Eric Boeren was born in Baarle-Nassau, Netherlands on August 22, 1959. And started out playing euphonium and tuba in the Ulicoten fan fair. He took workshops with Arnold Dooijeweerd in the Bimhuis, from which the Amsterdam Creative Ensemble originated.
In 1983 Eric replaced trumpeter Jimmy Sernesky in the group Available Jelly, for which he also composed. In the Eighties he was part of several groups with Maarten Altena, Kenny Wheeler, Willem van Manen, JC Tans, Sean Bergin, and by the end of the decade joined Ab Baars and Paul Termos.
1990 saw Boeren joining Michiel Braam’s Bik Bent Braam, an association that continues today. In 1993, he founded his first group as a leader, Specs, which was short-lived. During the 1990s he played with Franky Douglas, Martin van Duynhoven, and Guus Janssen.
In 1995 he organized a series of PH31 concerts in Amsterdam with his trio trio comprised of Michael Vatcher and Wilbert de Joode. He enlisted another saxophone to play Ornette Coleman’s early quartet music. He also played Coleman’s music in the Bimhuis with the eleven-member band Go Dutch. He founded the Quartet Boers! That later became the Eric Boeren 4tet. His love for Coleman’s music resulted in two CDs – Cross Breeding and Joy of a Toy.
Boeren went on to play into the new millennium with the band NEWS with Cor Fuhler, bassist Nate McBride and drummer Mike Reed, and the quintet HO & I, that included Douglas and Paul Pallesen. Trumpeter Eric Boeren is one of the initiators of the music collective foundation dOeK (De Exercise de Kunst) and he currently performs, records and tours with his quartet Boerenbond, features Peter Evans, Tobias Delius and Jason Adasiewicz.
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John Lee Clayton Jr. was born on August 20, 1952 in Venice, California. He began seriously undertaking the study of double bass at age 16, studying with bassist Ray Brown. By age 19, he had become a bassist on Henry Mancini’s television series The Mancini Generation. He later graduated in 1975 from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music with a degree in bass performance.
He toured with the Monty Alexander Trio and the Count Basie Orchestra before becoming the principal bass in the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in the Netherlands. Returning to the States after five years and moved towards jazz and jazz composition. Shortly after his return he founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with his saxophonist brother Jeff Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton. He and his brother also founded The Clayton Brothers which has featured instrumentalists such as Bill Cunliffe and Terell Stafford.
Clayton has composed and/or arranged for The Count Basie Orchestra, Diana Krall, Whitney Houston, Carmen McRae, Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Ernestine Anderson, Quincy Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Natalie Cole, Till Bronner, and The Tonight Show Band. He won a Grammy for Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die” (Queen Latifah) and was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group for Brother To Brother by The Clayton Brothers.
From 1999 to 2001 he served as Artistic Director of the Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic program at the Hollywood Bowl, has conducted the All-Alaska Jazz Band and and has been president over the International Society of Bassists. In addition to performing, bassist John Clayton currently serves as Artistic Director for the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Sarasota Jazz Festival, Santa Fe Jazz Party, Jazz Port Townsend Summer Workshop, and Vail Jazz Workshop. He is also an educator, teaching at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.
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Peter Leitch was born August 19, 1944 in Montreal, Canada. He has recorded seventeen albums as a leader and was a sideman with Oscar Peterson, Woody Shaw and Dominique Eade. He performed with Kirk Lightsey, Rufus Reid, Al Grey, Jeri Brown, Pepper Adams and Pete Yellin.
During his career he was nominated for a Juno Award for Best Traditional Jazz Album of the Year. He has written an autobiography, Off the Books, giving a real, raw, look at the life of a musician playing creative music. In addition to his music he became a very talented photographer with a number of exhibitions of his work.
Prior to his retirement due to medical issues on July 21, 2015, guitarist Peter Leitch was an educator who taught privately for a number of years.
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Cecil Brooks III was born on August 16. 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and started playing drums at age 5, studying with his father Cecil Brooks, Jr., a renowned jazz drummer. His father introduced him to Art Blakey, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones and the jazz drumming tradition. He would go on professional performances with his father and by the age of 14 he was performing professional gigs on his own.
