightest young Jazz talents. His sophomore release, titled "Live
in France", was released in October 2009 to critical acclaim. His most recent album, “III”, was a
top 10 best seller on iTunes. Currently signed to Concord Records, Walter is working on a new
project titled “Still Casual” that is set for a fall 2014 release featuring a quintet of Jazz’s most in
demand artists (www.waltersmith3.com for more info).!
! In the Jazz tradition, Smith has developed under the wings of many of the music’s
greats. Walter is/has been a member of several legendary groups (recording and/or touring)
including the Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band, Terence Blanchard Quintet, Eric Harland's
Voyager Band, Jason Moran’s In My Mind:Monk at Town Hall, and the Christian McBride
Situation band. Smith has performed all over the world participating in numerous international
festivals as well as famed venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. In addition,
he has shared the stage and/or appeared on recordings with many Jazz notables including Roy
Haynes, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Lovano, Walter Beasley, Terri Lynne Carrington, and a
host of others. To date, Walter has appeared on over 75 recordings that are released
! With his fresh sound and compelling original compositions, Smith is consistently called
as a sideman in some of Jazz’s developing and gifted bands currently touring with Ambrose
Akinmusire's Quintet (2013 Downbeat Rising Star group of the year), and Eric Harland's
! Originally from Houston, TX, where he attended Houston’s HSPVA, Smith now resides in
the Los Angeles, CA area. When not on the road, Walter utilizes his Music Education degree
from Berklee College of Music, Master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music, and Graduate
Certiﬁcate in Performance from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz to teach the next
generation of Jazz students.
Ravi Coltrane is a critically acclaimed and Grammy nominated saxophonist, bandleader, and composer. Since 1991, Mr. Coltrane has worked as a sideman with many jazz luminaries, recorded noteworthy albums for himself and others, overseen important jazz reissues, and founded the prominent independent record label, RKM.
Born in Long Island, New York in 1965, the second son of John and Alice Coltrane, Ravi was named after Indian sitar legend Ravi Shankar. Shortly thereafter the family moved to the Los Angeles, where Ravi first began developing his own personal interest in the arts. As young man, he initially began playing clarinet and switched to saxophone in high school. He continued his studies at California Institute of the Arts.
In 1991, his father's renowned drummer, Elvin Jones, saw in Ravi an emergent authentic performer, and hired Ravi to play with his band. After his tenure with Elvin, Ravi found himself working alongside a list of names that reads like the Who's Who of American Jazz and Pop, including: McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Michael Brecker, George Duke, Stanley Clarke Jeff "Tain" Watts, Branford Marsalis, Mark Turner, Jacky Terrasson, Jack DeJohnnette, Rashied Ali, Wallace Roney, Antoine Roney, Geri Allen, Kenny Barron, Cindy Blackman, Joe Lovano, Joanne Brackeen, Gerry Gibbs, Graham Haynes, and Steve Coleman for whom he appears on several albums.
Indeed, Ravi's credits include recording on well over thirty recordings as a sideman.
In 1997 Ravi recorded his first album as a leader, MOVING PICTURES (RCA Victor). Critical acclaim arrived with the release of his second release, FROM THE ROUND BOX (2000). Ravi's third album, MAD 6 (Columbia) gathered even more worldwide interest and recognition for now assured artist.
In 2004, Ravi took a break from his own projects in order to produce his mother's return to recording after a 26-year hiatus. That album, TRANSLINEAR LIGHT (Impulse!), featured an all-star ensemble whose members included Alice, Ravi, his brother Oran, Charlie Haden, Jack Dejohnette, James Genus, and Jeff Watts.
February of 2005 saw the release of Ravi's fourth album, IN FLUX (Savoy), which was voted the #3 top albums in The New York Times' prestigious 2005 year-end list.
Of IN FLUX, Ben Ratliff wrote in the New York Times:
"Mr. Coltrane avoids tired song structures and doesn't want to bore you. He's fascinated on one hand by miniatures and on the other by the idea of longer songs that sound like collective improvisation from start to finish. It's a record that you can point to and say: This is what jazz sounds like now."
BLENDING TIMES (Savoy), Ravi's fifth release arrives January 2009 and is already earning exemplary advance reviews.
Today, Ravi continues to balance family life with a variety of high profile musical projects. In 1999 he married his wife, Kathleen Hennessy. They have two sons, William and Aaron. He frequently tours the world with the Ravi Coltrane Quartet, a dynamic band whose members include pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Drew Gress and drummer E.J. Strickland.
Marcus Strickland (born 1979 in Gainesville, Florida) is a jazz soprano, alto and tenor saxophonist who grew up in Miami, Florida who currently lives in New York. Down Beat Magazine's Critic's Poll named Marcus 'Rising Star on Tenor Saxophone' in '10 and 'Rising Star on Soprano Saxophone' in '08 and JazzTimes Magazine's Reader's Poll named him 'Best New Artist' in '06, he placed third in the 2002 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.
The saxophonist also has seven releases as a leader: Triumph of the Heavy, Vol 1 & 2 ('11), Idiosyncrasies ('09), Open Reel Deck ('07), & Twi-Life ('06) on his own music label Strick Muzik (launched in 2006).; Of Song ('09) on Criss Cross Records; Brotherhood ('02) & At Last('01) on Fresh Sound Records.
In addition to his own trio and quartet, Marcus currently plays with Dave Douglas, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, and also had a five-year stint with legendary drummer Roy Haynes. Strickland has been on two Grammy-nominated recordings (Fountain of Youth - Roy Haynes & Keystone - Dave Douglas). He considers his father an early inspiration as he had been a drummer in jazz and rhythm and blues, but is now a lawyer. Marcus' identical twin brother E.J. Strickland is a drummer, and is currently a member of Marcus' quartet and leads his own quintet as well.
Alex Terrier was born in Paris, France, in 1980. He didn't grow up in a musical environment, but "the day I sat down to the piano was the first step to a life long journey into the world of music" Alex says. Studying classical piano for a few years, it was a shock when Alex Terrier, around age 12, heard Duke Ellington and the sound of saxophonist Johnny Hodges. That was the second step.
From that day on, Alex Terrier has been dedicating his life to Jazz: "I used to get up in the morning and play the piano half asleep, really first thing in the morning before breakfast. I would listen to music all the time, read, study... that's all I did when I was a kid". His first influences were Duke Ellington, Memphis Slim, Fats Domino, and Sydney Bechet, as these were the few LPs he found in his father's home office.
Alex Terrier received a Brevet de Technicien des Métiers de la Musique in Sèvres (it is hard to translate, but that could be Music Technologic Diploma) in 1999. He received a Médaille d'Or at the Ecole Nationale de Musique d'Evry before going toBerklee College of Music in 2004. He graduated from Berklee in 2007 with aDual Degree in Performance and Jazz Composition.
He has been since then an active member of the New York scene and has become the first French musician to be part of the legendary Mingus Big Band. He is anindie artist and has become what you could call a multiple threat: band leader, composer, arranger, teacher etc... Alex Terrier's latest album with pianist Kenny Barron is scheduled to be released in the Fall 2014.
A born leader, he manages his own bands both in North America with the Alex Terrier New York Quartet and Europe with the Alex Terrier European Quintet. He is also increasingly present in South America. "My goal is simple: try to create some beauty and share it. The magical couple hours I share with people during a concert help me keeping on. If I can help even just a few persons to feel better with my music, my life won't be totally useless".
Alex Terrier has been interested in composition since an early age, studying both classical and jazz masters: "When I was a kid I would do everything I could to study and understand how it was possible to write music. How could I write melodies like Bach, Debussy, Mozart? How could I orchestrate like Ravel? This is an impossible task to me. I just try my best and hope that someone will be moved by my music". His two albums feature his compositions. "Stop Requested" was recorded while he was still studying at Berklee and legendary George Garzonesupports his then student on 6 tracks. Joe Lovano talks about Alex Terrier as "a very gifted and expressive saxophonist [...] with a very strong developing conception as a composer and a soloist", and "Roundtrip", recorded in NYC in 2009, illustrates this quote perfectly.
Big band music has also been a huge part in Alex Terrier's love affair with jazz. He spent countless hours listening to and studying Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson etc... and modern ones such as Kenny Wheeler, Maria Schneider etc... Equally fascinated by European composers, Alex Terrier can write for jazz orchestra complex and intricated serial music for big band ("L'Heautontimoroumenos"), swing ("Like Someone In Love", "There Will Never Be Another You") or modern jazz ("Scrupules").
If you would like to discuss with Alex Terrier about some arranging work, contact him via the contact form here. Alex Terrier also offers transcription and copyist services.
As a teacher, Alex Terrier has been appreciated both by private students and in a class environment. The most commun comment is how passionate he is to share his knowledge and genuinely interested in students' progress. "I remember going to some classes or clinics when I was a kid and being so disapointed. You know, getting out of the class without knowing anything new or nothing to motivate me. Today that's the worst thing that could happen to me, someone telling me he/she didn't get anything from my class. Someone trusts me to learn something so I try my very best to share my knowledge in a relax and unintimidating way, but at the same time one has to understand that a serious commitment is necessary".
If interested in discussing with Alex Terrier about his teaching availability (one on one or group class, improvisation for all instruments, composition, arrangement, band mentoring etc...), you can contact him via the contact form here.
Alex Terrier is also having fun producing music for pictures. "I prefer music made by humans, no question about it. But I have to say it's a lot of fun to produce music with computers and the tools we have today are truly amazing. I like the challenge to write music specifically for a motion picture, it's a total different conception. It can be very inspiring".
In addition, Alex Terrier's passion for music has pushed him to learn also about the technologic part of his art and has become very knowledgable with saxophones and mouthpieces. In 2011 Alex Terrier teamed up with Fred Lebayle (Lebayle Mouthpieces) and together they designed a new mouthpiece model, the AT chamber. Click here to read Alex's blog about this.
Performing since age seven, bandleader of Funky Stuff since age fourteen, international recording artist since age nineteen, touring the world since age twenty.Has recorded and / or performed with artists like Prince, Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Van Morrison, Maceo Parker, Sheila E., Mavis Staples, Lionel Richie, Beyoncé, Pink Floyd, Chaka Khan, David Sanborn, Larry Graham, Marcus Miller, Aretha Franklin, Jimmy Cliff, George Duke, Blondie, Jools Holland, Jamie Cullum, Angie Stone, Tower of Power, The Time, Alan Parsons, Fred Wesley, Pee Wee Ellis, Joey DiFrancesco, Jonathan Butler, and many others.
‘Lily was here’ - her first collaboration with former Eurythmics Dave Stewart, in 1989 - was a Number 1 hit all over Europe, in 1999 they worked together on the soundtrack of the Robert Altman motion picture ‘Cookie’s Fortune’, and in 2002 they toured Europe with his project Da Univerzal Playaz, featuring reggae legend Jimmy Cliff.
Candy Dulfer’s 1990 solo debut album ‘Saxuality’, recorded at the age of nineteen, sold over a million copies worldwide and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Her fourth album ‘For the love of you’ (1997) was a major hit in the USA and remained in the Billboard charts for over forty weeks. Her sales for her solo albums are now well over two and a half million CD’s worldwide.
With Prince she appeared in the ‘Partyman’ video, was featured on the ‘Graffiti Bridge’ soundtrack and performed with him on a special anniversary edition of ‘Saturday Night Live’. In 1998 and 2002 she toured with him again and appeared on his 3-CD live box set ‘One Nite Alone... Live!’ as well as his internet-only released album ‘Xpectation’.
In 2004 Candy Dulfer joined Prince for the massive Musicology Tour, playing over ninety shows in sell-out arenas across the USA to over 1.5 million excited fans. Prior to the Musicology Tour she performed with Prince and Beyoncé at the prestigious Grammy Awards and also performed with Prince at Jay Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’. She also featured prominently - with sax and vocals - on Prince’s hit album ‘Musicology’, including the smashing duet ‘Life of the party’.
TV appearances include Jay Leno’s ‘Tonight Show’, ‘Good Morning America’, CNN’s ‘Showbiz Today’, ‘Saturday Night Live’, The Sinbad Show, and a recurring spot on The Arsenio Hall Show. All the major television shows in Japan. Her European TV shows include ‘Ohne Filter’, The Harald Schmidt Show, ‘Rockpalast’ and Pepe Linhardt.
