Joey Calderazzo was born on February 27, 1965 in New Rochelle, New York and was inspired by a friend who lived next door, to began his piano studies at age seven. Progressing rapidly in a house where other family members were also playing drums and singing, by the time he turned 14 he was the youngest member of his brother Gene’s rock band. When the other, significantly older band members enrolled at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and switched their allegiance to jazz, he set aside his passions for the Beatles and Led Zeppelin for that of Oscar Peterson, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner.
He met Michael Brecker at a clinic, and in 1987 the saxophonist was introducing him to the jazz world as part of the touring quintet. After playing on two tracks of Brecker’s1988 album Don’t Try This At Home, Brecker produced Calderazzo’s first disc, In the Door for Blue Note. Not only did Brecker record on the project, he brought along saxophonists Jerry Bergonzi and Branford Marsalis.
Joey has maintained a strong relationship over the years with Brecker and Marsalis having taken the piano chair post Kenny Kirkland in the later’s Buckshot LeFonque. He has played with Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Bruce Gertz, John Patitucci and Jeff “Tain” Watts to name a few. He has released
Calderazzo assumed his role as sideman and composer on a number of Marsalis recordings contributing to Contemporary Jazz, Footsteps Of Our Fathers,Romare Bearden Revealed, Eternal and the DVD A Love Supreme, Live In Amsterdam. As a leader he has released more than a dozen compact discs such as his Secrets, Amanecer, Trio Live and his latest release Going Home, as well as several co-leader projects.
Pianist and composer Joey Calderazzo continues to perform as a solo pianist, as leader of his trio, and as a member of the Branford Marsalis Quartet.
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Hilliard Greene was born on February 26, 1958. Taking up the double bass, his studies have been a thirty-year journey that included matriculating through Berklee College of Music and the University of Northern Iowa. His emphasis has been classical, jazz, blues, rock, R&B, tango and music of other countries and regions.
Hill, as he is known, was musical director for balladeer and jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott for 20 years. He has served as concertmaster for Cecil Taylor’s ensemble Phtongos and was a member of the Don Pullen Trio. His list of who’s who that he has performed and/or toured with include but not limited to Gloria Lynne, Jacky Terrasson, Rashied Ali, Leroy Jenkins, Jimmy Ponder, Eddie Gladden, Vanessa Rubin, Yoron Israel, Cindy Blackman, Electric Symphony, Charles Gayle, Jack Walrath, Don Pullen, Dave Douglas, Bobby Watson, Greg Osby, Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Carla Cook, Josh Roseman, John Hicks, and the Village Vanguard Orchestra.
Greene, as a bandleader, has released three albums with his ensemble The Jazz Expressions and a solo album titled “Alone”. As an educator, he is currently on the faculty of the Bass Collective in New York City and he teaches privately doing workshops and master classes in double bass and bass guitar for both children and adults.
Double bassist Hilliard Greene, whose concentration lies in Modern Creative and improvised music, performs widely in the New York City area in recitals, nightclubs, recordings, television and radio programs, in addition to throughout Europe, United States, Asia and South America.
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Marty Morell was born on February 25, 1944 in New York City. He attended the Manhattan School of Music studying mallets, and tympani at the Julliard School of Music.
Marty worked and/or recorded with the Al Cohn-Zoot Sims Quintet, Henry “Red” Allen, Gary McFarland, Steve Kuhn and Gabor Szabo before joining pianist Bill Evans. This would be his most prolifically recording period alongside bassist Eddie Gomez from late 1968 through 1974. After leaving the trio, Marty settled in Toronto, Canada where he became a highly sought after studio drummer and percussionist.
Morell fronted his own bands as a drummer and also worked as a vibist and pianist with his Latin band and played congas with the 1970s funk-jazz band Ravin’. He would go on to work with Don Sebesky, Pee Wee Russell, Henry “Red” Allen, Stan Getz, Kenny Wheeler, Claus Ogerman, Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass and Kenny Drew Jr.
