MIKE RODRIGUEZ/ TRUMPETGRAMMY-nominated trumpeter/composer Mike Rodríguez was born in 1979 in Queens, New York. Rodríguez was inspired to pursue music as a career by his father, Roberto Rodríguez, who is a drummer. Rodríguez studied at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida and continued his studies at the University of Miami. After completing two years at the University of Miami, he decided to transfer to the New School in New York where he received his B.A. Rodríguez has performed and toured with Clark Terry, Bobby Watson, Quincy Jones, Joe Lovano, Toshiko Akiyoshi Orchestra, pop icon Jessica Simpson, the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and is a member of Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. Rodríguez has also performed and traveled with Jon Faddis and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Carla Bley Band and Quintet, The Clayton Brothers, Kenny Barron Quintet, Conrad Herwig’s Latin Side projects, Harry Connick, Jr., Bob Mintzer, Eddie Palmieri Septet, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and the Smithsonian Jazz Orchestra, among others. Rodríguez recorded on Charlie Haden’s 2004 GRAMMY Award-winning album featuring Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Joe Lovano, Land of the Sun. He also recorded on Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra’s 2005 album, Not in Our Name, and is featured on “America the Beautiful” and Dvořák’s “Going Home.” In 2008 Rodríguez became a member of the Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quintet and recorded Avatar on the Blue Note label. In 2013 he released his debut solo recording on the Criss Cross label entitled Reverence. Rodríguez and his brother, pianist Robert Rodríguez, have recorded four albums together, including Introducing the Rodríguez Brothers, Conversations, Mood Swing, and their most recent album, Impromptu, which was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. Rodríguez is currently on the faculty at NYU as Professor of Trumpet and travels the globe as a clinician.
NATHAN EKLUND/ TRUMPETNathan Eklund was born near Seattle, Washington and began his musical journey by studying piano at the age of six. Inspired by his grandfather's big band and military trumpet playing during the World War II era, Eklund picked up the trumpet at 11 and soon became interested in jazz through the trumpet voices of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Clifford Brown. Eklund began his serious musical training at Central Washington University, where he studied classical trumpet performance under the direction of Thomas Gause. In 1998 Eklund moved to the New York City area to study jazz at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. He attained his Bachelor's degree from WPU and his Master's degree from New Jersey City University. Professionally, Eklund is involved in a wide array of projects. He has released five albums as a leader, most recently his 2012 release, Crafty Christmas, and the 2010 Nathan Eklund Group project, Coin Flip. Along with his projects as a leader, Eklund's list of recordings as a sideman continues to grow. He recorded for Spyro Gyra's 2006 GRAMMY-nominated album Wrapped In A Dream, as well as for Phil Woods, Richie Cole, Chuck Loeb, Gerald Veasley, Craig Yaremko, Shirantha Beddage, Dan Rufolo, and many more. Eklund is also active in the NYC area big band scene, having performed with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Phil Woods and the Festival Orchestra, Bill Mobley Big Band, Chris Stover's “Book Of Sand,” Newyorkestra Big Band, Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, Mike Treni Big Band, David O'Rourkestra Big Band, and Cecil's Big Band. Along with his accomplishments as a performer, Eklund has made a commitment to furthering the development of music through teaching. Since early 2001, he has been a private trumpet instructor, teaching throughout New Jersey. He currently is an adjunct faculty member at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ and teaches at the Jazz House Kids program in Montclair, NJ.
ALEX SIPIAGIN/ TRUMPETAlex Sipiagin was born in 1967 in Yaroslavl, Russia. Shortly after entering a local musical college at age 15, Sipiagin was introduced to and inspired by what few taped recordings were available in Russia of jazz music, and later auditioned for and was accepted into the Moscow Music Institute where he combined classical studies with explorations into jazz. At 19 and after receiving his Baccalaureate, Sipiagin served the mandatory two years in the Russian army and then, upon release, continued his music studies at the Gnessin Academy in Moscow. In 1990 Sipiagin won first place in a Russian young jazz players’ competition in Rostov City and visited the U.S. that same year, performing with a Russian student jazz band, Green Wave. Catching the attention and ears of many, he was invited to participate in the International Louis Armstrong Competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute in Washington, DC, where he placed fourth. In 1991 Sipiagin moved to New York City in pursuit of jazz, sitting in on jam sessions and eventually snagging his first jazz gig in 1992, playing every Monday night at Sweet Basil with the Gil Evans Band directed by Miles Evans, later becoming a member of Gil Goldstein’s Zebra Coast Orchestra. Over the years Sipiagin has performed with a wide range of acclaimed artists, including the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, Bob Moses’ Mozamba, Mingus Big Band, Dave Holland’s big band and small groups, Michael Brecker’s Quindectet and Sextet, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Aaron Neville, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Kenny Werner, Elvis Costello, Michael Franks, David Sanborn, Deborah Cox, and legendary producer Phil Ramone, with many of the recordings of which he was a part winning GRAMMYs. As a bandleader, Sipiagin has 16 recordings out to his credit, largely with the European label Criss Cross Jazz, and has toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, and Russia with his group.