Candy Dulfer has been touring the world with her own band Funky Stuff since the early nineties. From the Roxy in L.A. and the illustrious Bottom Line in New York to the Blue Note clubs in Japan and the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. She toured in Canada, USA, Asia, Scandinavia and the Baltic States, as well as performing in San Remo and Perugia, Italy, the Gurten Festival in Bern, Switzerland, the Nice Jazz and Vienne Festival in France, Couleur Locale in Brussels and of course the famous North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague where Candy Dulfer sold out their biggest venue for over thirteen years.
In 2003 Candy Dulfer’s song ‘Finsbury Park, Café 67’ (from her solo album ‘Right in my Soul’) became a major smash at all the smooth jazz stations across the USA and in October the song reached the Number 1 position on the R&R Smooth Jazz chart - making it the most played smooth jazz song in the USA.
Her second live album ‘Live at Montreux’ was released in 2005 on DVD and CD as part of the prestigious selection of releases by Eagle Vision from the archives of the legendary Montreux Jazz Festival.
In 2006 Candy Dulfer performed as a special guest at the renowned Berks Jazz Fest in the USA, followed by more shows in the States in July together with Jason Miles (of Miles Davis fame) with a band that included Candy’s fellow Prince band members Rhonda Smith and Chance Howard. By popular demand she once again returned to the famous Blue Note clubs in Japan for an extensive tour in October.
In between two American tours and shows in Japan, Candy wowed European festival crowds in 2007 with ‘Candy & Friends’. Spectacular concerts featuring her musical friends from around the world, including special guest star Rosie Gaines (of Prince fame). Earlier in 2007 Candy performed with Sheila E. for a European tour with her all-female band C.O.E.D.
Candy’s album ‘Candy Store’ was released in the summer of 2007. The fans’ excitement and many rave reviews propelled the album to #2 on the Billboard Jazz Contemporary Chart. In November, Candy once again hit #1 on the R&R Smooth Jazz Chart in the USA, with the single ‘L.A. Citylights’.
2007 also saw another longtime dream come true for Candy, with the start of her own television show ‘Candy Meets’ on Dutch primetime television - a series of six personal documentaries in which Candy visited some of her musical friends and heroes on location to discuss their careers and love for music. Guests included Dave Stewart, Maceo Parker, Mavis Staples, Sheila E. and her own father Hans Dulfer. The show concluded with a rare interview and impromptu performance with Van Morrison.
In 2008 she was awarded the Golden Harp for her outstanding contributions to music in the Netherlands. Due to popular demand she once again toured the USA and Japan, and also performed all over Europe and visited South Africa for the first time for a show at the famous Cape Town Jazz Festival. In between tours she is a regular co-host of the popular Dutch prime time television talk show ‘De Wereld Draait Door’.
In September she joined superstar Lionel Richie on stage for four nights at the ‘Symphonica in Rosso’ spectacle at the Gelredome Stadium in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
She finished 2008 with a special New Year’s Eve performance in front of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, where she and her band joined some of the greatest Dutch artists for a celebration of the New Year - attended by over 30,000 people.
Dutch fashion magazine Jackie named Candy 3rd Best Dressed woman in The Netherlands.
‘Funked Up & Chilled Out’ was released worldwide in 2009. To promote it she travelled around the world, together with her band, for a string of sold-out shows. For the first time in her career she performed in Moscow. Due to popular demand she returned to Russia in the fall for more shows. In May she performed an extensive tour of the USA, while she spend the summer months playing the larger stages of the most famous jazz festivals in Europe, such as the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, Nisville in Serbia and the Veszprem Jazzfest in Hungary.
After performing a string of shows in early 2010 with Maceo Parker at the Blue Note club in Tokyo, Japan, she returned to the Dutch club stages in March and April 2010 for a tour with her band. During the summer she performed shows in Korea, Denmark and Tunisia for the first time in her career, while also returning to Russia and Japan for more shows due to popular demand.
She finished 2010 with a five-week tour across the USA as a special guest of fellow saxophonist Dave Koz for his renowned Smooth Jazz Christmas Tour, and kicked off 2011 with shows during the Smooth Jazz Cruise in the Caribbean.
Candy started another exciting new chapter in her versatile career with the release of her latest album ‘Crazy’ in the Fall of 2011. The close collaboration with Black Eyed Peas musical director and producer Printz Board forms the foundation of the daring new sound of the album. For the other tracks on the album Candy once again collaborated with Dutch producer and longtime guitarist Ulco Bed, who was responsible for Candy’s first major hits in her career with the albums ‘Saxuality’ and ‘Sax-a-go-go’. After the album’s release she and her band toured in the USA and - for the first time in her career - in South America.
Candy and her band continued to hit the road in 2012 and performed all over the world, including Japan, the Netherlands and the rest of Europe, Russia, the Baltic States and the USA. In between gigs Candy hosted her own weekly radio show, ‘The Candy Store’, on Sublime FM.
She also started a close collaboration with leading fashion brand Mexx, playing special instore shows at their stores across Europe. Mexx and Candy are continuing their collaboration with a special collection designed by Candy and planned to be in stores later in 2013. Also, this year Candy is a judge on the Dutch edition of X Factor.
Melissa Aldana began playing saxophone at the tender age of 6. After watching pupils come in and out of her home in Santiago, Chile to take lessons from her father, Marcos Aldana – a renowned jazz saxophonist himself – the young Melissa would pester him to teach her as well. Her father began teaching her by showing her how to play two notes. From that moment, she was hooked and was finally given her first saxophone, an alto, and her father began teaching her how to play.
Marcos Aldana’s teaching technique included a great deal of transcription. “When I first started learning, we were using cassettes to transcribe,” says Melissa. “My dad would choose a song that he really liked, so the first person I learned from was Charlie Parker. We would take one phrase, and listen. Then, I would play it really slow, over and over, hundreds of times, until it sounded exactly like him. I think it’s one of the best ways to teach a little kid because I learned everything by listening to the masters.”
Melissa’s adolescence was filled with learning solos of many of the jazz greats including her father’s favorites; Parker, Cannonball Adderley, and Michael Brecker. But, as she grew up, she began branching out and discovering artists on her own. When she first heard Sonny Rollins, she was so influenced by him, that she asked her father to change from alto to tenor sax. Melissa’s grandfather, Enrique Aldana, was also a sax virtuoso, and taught Marcos how to play. Upon hearing her desire to switch, Marcos gave Melissa her grandfather’s Selmer Mark VI, which she still plays and records with today.
By her early teens, Melissa was frequenting the Santiago jazz clubs, and by 16, she was headlining sets at the Club de Jazz de Santiago, which, at the time, was the main hub of the Chilean jazz community. Around the same time, in 2005, Melissa caught wind that Panamanian jazz pianist Danilo Pérez was coming to Chile to perform with the Wayne Shorter Quartet, and was determined to meet him. Danilo’s wife was one of Marcos’ former students and Danilo was part of the faculty at Berklee College of Music. Melissa went down to sound check, introduced herself and, subsequently, Danilo invited her to play at the Panama Jazz Festival. Afterwards, Danilo was instrumental in bringing Melissa to the U.S. for the first time and helped to arrange auditions for her at both Berklee and the New England Conservatory.
Melissa was accepted at both schools and decided to attend Berklee. “I didn’t go to Berklee to learn how to play saxophone, because my father has already taught me how,” comments Aldana. “I went to grow as a musician, be around young musicians, and learn from the veterans.” In school, she did just that by playing with fellow students and studying under the likes of Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Frank Tiberi, Greg Osby, Hal Crook, Dave Santoro, Bill Pierce, Dino Govoni, and Ralph Peterson. She was also exposed to a great deal of recorded jazz music and cites Mark Turner and Don Byas as having a lasting influence on her playing style.
Immediately after graduating from Berklee, Melissa moved to New York. One of the first people she contacted was the legendary jazz saxophonist George Coleman. While still in Boston, Melissa asked her friend Emilio Lyons, the famous saxophone repairman, to call up George and introduce them. George had Melissa play for him over the phone. He liked it so much, he invited Melissa to come to his house and gave her a few saxophone lessons. Over the years, they became very close as George continued to mentor Melissa, introduce her to a number of fellow musicians, and invite her to sit in on his concerts.
Melissa spent those first couple of years in New York frequenting the jazz clubs, listening to music, playing, meeting people and of course, practicing. She recorded her first record, an album of covers and originals titled Free Fall for Greg Osby’s label Inner Circle Music, and, in 2012, she recorded and released her sophomore album, titled Second Cycle.
On stage, Melissa caught her first big break when Osby invited her to play a weeklong residency at the Village Vangaurd. Since then, she has performed in such prestigious venues as the Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Blue Note, Jazz Standard, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Small’s & Jazz Gallery, as well as been invited to perform with her band at such prestigious festivals as Monterey Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz in Italy, Barcelona Jazz Festival in Spain & Providencia Jazz Festival in her native Chile. She’s also shared the stage with some of the greatest contemporary jazz artists of our time such as Christian McBride, Peter Bernstein, Jeff Tain Watts, Kevin Hays among others.
During the last two years, Melissa has been playing and performing with her current band mates, bassist Pablo Menares (who she has known for a long time from the Chilean jazz scene), and drummer Francisco Mela. Known as the Crash Trio, Melissa finally found her band, “This is the first time I have met people who have the time to dedicate to writing, talking about, and working on compositions.”
In September 2013, at age 24, Melissa won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, which was judged by Jane Ira Bloom, Branford Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter and Bobby Watson. In commenting on Melissa’s win to Downbeat magazine, Bloom stated, “The thing that was apparent to us was that Melissa was a young artist, who, in addition to having embraced a great deal of tradition, has made important steps in developing her own personal sonic vocabulary. We all sensed that from her original music and in her interpretations of traditional material.”
In addition to winning a $25,000 scholarship with the Monk Institute and a recording contract with Concord Music Group, Melissa was also distinguished with the honor of becoming the first female instrumentalist to ever win the illustrious competition, which she recognizes is important, but would prefer people to see beyond her gender. “I understand that being from Chile, being young and being a woman makes me standout, but what I really want people to see is that jazz and music transcends gender and age. The most important thing is the quality of the music and what you feel when you hear it.” Aldana also won the National Arts Award “Altazor” in Chile for “Best Album,” and recently received the Lincoln Center Martin E. Segal Award.
On June 17, 2014, Melissa and the Crash Trio will release their self-titled debut album for Concord. The album was recorded at Sear Sound Recording Studio in New York in just two days. The album consists of originals written by all three band members and includes two covers – the Harry Warren classic “You’re My Everything” and Thelonious Monk’s “Ask Me Now.”
Multi-talented saxophonist Ron Blake inhabits many worlds, and nowhere is this more apparent than on his third release for Mack Avenue, Shayari (shy-ree). Produced by pianist Michael Cain (who also appears on the CD), Shayari (the meaning, in Urdu, a type of ancient poetry consisting of couplets and a highly stylized form of verse considered extremely beautiful) combines fertile ground from each of Blake’s worlds to create an extraordinary landscape of its own. Showcased here in an intimate, unplugged, trio setting, the CD also features performances by special guests drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Christian McBride, violinist Regina Carter and percussionist Gilmar Gomes.
Blake, a strikingly tall, Virgin Islands-born native, is based in New York City. He is a well-rounded musician and has recorded three CDs as a leader; in addition, his discography numbers more than 50 recordings as either a guest or sideman with leading artists. They include Roy Hargrove; Art Farmer; the Christian McBride Band; Spirit Music Jamia; Red, Hot + Riot; and the Grammy® nominated, Latin pop group, Yerba Buena; also, Blake has recorded soundtracks (most recently on El Cantante starring Marc Anthony/Jennifer Lopez). The multi-talented musician is entering his third season as a member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live Band. About the new recording, Shayari, Blake says, “This record is more introspective than earlier projects. It’s an acoustic collection of trios. Compositionally, it lends itself to some of the ideas introduced on my most recent recording, Sonic Tonic. I worked with Michael Cain to put this recording together; everything stemmed from us trying to find people to collaborate with to create a distinct, aural setting not unlike Sonic Tonic.”
