Ralph Towner was born on March 1, 1940 in Chehalis, Washington. Born into a musical family, his mother a piano teacher and his father a trumpet player, Towner learned to improvise on the piano at the age of three. He started trumpet lessons at the age of five, but did not take up guitar until attending the University of Oregon.
Ralph first played jazz in New York City in the late 1960s as a pianist and was strongly influenced by the renowned jazz pianist Bill Evans. He began improvising on classical and 12-string guitars in the late 1960s and early 1970s; and formed alliances with musicians who had worked with Evans, including flautist Jeremy Steig, Eddie Gomez, Marc Johnson, Gary Peacock ad Jack DeJohnette.
He began his career as a conservatory-trained classical pianist, who picked up guitar in his senior year in college, then joined world music pioneer Paul Winter’s Consort ensemble in the late 1960s. Leaving Winter along with band mates Paul McCandless, Glen Moore and Colin Walcott, they formed the group Oregon, mixing folk, Indian classical, avant-garde jazz and frr improvisation.
Around the same time, Towner began a longstanding relationship with ECM Records, releasing virtually all of his non-Oregon recordings since his 1972 debut as a leader Trios / Solos. As a sideman he has ventured int jazz fsion with Weather Report on the 1972 album I Sing The Body Electric.
Unlike most jazz guitarists, Ralph only uses 6-string nylon-string and 12-string steel-string guitars. He tends to avoid high-volume musical environments, preferring small groups of mostly acoustic instruments that emphasize dynamics and group interplay. He make significant use of overdubbing, allowing him to play piano or synthesizer and guitar on the same track. During the Eighties he used more synthesizer but has returned to the guitar in recent years.
Composer, arranger, bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Ralph Towner, who plays 12 string guitar, classical guitar, piano, synthesizer, percussion and trumpet, has an impressive catalogue of some five-dozen recordings spread between his role as a leader, with Oregon, and as a sideman with Paul Winter and Weather Report among others. He continues to perform, record and tour.
Liam Sillery was born in Northvale, New Jersey, a suburb across the river from New York City on February 28, 1972. Introduced to music and the trumpet at an early age by his uncle, also a trumpet player, he considers himself fortunate to have been surrounded through the years by fine teachers and musicians.
Matriculating through the undergraduate program at the University of South Florida was most significant as he studied with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. Before going on to attend the Manhattan School of Music, he performed as a freelance musician. Once in New York at the Manhattan School, he studied with Ccil Bridgewater, Dave Liebman, Phil Markowitz, Joan Stiles, Mark Soskin, and Garry Dial.
In 2004 Liam released his first recording as a leader, Minor Changes, followed by his sophomore project On The Fly with the Dave Sills Quartet in 2006. The next summer he recorded a third CD, Outskirts, in which he moved away from his traditional style to explore freer material. Pursuing his expansion of style and knowledge of his instrument he combines textures, rhythms and sonorities to the details and intricacies of his playing.
Trumpeter and composer Liam Sillery has performed with is quintet at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and continues to play in and around metropolitan New York City.
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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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