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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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.
Walter Johnson was born on February 18, 1904 in New York City, New York. He was influenced by Kaiser Marshall and became one of the top big band drummers of the 1920’s and 30’s swing era. He worked with Freddy Johnson in 1924, Bobby Brown, Elmer Snowden between 1925 to 1928, and Te Roy Williams in 1927.
He became best-known for his playing with Fletcher Henderson’s Orchestra off and on from 1929 to 1942. After his third stint with Henderson ended, Johnson freelanced for the remainder of his career,Through the Thirties, he performed with other swing era big bands including Sam Wooding, LeRoy Smith, Lucky Millinder, Claude Hopkins, Edgar Hayes and Coleman Hawkins.
Though Walter sometimes worked outside of music as a bank guard, he could often be heard playing with Tab Smith during a period spanning a decade from 1944 to 1954. He would also appear with a variety of swing and mainstream combos into the Sixties. Though Drummer Walter Johnson never led his own record date, he did record frequently during his prime years, passed away on April 26, 1977 in New York City.
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Buddy Jones was born Burgher Jones on February 17, 1924 in Hope, Arkansas and learned to play piano as a child. At the age of seventeen he went to study at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, where he met Charlie Parker. Under Parker’s influence, he opted for a career as a musician and studied bass during his time in the Navy.
After his discharge Buddy worked with Charlie Ventura in 1947 and then moved to Los Angeles, California where he played in smaller jazz bands. In 1949 he played with Joe Venuti as well as the Ina Ray Hutton Orchestra.
1950 saw Jones moving to New York City and working with Elliot Lawrence, whose arrangements were written by Al Cohn, among others . He also played with Buddy DeFranco, Zoot Sims, Gene Williams and the Lennie Tristano Quintet. Subsequently, he was employed as a student at CBS in New York from 1952 to 1964 , played on Jack Sterling’s morning radio show and studios with Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra , as well as on tours with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey .
As a sideman Buddy performed on recording session led by Al Porcino, Stan Getz, Johnny Richards, Red Rodney, Jimmy Knepper, Porky Cohen, Don Lanphere, Gene Roland, Tiny Kahn, Joe Newman, Billy Byers, Osy Johnson, Manny Albam, Johnny Carrie, Thad Jones, Quincy Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Urbie Green, Bernie Glow, Conte Candoli, Ernie Royal, Hank Jones, Ernie Wilkins and many more.
Clint Eastwood enlisted his talents for the on the Charlie Parker biopic Bird in 1988, working alongside composer Lennie Niehaus as musical consultant. In 1996 he was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame. Bassist Buddy Jones, never led a recording session and passed away on June 9, 2000 in Carmel Valley, California.
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