That aural setting primarily features the tenor saxophone, the piano, drums and percussion. Blake’s broad, tenor tones irradiate all of the 13 tracks buoyed by Michael Cain’s florid and fluid piano; Gilmar Gomes’s sympathetic nuances, and Jack DeJohnette’s all-world drumming. Some of Shayari’s songs are reprises of Blake’s older material. The opener “Waltz For Gwen,” is a pleasing ode to his mother, previously recorded with Blake playing soprano sax on his first outing as a leader, Up Front and Personal, distributed by his (then) own Tahmun Records label. The foreboding piano ostinato drives “Atonement,” a previously un-recorded Blake composition in two sections, laced with DeJohnette’s dramatic fills and solo. Says Blake, “The groove on this lends itself to something I would connect with [songs/grooves on] Sonic Tonic [on this CD]; structurally, it’s a more improvisational approach.”
“Of Kindred Souls” is another original Blake composition. It was first recorded by Roy Hargrove in 1993 on the CD of the same name, but has been re-cast here with Regina Carter’s classic violin strains. Blake states, “I was looking for a melody that would lend itself to a duet for violin and tenor. Regina came and did what she does so well, adding a beautiful color and presence to the song.” Bassist Christian McBride, with whom Blake has worked for eight years, and who produced Lest We Forget, is featured on Bobby Hutcherson’s composition, “Teddy,” and also on the soulful “What Is Your Prayer For?” composed by Blake.
As a musician who is at-home with the jazz tradition, Blake also included some standards on the date. “Please Be Kind,” from the Sammy Cahn songbook, is rendered in telepathic reverence as a sax/piano duet. Blake, Cain, and the Brazilian percussionist Gomes add their own interpretation to Ivan Lins’ immortal composition, “The Island.” “This was a song Michael suggested,” says Blake. “All we had to do was let it play itself.” About “Remember The Rain,” the other sax/piano duet featured on Shayari and another original composition, he adds, “This song is related to ‘What Is Your Prayer For?’ It’s a chance to interpret melody without harmonic improvisation unlike other songs on the recording.”
Pianist Michael Cain’s influence on Shayari is also evident on his two contributions, the Latin-tinged “76” and “Come Sun,” a composition that highlights Blake’s classical lyricism. Other selections include “Hanuman,” named for the Hindu deity [from the Sanskrit epic Ramayan (Way of the Rama) of ancient India]. The track, “Abhaari”—another word from the sub-continent meaning “gratitude”—is a two-movement composition that, along with “Hanuman,” was composed collectively by Blake, Cain, and DeJohnette.
The origins of Ron Blake’s tradition-honed eclecticism can be traced back to the Virgin Islands where he was born and reared. At age 8, Blake took guitar lessons; then, two years later, he switched to the alto saxophone in his elementary school band. He loved playing calypso and other music from the region. He graduated from Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Academy, and later matriculated into Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, where he received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Artistic and Academic Achievement. In 1987, Blake’s jazz career began in St. Thomas, where he taught in summer music programs. He was introduced by, and performed with jazz luminaries Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson, and Gary Bartz at the first Virgin Islands Jazz Festival. Later, he won a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to study with Bartz. After his graduation from Northwestern University, Blake worked extensively in the Chicago-area with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, performing behind such legends as Louis Bellson, Clark Terry, Nancy Wilson. He was mentored by many of the Windy City’s jazz statesmen, including Von Freeman, Willie Pickens, and Bunky Green.
In 1990, Blake moved to Tampa, FL, and began work as an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of South Florida, and nurtured his classical interests by performing with the Florida Symphony Orchestra. Occasionally, he would fly to New York to sit-in with Branford Marsalis; Mulgrew Miller; and Kenny Kirkland. In 1992, Blake re-located to New York City and joined Roy Hargrove’s Quintet, a collaboration that spanned five years. During this period, Blake also worked with dozens of jazz greats including: Johnny Griffin, Art Farmer, Stanley Turrentine, Roy Haynes, Art Taylor, Benny Golson, Betty Carter, Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln, and Ray Brown. In 1998, Blake recorded 21st Century, a unique Caribbean-influenced jazz project, with drummer and fellow-Virgin Islander Dion Parson.
In addition to his 2000 debut as a leader on Up Front and Personal with special guest Johnny Griffin, Ron Blake released his first Mack Avenue recording, Lest We Forget in 2003, followed by Sonic Tonic in 2005. In 2005, he was featured in Meshell Ndegéocello’s group, Spirit Music Jamia (with Michael Cain), which released a critically acclaimed recording, Dance of the Infidel. Since the year 2000, Blake has been a member of the Christian McBride Band and is featured on McBride’s Live at Tonic. Blake also has guest appearances on several Mack Avenue recordings, including: Gerald Wilson, Sean Jones, and Tia Fuller. In 2005, he was invited to join NBC’s Saturday Night Live Band, where he plays the baritone saxophone and flute. In 2007, Blake was appointed to teach in the Jazz Studies program at the Juilliard School of Music. Currently, he is member of the faculty at both New York University and Nyack College (Manhattan campus).
Shayari is Ron Blake’s most comprehensive and compelling work to date. It is a recording that unveils all of the musical inventions and dimensions of this evolving artist who has inherited the wisdom of the masters, and has captured the attention of today’s young musicians.
Originally from Normal, IL, twenty four year-old saxophonist-composer Adam Larson, endorsed artist for P. Mauriat saxophones, D'Addario Woodwinds, Lebayle and Bari mouthpieces, began playing saxophone at the age of 11. As a high school student, Larson was a member of virtually every national program dedicated to showcasing excellence in young jazz talent including The Grammy Band, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, YoungArts Jazz Fellows, Telluride Student All-Stars, Jazz Band of America and many others. Described by critic Howard Reich of The Chicago-Tribune as “a player for whom the word ‘prodigious’ was coined”, by Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen as “a saxophonist who brings Donny McCaslin and Mark Turner to mind”, and by Nate Chinen of The New York Times as “a self-assured young saxophonist”, Larson has garnered numerous awards that distinguish him as one of the most promising artists of his generation. Upon completion of his Bachelors degree at The Manhattan School of Music in May of 2012, Larson was selected as a member of the inaugural Manhattan School of Music Jazz Institute to continue his studies as a Master’s student, where he graduated with honors as the recipient of the William H. Borden Award for Outstanding performance in Jazz Performance in 2014.
Released in January of 2013, Larson’s debut album “Simple Beauty” and Larson’s follow up album (released in September of 2013), entitled “Overdue Ovation”, have received high praise from critics such as Peter Hum (Ottawa Citizen), Andrea Canter (The Jazz Police), and Peter Bacon (The Jazz Breakfast-UK), to name a few. Larson keeps an active schedule with his quintet and as a sideman, having performed at several New York City venues including The Jazz Gallery, The Blue Note, The Village Vanguard, Smalls, Cornelia St. Café, The Kitano, Dizzy’s Club-Coca Cola, and several others. Larson has also headlined at the historic Jazz Showcase in Chicago, IL and as a sideman, Adam can be seen with several groups, including The Otis Brown III band, Michael Rodriguez Quintet, Nils Weinhold Quintet, Helen Sung Quartet and Sharik Hasan Quartet. Larson's unique sound has been an integral part of several recordings, including guitarist Nils Weinhold’s Shapes, drummer Bastian Weinhold’s River Styx and Cityscape, Till Bennewitz' New York Sessions and trombonist Marcus Lewis’Facing East.
Adam has been a part of several tours that have allowed him to see more of the world than he once thought possible. Larson's quartet was recently selected as one of ten ensembles to tour on behalf of the U.S. State Department's "American Music Abroad" program, and will tour Africa for 35 days in April 2015. Larson has toured India, Taiwan, Holland, and Germany as well much of the United States.
Beyond maintaining an active touring and recording schedule, Larson continues to be a sought after clinician and master class presenter at several high schools and Universities across the Midwest and beyond, including appearances at Roosevelt College, University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University, University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire, Illinois Wesleyan University, Hutchinson Community College, University of North Texas and most recently as a guest lecturer at The Manhattan School of Music. Adam also does a sizeable amount of commissioned ensemble writing for school jazz ensembles, having written twenty-two original works to date. Larson is currently a Teaching Artist for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz For Young People, The New York Pops Ed education programs, and has a diverse private lesson studio of Skype students from the U.S. and abroad. Larson currently resides in Manhattan with his beautiful wife, Tierney.
Ellery Eskelin (born 1959) was raised in Baltimore and began playing the tenor saxophone at age ten, inspired by his mother "Bobbie Lee" who played Hammond B3 organ professionally in the early sixties. In 1983 Eskelin moved to New York City and in 1987 began recording with the cooperative group Joint Venture which also began his exposure on the European international touring circuit. Soon after, Eskelin formed the first of many projects as a leader beginning with a trio comprised of bassist Drew Gress and drummer Phil Haynes followed by a short lived group featuring Joe Daley on tuba and Arto Tuncboyaciyan on bakdav drums and percussion. In 1992 Eskelin joined drummer Joey Baron’s group, "Baron Down" (instrumentation of drums, trombone and saxophone), an experience that proved to be an important catalyst in his own work fostering an increased interest in new and unusual instrumentation. In 1994 Eskelin formed the group most often associated with him including accordionist Andrea Parkins and drummer Jim Black. To date he has written over 50 compositions for this group, each of which has been documented on a series of CD releases on the Swiss hatHUT record label. The band continues to tour regularly and has performed hundreds of concerts in the US, Canada and throughout Europe.
Along the way Eskelin has done a number of side projects including a group featuring guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Kenny Wollesen dedicated to the music of Gene Ammons, improvisatory duos with Dutch drummer Han Bennink as well as a special ensemble consisting of strings, vibraphone and saxophone performing completely improvised music. Over the years Eskelin has developed a number of other important associations with musicians such as Gerry Hemingway, Mark Helias, Sylvie Courvoisier, and Bobby Previte. As a side-person Eskelin has worked with a broad cross section of jazz, avant-pop and new-music figures such as organist Brother Jack McDuff, composer Mikel Rouse, guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, oud player and composer Rabih Abou-Khalil, drummer Daniel Humair and the pseudo-group "The Grassy Knoll" among many others.
Eskelin's recordings as a leader and co-leader (there are currently twenty) have been named in Best of the Year critics' polls in the New York Times, The Village Voice , and major jazz magazines in the US and abroad. He also appears on over fifty recordings as a side person. DownBeat Magazine named Eskelin as one of the 25 Rising Stars for the Future in its January 2000 issue ("...players who not only insure the music's survival but promise to take it to the next level") as well as including him in the "Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition" category of their Annual Critics Poll in 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. Eskelin was a nominee for the prestigious Danish Jazzpar award in 2003 and was the recipient of a Chamber Music America French-American Exchange grant in 2007 as well as a Chamber Music America New Jazz Works grant in 2009.
New York based tenor saxophonist/composer SEAMUS BLAKE is recognized as one of the finest exponents of contemporary jazz. His music is known for its sophistication, bold improvisations and “sheer swagger". John Scofield, who hired Seamus for his “Quiet Band,” called him “extraordinary, a total saxophonist.” Seamus Blake’s recent releases, Live at Smalls (Smalls Live 2010), Bellwether (Criss Cross Jazz 2009) and Live in Italy (Jazz Eyes 2009), have garnered considerable critical praise for his masterful playing, his fine compositional skills and for his facility as a leader. Live in Italy was awarded 4.5 stars in Downbeat. Described as “a knockout”, “one of the elite albums of the year” and “as exhilarating as a shot of espresso”, it is on many Top of the Year lists.
Seamus Blake was born December 1970 in England and raised in Vancouver, Canada. At age 21, while still a student at Boston's prestigious Berklee College, he was asked to record with legendary drummer Victor Lewis. After graduation, he moved to New York, where he rapidly established himself on the New York jazz scene. In February 2002, Seamus took first place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in Washington D. C. As the winner, he performed with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.
