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Recording Artist, Composer, Arranger, Educator and Author
RON CARTER is among the most original, prolific, and influential bassists in jazz.
With more than 2,000 albums to his credit, he has recorded with many of music's greats: Tommy Flanagan, Gil Evans, Lena Horne, Bill Evans, B.B. King, the Kronos Quartet, Dexter Gordon, Wes Montgomery, and Bobby Timmons. In the early 1960s he performed throughout the United States in concert halls and nightclubs with Jaki Byard and Eric Dolphy.
Carter has lectured, conducted, and performed at clinics and master classes, instructing jazz ensembles and teaching the business of music at numerous universities. He was Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Studies while it was located in Boston and, after 18 years on the faculty of the Music Department of The City College of New York, he is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus although, as a performer, he remains as active as ever.
I think that the bassist is the quarterback in any group, and he must find a sound that he is willing to be responsible for.
JACK DEJOHNETTE grew up in a family where music and music appreciation was a high priority.
By the mid-1960s, DeJohnette had entered the Chicago jazz scene – not just as a leader of his own fledgling groups but also as a sideman on both piano and drums. He experimented with rhythm, melody and harmony as part of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians during the group‟s early days, and later drummed alongside Rashied Ali in the John Coltrane Quintet. He garnered international recognition during his tenure with the Charles Lloyd Quartet, one of the first jazz groups to receive crossover attention.
In a career that spans five decades and includes collaborations with some of the most iconic figures in modern jazz, NEA and Grammy winner Jack DeJohnette has established an unchallenged reputation as one of the greatest drummers in the history of the genre. The list of creative associations throughout his career is lengthy and diverse: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and so many more. Along the way, he has developed a versatility that allows room for hard bop, R&B, world music, avant-garde, and just about every other style to emerge in the past half-century.
As a child, I listened to all kinds of music and I never put them into categories. I had formal lessons on piano and listened to opera, country and western music, rhythm and blues, swing, jazz, whatever. To me, it was all music and all great.
Jazz Trumpeter, Global Ambassador and Educator
DOMINICK FARINACCI is a unique artist who aspires to bring jazz to diverse corners of the world.
Trumpeter Dominick Farinacci has been recently credited the title Global Ambassador to Jazz at Lincoln Center by Wynton Marsalis, working to further integrate jazz into communities around the world. He graduated from The Juilliard School in 2005 launching his career in Japan with a prolific run of eight albums, later releasing two more globally, touring with his band around the world.
Dominick has been a leading advocate in music education development, most recently featured at the 2014 Community College Association of America in D.C. He served as Music Consultant to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, and initially launched a music education program at the Tommy LiPuma Center for the Arts in Cleveland, Ohio, which brought together 30+ international artists involving over 3,000 students.
Whether through touring concerts, recording, music education development or in music and healthcare projects, my passion is giving back the gift of music to the community.
Jazz Saxophonist, Composer
SONNY FORTUNE embodies all of the finest qualities of the late, great musicians.
Born in Philadelphia on May 19, 1939, he was 18 years old before deciding to pursue a career in jazz. In 1967 he moved to New York. After a brief stint with Elvin Jones and Frank Foster, Fortune, an early admirer of John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Sonny Rollins, joined Mongo Santamaria's group, with whom he remained for over 2 years. He moved to Los Angeles in 1970, but stayed in California for only seven months and came back east where he worked with vocalist Leon Thomas before joining McCoy Tyner.
Sonny's groups have always featured his own compositions, and he has toured around the world, including the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan. CBS TV's 48 Hours with Dan Rather did a feature on Sonny, which was broadcast in late 1993. He is a featured soloist on the soundtrack for the Jack Nicholson film, The Crossing Guard. Over the years Sonny has also recorded with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Elvin Jones, Oliver Nelson, George Benson and Nat Adderly, to name a few.
Eventually, in order to find out if you really have what it takes, you have to go to the center, and that's New York...you can only do so much in your hometown.
