Wu Fei was born on May 12, 1977 in Beijing, China. From the age of four she began her music studies first on the guzheng and then piano the following year, practicing two to four hours everyday. At fourteen she tested into the China Conservatory of Music and studied composition before and then at Mills College in the United States.
Wu Fei, who is also a composer, vocalist and improviser, combine East with West in her approach to her music. In 2007 she released her debut solo album A Distant Youth with accompanying guitar, violin and percussion. Her sophomore project titled Yuan followed the following year.
She has recorded with Abigail Washburn Carla Kihlstedt, Helge Andres Norbakkeh and two Fred Firth albums, as well as on his soundtrack for the PBS documentary film The Happy End Problem. Her performance was highlighted in the 2009 Shan Qi music DVD and she gave a live performance on guzheng and voice at the Hermes fashion show during Paris Fashion Week. Wu Fei, avant-garde and experimental jazz musician, continues to perform, compose and record.
Alekos Vretos was born on May 11, 1976 in Athens, Greece. He studied oud and piano in his youth. While attending Berklee College of Music he studied composition. Since graduating he has been masterfully merging jazz, Arabic, Greek and Latin music in a blend of sounds from traditional instruments. As a bandleader, he has developed a unique atmosphere for his music by keeping traditional sound in the front line and expanding it through jazz improvisation and exploding rhythmic development.
Vretos made his first appearance on a recording titled Yunan with The Meliti Ensemble in 2004 to critical acclaim. As a leader he released his debut album Mergin in 2009, taking the oud into unchartered waters leaning heavily on jazz but with a fine hint of traditional Arabian sound.. That same year he launched his own indie label and management company Jadeo Music, making this the inaugural project.
Alekos features world, jazz and classical music in his playing as well as his fellow artists. He was included in 2013 list of the 100+1 most influential people in the Greek music scene. He has performed in major venues in Grece, the UK, Palestine, Mexico and the United States. He continues to perform, record, tour and collaborate with jazz big bands, orchestras and fellow composers.
Matso Limtiaco was born May 2, 1963 and majored in music education as an undergraduate. After a brief period teaching public school music, he earned his MA in music theory/composition at Washington State University in 1990. After spending six years teaching music at all levels from junior high band to university jazz ensembles, arranging music for groups he led and for a variety of local performers.
Limtiaco gained his first notoriety as a marching band arranger for Washington State University, and then for the University of Washington. Matso quit teaching music full-time and is active as a freelance composer, arranger, and performer in the Seattle area. His baritone saxophone work has anchored the Emerald City Jazz Orchestra saxophone section since 1994, and the band’s two recordings “Alive and Swinging” and “Come Rain or Come Shine” feature his charts.
After spending several years in music education, he left teaching and now works as an independent composer/arranger, with a “day job” as a technical writer for a large manufacturing company. Among jazz arrangers and composers Matso is not the most well-known nor the most prolific but he rapidly established himself as one of the most polished and professional writers anywhere.
The Film: They Call Me Mister Tibbs!
The Year: 1970
The Director: Gordon Douglas
The Stars: Sidney Poitier, Martin Landau, Barbara McNair, Anthony Zerbe, Edward Asner, Beverly Todd
The Music: Composed by Quincy Jones
The Story: Detective Virgil Tibbs, now a lieutenant with the San Francisco police, is assigned to investigate the murder of a prostitute. A prime suspect is Rev. Logan Sharpe, a liberal street preacher and political organizer, who insists to Tibbs that he was merely visiting the hooker in a professional capacity, advising her spiritually. Tibbs questions a janitor from the victim’s building, Mealie, as well as another man, Woody Garfield, who might have been the woman’s pimp. Suspicion falls on a man named Rice Weedon, who takes umbrage and is shot by Tibbs in self-defense. Tibbs concludes that Sharpe really must be the culprit. Sharpe confesses but requests Tibbs give him some time to complete his work on one last political issue. Told this wouldn’t be possible, Sharpe takes his own life.
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Coco Rouzier was born on April 14, 1966 in Washington, DC and began singing as a child by imitating the sounds that came from her mother. She sang in the Concert Choir at Kelly Miller Jr. High School taught her harmony. While working summers in musical theater she learned acting and subsequent immersion into cabaret taught her to and learned to connect intimately with the audience.
While at Howard University, Rouzier won the amateur singing contest and that led her straight to the Apollo Theater in New York City where she performed on “It’s Showtime at the Apollo”. New York City become her home, where she discovered jazz and started to swing with The Jerry Kravat NY Orchestra, now called Tribeca Rhythm.
Coco’s performances have garnered her the labels of a Jazz Diva in France, the Soulful Swinging Songstress in America, and The Jewel in China. She has performed in Norway on some of stages her heroes stood decades before. As yet she has not led her own recording session to showcase her own style she has developed and for the past 15 years. Vocalist Coco Rouzier continues to perform for audiences around the world with a blend of straight-ahead swing, blues and old-school soul.
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