Jean Toussaint, born July 27, 1960 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and grew up in St. Thomas and New York City. He learned to play calypso as a child and attended Berklee College of Music in the late 1970s, studying under saxophonist Billy Pierce.
In 1979 Jean formed a group with Wallace Roney and from 1982 to 1986 was a member of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers alongside Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Mulgrew Miller and Lonnie Plaxico. With Blakey he recorded three studio albums, including New York Scene, which won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance.
Toussaint moved to London in 1987, following an invitation from Professor of Jazz, Lionel Grigson, to be artist-in-residence at the Guildhall School of Music. Since then he has maintained a consistent profile as a band leader in the UK and Europe, playing with British musicians who include, among others, Steve Williamson, Courtney Pine, Julian Joseph, Jason Rebello and Cleveland Watkins.
He has also performed in the groups led by McCoy Tyner, Gil Evans, Kirk Lightsey, Cedar Walton, Max Roach, Horace Silver, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and has collaborated with Lionel Loueke. Soprano and tenor saxophonist Jean Toussaint has compiled a catalogue of ten albums as a leader with his latest release being Tate Song for Lyte Records. He continues to perform and record.
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Jimmy Bruno was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 22, 1953 to a father who played guitar and a mother who was a gifted singer. He began playing guitar at the age of 7, playing eight to ten hours a day. He studied jazz improvisation with Philly bassist Al Stauffer and to develop technique, taught himself to play the rigorous and exacting classical violin etudes of Wohlfahrt and Paganini. Although he briefly considered leveraging his perfect SAT scores into medical school, a summer guitar gig in Wildwood, New Jersey changed the direction of his life. He began his professional career at the age of 19, touring with Buddy Rich.
Jimmy went on to play guitar in orchestras for Anthony Newley, Doc Severinsen, Lena Horne, and many more music icons. A move to Los Angeles, California saw him as a session musician for many years working with Tommy Tedesco. By his mid-thirties he was ready to pursue jazz and he moved back East. Back in his hometown he played small clubs and venues during the 1980s, met Concord Records founder Carl Jefferson and landed a multi-CD deal that has elicited 13 critically acclaimed sessions.
Bruno has shared the stage with Joe Beck, Bobby Watson, Jack Wilkins, Tal Farlow, Howard Alden, Christian McBride, Kurt Elling and many more. Among his many credits, Bruno is the only guitarist to have ever led Fank Sinatra’s band. He counts Johnny Smith, Hank Garland, Joe Pass, Tal Farlow, Wes Montgomery, Howard Roberts, Jim Hall and Pat Martino among his influences.
As an educator, in 2007, Jimmy and Affiliated Artists opened the Jimmy Bruno Guitar Institute (JBGI) bringing his method and approach to jazz improvisation to eager guitar students around the world. In 2011 Jimmy opened up Jimmy Bruno’s Guitar Workshop, a website that allows students to learn directly from him through video lessons. He continues to perform and record as well.
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Charles Lacy Tyler was born on July 20, 1941 in Cadiz, Kentucky and spent his childhood years in Indianapolis, Indiana. He played piano as a child and clarinet at 7, before switching to alto in his early teens, and finally settled with the baritone saxophone. During the summers, he visited Chicago, New York City and Cleveland, Ohio that he met the young tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler at age 14.
After a stint in the army from 1957–1959, Tyler relocated to Cleveland in 1960 and began playing with Ayler, commuting between New York and Cleveland. During that period he got to jam with Ornette Coleman and Sunny Murray. In 1965 he recorded with Ayler’s group Bells and Spirits Rejoice.
Charles recorded his first album as leader in 1966 for ESP-Disk, returned to Indianapolis to study with David Baker at Indiana University between 1967 and 1968, then recorded a second album for ESP titled Eastern Man Alone. In 1968 he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley to study and teach. In Los Angeles, he worked with Arthur Blythe, Buddy Bradford and David Murray before heading back to New York in 1974, to lead his own freebop groups with Blythe, trumpeter Earl Cross, drummer Steve Reid and others.