BENNY GREEN is a hard bop jazz pianist who was a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
Benny Green possesses the history of jazz at his fingertips. Combine mastery of keyboard technique with decades of real world experience playing with no one less than the most celebrated artists of the last half century, and it’s no wonder Green has been hailed as perhaps the most exciting hard-swinging, hard-bop pianist to ever emerge from Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
Benny’s list of credits, accomplishments, and accolades could literally fill a book. His recordings with the masters form a foundation of jazz education. Some notable highlights include: Beginning his touring life with Betty Carter for four years and realizing a life long dream of becoming a Jazz Messenger; In 1993 Oscar Peterson chose Benny as the first recipient of the City of Toronto’s Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music culminating in Oscar & Benny (1998) recorded for Telarc.
I've had so much help and support in my life. Today i realize that the nature of true foundational support is that it continues and it deepens — its effects on one’s life spreads far and wide to others.
Jazz Pianist, Composer and Professor
ROLAND HANNA was one of the major artists in jazz.
Sir Roland Hanna was one of the most flexible pianists of any generation. Born in Detroit Michigan, Roland began private piano studies with Ms. Josephine Love at an early age. After graduation from Cass Technical High School and a two-year stint in the US Army, he continued his musical studies at the Eastman and Juilliard Schools of Music. He then followed with a mega-mile career journey, performing in concert halls and clubs in the major cities of the world. He was knighted, in 1970, by then President William V.S. Tubman of Liberia for humanitarian services to that country.
This catalog of over 200 compositions contains America’s classical music in all its varied shades, hues, textures and instrumentation, and is representative of the vast stylistic range of the pianist and composer.
When I am improvising, my thoughts are usually about the structure of the phase or the style of the piece.
Jazz Pianist and Composer
TAMIR HENDELMAN is an award-winning jazz pianist from Tel Aviv, Israel.
Beginning his keyboard studies at age 6 in Tel Aviv, Tamir moved to the US at age 12 in 1984, winning Yamaha's national keyboard competition 2 years later at age 14. Concerts in Japan and the Kennedy Center followed. Tamir then studied at the Tanglewood Institute in 1988 and received a Bachelor of Music Composition degree from Eastman School of Music in 1993. He then became the youngest musical director for Lovewell Institute, a national arts education non-profit organization.
Tamir’s musical travels have taken him from Alaska to New York, and Thailand to Israel. In his own trio, he explores standards, Brazilian music, blues and his Israeli roots. Tamir’s debut CD Playground (2008) was released in Japan on the Swing Bros. label and was released in the U.S. in December 2008 on CDBaby.com. Tamir is a Resonance Records artist.
Not a fixed position player, Hendelman wears off the ivory over the entire keyboard.
Jazz Pianist and Composer
FRED HERSCH is an artist of unbounded imagination and ambition.
Born in Cincinnati on Oct. 21, 1955, Hersch began playing the piano at age four; he was composing at eight. His awards include a 2003 Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for composition; a Rockefeller Fellowship for a Bellagio residency; grants from Chamber Music America, The National Endowment for the Arts and Meet the Composer; seven composition residencies at The MacDowell Colony; and commissions from The Gilmore Keyboard Festival, The Doris Duke Foundation, The Miller Theatre at Columbia University, The Gramercy Trio and The Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
A committed educator, Hersch has taught at The Juilliard School, The New School and The Manhattan School of Music, and conducted a Professional Training Workshop for Young Musicians at The Weill Institute at Carnegie Hall in 2008. He is currently a member of the Jazz Studies faculty of The New England Conservatory and of Rutgers University.
Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.
Tenor Saxophonist and Composer
TENOR SAXOPHONIST JAVON JACKSON came into international prominence touring and recording with the legendary drummer Art Blakey as a member of his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.