JOSH DEUTSCH/ TRUMPETTrumpeter/composer Josh Deutsch has established himself as a versatile and unique voice in New York’s music scene. Equally comfortable as a leader and sideman, Deutsch has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and Asia. Deutsch’s projects include the band Pannonia, the Josh Deutsch/Nico Soffiato Duo, and the No Chairs Ensemble. He can also be heard with Lila Downs, Sofia Rei, Pedro Giraudo’s Expansions Big Band, Livio Almeida’s Brazilian Dectet, Grupo Rebolu, Juancho Herrera, and Niki Pankovits, and has appeared with Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and the Duke Ellington Big Band directed by Victor Goines. Deutsch has twice led bands as part of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, directed by Dave Douglas, as well as at the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle and the Outpost Summer Music Festival in Albuquerque. A native of Seattle, Deutsch holds degrees in music from the New England Conservatory of Music and the University of Oregon, and now resides in Queens, NY, where in addition to performing he is an active music educator.
ROMAN FILIU/ ALTO SAXNew York-based Roman Filiú has been a saxophonist, bandleader, and composer for over 20 years. Born and raised in Santiago de Cuba, he has played, recorded, and toured worldwide with a great variety of artists. He is currently a member of Pulitzer Prize-winning Henry Threadgill’s Ensemble Double Up, and leads several groups himself such as Quarteria, which features David Virelles, Ralph Alessi, Matt Brewer, Dayna Stephens, Yusnier Sánchez, and Craig Weinrib, as well as the Roman Filiú Quartet with Billy Hart, David Virelles, and Thomas Morgan. Among his many collaborations, Filiú has played in Chucho Valdés’ Irakere (GRAMMY Award-nominated Babalú Ayé, GRAMMY Award-winning New Conceptions), has been the musical director of David Murray’s Big Band, and has played with outstanding musicians Andrew Cyrille, Gonzalo Rubalcaba (GRAMMY Award-nominated Antiguo), Dafnis Prieto, Milford Graves, Miguel Zenón, Doug Hammond, Nasheet Waits, Michele Rosewoman, Omara Portuondo, Marcus Gilmore, Lázaro Ross, Alain Pérez, Iván Melón Lewis, Román Díaz, Damion Reid, Pablo Milanés, Liberty Ellman, Stephan Crump, Adam Rogers, Rez Abassi, and Chano Domínguez, among others. Filiú has been a recipient of a Jazz Gallery commission, the Langnau Jazz Fest Artist in Residence, the Chamber Music America New Jazz Works Award, and the Lucas Artist Residency. He has established himself as a prominent and innovative composer through his work for numerous small ensembles and has written pieces for string quartet, solo piano, saxophone quartet, and symphonic orchestra. Filiú has also released the albums Blowin’ Reflections and Musae, which were praised by the press for their quality and depth.
MICHAEL THOMAS/ ALTO SAXAward-winning saxophonist, composer, and arranger Michael Thomas has been an active member of the New York City jazz community since arriving in 2011. Holding degrees from the University of Miami, New England Conservatory, and The Juilliard School, Thomas has performed throughout the United States and abroad, including tours in Central and South America, Australia, Europe, and Russia. His sideman work has included performances with Nicholas Payton, Miguel Zenón, and Jason Palmer, and Michael’s talents can be heard on over 20 recordings, including his solo debut, The Long Way (2011). As a composer and arranger, Thomas has been commissioned by school and professional ensembles throughout the United States, and his talents have been recognized by DownBeat Magazine as well as the “Keep an Eye” competition in Amsterdam. Thomas currently co-leads and writes for the Terraza 7 Big Band based in Queens, NY, in addition to his own septet and quartet. He plays exclusively on mouthpieces handcrafted by John Thomas.