As a leader, Seamus has released six albums on Criss Cross Records, including his 1993 debut The Call. These include the 1995 premiere of the “Bloomdaddies,” a “funky, alternative grunge” jazz band that employed electronic effects. He has also recorded as a leader for the Fresh Sound label ( Stranger Things have Happened), and as a co-leader on Mosh for Lovers (Bloomdaddies, co-leader Chris Cheek), and Fear of Roaming (Sangha Quartet, co-leader pianist Kevin Hays). His band members on these recordings have included David Kikoski, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Larry Grenadier, Bill Stewart, fellow Thelonius Monk winner Lage Lund, Chris Cheek and Jorge Rossy (Brad Mehldau Trio).
Seamus works with a wide variety of artists. A long-standing member of the Grammy nominated Mingus bands, he is featured on six of their albums. He continues to play and record with Bill Stewart, Kevin Hays, David Kikoski and Alex Sipiagin, and is a member of the Victor Lewis Quintet. He is also a member of BANN, led by drummer Adam Nussbaum. Their first recording was released in 2011 on the Jazz Eyes label. Seamus is frequently featured as a guest artist. In 2010 he was guest of honor at the International Saxophone Symposium in Washington hosted by the US Navy Band. Seamus was a member of John Scofield’s Quiet Band and toured and recorded with Dave Douglas. Some of the many other artists he has worked with include Eric Reed, Antonio Sanchez, Scott Kinsey, Tal Wilkenfeld, Jane Monheit, Kenny Barron, Sam Yahel, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Wayne Krantz, Ingrid Jensen, Maria Schneider, Mark Turner, Brad Mehldau, Al Foster, Brian Blade, Jeremy Pelt, Jack Dejohnette. Seamus continues to work with his fine quintet (David Kikoski, Lage Lund, Bill Stewart, Matt Clohesey) and on his ongoing explorations of electronic applications in jazz, especially with the EWI (electronic wind instrument). For the last two summers he toured in Italy with his electric project which included Scott Kinsey (keyboards), Tim Lefebvre (bass) and Jordy Rossy (drums).
YACINE BOULARES saxophonist, composer
Yacine Boulares is a French-Tunisian saxophonist and composer (soprano-alto-tenor-baritone-clarinet-bass clarinet). A Sorbonne graduate in Philosophy, he later obtained a BA from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (CNSMdP) and the New School for Jazz in NYC.
Awarded most outstanding soloist at the international Esprit Jazz festival competition (Selmer endorsement) he is also a Fulbright Laureate.
He performed at major international festivals like Tokyo Jazz festival, Blue Note Tokyo Jazz sous les Pommiers, Jazz in Marciac and Banlieues Bleues. He has shared the stage and recorded with the likes of Placido Domingo, Aka Moon, Ran Blake, Senri Oe, Richard Bona, Sheila Jordan, Jaleel Shaw, Tabou Combo…
Yacine Boularès is also clinician and educator. In 2014 he was commissioned by the French Heritage Language program to compose a Musical telling the story of underserved French speaking African and Haitian communities in the USA. The show Amidou & Toya was premiered in NY in May 2014.
Jacques Schwarz-Bart was born of mixed races. His early experience as a man taught him that one can be a harmonious receptacle for several cultures, as long as each one is given its value and importance. After graduating from the French School of Government (Sciences Po Paris), Jacques has been working for the French Senate. While his first instrument is the Gwoka Drums from Guadeloupe – his native country, he discovers the tenor saxophone at age 24, and three years later, quits his career to go and study at the Berklee College of music.
After playing alongside such luminaries as Roy Hargrove, Danilo Perez, Ari Hoenig, Meshell n’Degeocello, D’angelo or Chucho Valdes, Jacques finally decides to follow his own vision as a band leader. He then leaves Roy Hargrove’s band in 2005 and finalizes his Gwoka Jazz Project, gathering some faithful and talented musicians such as Sonny Troupé, Olivier Juste or Milan Milanovic. Jacques and his Gwoka Project record two albums for Universal, “Soné Ka La” and “Abyss”, which have built his current career as an internationally acclaimed jazz band leader.
In 2010, he releases “Rise Above”, which revives his long lasting collaboration with singer - and spouse - Stephanie McKay. As Bob Davis puts it: “This album sounds like what might have happened if John Coltrane and Minnie Riperton were to make an album together”.
More recently, Jacques, whose fertile brain seems to never rest, has launched three new projects, ranging from straight jazz to Caribbean roots music. The first one is a free trio with guitar, drums and saxophone. The absence of bass, while freeing the music from the ground, provides an aerial –almost ethereal - quality to the music. The wide open space becomes a formidable launching pad for the multi-dimensional playing of Gilad Hekselman and Obed Calvaire.
During these last years, Jacques had the opportunity to play with drummer Leon Parker, pianist Baptiste Trotignon and bassist Thomas Bramerie. From these encounters, a Quartet came up. The music takes off effortlessly. The players soar with unpredictable but purposeful creativity, while showing an unbreakable sense of unity. All the members of the band contribute in the writing and direction of the music. After playing extensively with Baptiste Trotignon, Thomas Bramerie and Hans van Oosterhout over the course of the last four years, Jacques decided to document their very special chemistry on CD. This quartet recording is entitled "The Art of Dreaming". It came out in Europe in February 2012 and in the USA in September 2012. It has been received everywhere with critical acclaim.
Last but not least, Jacques has created a project that synergizes modern jazz and ritual voodoo music from Haiti. It features two Voodoo priests: the great singer Errol Josué, and percussionist Gaston Bonga, as well as some of the finest Jazz musicians: Etienne Charles, Obed Calvaire, Luqies Cutis, and Milan Milanovic. While remaining a jazz project, the music is lifted by the powerful spirituality of voodoo music. Band members and audience seem to be sailing together on a sea of light. The music has been presented as the headliner for the opening day of the famous Banlieues Bleues festival in Paris, early 2011. Jacques then has extensively been touring with this project, including concerts in Morocco (Essaouira Festival), France (la Rochelle), Guadeloupe (IloJazz) among others. The Jazz Racine Haiti project has finally been recorded and released by Motema Music in January 2014.
Kenneth Whalum III
Rising jazz star Kenneth Whalum, III makes his debut onto the New York jazz scene with a bold, distinctive voice of originality, and creative artistry. As a brilliant composer, arranger, bandleader, and tenor saxophonist, Whalum will release his highly anticipated album, To Those Who Believe. “It’s somewhat of a musical statement to those that believe,” asserts Whalum. This statement embraces his diverse musical experiences in the world of jazz, soul and R&B to create a highly authentic and personal account of a rich acoustic sound. He is supported by a lineup of NYC’s most sought after jazz talent; Robert Glasper (piano), Chris “Daddy” Dave (drums) and Derrick Hodge (bass) to produce this year’s most remarkable project. Emphasizing a spiritual direction, with a mission to help and encourage people from all walks of life, Memphis native Whalum combines soulful grooves to redefine the scope of great music among his peers.
Whalum’s own musical journey is defined by strong family support, his religious background, and childhood exposure to music education. He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and was exposed to the city’s rich cultural tradition. He originally started to develop as a drummer at Kirby Middle School but switched to the saxophone, at the request of his teacher. Thereafter, Whalum played professionally around town and in church, The New Olivet Baptist Church, under the leadership of his father, Rev. Kenneth T. Whalum Jr. Further musical development can also be attributed to his uncle, 8-time Grammy nominated saxophonist and recording artist Kirk Whalum. He also cites his great uncle Hugh “Peanuts’ Whalum, who has played with the legendary Lionel Hampton and Miles Davis, as a major contributor to his development.
The historic legacy of Memphis’ music life is reflected in Whalum’s playing. It is a blues-based city that has transformed American culture, beginning with legendary Beale Street musicians and performers such as B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Robert Johnson. Even Memphis native and world-renowned saxophonist Charles Lloyd adds an influential lyrical depth to Whalum’s sound. Thus, Whalum relies on this rich cultural landscape to explore greater musical possibilities.
After a brief stay at Atlanta’s historic Morehouse College, he transferred to New York City’s prestigious The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, graduating in May 2008. Located in New York’s Greenwich Village, he was immersed in a rigorous jazz education curriculum. In addition, Whalum was surrounded by a versatile jazz community which have included rising stars such as Robert Glasper, Bilal, and Brad Mehldau, to name a few.
In the summer of 2006, he was called upon to tour with music icon Sean "P Diddy" Combs. This engagement led to television appearances hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, Tyra Banks, Jimmy Kimmel, and David Letterman. Whalum quickly played on more gigs and tours for the industry’s most sought after producers, musicians and entertainers. After Combs, Whalum toured with rapper and business leader Jay-Z. He wrote horn arrangement for Jay-Z’s popular song “Roc Boys (And the Winner is)” and is featured on the album, American Gangster. This song was named No. 1 by Rolling Stone magazine’s “100 best Songs of 2007.”
Whalum went on to record, tour, or write for the industry’s most leading musicians and entertainers, including multi-platinum artists 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Al Green, Mary J. Blige, Ciara and provided recording accompaniment for Fantasia, Beyonce, Joss Stone, and R&B producer Rodney Jerkins. More recently, he has toured across the world with R&B crooner Maxwell, playing in sold-out arenas, concert halls, and benefit concerts. Whalum can also be heard on BLACKSummers’night, Maxwell’s long awaited and platinum–selling album. In 2010, this album was nominated for six Grammys, including “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance” for “Pretty Wings” and “Best R&B Album,” for BLACKSummers’Night.
Whalum’s artistic approach embraces diverse musical genres of southern gospel, soul, R&B, jazz, and classical. His capacity to traverse the human experience through a personal musical journey is evidenced by his rhythmic sensibility, soft ballads, and enigmatic playing. With roots in the African American church tradition, Whalum understands the tradition of human struggle for freedom. He uses music as a force for good to overcome great obstacles with faith, hard-won dignity, and an imaginative clarity. Veteran sax player Myron Walden had this to say about what he hears from such a brilliant young musician: “Beyond his years in spirit and thought he puts into his music a sincerity that touches all that hears it.” Whalum has a distinguishing and remarkable ability to connect with people from all walks of life from different corners of the globe–speaking to their personal struggles, giving light to the human condition, and offering a modest insight through music in his own unique way.
The strength of his playing lies in its unrelenting quest for beauty, warmth, and rich, vibrant colors to empower his audience in any kind of setting. Whalum adds: “My faith has really gotten me to the point I’m at now and this album is somewhat of a story of how I have developed as a person as well as a musician. Of his upcoming album, He adds: “it’s a snapshot of where I am in life…some ups and downs but it’s an honest statement.” His upcoming release marks a bold, inventive direction for NYC’s vibrant young jazz community. After reflecting on his own personal setbacks to become a professional musician, Whalum realizes it might just be a matter of faith and persistence, or for those who believe!
Mr. Whalum currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.
"Il y avait des partitions et j'ai pris un plaisir immense à les interpréter. A Terracina, le jazz n'existait pas. Mais il y a une vraie scène en Italie. Chez nous, la culture musicale est forte.
On entretient avec elle des rapports intenses. Le folklore qui tient une grande place, sert d'initiation à l'art en générale et plus particulièrement à la musique."
These thoughts, succinct but effective, expressed during an interview with a French journalist, well represent Rosario Giuliani. The score he referred to in the French interview was by Charlie Parker, and Rosario was then only twelve years old. Just a few years after acquainting himself with the great American sax player's oeuvre, he completed his formal studies at the "L. Refice" Conservatory in Frosinone obtaining maximum point scores.
Tenacity - in a city where "le jazz n'existait pas" - talent, a deep-seated passion for all types of music, and great technical prowess have brought Rosario to the fore of the European and international jazz scene. Critics write of him as a true revelation, in France "une benediction".
The enthusiastic and triumphal tones used by the press to describe Giuliani's playing characteristics derive directly from the special sound he creates. With nonchalance he draws from his instruments a fluid phrasing style, at times dazzling, which naturally links him to great saxophonists such as Julian "Cannonball" Adderley, Art Pepper, and John Coltrane. Frequent comparisons are made spontaneously by his listeners. But even though this musician has been inspired by great saxophonists, it is the instinctive originality that strikes us, and it is easily found, not only in his instrumental approach, but also in his originally composed scores.
Impressive is his "trophy cabinet", which counts among the many awards important acknowledgements. In 1996 he won the Massimo Urbani prize, and one year later he was named "Best Soloist" in addition to his own quartet which won the "Best Group" award at the European Jazz Contest in Belgium. In the year 2000 he took first place honours, by popular vote, in the "Top Jazz" contest in the "New Talent" category. The contest is held as an annual referendum by Musica Jazz magazine.