Symbolizing a new generation of musicians that blended tradition with neo-jazz, Jackson went on to release 16 recordings as a band leader and tour and record over 135 CDs with jazz greats including Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, Curtis Fuller, JoAnne Brackeen, Stanley Turrentine, and Ben E. King.
In 1992 Jackson made his recording debut with Me and Mr. Jones, featuring James Williams, Christian McBride and master drummer and NEA Jazz Master Elvin Jones. Jackson also recorded six projects for Blue Note Records featuring collaborations with Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Garrett, Jacky Terrason, John Medeski and Vernon Reid.
In 2012, Jackson released two self-produced recordings, Lucky 13 and Javon Jackson and WE FOUR, Celebrating John Coltrane. For Lucky 13, Javon covers music by Stevie Wonder as well as newly composed original material. Javon Jackson and WE FOUR, Celebrating John Coltrane, is a tribute to the iconic saxophonist and composer. In 2013, Javon accepted the position of Director of the Jackie McLean Institute at the University of Hartford. Jackson has a Bachelor in Music from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) and a Master of Music from State University of New York College at Purchase.
…Jackson and his band are steeped in the 21st Century Groove… Easy Does It is exactly what Dr. Jazz ordered. - C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz
Javon adds a modern twist to the music we grew up with. Everybody get ready for a funky good time. - Branford Marsalis
Jazz Pianist and Composer
AHMAD JAMAL is an American jazz pianist, composer, group leader, and educator.
Noted for his outstanding technical command and identifiable sound as a piano stylist, Mr. Jamal was born on July 2, 1930, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1994, Mr. Jamal received the American Jazz Masters fellowship award from the National Endowment for the Arts. The same year he was named a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University, where he performed commissioned works with the Assai String Quartet.
Considering his ensemble "an orchestra", Mr. Jamal not only achieves a unified sound, but subtly inserts independent roles for the bass and drums. The hallmarks of Mr. Jamal's style are rhythmic innovations, colorful harmonic perceptions, especially left hand harmonic and melodic figures, plus parallel and contrary motion lines in and out of chordal substitutions and alterations and pedal point ostinato interludes in tasteful dynamics.
In May 2015 the New England Conservatory has conferred an honorary Doctor of Music degree to Mr. Ahmad Jamal for his significant contributions to the world of music, the world of the arts, and the world of human values.
At once majestic and familiar, the maestro, who was a major influence on Miles Davis, continues to expand his fan base, selling out concerts and garnering awards and honors.
Trombonist, Composer and Arranger
J.J. JOHNSON was an American jazz trombonist, composer and arranger.
James Louis "J. J." Johnson was sometimes credited as Jay Jay Johnson. Johnson was one of the first trombonists to embrace bebop music. He has long been regarded as one of the leading trombonists of the post-swing era, exerting a pervasive influence on other jazz musicians.
After studying the piano beginning at age 9, Johnson decided to play trombone at the age of 14. In 1941, he started his professional career with Clarence Love, and then played with Snookum Russell in 1942. In Russell's band he met the trumpeter Fats Navarro, who influenced him to play in the style of the tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Johnson played in Benny Carter's orchestra between 1942 and 1945, and made his first recordings in 1942 under Carter's leadership, recording his first solo (on Love for Sale) in October, 1943. In 1944, he took part in the first Jazz at the Philharmonic concert, presented in Los Angeles and organized by Norman Granz. In 1945 he joined the big band of Count Basie, touring and recording with him until 1946.
J. J. did for the trombone what Charlie Parker did for the saxophone. And all of us that are playing today wouldn't be playing the way we're playing if it wasn't for what he did.
Vibraphonist, Composer and Educator
JOE LOCKE is widely considered to be one of the major voices of his instrument.
He has performed and recorded with a diverse range of notable musicians, including Grover Washington Jr, Kenny Barron, Eddie Henderson, Cecil Taylor, Dianne Reeves, Ron Carter, The Beastie Boys, the Münster Symphony Orchestra and the Lincoln, Nebraska Symphony. Long known to be a soloist capable of stunning physical power and broad emotional range, it was not until the last decade that he emerged as the composer, band leader and conceptualist that he is considered today.