PETER APFELBAUM/ TENOR SAXBerkeley-born and based in New York City since 1998, saxophonist/pianist/drummer and composer Peter Apfelbaum is best known as leader of the world music big band, Hieroglyphics, which he formed while still in high school in 1977. The ensemble, which attracted international attention for its unique fusing of elements of world music with the aesthetics of the jazz avant-garde, received a GRAMMY nomination in 1991 for the album Signs of Life (Antilles) and helped launch the careers of fellow Berkeleyans Joshua Redman, Benny Green, Craig Handy, and Steven Bernstein, among others. An influential figure in new jazz for over three decades, Apfelbaum has worked with some of the leading figures in contemporary music, including the late Don Cherry (Apfelbaum served as Musical Director of Cherry’s group Multikulti from 1989-1995), Cecil Taylor, Harry Belafonte, Omar Sosa, Bill Laswell, and Phish. He has been commissioned by the Kronos Quartet and the National Swedish Radio Orchestra, among others. In 2013 he formed Sparkler, an electronica-based sextet, which released its debut EP on MOD Technologies in 2015. Apfelbaum's newest recording, an album of solo piano pieces entitled Song of The Tree of Destiny, will be released in 2018 on the Loove Arts label. He has played with Dafnis Prieto since 1999 and is a member of Prieto’s Sextet and Si o Si Quartet. CMJ New Music Report has called Apfelbaum “a visionary, galvanic composer, and player like few others of his time.”
JOEL FRAHM/ TENOR SAXHaving made a name for himself through his associations with singer Jane Monheit and boyhood friend, pianist Brad Mehldau, Joel Frahm has also worked with a vast array of musical peers and jazz legends including Diane Schuur, Maynard Ferguson, Betty Carter, Matt Wilson, Larry Goldings, Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Andrew Hill, Ben Allison, Pat Martino, Ingrid Jensen, Dena Derose, The Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Kyle Eastwood, and many others. Born in Racine, WI in 1969, Frahm attended the Mason Gross School for the Arts and earned his B.A. in Jazz Performance at Manhattan School of Music. He released three highly regarded CDs on Palmetto: The Navigator, Don’t Explain (with Mehldau), and Sorry No Decaf. He has also recorded for Anzic Records and Smallslive. Don’t Explain was the number one jazz release for radio play in the United States for two consecutive weeks in 2004, according to jazzweek.com airplay chart and also reached number one on college radio for one week, according to College Music Journal’s airplay chart. Frahm was also recently selected in DownBeat Magazine’s Critics Poll as a Rising Star in the category of tenor saxophone.
CHRIS CHEEK/ BARI SAXChris Cheek is one of the most sought after saxophonists in the Jazz world today, having played in the the groups of legends such as Paul Motian, Charlie Haden, Steve Swallow, and Bill Frisell. Born in St. Louis in 1968, as a leader he has performed with the likes of Jorge Rossy, Brad Mehldau, and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Cheek’s latest CD Saturday Songs (on Sunnyside Records) along with his recordings (on Fresh Sound Records) I Wish I Knew, A Girl Named Joe, Vine, and Blues Cruise have all received rave reviews internationally and have become favorites among players and listeners alike. He is also co-leader of the bands Rudder (19/8 Records), The Bloomdaddies (Fresh Sound), and Reeds Ramble (Criss Cross Records). Cheek’s music encompasses a wide vista, firmly rooted in the Jazz tradition with a foot towards the unknown. As Steve Swallow and Carla Bley put it: “On the one hand, he's the very embodiment of gentle, graceful lyricism. But he's unable to resist the urge to subvert. He's a master of the sucker punch; just when he's convinced you that things couldn't be sweeter, he'll play something that jolts you right back to real life, something as direct and succinct as an uppercut. Do not trust this man! Listen at your peril.” Cheek’s flexible, dynamic sound on all the saxophones, along with his adaptability and inventiveness, makes him a valuable contribution to every band with which he plays.
TIM ALBRIGHT/ TROMBONETim Albright is Assistant Professor of Music at Lawrence University and is a member of the acclaimed Atlantic Brass Quintet. Albright has toured the world and recorded with a wide array of musical luminaries and ensembles including Steve Coleman, Steve Lehman, Maria Schneider, Orpheus Chamber Symphony, Metropolitan Opera, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble, Argento New Music Project, Barbra Streisand, and Jay-Z.
