Hilliard Greene was born on February 26, 1958. Taking up the double bass, his studies have been a thirty-year journey that included matriculating through Berklee College of Music and the University of Northern Iowa. His emphasis has been classical, jazz, blues, rock, R&B, tango and music of other countries and regions.
Hill, as he is known, was musical director for balladeer and jazz vocalist Jimmy Scott for 20 years. He has served as concertmaster for Cecil Taylor’s ensemble Phtongos and was a member of the Don Pullen Trio. His list of who’s who that he has performed and/or toured with include but not limited to Gloria Lynne, Jacky Terrasson, Rashied Ali, Leroy Jenkins, Jimmy Ponder, Eddie Gladden, Vanessa Rubin, Yoron Israel, Cindy Blackman, Electric Symphony, Charles Gayle, Jack Walrath, Don Pullen, Dave Douglas, Bobby Watson, Greg Osby, Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Carla Cook, Josh Roseman, John Hicks, and the Village Vanguard Orchestra.
Greene, as a bandleader, has released three albums with his ensemble The Jazz Expressions and a solo album titled “Alone”. As an educator, he is currently on the faculty of the Bass Collective in New York City and he teaches privately doing workshops and master classes in double bass and bass guitar for both children and adults.
Double bassist Hilliard Greene, whose concentration lies in Modern Creative and improvised music, performs widely in the New York City area in recitals, nightclubs, recordings, television and radio programs, in addition to throughout Europe, United States, Asia and South America.
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Marty Morell was born on February 25, 1944 in New York City. He attended the Manhattan School of Music studying mallets, and tympani at the Julliard School of Music.
Marty worked and/or recorded with the Al Cohn-Zoot Sims Quintet, Henry “Red” Allen, Gary McFarland, Steve Kuhn and Gabor Szabo before joining pianist Bill Evans. This would be his most prolifically recording period alongside bassist Eddie Gomez from late 1968 through 1974. After leaving the trio, Marty settled in Toronto, Canada where he became a highly sought after studio drummer and percussionist.
Morell fronted his own bands as a drummer and also worked as a vibist and pianist with his Latin band and played congas with the 1970s funk-jazz band Ravin’. He would go on to work with Don Sebesky, Pee Wee Russell, Henry “Red” Allen, Stan Getz, Kenny Wheeler, Claus Ogerman, Rob McConnell & the Boss Brass and Kenny Drew Jr.
A highly versatile musician, Marty has performed with the Toronto Symphony, Canadian opera Company, the Hamilton Philharmonic and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and with The Phantom of The Opera orchestra in Toronto.
In 1998 he moved back to his hometown, New York City, to play the Tony award-winning musical Ragtime. After a two-year run on Broadway, he toured nationally with the show, did the Tony award winning revival of Kiss Me Kate, and Seussical: The Musical.
Marty took the drumming seat with the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 2006 and the following year accepted a professorship to teach jazz drum set and percussion at the University of Central Florida. In addition to teaching, he is currently a member of the Jazz Professors, has released two hit albums, and I has been performing a Bill Evans Tribute program with Japanese pianist Takana Miyamoto.
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Kellye Gray was born in Dallas, Texas on February 22, 1954. Beginning her career on Austin’s Sixth Street, she provided a rare jazz experience that attracted the college crowd as well as the more sophisticated up-and-coming baby boomers.
In 1990 her first album, Standards In Gray soared to #12 on the Gavin Report. Three years later, another chart-topper, Tomato Kiss helped her move into the national spotlight. An induction into the Texas Jazz Heritage Society along with moving to San Francisco continued to raise the bar and legitimized her as a career jazz vocalist
Her career stalled in 2000 after bereavement and divorce. Not one to be driven too far off-track, in 2002–03 Kellye produced the double live album Blue and Pink. By early 2007 she had put a new team together and released the concert recording, Live at the Jazzschool recorded in Berkeley.
2008 opened with another live recording, KG3 Live! at the Bugle Boy an acoustic trio project featuring classical guitar, acoustic bass and jazz voice. In the summer of 2010 she was the Vocal Intensive instructor at Jazz Camp West in California.