Locke has won numerous awards and polls, including the 2006, 2008 and 2009 "Mallet Player of the Year" award from the Jazz Journalists Association. He is active as a clinician / educator. In 2008 and was appointed International Vibraphone Consultant by the Royal Academy of Music, London - a position which he holds on a visiting basis - and received the title of Honorary Associate of the Academy (Hon ARAM) in 2014.
In the select group of contemporary vibes players, Locke has claims to head the list.
Saxophonist, Composer and Educator
KIRK MACDONALD has established a reputation as one of Canada's leading saxophonists.
Kirk MacDonald cut his first record at the age of thirteen. Throughout his career, he has received numerous awards, including 2 JUNOs gar- nered from 6 JUNO nominations, a SOCAN Outstanding Jazz Artist of the Year, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Toronto Musician’s Association. He has performed on over fifty CDs as both leader and sideman alongside such U.S. and international greats as Tom Harrell, Harold Mabern, John Taylor, Pat LaB- arbera, Kenny Wheeler, Sam Noto, Dennis Mackrel, and Adam Nussbaum.
Over 100 performances of his compositions appear on over 25 CDs. Kirk's recordings as leader focus on his own compositions and include Family Suite, an 11-part suite, Songbook Vol. I, and Vol. II, all for quartet. Kirk leads the Kirk MacDonald Jazz Orchestra (KMJO), a 19-piece all-star ensemble dedicated to performing his original compositions and featuring arrangements by leading Canadian and U.S. Writers. The KMJO re- leased three recording Deep Shadows, Family Suite for Large Ensemble and Common Ground. Other recent recordings are Symmetry, Vista Obscura, and Silent Voices, a co-led session with saxophonist Pat LaBarbera.
Kirk is a bridge between tradition and modern saxophone playing. He is one of the shining lights in Canada’s jazz scene. Masterful playing and in the present. - Jerry Bergonzi
I find it difficult to put into words the level of respect & admiration that I have for Kirk. He has the rare ability to translate music into emotion & that’s something that only a true master musician can do. - Dennis Mackrel
RUSSELL MALONE, born in Albany, Georgia grew up playing a variety of music.
Eventually, he made jazz his main focus, but he never lost his appreciation of other styles. Malone, who now lives in New Jersey, was 25 when, in 1988, he was hired as a sideman by the seminal organist Jimmy Smith. He went on to back Harry Connick, Jr. from 1990-1994 and spent four years working with Verve labelmate Diana Krall, in addition to guesting on numerous recordings.
Malone first recorded as a leader in 1992, when he provided his self-titled debut album for Columbia. Subsequently, Malone recorded Black Butterfly for Columbia in 1993, Wholly Cats for Japan’s Venus label in 1995, Sweet Georgia Peach for Impulse! in 1998, and Look Who’s Here for Verve in 1999. Having produced the latter two, Tommy LiPuma was obviously the man for the job when Malone was ready to record Heartstrings.
I love all kinds of music. I can have just as much fun playing a Willie Nelson song as I would have playing something by Duke Ellington.
Virtuoso Harmonica &d Vibraphone Player, Composer
HENDRIK MEURKENS, a virtuoso on the chromatic harmonica and vibraphone, is the most important jazz harmonica player since Toots Thielemans.
As a featured artist, he has recorded with Charlie Byrd, Jimmy Cobb, Ivan Lins, Monty Alexander, Claudio Roditi, Manfredo Fest and Mundell Lowe, as well as backing such leading artists as Astrid Gilberto and Olivia Newton John and touring with the Ray Brown Trio, Paquito D’Rivera, Oscar Castro Neves, Herb Ellis, Herbie Mann, Charlie Byrd, and James Moody among many others.