During this period he recorded on his Akba label the album Voyage from Jericho. By 1975, Tyler enrolled at Columbia University and made an extensive tour of Scandinavia releasing his second Akba album Live in Europe. The next year he performed the piece Saga of the Outlaws at Sam Rivers’ Studio Rivbea that was released two years later. He would go on to perform sideman or co-leader duties with Steve Reid, Cecil Taylor, Hal Russell, Wilbur Morris and Billy Bang.
In 1982, during a European tour with the Sun Ra Orchestra, he relocated to Denmark and three years later moved to France, recording with other expatriates like Khan Jamal in Copenhagen and Steve Lacy in Paris. Free jazz alto and baritone saxophonist CharlesTyler died in Toulon, France of heart failure on June 27, 1992.
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Tisziji Muñoz was born July 15, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York. He learned to play guitar as a child using a single-line playing style, due to a childhood wrist injury. Spirit-taught, the avant-garde jazz virtuoso and extreme guitarist is best known for his uniquely original guitar sound and playing style, likened to that of a spiritual tornado.
Tisziji became interested in jazz in 1968 when he was introduced to the music of John Coltrane while enlisted in the US Army 440th General’s Band. Upon discharge he pursued his musical interests in Canada and took a lead role in the development of Toronto’s underground music scene, where he began a long lasting working relationship with pianist Paul Shaffer and performed as guitarist in the musicals Hair and Godspell.
In the mid-70’s, Muñoz returned to New York City and began collaborating and performing with saxophonist Pharoah Sanders followed by projects and releases with Ravi Coltrane, Dave Liebman, Marilyn Crispell, Paul Shaffer, Steve Kuhn, Lam Sobo John Medeski, Bernie Senensky, Chris Caswell, Henry Kaiser, Ra Kalam Bob Moses, Don Pate, John Lockwood, David Finck and the late greats Rashied Ali, Lew Soloff, John Hicks, Nick Brignola and Hilton Ruiz.
Tisziji has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, appeared on The late Show with David Letterman, played Carnegie Hall, The Village Vanguard and Gate, Iridium, Dizzy Club coca Cola and Jazz at Lincoln Center among other venues.
An accomplished author, Tisziji has independently published numerous written works encompassing his own Heart-Fire Sound realization and embracing the subjects of spirituality, genius, creativity and time mastery. His books and music have radically transformed the manner in which musicians think and play music, validating the spirit of the genuine creative artist – from the inside out. Avant-garde jazz guitarist continues to compose, record and perform.
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Massimo de Majo was born in Rome, Italy on July 8, 1957 and began studying music at a very young age. By 1980 while matriculating through Rome University studying Music and Literature he earned a Masters Degree in Percussion Instruments. He went on to study, apprentice and refine his skills under David Liebman, Elvin Jones, Marvin Bugalu Smith, Horace Parlan, Billy Hart, Max Roach, Richie Beirach, Wayne Shorter, Buster Williams, Harold Land, Carlos Santana and Larry Coryell.
He has developed an intense energy flow, wide dynamics and an acute sense for interplay, being comfortable playing free form music, as well as within more structured frameworks. Over the course of his career de Majo has spent most of his life outside Italy performing across Europe, the United States, Scandinavia and Japan. Though not widely known to the general public, the percussionist is regarded as a musicians’ musician and sought after on the jazz circuit.
During the last thirty years, focusing mostly on performing and teaching, he has recorded with Horace Parlan, Per Goldschmidt, Al Swainger, Andy Williamson, Biancamaria Stanzani Ghedini and Philip Clouts, among others. As a composer he has also created pieces for the theatre, contemporary dance, video, sound design and installation art. Drummer Massimo de Majo is also an educator and sits on the faculty of the University of Malta teaching several different courses in the Music Department. He continues to perform and record.
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