ALAN FERBER/ TROMBONETwo-time GRAMMY-nominated trombonist/composer Alan Ferber has been called “one of the jazz world’s premier composers and arrangers for larger groups” by All About Jazz. For the last six years, he has been recognized as one of the leading trombonists of his generation in DownBeat Magazine’s International Critics’ Poll and Readers’ Poll. He has released seven albums as a bandleader, most recently an eight-movement piece for his nonet called Roots & Transitions. The album was nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award in the Best Instrumental Composition category for the piece, “Flow.” In 2013 Ferber released an album for 17-piece big band entitled March Sublime. It features stunningly original compositions and arrangements and was nominated for a 2014 GRAMMY Award in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album category. Ferber was the recipient of a 2013 New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Since 2011 he has been an Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School. Ferber’s music draws from a broad stylistic base informed by the array of artists with whom he has closely worked. In the jazz world, he has been a member of Best New Artist GRAMMY-winner Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society, the Ted Nash Big Band, MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón’s Identities Big Band, the Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra, the Charlie Hunter Quintet, Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus, the Lee Konitz Nonet, John Ellis’s Double Wide, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and Don Byron’s Mickey Katz Project. He has worked and recorded extensively in other genres as well with artists including Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, The National, Dr. Dre, Michael Buble, and Beirut.
JACOB GARCHIK/ TROMBONEJacob Garchik, multi-instrumentalist and composer, was born in San Francisco and has lived in New York since 1994. At home in a wide variety of styles and musical roles, he is a vital part of the Downtown and Brooklyn scene, playing trombone with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Ohad Talmor/Steve Swallow Sextet, Mary Halvorson Octet, and the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble. He has released four albums as a leader including The Heavens: the Atheist Gospel Trombone Album. He co-leads Brooklyn’s premier Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos. Since 2006 Garchik has contributed dozens of arrangements and transcriptions for Kronos Quartet of music from all over the world. His arrangements were featured on Floodplain (2009), Rainbow (2010), A Thousand Thoughts (2014), and Folk Songs (2017). He composed the score for Kronos for the documentary The Campaign (2013), and Green Fog (2017), directed by Guy Maddin. He has created arrangements for vocalists Anne Sofie von Otter, Angelique Kidjo, Laurie Anderson, Rhiannon Giddens, kd lang, Natalie Merchant, Tanya Tagaq, and Alim Qasimov. As a trombonist Garchik has worked with many luminaries of the avant-garde, including Henry Threadgill, Laurie Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Joe Maneri, Frank London, James Tenney, Terry Riley, and George Lewis. He has also played in ensembles led by emerging artists Mary Halvorson, Darcy James Argue, Dan Weiss, Miguel Zenón, and Steve Lehman. Since 2013 Garchik has been named a “Rising Star” in the Downbeat Jazz Critics’ Poll.
JEFF NELSON/ BASS TROMBONEJeff Nelson has become one of New York’s busiest bass trombone players, since arriving in the city after graduating from the Fredonia School of Music. Originally from the upstate village of Scotia, NY, he has toured the world with jazz artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Dave Holland, Lionel Hampton, Maria Schneider, Slide Hampton, Stefon Harris, Roy Hargrove, Paquito D’Rivera, and Louie Bellson, as well as with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, Manhattan Jazz Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. In demand across various musical genres, Nelson has shared the stage with performers including Tony Bennett, Luciano Pavarotti, Diana Ross, Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin, Gerry Mulligan, Ron Carter, Nicholas Payton, Burt Bacharach, David Sanborn, Ne-Yo, Frankie Valli, Chaka Khan, Korn, Lou Rawls, Cheap Trick, Bono, the Manhattan Transfer, the Met Opera Brass, and The Late Show’s CBS Orchestra. In addition, he has held chairs in 14 different Broadway show orchestras, including Sunset Boulevard, Titanic, Fosse, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Elf, and revivals of West Side Story, Les Misérables, and Miss Saigon, and he is a regular orchestra member for the annual TV broadcast of Broadway’s TONY Awards. Nelson has recorded with Dave Liebman, Sting, Jimmy Heath, Michel Legrand, Terence Blanchard, Kenny Werner, Michael Formanek, Vanessa Williams, Linda Eder, James Carter, Brett Eldredge, and Harry Connick, Jr. He has also been heard on movie soundtracks for Spike Lee’s Clockers, Mel Brooks’ musical remake of The Producers, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe, and the Coen Brothers’ True Grit and Hail, Caesar!, among others. He has played on sports themes for the NFL, NBA, USTA, and PGA, as well as for numerous TV and radio jingles. A CD with his own group, the New York Trombone Conspiracy, entitled A Matter of Time, was released several years ago to critical acclaim.