Also a successful composer (his compositions have been recorded by other artists and featured in the Hollywood movie, “Dolores Claiborne,”) Hendrik Meurkens remains equally at home playing jazz or Brazilian music. “My mission is simple,” he explains. “I want to create music of great beauty.”
I like beautiful music, Sinatra, Jobim, Charlie Parker, so I concentrate on playing things that the audience can enjoy. I want people to feel what I do and the best way to do that is to play something touches their hearts.
Jazz Pianist and Composer
Note: 1630 represents international rights. US rights are represented by Second Floor Music.
Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including "'Round Midnight," "Blue Monk," "Ruby, My Dear," "In Walked Bud," and "Well, You Needn't". Monk is the second-most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than 1,000 pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70.
His compositions and improvisations feature dissonances and angular melodic twists, and are consistent with Monk's unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of silences and hesitations. He was renowned for his distinctive style in suits, hats, and sunglasses. He was also noted for an idiosyncratic habit observed at times during performances: while the other musicians in the band continued playing, he would stop, stand up from the keyboard, and dance for a few moments before returning to the piano.
I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing? even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years.
Jazz Guitarist & Composer
GUITARIST OSCAR PEÑAS is a native of Barcelona, Spain and a citizen of NY.
His work includes compositions for small jazz ensembles blending a variety of eclectic instrumentation both acoustic and electric. Lately he has been writing for chamber string ensembles fading the boundaries between modern jazz to classical. Throughout his career, Oscar Peñas has been committed to creating new musical works and constantly working to evolve improvisations and melodies in his instrument.
Oscar Peñas has won the attention of the press and audiences for his innovative work that has been described as “transnational cool” – Alana Harper, WNYC, and Mark Ruffin, from SiriusXM, Real Jazz channel wrote “Spanish guitarist Oscar Peñas has attracted a wide variety of fans through his unique combination of classical, Spanish folk music and Brazilian grooves over an American jazz base.”
Spanish guitarist Oscar Peñas has attracted a wide variety of fans through his unique combination of classical, Spanish folk music and Brazilian grooves over an American jazz base. -Mark Ruffin, from SiriusXM, Real Jazz
Jazz Pianist and Composer
GONZALO RUBALCABA is a Grammy Award-winning Cuban jazz pianist and composer.
Gonzalo loved drumming and early in his career studied both piano and drums. Despite the diversity of his background, Gonzalo’s initial formal musical training was entirely classical. He began his training at Manuel Saumell Conservatory at age 9, where he finally chose the piano as his main instrument. He moved up to middle-school at Amadeo Roldan Conservatory and finally earned his degree in music composition from Havana’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1983. By that time he was already playing in clubs and music halls in Havana.
Gonzalo continues to tour the world as a solo pianist in jazz and classical settings as well as band leader, employing the worlds top side men in club and concert engagements. His active repertoire has continued to expand beyond straight-ahead, bop, Afro-Cuban and other forms of jazz into the worlds of traditional Cuban and Mexican ballads, boleros and Cuban classical works. He has developed his own very distinctive voice, challenging the traditional musical classifications of the day.
Few jazz pianists are better equipped to deliver a breathtaking solo recital than Havana-born Gonzalo Rubalcaba.
Composer, Arranger, Saxophonist
STEFÁN S. STEFÁNSSON was selected composer of the year in jazz&blues category at the Icelandic Music Awards in 2015.
Born in Hafnarfjörður near the capitol of Iceland, Reykjavík in 1957 Stefan started playing music at an early age. At first he banged on the drums with a fierce interest in latin music as well as jazz. As a teenager he started studies at Sigursveins Music School in Iceland on flute.
In 1980 Stefan went to Berklee College Of Music USA, to study jazz music. After graduating from Berklee in 1983 Stefan worked as a professional musican full time in Reykjavík, playing, composing, arranging, teaching and raising a family. One boy and two girls. Today Stefan is working with the Reykjavík Big Band, headmaster of Arbaer Music School and playing with his jazz/folk band Vikivaki that plays jazz influenced by icelandic folk songs.