His collaborations in the jazz field have been frequent and prestigious, having played together with the likes of Charlie HADEN, Gonzalo RUBALCABA, Phil WOODS, Enrico PIERANUNZI, Enrico RAVA, Franco D'ANDREA, Martial SOLAL, Jeff "Tain" WATTS, Mark TURNER, Kenny WHEELER, Bob MINTZER, Joe LOCKE, Joe LA BARBERA, Cedar WALTON, Cameron BROWN, Biréli LAGRENE, Philip CATHERINE, Sylvain LUC, Donald HARRISON, Marc JOHNSON, Joey BARON, Guy BARKER, Jean-Michel PILC and Richard GALLIANO, to name but a few.
After having made many recordings with various Italian and foreign record labels, in September of 2000 Rosario Giuliani signed an important contract with the prestigious French recording company, Dreyfus Jazz, with whom he has already recorded five very successful albums: "Luggage" (April 2001), "Mr. Dodo" (October 2002), "More Than Ever" (October 2004), "Anything else" (January 2007), and the new one "Lennie's pennies" (March 2010).
Giuliani, a highly appreciated and soughtafter artist in the international jazz arena, divides his time between his Italian, European, and overseas commitments, performing regularly in the following festivals: Jazz a Liegi (Belgium), Gexto Jazz Festival (Spain), Blue Note Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York), Umbria Jazz (Italy), Jazz a Vienne (France), Jazz Baltica (Germany), JVC Jazz Festival (France), Town Hall (New York), Basel Jazz Festival (Swiss), Nancy Jazz Pulsation (France), North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), London Jazz Festival (UK), Marciac Jazz Festival (France), Oeiras Jazz Festival (Portugal), Ankara Jazz Festival (Turkey), Audi Jazz Festival (Germany), Vilnius Jazz Festival and in other jazz events that take place in California, Nuova Caledonia, Israel, Mexico, Hong Kong, Hungary and still other countries. In the spring of 2006 he participated in a highly successful tour that took him to the principal cities of China.
Rosario Giuliani's artistic career boasts innumerable and heterogeneous experiences of the highest rank. Performing for internationally famous artists such as Ennio MORRICONE, Luis BACALOV, Armando TROVAIOLI, Gianni FERRIO, Nicola PIOVANI, Ritz ORTOLANI, he has recorded on numerous movie soundtracks.
, alto saxophonist grew up in Philadelphia, PA, where he studied with saxophone instructors Rayburn Wright and Robert Landham. He also studied with jazz instructor Lovette Hines, whose students have included Bassist Christian McBride, Organist Joey Defrancesco, Drummers Johnathan Blake & Ari Hoenig, Vocalist Bilal, Trumpeter Daud El-Bakara, and keyboardist Kamal of The Roots.
As a teen, Jaleel performed, jammed and sat in at the many clubs in Philadephia, honing his chops and developing strong relationships with the many great musicians that Philadelphia had to offer as well as the musicians that came to Philadelphia from New York City. Jaleel also had many mentors in Philadelphia, including Violinist John Blake, saxophonists Bootsie Barnes, Odean Pope and Grover Washington Jr., and Byard Lancaster, and pianist Alfie Pollit.
Upon graduating from high school, Jaleel received a full tuition scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. He attended Berklee for four years and earned a dual degree in Music Education and Performance in 2000. While attending Berklee, studied privately with Saxophonist Andy Mcghee, Billy Pierce, George Garzone, and Shanon LeClaire. During his time in Boston Jaleel received the Billboard Endowed Scholarship for Outstanding Academic and Musical achievement (1998), two Woodwind Dept. Chair Awards, The Outstanding Student Teacher Award, and The Boston Jazz Society Award (1999).
After graduating from Berklee, Jaleel received a scholarship to attend the Manhattan School of Music in New York City, where he received his Masters in Jazz Performance in May, 2002. During his time at the Manhattan School of Music, Jaleel was recruited by both the Mingus Big Band and Count Basie Orchestra. Jaleel appears on two Grammy Nominated CD's by the Mingus Big Band - "Tonight at Noon" and "I Am Three".
A year after finishing his graduate studies, Jaleel joined Temple University as a part-time private lesson and ensemble instructor.. From Temple Jaleel joinedthe New School University in NY, teaching private saxophone lessons. Today Jaleel still takes part in many jazz education programs in the US and abroad.
After being in New York for 5 yrs, Jaleel's debut CD "Perspective" was release in June 2005 to raved reviews from Jazzwise Magazine, The New York Times. It was named one of the top 5 debut CD's of 2005 by All About Jazz Magazine, Jazzwise Magazine, and the Jazz Journalist Association. In the Fall of 2005, Jaleel joined world renown drummer Roy Haynes' Quartet and recorded the Grammy Nominated CD "Whereas" with the group for the Dreyfus Label.
In the beginning of 2008, Jaleel launched his on record label - Changu Records, on which he released his second CD - Optimism. In the Summer of 2008, Jaleel was nominated as one of the Up and Coming Jazz Musicians of the year by the Jazz Journalist Association. Today Jaleel continues to perform primarily in 3 groups - The Roy Haynes Quartet, the Mingus Big Band, and his own Quartet and Quintet.
Jan Garbarek (born 4 March 1947) is a Norwegian tenor and soprano saxophonist, active in the jazz, classical, and world music genres. Garbarek was born in Mysen, Norway, the only child of a former Polish prisoner of war Czesław Garbarek and a Norwegian farmer's daughter. Effectively stateless until the age of seven (there was no automatic grant of citizenship in Norway at that time) Garbarek grew up in Oslo. At 21, he married Vigdis. His daughter Anja Garbarek is also a musician.
Garbarek's sound is one of the hallmarks of the ECM Records label, which has released virtually all of his recordings. His style incorporates a sharp-edged tone, long, keening, sustained notes, and generous use of silence. He began his recording career in the late 1960s, notably featuring on recordings by the American jazz composer George Russell (such as Othello Ballet Suite and Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved by Nature). If he had initially appeared as a devotee of Albert Ayler and Peter Brötzmann, by 1973 he had turned his back on the harsh dissonances of avant-garde jazz, retaining only his tone from his previous approach. Garbarek gained wider recognition through his work with pianist Keith Jarrett's European Quartet which released the albums Belonging (1974), My Song (1977) and the live recordings Personal Mountains (1979), and Nude Ants (1979). He was also a featured soloist on Jarrett's orchestral works Luminessence (1974) and Arbour Zena (1975)
As a composer, Garbarek tends to draw heavily from Scandinavian folk melodies, a legacy of his Ayler influence. He is also a pioneer of ambient jazz composition, most notably on his 1976 album Dis a collaboration with guitarist Ralph Towner that featured the distinctive sound of a wind harp on several tracks. This textural approach, which rejects traditional notions of thematic improvisation (best exemplified by Sonny Rollins) in favour of a style described by critics Richard Cook and Brian Morton as "sculptural in its impact", has been critically divisive. Garbarek's more meandering recordings are often labeled as New Age music, a style generally scorned by more orthodox jazz musicians and listeners, or spiritual ancestors thereof. Other experiments have included setting a collection of poems of Olav H. Hauge to music, with a single saxophone complementing a full mixed choir; this has led to notable performances with Grex Vocalis, but not yet to recordings. In the 1980s, Garbarek's music began to incorporate synthesizers and elements of world music. He has collaborated with Indian and Pakistani musicians such as Trilok Gurtu, Zakir Hussain, Hariprasad Chaurasia, and Ustad Fateh Ali Khan. Garbarek is credited for composing original music for the 2000 film Kippur.
In 1994, during heightened popularity of Gregorian chant, his album Officium, a collaboration with early music vocal performers the Hilliard Ensemble, became one of ECM's biggest-selling albums of all time, reaching the pop charts in several European countries and was followed by a sequel, Mnemosyne, in 1999. In 2005, his album In Praise of Dreams was nominated for a Grammy. Garbarek's first live album Dresden was released in 2009.
Godwin Louis, alto saxophonist, was born in Harlem, New York and began playing saxophone at age nine. Godwin grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut and Port au Prince, Haiti. Godwin is a recent graduate from the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance class of 2011.
Godwin was one of the six fellows selected to be in the Thelonious Monk Institute for Jazz Performance, a full-scholarship graduate-level program at Loyola University New Orleans, where, under the artistic direction of Terence Blanchard, he and his colleagues honed their skills at performing, teaching and composing. They gave concerts, clinics and private lessons in Louisiana, the Mississippi gulf coast as well as around the globe including, at the Basilicata per New Orleans Jazz festival in Matera Italy and in Beijing, China. Through the Institute, Godwin has studied and performed with Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Jack Dejohnette, Jimmy Heath, Barry Harris, David Baker, Emeline Michel, Danilo Perez, John Scofield, Jeff “Tain” Watts, John Patitucci, Steve Coleman, Dick Oatts, Jason Moran, Nicholas Payton, Don Sickler, Chris Potter, and artistic director Terence Blanchard. While in the Institute, Godwin was fortunate to study composition privately with the legendary composer, pianist and New Orleans native Roger Dickerson. Godwin also had the opportunity to play and record with world-renowned clarinetist Dr. Michael White. His playing is featured on Dr. Michael White’s latest recording Adventures in New Orleans- Part 1 released on Basin Street Records.
As an undergraduate Godwin studied music education and received his degree in Professional Music with an emphasis on education at Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, Godwin had the opportunity to perform and record with Terri Lynn Carrington, Cindy Blackman, Ralph Peterson Jr., Delfeayo Marsalis, Phillip Bailey, Gloria Estefan, and Billy Preston. Godwin studied with Frank Tiberi, Jim Ogdren, George Garzone, Joe Lovano, Ed Tomassi, Dave Santoro, Hal Crook, Bill Pierce, Herb Pomeroy among others. Godwin was the recipient of the Elvin Jones award and was selected by the college to perform at numerous music venues and festivals worldwide including: the JVC Festival (New York), Blue Note (New York), Monterey Jazz Festival (California), Trinidad and Tobago Steelpan Jazz Festival, Nancy Jazz Pulsation (France), ArtSpring Performing Arts Center (Salt Spring Island, British Columbia), Sky Church – Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum (Seattle), LV’s Uptown (Portland, Oregon), San Jose Jazz Festival (California).
While living in Boston, Godwin was selected to be in the legendary Boston ensemble, The Either/Orchestra. He has toured and recorded with the band, including with Ethiopian legends, Mulatu Astatke, Mahmoud Ahmed, Getachew Mekurya and Alemayehu Eshete. Venues performed include: Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Barbican (UK) Glastonbury Festival (UK) What is Classical Festival (Toronto) Festival of World Cultures (Ireland) Jazz and Ribs Festival (Columbus) Iridium (NYC), Regattabar (Boston), Historic Sweets Ballroom (Oakland), Sanders Theatre (Boston) Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston) and Denver University (Colorado).
In addition, Godwin has performed as a sideman, guest soloist and has conducted clinics and master classes worldwide. As an educator, humanitarian and ambassador, Godwin has traveled from Haiti, Mexico, Costa Rica, to China to help promote cross-cultural understanding and introduce thousands to America’s indigenous art form, through public concerts, master classes and jam sessions. Godwin has worked as a clinician at several music camps, including the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Camp, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts Camp, and the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra Summer Music Camp & Festival.
Godwin attended Bassick high School in Bridgeport, Connecticut and graduated with honors in 2003. During his junior year of high school, Godwin Louis through the help of his mentors Mr. John Pearson, Dr. Dwight Berry, Rev. Timothy Howard and Walters A.M.E Zion Church, began studying privately with Mr. Herbert Wilson, a professional musician, educator and behavior analyst. Then for the young Godwin it was a life changing moment, as he found in Mr. Wilson the mentor he needed to begin a music career.
By the end of his junior year, Godwin was selected as a member of the Connecticut All State Jazz Ensemble, opened for Jimmy Heath, and started performing and recording as a sideman all over the tri-state area (CT-NY-MA). Godwin attended Litchfield Jazz Camp in Connecticut, where he had the opportunity to study with Ray Vega, Don Braden, Dave Santoro, Steve Wilson and John Benitez.