Kellye Gray has performed for dignitaries and heads-of-state throughout the U.S. and Europe performing with a wide variety of jazz, blues and R&B stars. She continues to sing at festivals, concerts and nightclubs.
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Jackie Allen was born on February 19, 1959 in Brown Deer, Wisconsin and raised in McFarland. She first became interested in music through her father, Louis (Gene) Allen, an accomplished tuba player. Growing up she sang in choirs and played French horn, but was not exposed to modern jazz until she attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Limited by the available majors offered at the time, she moved to Milwaukee where she performed five nights a week for four years in a duo with Mel Rhyne at the Wyndham Hotel.
Moving to Chicago in 1990 she began to compose and self-produced her first release, Never Let Me Go, for the short-lived Lake Shore Jazz label. Hitting the top twenty of the Gavin Jazz Charts where it drew the attention of Grammy winning producer Ralph Jungheim who brought her to Naxos Records. out to Los Angeles to record Which with Red Holloway, Gary Foster and Bill Cunliffe. Success sent Jackie on an Asian tour and made her the first jazz artist to perform at the Beijing Music Festival.
By the late 90’s Allen again began enjoying the interactive possibilities in duo settings. She began a collaboration with pianist Judy Roberts, started a series of successful holiday duet concerts, released “Autumn Leaves” the following year. In 1999 she began performing in a voice-bass duo with Hans Sturm and record for the Red Mark label.
Since 2002 Jackie Allen has performed and recorded primarily with the same core rhythm section of bass, guitar and percussion and adding piano, trumpet or woodwinds. She produced The Men in My Life, was picked up by the Chicago label A440, and followed with Love Is Blue. Again success brought her to Michael Cuscuna, Bruce Lundvall, John Clayton Frank Proto, Bill Cunliffe, Mark Buselli and Matt Harris. In 2008 Allen was approached by the Muncie Symphony Orchestra to create a project for their 60th Anniversary Season that resulted in the 2009 live release Starry Night.
Jackie has taught at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, the Old Town School of Folk Music, Elmhurst College, Roosevelt University, Ball State University, The Cornerstone Center for the Arts, E.B. Ball Center, Doane College, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She has taught privately, conducted master classes and community outreach projects teaching small groups of adult students learn to sing in public. She continues to record, perform and tour.
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Veronica “Randy” Crawford was born on February 18, 1952 in Macon, Georgia. She first performed at club gigs from Cincinnati to Saint-Tropez but made her name in mid 1970s in New York, where she sang with jazzmen George Benson and Cannonball Adderley. She signed with Columbia Records and released her first single, “Knock On Wood” / “If You Say the Word” in 1972. Adderley invited her to sing on his album Big Man: The Legend Of John Henry in 1975. During her brief tenure at Columbia, she recorded “Don’t Get Caught in Love’s Triangle”. In 1977 she was one of the vocalists on Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns – A Blow For Me, A Toot To You album.
1978 saw Crawford performing on the second solo album of former Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett, singing vocals on “Hoping Love Will Last”, the opening song on side two of Please Don’t Touch. The following year she led R&B veterans The Crusaders on the transatlantic hit “Street Life” that ended up on the soundtracks of Sharkey’s Machine and Jackie Brown. and appeared in commercials in the early 2000s. She later recorded for Warner Bros. Records.
Randy follow-up solo efforts included “One Day I’ll Fly Away”, You Might Need Somebody, and “Rainy Night In Georgia” which became soul standards. By the mid ‘80s her star lost its luster and though she continued to record for Warner Bros. she was unable to score crossover success. In 1995 her recording of Naked And True brought Crawford back to her roots: it included George Benson’s “Give Me The Night and confirmed her soul heritage.
She enjoyed her highest profile of the decade when rising starlet, Shola Ama had a worldwide hit with her 1997 cover of “You Might Need Somebody”. She recorded a live session with Joe Sample in 2007 at Abbey Road Studios for Live From Abbey Road. She would record with Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Bootsy Collins, Johnny Bristol, and the Yellowjackets among others. Vocalist Randy Crawford has been more successful in Europe than in the United States, where she has not entered the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo artist. She has had multiple top five hits in the UK, including her 1980 number 2 hit, “One Day I’ll Fly Away”. She continues to perform, record and tour.
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