Louis Hayes was born May 31, 1937 in Detroit, Michigan. His father played drums and piano and his mother the piano. His early jazz influence was big bands on the radio, drummer Philly Joe Jones and was mentored by Papa Jo Jones.
As a teenager Hayes led a band in Detroit and worked with Yusef Lateef and Curtis Fuller from 1955 to 1956. Louis often teamed up with Sam Jones, in freelance settings, led a group at clubs in Detroit before he was 16. He moved to New York in August 1956 to replace Art Taylor in Horace Silver’s Quintet from 1956–1959, then joined the Cannonball Adderley Quintet from 1959–1965 followed by succeeding Ed Thigpen in the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1965–1967.
Leaving Peterson he formed a series of groups, which he led alone or with others; among his sidemen were Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Kenny Barron and James Spaulding. He rejoined Peterson in 1971. Forming the Louis Hayes Sextet in 1972, it evolved into the Louis Hayes-Junior Cook Quintet and the Woody Shaw-Louis Hayes Quintet with Rene McLean. After Shaw left the group in 1977, Hayes continued to lead it as a hard-bop quintet.
From the 1970s onward Louis recorded and performed with John Coltrane, Kenny Burrell, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Zawinul, Nat Adderley, Gene Ammons, Bobby Timmons, Hank Mobley, Booker Little, Al Cohn, Kenny Drew, James Clay, Dexter Gordon, Terry Gibbs, Bennie Green, Grant Green, Barry Harris, Johnny Hodges, Sam Jones, Clifford Jordan, Johnny lytle, Phineas Newborn Jr., Tommy Flanagan, Cecil Taylor, McCoy Tyner, Ray Brown, Gary Bartz, Tony Williams and the list goes on.
He has led recording sessions for Vee-Jay, Timeless, Muse, Candid, Steeplechase and TCB record labels. Drummer Louis Hayes mentors young jazz artists, continues to perform with a variety of other musicians both old and young, leads his own band and since 1989 with Vincent Herring formed the Cannonball Legacy Band.
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Max Bennett was born May 24, 1928 in Des Moines, Iowa and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri and Oskaloosa, Iowa. Attending college in Iowa and studying guitar, his first professional gig was with Herbie Fields in 1949, then played with Georgie Auld, Terry Gibbs and Charlie Ventura.
After serving in the Army during the Korean War from 1951 to 1953, Max played with Stan Kenton before moving to Los Angeles, California where he played regularly at the Lighthouse Cafe with his own ensemble. During this period played behind Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez through the Seventies and recorded with Charlie Mariano, Conte Candoli, Bob cooper, Bill Holman, Stan Levey, Lou Levy, Coleman Hawkins and Jack Montrose.
Bennett recorded under his own name from the late 1950s, and did extensive work as a composer and studio musician in addition to playing jazz. His session works is a who’s who list playing bass on sessions with The Monkees,The Partridge Family, Frank Zappa, With Lalo Schifrin on the soundtrack of Bullitt, Marvin Gaye, Barbra Streisand, Anthony Newley, Paul Anka, Elvis Presley, Four Tops, Nelson Riddle, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Cleo Laine, Joe Williams, Quincy Jones, Kenny Rogers, The Beach Boys, Carol King, The Temptations, The Crusaders, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel and the list goes on.
Bennett continued with his own band, L.A. Express, which included the late Joe Sample, Larry Carlton and John Guerin under the leadership of Tom Scott. After this band, Bennett formed his own group Freeway, and currently heads his most recent band, Private Reserve.
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Charlie Hunter was born on May 23, 1967 in Rhode Island but by age four his mom packed him and his younger sister in an old yellow school bus and headed west. After several years living on a commune in Mendocino County they settled in Berkeley, California and graduating from Berkeley High School and taking lessons from guitar teacher Joe Satriani. At eighteen he moved to Paris, becoming a professional busker, working 8 to 12 hours a day to make ends meet.
Returning to the Bay area, he played a seven-string guitar and organ in Michael Franit’s political rap group, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Since the 1993 debut of his self-titled Charlie Hunter Trio with John Ellis on sax and Jay Lane on drums, he has recorded seventeen albums. He co-founded Garage A Trois, a jazz fusion band with Stanton Moore and Sherik, has collaborated with Bobby Previte on the ongoing project Groundtruther, and has recorded and toured with Previte’s The Coalition of the Willing.
Charlie has recorded with Christian McBride, has played in the band T.J. Kirk, that merged the music of Thelonious Monk, James Brown and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He is an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards judging panel to support independent artists, and over the years has performed and recorded with Erik Deutch, Tony Mason, Eric Kalb, Ben Goldberg, Ron Miles, Scott Amendola, and Curtis Fowlkes, continuing to perform, compose and tour.
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Horace Heidt was on May 21, 1901 in Alameda, California, He went on to attend the University of California Berkeley as a guard on the football team. But a broken back dashed those dreams and he turned his attention to music, forming The Californians with some classmates.
From 1932 to 1953, he became one of the more popular radio bandleaders beginning on NBC’s Blue Network with Shell Oil’s Ship of Joy and Answers by the Dancers and Horace Heidt’s Alemite Brigadiers. He broadcasted from CBS from 1937-1939.
Horace would employ singer Matt Dennis and singing comedian Art Carney. His recordings were highly successful with Gone With The Wind and Ti-Pi-Tin going to No. 1 and The Man With The Mandolin hitting No. 2 on the charts. His 1941 song, The Hut-Sut Song is heard in the movie A Christmas Story.
He returned to NBC to perform on Pot o’ Gold radio show from 1939-194, portraying himself in the film of the same name starring James Stewart and Paulette Goddard. From 1940 to 1944 he did Tums Treasure Chest, followed by 1943–45 shows on the Blue Network. Lucky Strike sponsored The American Way on CBS in 1953.
On December 7, 1947, NBC launched The Horace Heidt Youth Opportunity Program and accordionist Dick Cortino the first winner of the $5,000 prize, soon had his own show. Heidt’s talent search catapulted such performers as Carney, Frankie Carle, the King Sisters, Alvino Rey, Gordon McRae, Frank DeVol, Johnny Standley and Al Hirt. When the program expanded from radio to television in 1950, it was one of the first talent shows.
Horace Heidt passed away on December 1, 1986 in Los Angeles, California. For his contribution to radio and television he has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
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Carmen Souza was born in Lisbon, Spain on May 20, 1981 of Cape Verdean heritage speaking Creole, the Cape Verde dialect and Portuguese. In her teens she sang professionally in a Lusophone Gospel Choir. Musicians like Luis Morais, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Diana Krall were some of her inspirations. Theo Pas’cal, her producer and mentor and one of the best bass players in Portugal, discovered her talent and introduced her to jazz, fusion and other contemporary sounds that markedly influenced her musical development.
Working with Theo in 2003, two years later Carmen released to critical acclaim her debut album Ess ê nha Cabo Verde that combined Creole, African and Cape Verde rhythms like Batuke, Morna, and Cola djon with her jazz contemporary influences. The album led to her international breakthrough performance at the WOMAD at Reading Festival of the same year.
Her sophomore album Verdade she co-produced and is featured on Wurlitzer and guitar. She returned in 2010 with the impressive Protegid (Protected) that continued to push the limits of what constitutes the Cape Verdean music, world music and jazz. The expressive voice, versatile style of vocalist Carmen Souza continues to perform, record and tour.
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