Dr. Michael White was born on November 29, 1954 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is a classically trained clarinetist who began his jazz musical career as a teenager playing for Doc Paulin’s Brass Band in New Orleans. He was a member of an incarnation of the Fairview Baptist Church Marching Band.
Kid Sheik Colar, discovered him after hearing him onstage performing in Jackson Square in the French Quarter. He began working with the musician regularly following the encounter. A staunch jazz traditionalist, he can be heard on Wynton Marsalis’s 1989 album The Majesty of the Blues. Wynton also appears on White’s 1990 album titled “Crescent City Serenade”, along with Wendell Brunious and Walter Payton.
Michael has led several bands in the New Orleans area, and has accompanied various artists on other recording projects. Since 1979 he has played in the Young Tuxedo Brass Band. During the 1980s he led a band called The New Orleans Hot Seven.
In 1981, White founded The Original Liberty Jazz Band with the express intent of preserving the musical heritage of New Orleans. They perform an end-of-year concert at the Village Vanguard every year since the early 1990s, and in 2006 with former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton in attendance they performed at Tulane University commencement.
Putting on his education cap Michael is also a college professor who formerly taught Spanish, now teaches African-American Music at Xavier University, holds the Rosa and Charles Keller Endowed Chair in the Humanities of New Orleans Music and Culture. As a continuing component of his performances he also serves as guest director at several Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts relating to traditional New Orleans jazz.
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Roy McCurdy was born November 28, 1936 in Rochester, New York. He attended the Eastman School of Music from sixteen to eighteen, during which time he also played professionally with Roy Eldridge, Eddie Vinson at seventeen. Among the influences he cites Louie Bellson, Shelly Manne, Sam Woodyard, Buddy Rich, Pap Joe Jones, and the bands of Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford and Lionel Hampton.
He started out playing with the Jazz Brothers – Chuck and Gap Mangione, In 1960 he joined the Art Farmer-Benny Golson Jazztet, remaining for two years, as well as Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter and Sonny Simmons from 1963-64. He played on the classic album Sonny Meets Hawk!.
In 1965 he joined Cannonball Adderley Quintet in 1965 and stayed with the band, recording 18 albums until Adderley’s death. He recorded a half-dozen with Nat Adderley, and has also played and/or recorded with Count Basie, Nancy Wilson, Gene Ammons, Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Joe Williams, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson,, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, Joe Zawinul, Betty Bennett and the jazz rock group Blood, Sweat and Tears.
He appears on the classic 1983 recording Jackson, Johnson, Brown & Company featuring Milt Jackson on vibes, trombonist J.J. Johnson, bassist Ray Brown, Tom Ranier on piano and John Collins on guitar.
As of 2010, in between performing and recording drummer Roy McCurdy is an Adjunct Professor in the Jazz Studies Department of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California.
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Joris Teepe was born in the Hague, Netherlands on November 27, 1962. He studied the bass at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and in 1992 the left-handed bassist moved to New York City. He recorded his debut album as a leader the following year, with co-leader tenor saxophonist Don Braden, trumpeter Tom Harrell, pianist Cyrus Chestnut and Carl Allen on drums.
A second album was released in 1996 followed by his playing and recording with the Intercontinental Jazz Trio, with Shingo Okudaira and Tim Armacost, with Randy Brecker and Chris Potter and groups that almost always included Don Braden.
In the past years he started working with larger big bands like the Groningen Art Ensemble, Brian Lynch and trombonist Conrad Herwig, and the Joris Teepe Big Band. He composes, plays and records are original compositions, but also arranges other people’s material, such as Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and John Coltrane and has written for larger ensembles and symphonic orchestras.
Teepe has collaborated with Joey Berkley, Ron Jackson, Darrell Grant, Antonio Ciacca, Mathilde Santing, Deborah Brown, and Fay Claassen. Active in jazz-education heading up the jazz department at the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, teaches bass at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and continues to compose, arrange, perform, record and tour.
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Art Themen was born Arthur Edward George Themen on November 26, 1939 in Manchester, England. He originally played the clarinet but after hearing the Dankworth Seven when he was sixteen and saxophonist Danny Moss winked at his cousin, he knew his path was with the saxophone. Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins initially influenced his style of playing, and later by Coleman Hawkins, Evan Parker and John Coltrane.
In 1958 he began his medical studies at the University of Cambridge, completed studies at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London and in 1964 became a consultant specializing in orthopaedic medicine.
Themen started playing jazz with the Cambridge University Jazz Group alongside Lionel Grigson, Dave Gelly and Dick Heckstall-Smith. Around London he played with blues musicians Jack Bruce and Alex Korner, then with Peter Stuyvesant Jazz Orchestra in 1965 in Zurich, leading to his playing with Michael Garrick and Graham Collier’s Music.
1974 saw Themen entering on what was to be one of his central musical relationships when he started playing with Stan Tracey, touring with him worldwide and the United Kingdom. He also played and toured with musicians Nat Adderley, Ian Carr, George Coleman and Al Haig.
In 1995 he formed a quartet with pianist John Critchinson. Following his retirement as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, saxophonist Art Themen has been concentrating on his jazz career and has recorded three albums with Al Haig, Peter King, Howard Riley, Mornington Lockett and Don Weller.
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Terell Stafford was born on November 25, 1966 in Miami Florida and raised in Chicago, Illinois and Silver Spring, Maryland. Originally a classical trumpet player, he soon branched out to jazz with the University of Maryland jazz band. He went on to get a degree in music education from the University of Maryland in 1988 and a degree in classical trumpet performance from Rutgers University in 1993.
Soon afterwards his career in jazz picked up and playing with McCoy Tyner, Christian McBride, John Clayton, Steve Turre, Dave Valentin and Russell Malone. In 1995 he released his debut album Time To Let Go on the Candid label. Not one to settle for the status quo of who’s who, he has found other up-and-comers such as bassist Derrick Hodge, who appears as a sideman on his 2003 MaxJazz release New Beginnings.
As an educator Stafford is the current Director of Jazz Studies at the Boyer College of Music and Dance at Temple University, has worked with the Juilliard School’s jazz program at the Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington program, and with the 2006 All-Alaska Jazz Band.
In between his teaching responsibilities trumpeter Terell Stafford has performed at Carnegie Hall, has been a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, recorded nine CDs, performed as a sideman with Stephen Scott, Shirley Scott, Bobby Watson, Lafayette Harris, Cecil Brooks III, Tim Warfield, Ed Wiley, Cornell Dupree, Herbie Mann, Victor Lewis, Marc Cary, Melissa Walker Ferit Odman, Jack cooper, Bruce Barth and the Arkadia Jazz All Stars as he continues to perform, record and tour.
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