During his senior of high school, Godwin had the privilege to study with Latin jazz icons, Arturo O’farrill and Andy Gonzalez. In June 2003, Godwin was the recipient of the Grace Norton Dudley Music Scholarship, a full scholarship to study at any colleges in the country.
In May 2011, Godwin and his Thelonious Monk Institute fellows recorded an album, “Side Angles” to be released in the spring of 2012 under the band name “Junto 6”. It features 12 original compositions, two by each members of the band. The cd features, Godwin on alto saxophone, Billy Buss on trumpet, Matt Marantz on tenor saxophone, Victor Gould on piano, Hogyu Hwang on bass and Nicholas Falk on drums.
A musical heavyweight, saxophonist Alex Foster has been a part of many of the world’s most influential sounds to date. Best known in recent years for his work as the alto saxophonist in the house band of Saturday Night Live, he has also shared the stage with numerous world-class performers in varying genres. Besides being a member of the SNL house band, he is also the musical director of the Mingus Big Band, Orchestra, and Dynasty and is currently completing his latest album featuring all original compositions.
In the jazz scene, he has been heard on recordings and has performed alongside greats such as Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, Clark Terry, Jack DeJohnette, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Nat and Cannonball Adderley, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Gil Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Charles Mingus, Elvin Jones, Thad Jones, Hank Jones, Tito Puente, Michael Brecker, Duke Ellington and more. In contrast, in the pop rock music scene he has recorded and/or performed with Arethra Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Dr. John, Paul Simon, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, Eddie Van Halen, Diana Ross, the Village People, Sister Sledge, Al Green, Johnny Mathis and many others. His versatility as an artist is not only present in the jazz and pop music scene, but is also prominent in the classical realm as well, performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Oakland Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony and the National Symphony. He has also been heard on television shows besides Saturday Night Live such as Late Night with David Letterman and 30 Rock.
Speaking about his earliest influences, Alex states that he has drawn the most from Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, Henry Mancini, Wynton Kelly and Bill Evans. His unique voice can best be heard on his upcoming album, “Alex Foster’s Condition,” on which he is playing tenor, soprano, and alto saxophone. Accompanying him are musicians Michael Wolff on piano, Costas Baltazanis on guitar, James Genus on bass, and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums. The music on his new record can best be described as passionate, energetic and melodic. “Alex Foster’s Condition” is representative of his current desire to express his music in its most honest, uninhibited way.
”Saxophonist Chelsea Baratz takes her listeners into an urban groove setting with music and it is a pleasure hearing this talented young lady's hip musical direction. A musical disciple of Sean Jones and Branford Marsalis, Baratz is also an associate of young stars like trumpeters Corey Wilkes and Maurice “Mobetta” Brown and bassist extraordinaire Richie Goods - all of whom appear at times on her debut In Faith. “Philo's Groove” starts things off with a surprisingly tough-minded groove and is heightened by some fine sax, Craig Handy on flute, Wilkes' muted trumpet, Goods rubbery bass and Renee Neufville's vocals. The “Mobetta Remix” of the title track is a clear single - with Brown on muted trumpet, fellow Soul'd U Out keyboardist Chris Rob on moog synth and Raymond Angry on tasty Fender Rhodes. The lovely “Sentiments of Solitude” is a more straight-ahead jazz ballad with impressive work from Baratz and pianist Orrin Evans on this surprisingly mature and sensuous composition that has the ability to get under your skin. Baratz has grown immensely as a player since her work on Corey Wilkes' Drop It (see our review here) - her tasteful solo here may be her finest yet. “601” meanwhile, brings back the funk with Goods, Wilkes, drummer Jevon Rushton and electric pianist Mike Murray laying down a bouncy groove for Baratz to show some burning chops - this young player has obviously been working hard.
The young saxophonist slows it down for a couple more ballads, including Sean Jones' “Lover's Lullaby” and shows a nice touch with such material. Obed Calvaire's drum solo on the latter is a treat. The full In Faith is the centerpiece of the album, and offers more of the great band interplay on this number. “'Burgh Holla!” (a shout out to her original hometown) is a good-time high-stepping blues, while Fela Kuti's “Water No Get Enemy” ends the album with Baratz, Miller, Rushton and Goods, Brown and Rob (also on multi-tracked vocals) threatening to burn the place down on this high-energy afrobeat number. Keep the faith, sister - you are on the right track!” -Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net
”Chelsea Baratz plays with the spirit and conviction of someone who has lived a lifetime of change and discovery. She possesses a musical voice and sure-footed musical sensibility that is impossible to not be affected by. “In Faith” is a fitting announcement that Chelsea has arrived and is more than worth everyone's ears, time and attention.” -Greg Osby
“That bitch can play!” -Nicholas Payton
“Chelsea Baratz has a beautifully pure and personal sound on tenor saxophone, and her writing is distinctly captivating in it's emotional directness and honesty. The soul evident in her playing and writing reflect an authentic awareness and respect for the musical traditions which have already been set forth, as well as being in tune and enthusiastically passionate & genuine about all that is happening in the present moment of collective musical evolution in celebration of today and cultivation of tomorrow. Chelsea's music speaks from and to the heart with a depth that is undeniable. She is a musician with a lot to contribute, and with all her innate fluency and musical eloquence, she somehow manages to impart her message with an absence of self-glorifying display, but rather with a voice which is unmistakably pure of sound and vibrant in rhythm.” -Benny Green
Nommé "Révélation Jazz 2011-2012 par Radio-Canada", Samuel Blais remporte ses premiers concours de musique classique dès l'age de 16 ans. Après 3 ans d'études au Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, il bifurque vers le jazz et termine un Baccalauréat à l'Université McGill, suivit d'une Maîtrise à la prestigieuse école Manhattan School of Music à New York. Les 3 années qu'il passa à New York lui permirent de perfectionner son art et de jouer avec des musiciens de renommé mondiale dans le domaine du jazz tels que Greg Osby, Jim Black, Larry Grenadier, Nate Smith, Donny McCaslin, Ari Hoenig, Terri Lyne Carrington, etc. Il s'est produit un peu partout aux États-Unis et au Canada, de même qu'en France, en Belgique, au Mexique et à Hong Kong.
Durant son apprentissage, Samuel a eu la chance d'étudier avec David Liebman, Dick Oatts, Greg Osby, Rémi Bolduc, Steve Slagle, Frank Lozano, Jan Jarczyk et plusieurs autres. Il a reçu des bourses d'études de Manhattan School of Music, McGill University, du Conseil des Arts du Canada, du CALQ, de MusicAction de même que de “L.A. Friends of Jazz” lors d'une tournée avec le McGill Jazz Orchestra I.
Après avoir produit un premier album, "Where to Go"(FND 080), paru en 2008, il nous revient avec un nouvel album qui s'intitule "New Angle". Le disque a été chaudement accueilli par la critique et se sera mérité une nomination au Gala de l'ADISQ 2011 pour meilleur album Jazz et aura même remporter le Prix Opus 2011 pour "Album Jazz de l'Année"!
graduated in December of 2011 with a bachelor's degree in Jazz Performannce from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, on a full scholarship. Hailey has an impressive list of accomplishments that reach far beyond the borders of her home in Portland, Oregon, and well beyond her years. Born February 12, 1990 in Houston, Hailey has shared the stage with Esperanza Spalding, DeeDee Bridgewater, George Duke, George Garzone, Red Holloway, Terell Stafford, Phil Woods, James Moody, Steve Nelson, Christian McBride, McCoy Tyner, Maceo Parker, Wynton Marsalis, Ralph Peterson Jr., Mark Whitfield and other jazz greats. Hailey leads her own quartet that has performed at the Saratoga Jazz Festival (2012, 2010), Red Clay Jazz Festival (2011), Salem Jazz Festival (2011), Beaches International Jazz Festival (2010), Elkhart Jazz Festival (2010), Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival (2009), Tri-C Jazz Festival (2009), The Blue Note Jazz Club, Jimmy Mak’s Jazz Club, other jazz venues around Portland and the Northeast, and has given clinics to jazz students of all ages. In 2010, Hailey was one of 14 students selected to be part of the inaugural class of Berklee’s elite new Global Jazz Institute under the artistic direction of Danilo Perez. She has performed with the Institute at the Panama Jazz Festival (2011, 2010), Newport Jazz Festival (2010), and Monterey Jazz Festival (2010), and at The Blue Note in New York. In the Fall of 2009 through mid 2012, Hailey was the alto saxophonist (a chair once held by Miguel Zenon, Jaleel Shaw and others) in the Either/Orchestra, an internationally renowned ensemble that performs jazz, Latin, and Ethiopian music, with performances collaborating with internationally renowned Ethiopian artists Mahmoud Ahmed, Mulatu Astatke, and Teshome Mitiku, at the Teatro Di Manzoni in Milan, Italy (2010), Chicago Jazz Festival (2010), performances in Ethiopia (2011), and at various venues around New England.
Most recently, Hailey was a part of Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society, traveling around the United States, Europe and Asia. Hailey Has also appeared with the Ralph Peterson fo'tet and sextet, performing at the Pittsburg Jazz Festival and Smalls Jazz Club in New York City
Hailey’s self-produced and self-released recording debut as a leader,Confeddie, (June 2009) established her throughout North America. Although she also plays soprano sax, clarinet and flute, Hailey showcases solely her alto sax skills on the CD that features a rhythm section composed of fellow Berklee students Michael Palma on piano, Greg Chaplin on bass and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums. An authoritative straight-ahead recording, Confeddie reveals a level of instrumental virtuosity that belies her age on arrangements of modern jazz classics by Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Dorham and Benny Golson. Hailey also penned the title track whose name is a combination of “confetti,” to convey the festive feeling that permeates the album, and the first name of legendary saxophonist Eddie Harris in whose style it was written.
Promoted to U.S. and Canadian press and radio, the CD received stellar reviews inJazzTimes, Jazziz and Downbeat and inspired veteran jazz critic Nat Hentoff to pen a profile of Hailey in The Wall Street Journal in November 2009 he included in his book At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene (the day after this article was publishedConfeddie was the #2 downloaded jazz album at Amazon.com where it remained in the Jazz Top-100 for over a week and debuted the following week at #13 on the Billboard Jazz Album Chart. Programmed on over 100 radio stations, it was on the CMJ Jazz Top-40 chart for 11 consecutive weeks including four in the top-10, three in the top-5 and two at its peak position of #4. Confeddie also spent three weeks on theJazzWeek Top-50 chart, was among the top 100 jazz CDs in the U.S. for two months and was cited by NPR on its annual year-end lists as one of the top-10 jazz CDs of 2009.
Hailey released her second album, The Keeper, on April 24, 2012. Hailey demonstrates even greater virtuosity on her horns—alto and soprano saxophones—and deeper grounding in tradition with her second release,The Keeper, a set of eight of her own compositions, along with one apiece from the pens of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, and Cole Porter. She is joined by three masterly former Berklee associates—pianist Takeshi Ohbayashi, bassist Max Moran, and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr.—and, on three selections, trumpeter Darren Barrett, a Berklee alumnus who now teaches at the prestigious institution. Hailey’s eight originals reflect her abiding affinity for the bop and post-bop genres of jazz and profound respect for her mentors. The joyous, time-signature-shifting title song, as well as the entire CD, is dedicated to the memory of Jeff Cumpston. He was the director of both the jazz band and symphonic band during her four years at West Linn High School near Portland. He also played drums in her band. In 2008, soon after she graduated, he moved with his family to Zimbabwe to teach elementary school. He died there the following year in a traffic accident.
Hailey hit the road running in May 2009 after completing her first year at Berklee when she was a featured artist at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. whose saxophone competition she won in 2008 (her concert was featured on NPR’s “JazzSet With Dee Dee Bridgewater” originally broadcast in October 2009). Hailey performed with the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra that performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival (2008) and the 51st Monterey Jazz Festival (2008); played with the Gibson/Baldwin GRAMMY® Jazz Ensemble in Hollywood and the Jazz Band of America in Indianapolis (2008 & 2007); performed with the Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra and Combo at the IAJE conference in New York and at pre-festival events for the 50th Anniversary Monterey Jazz Festival; and attended the Vail Jazz Workshop led by John and Jeff Clayton, performing on the main stage of the Vail Jazz Festival with Taylor Eigsti who later invited her to appear with him at the Jazz Alley in Seattle (2007). In 2006 and 2007 Hailey received scholarships to attend Berklee’s Summer Jazz Workshop directed by Terri Lyne Carrington.