MANUEL VALERA/ PIANOBorn and raised in Havana, since arriving in New York City GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer Manuel Valera has become well known in the modern jazz scene, garnering national reviews and lending his talents as a pianist and composer to such notable artists as Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Brian Lynch, Dafnis Prieto, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Chris Potter, Dave Binney, Adam Rogers, Mark Turner, John Benitez, Samuel Torres, Joel Frahm, Yosvany Terry, and Pedrito Martínez, and classical violinist and composer Joshua Bell, among many others. A dynamic and prolific artist, Valera has recorded twelve albums as a bandleader with touring projects ranging from his GRAMMY-nominated group New Cuban Express to his modern contemporary trio to solo piano. His latest trio recording The Seasons was released on MAVO Records in spring 2017. Valera is the recipient of many composition grants — most notably Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works, the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation, and the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award. He has traveled the world performing in more than 30 countries at some of the biggest international venues and festivals in the world.
RICKY RODRIGUEZ/ BASSRicardo “Ricky” Rodríguez was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he also started his music studies. He received his Bachelor of Music in Classical Bass performance under the tutelage of professors Federico Silva and Jose García at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico in 2004. Rodríguez moved to New York City to experiment and increase his musical development in a different musical style: Jazz. He took private lessons with two of his bass heroes, Larry Grenadier and Scott Colley. Within a year, Rodríguez began performing with internationally distinguished musicians, including David Sánchez Quartet, Branford Marsalis, Michele Rosewoman, Miguel Zenón Quartet, Adam Rogers, Lionel Loueke, Clarence Penn, Ignacio Berroa Quartet, Dave Samuels, Dave Schnitter, Janis Siegel, Joe Locke, Marlon Simon and the Nagual Spirits, Pedrito Martínez, Mayra Casales, the Rodríguez Brothers, Osmany Paredes Quartet, Papo Vázquez and Pirates Troubadours, Donny McCaslin Trio, Luis Bonilla and Trombonilla, Paoli Mejias, Ricardo Pons and Causa Común, Los Pleneros de la 21, the Samuel Torres Band, Cristos Rafalides and the Manhattan Vibes, Ximo Tebar and the Four Lights, the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Michel Camilo Trio, and many others. Since then, Rodríguez has performed with some of the giants in Latin Jazz today. These include performances with legendary jazz icons such as Ray Barretto, Endel Dueño, Giovanni Hidalgo, Jerry González, Chuchito Valdés, Tony Lujan, Erik Figueroa Trio, and Mandy Visoso and his Orchestra, as well as memorable performances with masters such as Branford Marsalis, Danilo Pérez, David Sánchez, and Ignacio Berroa. He is currently touring with Michel Camilo and Trio Latino, David Sánchez Group, Joe Locke Quartet, Ignacio Berroa Quartet, and his own group. His new solo album, Ricky Rodríguez Group Looking Beyond, was released in June 2016 on the Destiny Record Label.
ROBERTO QUINTERO/ PERCUSSIONIt is hard to imagine the world of percussion without the sounds of Roberto Quintero. His loyalty and dedication to the Afro-Caribbean heritage of Venezuela has brought him a total astonishing number of 17 GRAMMY Awards. His discography includes collaborations with icons of Salsa, Latin Jazz, Pop, and Instrumental Music. Quintero has shared the stage with artists including Celine Dion, Oscar D’Leon, Marc Anthony, Paquito D’Rivera, Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Dave Samuels Caribbean Jazz Project, Hector Martignon, Franco de Vita, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Afro Bop Alliance Big Band, Diane Schuur, Luisito Quintero, and Juan García-Herreros, among many others. Quintero was born in Caracas, Venezuela where he grew up in one of the most renowned musical families as the son of Ricardo Quintero and Eglee Correa. At age seven he received his first lessons by his father which led him to play both the guitar and the Venezuelan cuatro. After a short period of time his great musical talent was developed and he began his studies at the Caracas Conservatory. His mentors include Jesús “Totoño” Blanco and Marides Mijares. With his parents’ support he was able to make his first musical steps alongside some of his famous family members Nene, Chu, Rafael, and Rosalia Quintero. In Venezuela Quintero has been part of an extensive number of recordings and performances with numerous world-renowned artists, including a five-year period of touring with salsa star Oscar D’Leon. After his enormous success in his home country he decided to broaden his horizons and move to New York where he currently resides. Here he could fulfill many of his musical dreams, performing alongside countless international stars. Quintero is an extremely versatile percussionist and is able to enrich the sound of any musical genre. To date his professional studio work on percussion is documented on more than 1,000 recordings worldwide.