D.D. Jackson was born on January 25, 1967 in Ottawa, Canada. He started playing piano as a child, eventually graduating from the Manhattan School of Music. He would go on to become an alumnus of the Lehman Engel BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop.
Jackson performs all over the world with his groups and has also appeared and recorded with some of the most distinguished names in jazz and beyond including: David Murray, Art Davis, Ray Drummond, James Spaulding, James Carter, Dewey Redman, Oliver Lake, Billy Bang, Regina Carter, Dafnis Preto, Cindy Blackman, Billy Hart, Andrew Cyrille, Mor Thiam, Mino Cinelu, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and others.
He is also an accomplished classical pianist, released a recording of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”, he wrote a regular column “Living Jazz” for Downbeat magazine and the related “D.D. Jackson Living Jazz Podcast”.
Jackson is an alumnus of the Manhattan Producers Alliance, was a composers for The Wonder Pets and 3rd & Bird; scored the entire 26-episode season of The Ocean Room, won a Juno Award, is currently based in New York City teaching at Hunter College and the Harlem School of the Arts and has recorded twelve CDs as a leader and co-leader.
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Lizz Wright was born January 22, 1980 in the small town of Hahira, Georgia, one of three children and the daughter of a minister and the musical director of their church. She started singing gospel music and playing piano in church as a child, and also became interested in jazz and blues.
She attended Houston County High, where she was heavily involved in choral singing, receiving the National Choral Award. Lizz moved to Atlanta and went on to attend Georgia State University, studying singing. Since then she has studied at The New School in New York and also in Vancouver.
Wright joined the Atlanta-based vocal quartet In The Spirit in 2000, performing at the local jazz haven Churchill Grounds and with the guidance of then manager, Ron Simblist, she was consistently featured on the late night jazz radio program Serenade To The City,and was soon achieving critical acclaim and notoriety. In 2002 she signed a recording contract with Verve Records, where her musical compositions and vocal style were comparable to that of Norah Jones.
Her debut album, “Salt’ was released in the spring of 2003 and reached number two on the Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz chart in 2004. Her sophomore release in 2005 ”Dreaming Wide Awake”, maintained the jazz and pop blend, while incorporating folk music to her musical blend. It reached number one on the Top Contemporary Jazz chart in 2005 and 2006.
Lizz has most notably performed and recorded with the late Joe Sample, Danilo Perez, David Sanborn, Toots Thielemans, Amos Lee, Regina Carter, Jakob Dylan, Massimo Biolcati and Meshell Ndegeocello among others.
In 2008, she released “The Orchard” to positive reviews and then released her fourth album, “Fellowship”, a collection of gospel standards, in 2010. Vocalist and composer Lizz Wright continues to perform and tour and is currently working on the release of her fifth album.
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Laura Kahle was born on January 20, 1979 in Michigan but her family moved to Australia as a baby where she lived until 2004. She received her Bachelor of Music in jazz trumpet with the great John Hoffman and a Master of Music Studies in Composition @ the QLD Conservatorium of Music.
Moving to New York in 2004 she found herself working with the Danish Radio Big Band in Copenhagen, arranging the music of Jeff “Tain” Watts and Michael Brecker. She recorded “Downstream” was recorded in 2004 with a ten-piece ensemble from Brisbane, “West End Composers Collective”.
In 2006 she had two arrangements premiered by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra featuring Jeff “Tain” Watts in Rose Hall, New York City. In 2007 she arranged the music of Gil Evans for the Branford Marsalis Septet, and performed in the Allen Room in New York City. By 2011 she recorded “Circular” and continues to perform and record.
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|Joe Magnarelli was born in Syracuse, New York on January 19, 1960. He first started playing music at age 12 with guitar and trumpet lessons, but had a knack for picking out songs on the piano by ear. His early performance experience, from elementary through high school, came via playing the trumpet and guitar in church. Later, while attending Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, he was the pianist and choir director at the Central Baptist Church.Mags, as he was known, went on to get his bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the State University of New York in Fredonia in 1986, and that year, he moved to New York City to pursue a career in music. Becoming a regular on the New York and international jazz scene, by 1987 he was touring and recording with Lionel Hampton and Brother Jack McDuff, and was soon seen playing with Toshiko Akiyoshi, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr. and the Hard Bop Quintet.In 1990, Joe was a semifinalist at the Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition in Washington, DC. He made his debut as a leader on the Cris Cross label in 1994 with “Why Not”. He followed that excellent album with three others on the label, “Always There”, “Mr. Mags” and “Hoop Dreams”. Joe currently has nine records out as a leader, and has played on numerous jazz labels as a sideman.In 2003-2006, Mags performed with the great Latin jazz conguero Ray Barretto’s New Sextet. Joe recorded on Ray’s “Time Was, Time Is” (O+ Music), which was nominated for a Grammy. His list of sideman gigs is too long to list but a few are the Vanguard Orchestra, Jane Monheit, Jon Hendricks, Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, Alvin Queen, Dado Maroni, Marty Sheller, Tom Harrell Big Band, The Carnegie Hall Orchestra, Don Sebesky, John Pizzarelli, Aretha Franklin, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Williams, Michael Feinstein, and the Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli is currently an adjunct professor of music at the Juilliard School of Music and Rutgers University, and he also conducts clinics and master classes around the world.
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Oli Bott was born January 16, 1974 in Hofheim am Taunus, Germany. He learned his trade on the vibraphone first in his native town under the tutelage of drummer Detlef Biedermann. Subsequent study in music was at the Berklee College of Music in Boston with Gary Burton, Bob Brookmeyer, Phil Wilson, Greg Hopkins, John LaPorta and Hal Crook, completing in 1996 with a diploma in Jazz Composition.
As a freelance musician in Berlin he has received several grants from the Berlin Senate and composition commissions for his own jazz orchestra. Bott’s awards include the NDR music prize for jazz directors, 1st prize at the Leipzig Improvisation competition, the Europ Jazz Contest and the Wayne Shorter Award.
Vobraphonist Oli Bott is currently active as a musician in various bands. In addition to his work as a composer and conductor for his twelve-headed “Oli Bott Orchestra”, he is also leads a quartet “Vibratanghissimo”. It is a project with original compositions as well as those by Astor Piazzolla, originally composed for bandoneon. They are now being reinterpreted on the vibraphone, part of the repertoire of this group. With his partner, guitarist Thomas Wallisch, he also performs his own compositions on “Thomas Wallisch & Oli Bott Duo”.
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