Jazz Pianist, Composer, Broadcaster and Educator
BILLY TAYLOR grew up in a musical family and learned to play different instruments as a child, including guitar, drums and saxophone.
A jazz activist, Taylor sat on the Honorary Founders Board of The Jazz Foundation of America, an organisation he started in 1989, with Ann Ruckert, Herb Storfer and Phoebe Jacobs, to save the homes and the lives of America's elderly jazz and blues musicians, later including musicians who survived Hurricane Katrina.
Taylor appeared on hundreds of albums and composed more than 300 songs during his career, which spanned over six decades. His 1963 song "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" dealt with civil rights issues and became the unofficial anthem of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. It was selected as "one of the greatest songs of the sixties" by the New York Times and was the theme music of the 1996 film Ghosts of Mississippi. His extensive appearance in television series and jazz educational programs brought the music he loved to the masses at the grass roots level as well as more formal arenas. He was sometimes better known as a television personality than a pianist.
Any time in our history when the color barrier is broken, people have made significant sacrifices and stood up for the rights of others. That can't be taken lightly.
Jazz Pianist, Composer and Educator
DONALD VEGA was trained classically in piano in his native Nicaragua.
He emigrated to the United States at age 14 and found a musical home with the Colburn School of Performing Arts. He began his studies there in classical piano with Teresa de Jong Pombo and Dr. Louis Lepley. Vega began learning the language of jazz from mentor Billy Higgins at The World Stage and continued at CSPA with Jeffrey Lavner, then later with bassist John Clayton at the University of Southern California.
He went on to graduate from Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School where he studied with piano great, Kenny Barron. Vega currently performs internationally as the pianist for world renowned bassist Ron Carter’s Golden Striker Trio. Mr. Vega also sits on the board of BackCountry Jazz, a non-profit organization which provides music education programs and performances to under privileged youth.
CEDAR WALTON was an American hard bop jazz pianist.
He came to prominence as a member of drummer Art Blakey's band before establishing a long career as a bandleader and composer. Several of his compositions have become jazz standards, including "Mosaic", "Bolivia", "Holy Land," "Mode for Joe" and "Ugetsu", also known as "Fantasy in D".
Walton was born and grew up in Dallas, Texas. His mother Ruth was an aspiring concert pianist, and was Walton's initial teacher. She also took him to jazz performances around Dallas. Walton cited Nat King Cole, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum as his major influences on piano. He began emulating recordings of these artists from an early age. In January 2010, Walton was inducted as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters. After a brief illness, Walton died on August 19, 2013, at his home in Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 79.
I’m extremely fortunate to have been here early enough to meet the likes of Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, and Erroll Garner.
JEFF WATTS is one of the most in demand jazz drummers in the world today.
Jeff initially majored in classical percussion at Pittsburgh's Duquesne University, where he was primarily a timpanist, followed by enrollment at the Berklee School of Music, where he pursued jazz studies alongside such talented players as Branford Marsalis, Kevin Eubanks, Greg Osby, Aimee Mann, Steve Vai and Marvin "Smitty" Smith. Jeff joined the Wynton Marsalis Quartet in 1981 and proceeded to win three Grammy Awards with the ensemble.
Jeff has worked in the film and television industry as both a musician on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and as an actor, Rhythm Jones in Spike Lee’s "Mo Better Blues". Jeff joined Kenny Garrett's band after returning to New York in 1995 after three years in LA on the Tonight Show. Watts also continued to record and tour with Branford Marsalis as well as Danilo Perez, Michael Brecker, Betty Carter, Kenny Kirkland, Courtney Pine, Geri Allen, Alice Coltrane, Greg Osby, Steve Coleman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and Ravi Coltrane.
He spends time inside rhythmic patterns that are complex but not flashy; he sounds as if he's knocking down the formalized patterns of jazz drumming and starting from scratch.