A 2008 graduate of West Linn High School near Portland, where she moved with her family in 1992, Hailey played saxophone and clarinet in the school’s jazz and symphonic bands and was a member of Thara Memory’s Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra and Combo. During the summers of 2008 and 2009 she taught piano to 5-7 year olds and woodwinds to 12-18 year olds at Willowbrook Arts Camp where she played her first notes on a woodwind (clarinet) when she was eight years old.
French-born, New York-based saxophonist Stéphane Spira grew up with jazz the old-school way: in late-night jams and cutting sessions.
A protégé of longtime Chet Baker pianist Michel Graillier, Spira's jazz career has taken him from 4 AM basement sessions in the underbelly of Paris, through acclaimed collaborations with trumpeter Stéphane Belmondo and pianist Giovanni Mirabassi, to the cutting edge of New York jazz. Spira's fourth album as a bandleader, In Between, features more of the strikingly translucent, disarmingly catchy compositions that continue to characterize his work.
Trained as an engineer, STÉPHANE SPIRA sharpened his chops off the books, after hours, immersing himself in a hard-edged milieu. Working in electronics during the day, he nevertheless found the time to compose and play. Perhaps since he honed his chops in the depths of the jazz underground, Spira was spared the awkwardness of growing up in public: Spira's "remarkable maturity” (Radio France), has not gone unnoticed by the critics. Having dedicated himself exclusively to jazz since a final engineering gig in the Arabian desert in the mid-zeros, Spira has three previous critically acclaimed albums as a bandleader: First Page, Spirabassi (a duo collaboration with pianist Giovanni Mirabassi) and Round About Jobim, a tribute to the father of bossa nova featuring Lionel Belmondo’s acclaimed Hymne au Soleil ensemble. Spira continues to divide his time between New York, his latest musical home, and Paris.
Igor Butman, saxophone virtuoso, bandleader, club owner and television host, is Russia's number one jazz personality. Born in 1961 in Leningrad (now St.Petersburg), Igor Butman started playing the clarinet at the age of 11. In 1976 he entered the Rimsky-Korsakov College of Music, where during his second year he dropped the classical clarinet for the jazz saxophone. Besides being taught by the remarkable musician and brilliant teacher Gennady Goldstein, he took unofficial lessons from nightly broadcasts of jazz from 11: 15 p.m. to midnight on Voice of America.
In 1983, Igor Butman played in Oleg Lundstrem`s big band - the best one in the USSR. Next year he was invited by Nick Levinovsky to join the most well known jazz group "Allegro" and played with them for three years. In the Soviet Union, a country of over 300 million people, Igor was known as the best tenor saxophonist, placing first in the Soviet Critics' Polls and recording many albums for Melodiya.
After Igor Butman immigrated to America in 1987, he went on to major in Performance and Composition at Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts. By the time Igor arrived in the United States, he already had a "fan club" made up of some of America's most respected Jazz artists. While still in the U.S.S.R., Igor was invited to play with touring American musicians, including Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, Louis Bellson and Grover Washington Jr., who took Igor "under his wing". Igor appeared as Grover's special guest in concerts at Chautauqua, New York, the Berklee Center in Boston and at Great Woods Center in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Igor has performed as part of Grover's band several times, including at New York's Blue Note. He is featured on Grover Washington Jr.'s Columbia release Then & Now (1988) soloing on "Stolen Moments", "Stella By Starlight" and Igor's own composition "French Connections".
Igor's big sound and boyish exuberance have earned him standing ovations and many new fans, and his US solo career has moved straight ahead. He led his own group with Rachel Z. at Boston's leading Jazz club, The Regattabar, and has been featured soloist with the Billy Taylor Quartet, the Walter Davis Jr. Quartet and the Monty Alexander Quintet. He appeared on "The Today Show", "Good Morning America" and numerous other international programs.
Stacy Dillard, raised in Muskegon Heights, Michigan, started playing the saxophone at a rather late age. In his hometown, there isn't much music happening, but only Robert Moore, Stacy's band instructor, and a host of close friends. Athletics was a big part of his life, leading to the late start on the instrument. Stacy attended college at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio to study with Dr. William Denza, Jim Smith, Chris Berg, and Lenard Moses. Very quickly, Dillard acquired the necessary knowledge that would soon put his name out on the local scene. It was a run-in with Wynton Marsalis in Dayton, Ohio that would turn his attention to the New York Scene. After graduation, Stacy took the act to Cincinnati, where he stayed for a short time and made his first recording appearance with Mike Wade on trumpet, drummer Melvin Broach and pianist William Menefield. Maturation was very rapid, finally leading the way to New York.
“Stacy is a one-of-a-kind musician. Seriously.” Roy Hargrove
“A young saxophonist of serious promise” (Ben Ratliff, The New York Times), Stacy has caught the attention of many with his large and rich tone, developed ideas, accurate technique, work ethic, and patience, leading to a number of working opportunities. Dillard has played with Winard Harper, Cindy Blackmon, Lenny White, Norman Simmons, Frank Lacy, Wycliffe Gordon, Eric Reed, Roy Hargrove, Stephon Harris, Ernestine Anderson, Terrell Stafford, Herlin Riley, John Hicks, Frank Wess, Mulgrew Miller, Clark Terry, Victor Lewis, Steve Wilson, Johnny O'neal, Antonio Hart, Russell Malone, Lewis Nash, Mark Whitfield, the Mingus Big Band, and a host of others in different genres of music, including Shirley Ceasar, Alex Bugnon, Stephanie Mills, Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, and more.
“Hey man, this (censored) can play. This MF can PLAY!” Wynton Marsalis
As well as being a sideman, Stacy
Dillard is currently leading three bands of his own. cPhyve is the genesis project, along with cPhour, which is stylistically similar to cPhyve. The Other Side is exactly what the name says. The cast of members are the same as cPhyve, but r&b/funk/hip-hop oriented.
To sum it all up, Stacy Dillard is a perfect example of the fusing of tradition and innovation, the combination which keeps EVERYTHING fresh, exciting, energetic, theraputic, and more importantly, real.
Born in Miami, Florida, Walden moved to The Bronx at the age of 12. His interest in the alto saxophone developed when he witnessed the close attention his uncle paid to the Charlie Parker record One Night In Washington. Walden was able to procure an alto sax from his middle school music appreciation teacher, and a saxophone player who lived in his building gave him an instruction book. Walden was self-taught until he enrolled in the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, where he met frequent collaborators Dwayne Burno and Eric McPherson. Walden went on to attend the Manhattan School of Music, and in 1993 won first place in a Charlie Parker competition, which earned him a guest spot with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Walden began his professional career playing with Roy Hargrove's big band at the Jazz Gallery in 1995, then performed at Smalls with artists such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Eddie Henderson, Kevin Hays, Stephen Scott, Greg Hutchinson and Eric Harland before earning a regular gig on Wednesday nights with his Apex Trio, featuring McPherson (drums) and Burno (bass). Walden primarily played his own original compositions with the Apex Trio, and recorded four solo albums between 1996 and 2005. During this period, he became a member of Brian Blade's Fellowship Band and The New Jazz Composers Octet, which made three recordings as a unit and two with Freddie Hubbard (with whom they performed several times at the Iridium). Walden took a nearly five-year break from recording as a leader in order to develop his skills on the tenor and soprano saxophones while composing specifically for those instruments. In 2009, he hired Shore Fire Media to promote his new projects, playing five Wednesday nights with five different bands in September at the Jazz Gallery (with all proceeds going to the non-profit venue), and releasing seven albums on his new record label, Demi Sound, over the course of 2009 and 2010.
Lionel Dean Lyles II was born in Boulder, Colorado to Marjorie Hill-Lyles and Lionel Lyles. When he was 2 years old, his family moved to Baltimore, Md. There he found his passion. Music. Throughout his childhood Lionel excelled in Music. While in middle school he was exposed to Charlie Parker. Along with classic Motown recordings and Bird, Lionel started developing an ear for Bebop and Rhythm & Blues. This fire that was lit carried over into High School were he picked up various instruments. Such as Clarinet, Flute, Piano, and Trombone. Upon graduating from high school, Lionel was awarded the Semper Fi Outstanding Musician award from the United States Marine Corp.
In 1995 Lionel graduated from High School. He choose Morgan State University as his institute of higher learning where he majored in Music Education. While at the university he participated in the wind ensemble, jazz ensemble, marching band, pep band, and jazz combo. These were the critical years for developing his love for music. It was in 2000 when he and a few of his colleagues decided they wanted more hands on experience in the jazz medium and started playing out in public. This would be paramount in the cultivation and promulgation of The Lionel Lyles Quintet. Lionel graduated from Morgan State University in 2002.
In 2006 The Lionel Lyles Quintet was presented the opportunity to record its first studio project entitled “The Lionel Lyles Quintet: The September Sessions”. This project was special because it is dedicated to the city of Baltimore, Md.
For the next four years the quintet would travel up and down the east coast and reach as far west as California to perform. In the early months of 2008 the quintet participated in the inaugural Chic Webb Jazz Combo competition at the cities yearly art festival, Artscape. Although the band did not win, a new direction was realized for not only the band but for Lionel. It was during this time that Lionel decided that he needed to further his education even more. He choose to enroll in North Carolina Central University in the August of 2008. There he started studying with national jazz icons such as Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo. On staff as Director of Jazz Studies is Dr. Ira Wiggins, and Brian Horton. Both of whom are over the saxophone studio at the university. During his tenure at NCCU, he had the opportunity to meet and work with Antonio Parker, Dalfeyo Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, and Vincent Gardner. The University Big Band had the opportunity to travel to the Newport Jazz Festival to join Branford Marsalis in his special musical performance which was recorded live for NPR music. After a grueling three years period in grad school, Lionel graduated in 2011.
For the next two years Lionel would continue to further develop his sound and writing skills. Working with Royal Caribbean International Cruises a mini European Tour afforded Lionel to travel to Europe. Many new tunes would be experimented on while traveling.
In 2014 The band was able to finally record its long awaited sophomore studio project entitled, “The Lionel Lyles Quintet: At The Precipice”. The project has been met with positive reviews. You can check it out at www.LLQmusic.com. Lionel also joined the Recording Academy in 2014. This organization has opened many doors through music industry networking.
Throughout the Lionel Lyles Quintet’s 14 year existence, the group has seen many faces. Such great musicians as Craig Alston, Anthony “Blue” Jenkins, Dan Marcellus, Mark Prince, Theljon Allen, Joel Mills, Joel Holmes, Freddie Dunn, Oscar Passley, Michael Fitzhugh, Theous Jones, Romier Mendez, Percy White, Todd Simon, Darent Polk, James Johnson, and Brandon Moultrie. The band has entertained many stages in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, New York, Philadelphia, Louisiana, and California. Be on the lookout for The Lionel Lyles Quintet (LLQ) coming to a stage near you! “Jazz, Everything Else Is Just Details!”
Tenor Rubber LRIII #8
Tenor Rubber LRIII #8
Tenor Metal LRIII 8*
Alto Metal LRIII 8
Metal Baritone LRIII #8
Metal Bass LRIII # 9
Metal Baritone LRIII #8*
Josh Sinton is a Brooklyn-based baritone saxophonist, bass clarinetist and creative musician. He is part of the renaissance of creative activity that has been happening over the past 10 years in Brooklyn that includes musicians such as Mary Halvorson, Nate Wooley, Travis Laplante and Ingrid Laubrock. Currently he leads the innovative Steve Lacy-repertory band Ideal Bread (with Kirk Knuffke, Tomas Fujiwara and Adam Hopkins) as well as the trio musicianer (with Chad Taylor and Jason Ajemian). He is a long-standing member of the Nate Wooley Quintet and the Tri-Centric Orchestra and spent many years as a member of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (appearing on both of their Grammy-nominated albums) as well as the Burnt Sugar Arkestra. He has led groups across the U.S. as well as on the stages of the Moers Festival in Germany and the Bimhuis in Amsterdam. He's played at numerous festivals including Newport Jazz, Tampere Jazz Happening, London Jazz, North Sea Jazz, BMW Jazz, Montreal Jazz and Jazztopad.
