Joseph Allen Farnsworth was born February 21, 1968 in Holyoke, Massachusetts, one of five sons born to trumpeter and bandleader Roger Farnsworth. He attended high school at the Jakarta International School in Jakarta, Indonesia, then studied at William Paterson College under Harold Mabern and Arthur Taylor.
After graduation Joe played with Junior Cook and Jon Hendricks in 1991, Jon Faddis in 1992, and between 1993 and 1995 with George Coleman, Cecil Payne, Annie Ross, and Benny Green. He has played in the group One for All with David Hazeltine and Jim Rotondi, and worked with Benny Golson, Steve Davis, and Eric Alexander.
In the second half of the Nineties he also played with Alex Graham, Michael Weiss, the Three Baritone Saxophone Band, and Diana Krall. He has released three albums as a leader, has also recorded with Steve Davis and the late Cedar Walton. Drummer Joe Farnsworth is now a member of Pharoah Sanders’ band.
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Leroy Jones was born on February 20, 1958 in New Orleans, Louisiana and began playing trumpet at the age of ten. By the time he was 12 he was leading the Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band, a group of young musicians organized by guitar and banjo player Danny Barker.
The musicians’ union forced Barker to disband the group in 1974, so Leroy became a union musician and took over the running of the group, renaming it the Hurricane Brass Band. By 1976 he had left the group, touring for a time with Eddie Vinson and Della Reese before forming his own group, the Leroy Jones Quintet.
In 1991 Jones joined the big band of Harry Connick, Jr., and that exposure with the band, including the opportunity for the Leroy Jones Quintet to open for Connick. This in turn led to him releasing his first album under his own name titled Mo’ Cream From The Crop on the Columbia Records in 1994. Trumpeter Leroy Jones, who has ten albums as a leader, has also appeared with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Dr. John and continues to tour and record with his quintet.
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It’s 1995 and Mayor Campbell’s second year of his first term and Phil Clore, co-founder of SOJA, the Southeastern Organization for Jazz Arts continues its legacy of bringing jazz to elementary schools. Larry Ridley, an early leader of the Festival’s workshops, has established the African-American Jazz Caucus as a part of the International Association of Jazz Educators.
The festival commences on May 20th and runs through May 27th and is sponsored by The Atlanta Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Coors Brewing Company, Stereo and Video Systems, The Mall at Peachtree Center, WCLK 91.9FM, The Atlanta Marriott Marquis, England Piano & Organ/Young Chang, Catfish Station and Yin Yang Cafe.
The performance lineup is impressive taking the main stages at Woodruff and Grant Parks with the Teddy Adams Quintet, Wes Anderson Quartet featuring Audrey Shakir, Atlanta Youth Ensemble, Azanyah, Glen BarBour, Bazooka Ants, Rick Bell Quintet, Cindy Blackman Quartet, Bluiett’s Barbecue Band, Decoy, Georgia All Star Grammy Jazz Band, GSU Faculty Jazz Band, Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band, Jocelyn Harris & Trio, Vincent Herring, Stanley Jordan, Oliver Lake Quintet, Russell Malone Quartet featuring Javon Jackson & Winard Harper, Chuck Mangione, Milkshake Quartet, Ramon Morris Quartet, Naked Jazz Orchestra, Johnny O’Neal Trio, Jerome Runte, Jimmy Smith, Yohembi, Russell Blake, Richard Brown, Kofi Burbridge, Eddie Davis, Sven Djorsing, William Greene, Louis Heriveaux, Ted Howe, Obie Jessie, Elgin Manson, Tarus Mateen, Ramone Morris, Howard Nicholson, John Ormond, Ramon Pooser, Lil JOhn Roberts, Sherry Scott, Eric Vaughn and Thad Wilson.
Blaise Siwula was born in Detroit, Michigan, on February 19, 1950 and grew up in a working/middle-class Black neighborhood. His next-door neighbor practiced saxophone in the afternoon and occasionally allowed him inside to watch him play. He began studying the alto saxophone at the age of 14, playing in the middle-school concert band. But, upon hearing John Coltrane’s Om in 1969, he was compelled to take the tenor saxophone and make it his voice.
He attended college on and off for an extended period from 1968-1980, studying theory and composition at Wayne State University and earning his B.F.A. degree. Siwula’s first personal encounters with jazz musicians came around 1971 with drummer Doc Watson, while both were living in a hotel near the downtown campus of Wayne State. Then the saxophonist got married, moved to San Francisco, California and started playing free improvised music in coffee houses and writing poetry.
Influenced by hearing Art Pepper in San Francisco, as well as Ornette Coleman, Sonny Stitt, Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Blue Mitchell, Elvin Jones, and Miles Davis in memorable live performances around the Detroit area in the early ‘1970s. After spending four years in Northern California, Blaise moved back to Detroit, then headed for Europe in 1989, working and traveling as a street musician for three months, then returning to the States and settling in New York City.
Active on the metro New York improvisation scene, he worked with Amica Bunker, the Improvisers Collective, and the Citizens Ontological Music Agenda (COMA) series. During the decade of the 2000s, he concentrated his efforts as a spontaneous composer incorporating traditional musical scoring techniques with visual/graphic and performance-oriented presentations.
Over the course of his career he has played or collaborated with Doug Walker’s Alien Planetscapes, Cecil Taylor’s Ptonagas, William Hooker’s ensembles, Judy Dunaway’s Balloon Trio, Dialing Privileges with Dom Minasi and John Bollinger, Karen Borca, William Parker, Jeff Platz, Adam Lane, Wilber Morris, Vincent Chancey, Theo Jörgensmann, Rashid Bakr, Tatsuya Nakatani,, Jay Rosen, Sarah Weaver, Fala Mariam, Ernesto Rodrigues, Hilliard Greene, Joe McPhee, Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Maria De Alvear, Vattel Cherry, and Jeff Arnal, among others.
Avant-garde alto saxophonist Blaise Siwula also plays the clarinets, flutes, percussion and string instruments and continues to perform and record free jazz and curate.
The Jazz Voyager is jumping on a plane today and heading up to the chilly Northeast to catch tonight’s performance of the Nicholas Payton Quartet tonight at The Side Door in Old Lyme, Connecticut. This sleek and compact jazz spot is located in The Old Lyme Inn at 85 Lyme Street, 06371.
Owner Ken Kitchings cut the ribbon and opened the doors with George Wein and his Newport Jazz All-Star Band continuing a legacy of offering a combination of big name acts, pre-show dinner and cocktails. And if you get too woozy after a good night of jazz, jazz can stay at the inn and drive home in the morning. Reservations: 860-434-2600 / Advance Tickets, No Standing Room.