Awarded a full music scholarship at Mt. Aloysius College and Duquesne University and after receiving his degree, he played around the metropolitan city with visiting heavyweights. Cecil was virtually reviewed in every major music publication and newspaper as well as on Pittsburgh television and radio.
In 1984, Brooks moved to New York City where his first gigs were with Houston Person and Etta Jones. He toured and recorded with the duet for several years. During the same time he also performed with Oliver Lake, Mingus Dynasty/Big Band, Terence Blanchard, David Murray, Terumasa Hino, Greg Osby, Andrew Hill, Michelle Rosewoman, Nat Adderley and many others.
Brooks has released 9 CDs as a leader starting with The Collective to his latest Hot D.O.G. where he holds down with crisp and powerful drumming on the recording. He has performed and/or recorded with Jack McDuff, Andrew Hill, Hannibal Peterson, Groove Holmes, Don Braden, Jack Walrath and many more. He has produced John Hicks, Jimmy Ponder, Hannibal Peterson, Winard Harper, Darrell Grant, Bruce Williams, Radam Schwartz, Leon Lee Dorsey, Akua Dixon Turre, Russell Gunn Jr, Ron Jackson, Nat Simpkins, Eric Johnson, Roseanna Vitro, Arthur Blythe, Chris White, Don Braden, Talib Kibwe, and the list goes on.
For nine years beginning in 2003 he was the proprietor of Cecil’s Jazz Club in West Orange, New Jersey. IHe has had Cecil’s Monday Night Big Band featured ABC’s Nightline, has hosted visiting jazz greats and pros who live in the area. Home to bassist Christian McBride, pianist Geri Allen, saxophonist Don Braden, trombonist Steve Turre, and Herbie Hancock were all were regulars at the club and Bill Cosby launched the grand opening.
He has been the subject of many articles and reviews: Jazziz, DownBeat, Modern Drummer, JazzTimes, Hot House, The New York Times, BET Jazz Central, Time Warner Cable TV 90 minute documentary Cecil Brooks III The Third Generation, and many other major publications worldwide. He has toured throughout Europe, South America, Japan, the United States and Canada. Drummer, composer, arranger, producer and educator Cecil Brooks continues to swing as he performs, records and tours.
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Tony Monaco was born on August 14, 1959 in Columbus, Ohio and began his musical journey learning to play the accordion when he was eight years old. At 12 he heard a Jimmy Smith album and instantly knew that jazz organ was his calling. He began playing jazz in nightclubs around his hometown while learning the art of the Hammond B3 organ and gleaning from influences Hank Marr and Don Patterson. This led him to Jimmy McGriff, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Charles Earland, Jack McDuff and Dr. Lonnie Smith.
On his sixteenth birthday Jimmy Smith called him, a friendship was struck and Smith began giving him jazz organ secrets over the phone. Four years later Jimmy invited Tony to come play with him at his club in Los Angeles, California. This would lead to future introductions and study with Hank Marr, Bobby Pierce and Dr. Lonnie Smith. At the turn of the century he met Joey DeFrancesco when he was playing Columbus and the two of them became instant friends. Recognizing Tony’s’ talents right away, he offered to produce a CD for him and Burnin’ Grooves was born with drummer Byron Landham and guitarist Paul Bollenback. He also recorded a few tracks with Joey, who was on either piano or trumpet.
Into the new millennium Monaco began performing every major festival and outdoor concert in Central Ohio as Burnin’ Grooves gained attention. He went on to release his sophomore project on the Summit Records label titled Master Chops T with his trio and trombonist Sarah Morrow, saxophonist Donny McCaslin and trumpeter Kenny Rampton. This he followed with his third project Live at the 501, began endorsing Hammond/Suzuki Organs and conducting his jazz organ clinic at the 2003 International Association of Jazz Educators in Toronto, Canada. He has played concerts with Lewis Nash, Red Holloway, Plas Johnson, Sonny Fortune, John Faddis, Mel Lewis, Eric Neymeyer among others.
Organist Tony Monaco has been voted in the Downbeat Magazine Critics and Readers Polls as well as voted by Jazztimes Readers Poll as being in the top 4 organists. He has released a dozen albums and continues to record, tour and perform worldwide.
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