Since arriving in New York City in 2004, Josh Sinton has worked with a wide cross-section of the city’s musical community including Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Vijay Iyer, Nico Muhly, Andrew D’Angelo and Megan Schubert. He has also contributed essays to the web-based blogs of SoundAmerican.org, Do The Math, Destination:out and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society. Sinton has been nominated to the Downbeat Critics' and Readers' Polls, the Jazz Times Poll and the El Intruso International Critics' Poll three years in a row. He has also worked as a composer and sound designer at Steppenwolf Studio, Bailiwick Theater and Links Hall.
What Critics & Musicians are Saying About Josh Sinton:
"Josh Sinton is equal parts intellectual and sensualist. His playing is built from the sound up, with the eye of an architect and the wit of a raconteur." – Darcy James Argue, composer and leader of the Grammy-nominated Darcy James Argue’s Secret Sociey
“With his muscular tone and dexterous phrasing, Sinton proves to be as dynamic an interpreter as he is arranger. His flair for crafting architecturally sound solos is impressively demonstrated on Flakes, where he gradually ascends from supple, blues-inflected note bends to a coruscating screed of chromatic flurries without missing a beat.” – Troy Collins, All About Jazz New York
“Josh Sinton’s Pine Barren is full of wit and irony, not to mention an impressive amount of straight-up tune-smithing…an ambitious but richly listenable and entertaining album…it’s not hard to imagine his band holus-Bolus connecting with a young, hungry crowd on a bill with one of the new breed of dance/punk/jazz groups like Moon Hooch.” – delarue of the music blog Lucid Culture
"I dig the way that Mr. Sinton stretches out his notes carefully on his bari sax, often playing with a hushed elegance." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, owner and founder of the Downtown Music Gallery located in New York, NY
"...Sinton uses technique, tone and resonance to surprise, intrigue and delight..." - Elliott Simon, AllAboutJazz New York
"Sinton is a daring instrumentalist, pushing his horn to its limits. At the top of his range, he possesses and alto-like purity; in the middle the bite of a tenor, and low down he can growl ferociously." - David Dupont, Cadence Magazine
“Josh is a beautifully well-rounded musician whose sensitivity and dedication to improvised music shine in every setting he plays.” – Dominique Eade, jazz vocalist and RCA recording artist
Rubber Soprano LRIII 7*
Rubber Alto LR 7*
Saxophonist Eric Plante was born in Montreal, Canada. Currently living in Las Vegas, NV, he has been fortunate enough to enjoy a varied carrier as a performer, musical director, composer, arranger and producer. Highlights including 5 different Cirque du Soleil productions ("Quidam", "Alegria", "Saltimbanco", "Corteo" and "O"), for which he has been touring around the world and had the opportunity to record live DVD and films ("Alegria" live, "The Journey Of Man", James Cameron's "Worlds Away") and perform the "Late Night with Jay Leno" TV show.
As a composer, Eric wrote and produced the live soundtrack and album for Cirque Bravo's "City Dreams" acrobatic production; the album is entitled "Visions". He also wrote and produced music for numerous acrobatic acts and fashion shows, co-wrote and produced Toumany Kouyate's recent release, along with French Canadian artists Zibelle's eponym album and Jelly Fiche's "Tout Ce Que J'ai Reve" (Unicorn Digital - 2008). Zibelle's album was nominated for Best Electronic Album at ADISQ while Jelly Fiche's was nominated for Best Prog Album in Italy in 2009. Eric also co-wrote and produced Koocheekoo's album "Loose Screws" with Anais Thomassian (aka Penny Pibbetts) in 2014.
As a producer and arranger, Eric has been collaborating with Las Vegas artist Amos Glick for the short film "A Man Wakes Up" being presented in various film festivals to roaring acclaim. Other collaborations include arrangements for Melody Sweets' live performances, Amos Glick's "OK OK Variety Show" theme song, Eric Shenefied's "Southwest" album, Kurt Rassmussen's educative video demos for LP drums, and many more.
As a sideman, Eric performed and recorded with numerous acts including Vasti Jackson, France D'Amours, Lulu Hughes, LCQ's "Night Fever" and "Elvis Story" productions, Nikky Yanofsky, Candy Dulfer, Milot and many others.
Eric stays busy onstage as well. On top of conducting "O"'s 10 weekly performances, he is the Musical Director for Melody Sweet's Burlesque shows, plays as a sideman for the "No Excuses" Jazz group, Toumany Kouyate's Bountaloo and various acts in the Las Vegas area.
Eric also specializes in programming for and converting live events to Ableton's "Live" software, converting Cirque's "O" and "Saltimbanco" productions.
Soprano Rubber Custom #14
Tenor Metal LRIII # 8*
Brooklyn-based saxophonist Dan Blake’s wide-ranging career traverses many different musical communities both in and out of the jazz world. Dubbed a “virtuoso” by the New York Times, he has toured and recorded with great artists as different as avant guru Anthony Braxton, Grammy-winning jazz-pop star Esperanza Spalding and Grammy-nominated guitarist Julian Lage, and has forged a unique sound on his instrument through all of these collaborations. The Boston Globe has noted that Blake “regards tradition as a welcoming playground best approached with a sense of wonder and adventure,” an attitude he brings to his latest release for Sunnyside Records entitled The Digging, a trio date featuring world-renowned drummer Eric Harland and bassist Dmitry Ishenko. The recording is a follow-up of sorts to the 2012 release The Aquarian Suite (Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records), which was proclaimed by the Boston Phoenix to be “one of the most ridiculously satisfying discs we’ve heard in some time.” Blake also recently produced, composed and performed in an award-winning multi-media release called The Dust Moves, written for the acclaimed string quartet Mivos Quartet that includes live animations. In addition to his varied career as a composer and saxophonist, Blake is also active as a concert producer. In 2010 he founded and produces the annual Concert To Feed The Hungry, an event that raises funds and awareness for global struggle against hunger and malnutrition. A common thread that unites all of Blake’s work is a commitment to cultivating and maintaining strong collaborations within and across creative communities. “When you work with people, you inhabit some sort of world together, this feeling of connection,” Blake has said. “It's not about imposing an ideal. Music represents the value of those relationships. To perform with this kind of connection can make a very powerful statement that I believe reverberates outward to who knows where!”
Tenor Rubber LRIII # 10
Saxophonist/composer Chris Bullock strives to push the boundaries of musical categorization. He can be found performing in many different genres. A product of the Carolina’s, Chris developed a desire to play music from early piano lessons, long-haired garage bands, and late night music on public radio. He eventually found his way to the saxophone. In 2009, Chris relocated to NYC where he has since established the beginnings of a fruitful professional career as a musician. He has had the opportunity to perform all around the world, including many of the major jazz and music festivals including North Sea Jazz Fest, Montreaux Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Shanghai Jazz Fest, London Jazz Fest, etc.
Chris devotes a large amount of his time performing, recording, and touring with the band Snarky Puppy. With this band and Lalah Hathaway, he won a Grammy Award in 2014 for the Best R&B Performance.
Some of the artists he has had the opportunity to perform/record with include Banda Magda, Jon Hendricks, Lalah Hathaway, Jason Marsalis, Bernard Wright, Clyde Stubblefield, Ari Hoenig, Jeff Coffin, and N’dambi.
Chris has actively been involved with educational activities. He was an adjunct instructor of Saxophone at the University of Texas -Arlington for two years. He has also taught clinics and saxophone lessons at many schools, colleges, and conservatories around the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.
Apart from playing the saxophone, flute, and clarinet, Chris has begun to explore making hip hop and electronic music with the MPC. This has led to him DJ'ing as well. His DJ name is DJ Boomtown. He has hosted nights of music in the US, Canada, and the UK as a DJ.
Look to see what’s next on the horizon for Chris Bullock, as he continues to explore new and challenging musical environments.
Metal Soprano Jazz # 8
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Keyan Williams now makes his home in Meriden, CT after many years in Phoenix, AZ. The multi-talented musician started playing the sax at age 8 and by the age of 16 he was playing jazz sax and classical flute. When saxophonist Keyan Williams released his debut album The Art of Living in 2006, the smooth jazz format was already contracting, leaving steep challenges for new independent artists to find avenues to get their music heard. One of his radio station contacts suggested some unique grass roots approaches to promotion, including placing the tracks up on GarageBand in the contemporary jazz category. Williams' tunes created an immediate sensation, averaging a rating of 4.5/5 stars; the most popular of these songs, "Thought I Told You About That" stayed on the chart for over four months, leading to terrestrial airplay on stations in Phoenix (where Keyan lived from 2000 to 2008 and recorded The Art of Living with musicians Jeremiah Norah and Raymond Love) and Reno. Williams also submitted his CD to The Weather Channel, which spun four tracks for over a year and a half, exposing his music to millions of people. Another sweet success from the album was the techno-house/jazz influenced tune "Swift Kick", which was a huge hit on the college radio circuit. Williams was also one of only four artists chosen (out of 400 entrants) for a digital distribution deal with Iris Distribution via Sonicbids—and the only jazz artist.
The Brooklyn born and raised, NYC based Williams built such an enthusiastic fan base that his few years away from recording due to personal issues and other business endeavors led many of his supporters to reach out asking when he would be back in action, and supporting him every step of the way as he did so. While still grounded in the style of his personal musical hero Grover Washington, Jr., Williams takes some outside the box risks on his second full-length project It's All About You. Explaining the title of the album, he says, "While my fans were asking me about the next CD, they would tell me what they loved about the first one. So I decided to create a CD based on what they said they loved. It's about my fans, those people who kept me uplifted during this challenging time in my life. I'm always writing songs that reflect everything I'm going through, and my goal was for them to identify with my music. I started out with 25 songs and chose the ones that stuck with me and which I felt they would enjoy best."
Williams is the founder of Told U So Productions, a company for which he works on developing artists while he continues writing and producing. In addition to his own projects, he is currently collaborating with other artists, looking into producing two singers and working on a project combining poetry and jazz with four poets. He is also a major endorser, with nine total endorsements for mouthpieces, reeds, mics and sax accessories; he is an endorsee of P. Mauriat Saxophones. He has performed for several of these companies at the NAMM convention over the past few years.
MUSIC Truly a diverse and dynamic work centered around solid grooves, infectious melodies and emotional and inventive improvisations, It's All About You launches with the laid back, old school cool funk (with hand clap percussion and few ambient and exotic twists) of "Blazin'" before bubbling over on the strutting, buoyantly romantic (and perfectly titled) "Bounce With It." Williams then invites his listeners to the "Funky House (where a snappy electric guitar leads into an easy flowing, gently percussive melody) for some sizzling "Indigenous Heat" (a dreamy and sensual bit of late night smooth featuring Williams on soprano). The title track opens with a trippy synth atmosphere, and then evolves into a graceful soprano ballad that opens the saxman's heart to his fans via a little romance and a touch of horn texturing. The pocket groove ballad "Midnight Blue" blends sensual wistful light funk with a hypnotic soprano sax-synth swirl. One of Williams' favorites is the sensuous, candlelit "My Lady", a sweet balmy love affair with lush synth string textures. Williams takes us on a whimsical stroll through his hometown on the slow jam ballad "Sax 5 th Avenue", then gets tribal and shuffling with some creative percussion, which drives the edgy and emotional melody of "Steppin' Out With Key". He closes with a colorful gospel blues number, "Why Not," which features a dynamic organ textures swirled with percussive piano chords—truly a dramatic ending for a powerful set of music.
ON STAGE As a student at Southern University in Baton Rouge, he played in the marching band, participating in halftime competitions against the bands at schools like Grambling. He launched his career back in New York playing in blues bands. Influenced by Grover Washington, Jr. as well as other greats like Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery and Stanley Clarke, Williams has been gracing the stage since his very early years, playing at various venues like Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall—and the trendy club Jazzmania— in various band situations during his high school and college days. He has had the honor of sharing the stage with Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Junior Cook—experiences that have helped make him the performer he is today.