Jan Lundgren was born on March 22, 1966 in Olofstrom, Sweden and raised in Ronneby in the south of the country. He began learning the piano at the age of five and moved to Malmo in 1986 to study at the Academy of Music. He graduated in 1990, later becoming a lecturer at the Academy.
His group, the Jan Lundgren Trio broke through in 1997 with the album Swedish Standards, winning Orkesterjournalen’s Golden Record prize in the same year. In 2007, he became the first Scandinavian jazz pianist to be named an International Steinway Artist.
Since the early ‘90s, Jan has worked with a variety of Sweden’s leading artists both in the studio and/or at concerts such as Povel Ramel, Putte Wickman, Bengan Janson, Jason Diakité, Peter Asplund and Monica Zetterlund to name a few. He has also worked with Johnny Griffin, Mark Murphy, Herb Geller, Joe LaBarbera, Scott Hamilton, Andy Martin, Bill Perkins, Peter Washington, Billy Drummond, Deborah Brown, Lee Konitz, and Stacey Kent among numerous others.
Lundgren has recorded some 40 discs as a leader, under his own name since 1994 on labels including ACT, Fresh Sound, Marshmallow, Sittel, Four Leaf Clover, Volenza, Alfa, Gemini and Bee Jazz. As a sideman, Lundgren has been involved in dozens of other recordings across a broad range of labels.
In 2010, together with Thomas Lantz, Jan founded the annual Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival, for which he is Artistic Director. YSJF, has hosted Quincy Jones, Hugh Masekela, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Hiromi, Pat Martino, Youn Sun Nah, Benny Golson, Enrico Pieranunzi, Tomasz Stanko, Kenny Barron, Elina Duni, Fabrizio Bosso, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bobo Stenson, Nils Landgren, Benny Green and Eliane Elias, Charles Lloyd, John Scofied, Abdullah Ibrahim, Dianne Schuur, Joshua Redman, Enrico Rava and Roy Hargrove. Pianist Jan Lundgren continues to perform, record and tour.
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Martina Almgren was born on March 20, 1962 in Sweden and was surrounded by music as a child. She started playing the piano, then soon followed with the flute. In her late teens she was caught entirely by the drums, that became her primary instrument, along with the freedom in jazz and improvised music. It was some years later that she began composing her own music.
A colorful addition on the contemporary Swedish jazz scene, Almgren is passionate about playful improvisation, enticing rhythms and expressive melodies. This is reflective in her drumming as well as her compositions. She heads her own band, Martina Almgren Quartet, and has released four albums since 1999.
Martina together with Owe Almgren lead the Oh Yeah Orchestra comprised of ten of the top jazz musicians on the Swedish scene. In 2009 she was commissioned to compose for Swedish Jazz Celebration for Oh Yeah Orchestra. The album with the music “Freedom of Movement” was released in 2011. She expanded her performing on the European scene in 2007 when she teamed up with Scottish saxophonist Laura Macdonald on their album Open Book in 2008 followed by another in 2012.
She has been a part of Tom Bancroft´s Band of Eden, Nikki Iles Quintet and MOZ Trio that released their debut album “Sparkling Water, Please” released on the new Swedish label Oh Yeah Records in 2013. Drummer and composer Martina Almgren teaches improvisation classes at the Academy of Music and Drama at the University in Gothenburg, performs, records and tours.
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Sofia Ribeiro was born on March 18, 1978 in Lisboa, Portugal. She graduated with a degree in jazz performance from “Escola Superior de Música e Artes do Espectáculo do Porto”, did a one year exchange program in Barcelona at “Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya”, and another one on scholarship at Berklee College of Music. She also received a master’s degree in jazz performance from the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, and went on to study for one year at the “Conservatoire National Superieur de Paris”.
Ribeiro has recorded five CDs in duo and quartet settings, performed children’s music written for books, has toured throughout Europe performing at the Sunset Jazz Club, Jamboree, Silesian Jazz Festival as well as the Kennedy Center and Berklee Performance Center among others.,
Sofia has taken 1st prize at the international competitions “Crest Jazz Vocal” in France, 1st prize at the international competition for singing musicians “Voicingers” in Poland, and 2nd prize at the “Brussels International Young Jazz Singers Competition”, and was a part of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
Vocalist and composer Sofia Ribeiro has developed strong and emotional performances blending elements of jazz, Brazilian and Portuguese music within her charming and powerful sound. She continues to perform, record and tour.
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Travis Shook was born on March 10, 1969 in Oroville, California and started learning to play the piano at age seven. His family moved to Olympia, Washington when he was ten, spending his adolescent years in the Pacific Northwest. For a period of time he played rock guitar but soon realized jazz improvisation was his passion. At eighteen he enrolled at William Patterson College and studied under Mabern. After graduating he returned to Washington and joined bassist Buddy Catlett’s band where he learned a lot about the history of jazz.
In 1991 he won the Jacksonville Festival’s Great American Piano Competition that led to a contract with Columbia Records/Sony Music. Two years later he moved to New York City and recorded his debut with a quartet that included tony Williams and Bunky Green. Though receiving critical acclaim both in the U.S. and France for this first effort, it was a short-lived relationship when Sony purged a large percentage of the Columbia jazz roster upon acquiring the label in 1993.
After spending some time in obscurity after being attacked by New York Times critic Peter Watrous who criticized one of his performances, he entered a dark period in his life: alcoholism. A year later he got picked up by Betty Carter and went on tour through Europe, but he sunk deeper and added drugs to his plate of demons. Unemployable, he dropped out of the public eye for a number of years. Travis met, moved in with and ultimately married jazz singer Veronica Nunn who helped him overcome his demons and since 1998 he has been sober.
In 1999 Shook and his wife started their own record label, Dead Horse Records, which has released four recordings to date. Over the years he has performed with Reggie Workman, Eddie Harris, Joe Lovano, toots Thielemans, Rufus Reid, Chuck Israels, Ernestine Anderson, Branford Marsalis, Benny Golson and Clifford Jordan as well as Sonny Simmons, Michael Franks, Gino Vanelli, Bob Hope and Chris Botti among others.
His influences were Ahmad Jamal, McCoy Tyner, Duke Ellington, Harold Mabern, Herbie Hancock and Bill Evans but also John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Elvin Jones.Pianist Travis Shook continues to perform and record while building the catalogue of Dead Horse Records.
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Liam Sillery was born in Northvale, New Jersey, a suburb across the river from New York City on February 28, 1972. Introduced to music and the trumpet at an early age by his uncle, also a trumpet player, he considers himself fortunate to have been surrounded through the years by fine teachers and musicians.
Matriculating through the undergraduate program at the University of South Florida was most significant as he studied with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. Before going on to attend the Manhattan School of Music, he performed as a freelance musician. Once in New York at the Manhattan School, he studied with Ccil Bridgewater, Dave Liebman, Phil Markowitz, Joan Stiles, Mark Soskin, and Garry Dial.
In 2004 Liam released his first recording as a leader, Minor Changes, followed by his sophomore project On The Fly with the Dave Sills Quartet in 2006. The next summer he recorded a third CD, Outskirts, in which he moved away from his traditional style to explore freer material. Pursuing his expansion of style and knowledge of his instrument he combines textures, rhythms and sonorities to the details and intricacies of his playing.
Trumpeter and composer Liam Sillery has performed with is quintet at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam and continues to play in and around metropolitan New York City.
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