A highly versatile musician, Marty has performed with the Toronto Symphony, Canadian opera Company, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and with The Phantom of The Opera orchestra in Toronto.
In 1998 he moved back to his hometown, New York City, to play the Tony award-winning musical Ragtime. After a two-year run on Broadway, he toured nationally with the show, did the Tony award winning revival of Kiss Me Kate, and Seussical: The Musical.
Marty took the drumming seat with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 2006 and the following year accepted a professorship to teach jazz drum set and percussion at the University of Central Florida. In addition to teaching, he is currently a member of the Jazz Professors, has released two hit albums, and I has been performing a Bill Evans Tribute program with Japanese pianist Takana Miyamoto.
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Maggie Nicols or Nichols, as she originally spelt her name as a performer, was born Margaret Nicholson on February 24, 1948 in Edinburgh, Scotland. At the age of fifteen she left school and started to work as a dancer at the Windmill Theatre. Her first singing engagement was in a strip club in Manchester a year later. At about that time she became obsessed with jazz, and sang with bebop pianist Dennis Rose. From then on she sang in pubs, clubs, hotels, and in dance bands with some of the finest jazz musicians around.
In 1968, Maggie went to London and joined an early improvisational group, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, and performed at Berlin’s new avant-garde festival. In the early 1970s she began running voice workshops at the Oval House Theatre, acted in some of the productions and rehearsed regularly with a local rock band. Shortly afterwards she became part of Keith Tippett’s fifty-piece British jazz/progressive rock big band Centipede. She joined Brian Eley and formed the vocal group Voice, and around the same time began collaborating with the Scottish percussionist Ken Hyder and his band Talisker.
By the late 1970s, Nicols had become an active feminist, co-founded the Feminist Improvising Group, organized Contradictions, a women’s workshop performance group in 1980 and dealt with improvisation. Over the years, Nicols has collaborated with other women’s groups, such as the Changing Women Theatre Group, and even wrote music for a prime-time television series, Women in Sport.
Nicols has also collaborated regularly over the years with Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer and French bassist Joelle Leandre, touring and recording. She continues her duo collaboration with Ken Hyder, pianists Pete Nu and Steve Lodder, with her own daughter, Aura Marina, with avant-gardists Caroline Kraabe, Charlotte Hug and lighting designer Sue Neal. She performs throughout Europe and internationally at a variety of creative and improvised music festivals.
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Wayne Escoffery was born on February 23, 1975 in London, England. He and his mother emigrated to the U.S. in 1986 and settled in New Haven, Connecticut. At age eleven he joined The New Haven Trinity Boys Choir and began taking saxophone lessons from Malcolm Dickinson. By sixteen, he had left the choir and engaged in a more intensive study of the saxophone in New York City at the Jazzmobile, the Neighborhood Music School and the ACES Educational Center for the Arts, both in New Haven.
During his senior year in high School, he attended the Artists Collective, Inc. in Hartford, Connecticut. While there he met Jackie McLean who founded the jazz program at The Hartt School, that Escoffery would ultimately attend under scholarship. He went on to matriculate through the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the New England Conservatory in Boston. During this time, he toured with Herbie Hancock and performed and studied with several jazz greats. In 1999, he graduated with a Masters degree and moved to New York to begin his professional career.
Since 2000, Wayne has been working in New York City with Carl Allen, Eric Reed, Mingus Big Band, Ralph Peterson, Ben riley, Ron Carter, Rufus Reid, Bill Charlap, Bruce Barth, Jimmy Cobb, Eddie Henderson, Mary Stallings, Cynthia Scott, Nancie Banks, Laverne Butler and his wife, Carolyn Leonhart.
Tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery has released nine albums to date and in addition, he collaborates with his wife, continues to perform with his own quartet and quintet, the Tom Harrell Quintet, Abdullah Ibrahim’s Akaya and Jazz At Lincoln Center and others.
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