José James was born on January 20, 1978 in Minneapolis, Minnesota and combines jazz, soul, drum’n’bass, and spoken word into his own unique brand of vocal jazz. Though his main influences are John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye, and Billie Holiday, his sound is reminiscent of ’70s jazz-soul icon Terry Callier, and his music feels more like an update of Gil Scott-Heron’s approach, but he makes it distinctly his own.
José attended The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and in 2008 debuted his first album, The Dreamer, on the Brownswood label. Blackmagic followed in 2010, as well as, For All We Know on the Impulse! Label, the latter becoming the winner of both the Edison Award and L’Académie du Jazz Grand Prix for best Vocal Jazz Album of 2010.
Signing to Blue Note Records in 2012 James issued Trouble, his first single for the label, with his fourth album, No Beginning, No End released the following year. New compositions brought the release of 2014’s While You Were Sleeping, a collection that reflected rock alongside R&B and jazz.
In commemoration of the 100th birthday of his musical mother, Billie Holiday, José recorded nine songs written by or associated with her on Yesterday I Had the Blues. He fronted a band that included pianist Jason Moran, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Eric Harland.
Vocalist and bandleader José James, who blends modern jazz and hip-hop, continues to perform globally both as a leader and with other groups.
More Posts: vocal
Christopher Hollyday January 3, 1970 in New Haven, Connecticut. He started playing alto when he was nine, developed quickly, and was playing in clubs by the time he was 14 years old. That same year he recorded his first album on his own Jazzbeat label. During his childhood years he was heavily influenced by Charlie Parker, but a few years later he almost sounded like a clone of Jackie McLean.
In 1988, he took a group into the Village Vanguard, and the following year he toured with Maynard Ferguson’s big band. One of the “Young Lions” at the end of the Eighties, his notoriety rose with his recording of four albums between 1989 and 1992 for the RCA Novus label. On his debut self titled album he enlisted Wallace Roney, Cedar Walton, David Williams and Billy Higgins, bringing in among others John Lockwood, Larry Goldings and Brad Mehldau .
In January 1992 he released his final album And I’ll Sing Once More with John Clark, Mark Feldman, Scott Colley, Kenny Werner, Scott Robinson and Douglas Purviance. After that, his recording career was interrupted abruptly when his record contract was not renewed at RCA Novus.
In 1997 he began a career as an educator, teaching first at the Orange Glen High School in Escondido, California, then switching to the Valley Center High School in Valley Center, California. Alto saxophonist Christopher Hollyday is currently teaching and working with jazz ensemble classes and the school band and continues to perform.
More Posts: saxophone
Reuben Radding was born on December 29, 1966 in Washington, DC and began his musical career in the DC punk scene. After moving to New York City in 1988, he studied double bass with Mark Dresser and composition with Edgar Grana, who were strong influence on his musical development as well as William Parker.
He played in various genres from avant-garde jazz to swing, folk, pop, Klezmer and chamber music with musicians such as John Zorn, Elliott Sharp, Anthony Coleman, Andrea Parkins, Dave Douglas, Roy Campbell and Rashid Bakr. With Marc Ribot he toured Europe and Canada in 1995 and leading his own band Myth Science, he played compositions by Sun Ra. He recorded the album Love in Outer Space at the Knitting Factory. Radding co-founded the experimental trio Refuseniks with John Hollenbeck and Ted Reichman .
By early 1997 he moved to Seattle, Washington playing in the trio of alto saxophonist Wally Shoup, and performing improvisationally with musicians Saadet Türköz , Carlo Actis Dato and Wolfgang Fuchs . In 2001 he performed in a duet with Daniel Carter on the Earshot Jazz Festival, and in 2003 gained international notoriety with his release of Luminescence.
He has recorded albums with Ursel Schlicht , Stephen Gauci, Carlos Bechegas, Nate Wooley, Mary Halvorson, Frank London and Tomas Fujiwara. Currently back in New York, bassist Reuben Radding performs and records with his trio comprised of vibraphonist Matt Moran and clarinetist Oscar Noriega, as well as with an improvising trio with Tara Flandreau and Carrie Shull, and operates Pine Ear Music label.
More Posts: bass
Kaori Yamada was born on December 23, 1971 in Takamatsu, Kagawa Pref., Japan. She started learning to play the piano at the age of 4 and graduated from the School of Music, at Takamatsu Junior College, majoring in classical piano. She began teaching herself to play drums on her own initiative at the age of 14 and was particularly interested in Soul, R&B and Jazz, the music her brother was listening to at the time. It was during this period that she developed a strong desire to become a professional drummer.
From 1991 to 1995, Kaori lived Hiroshima where she gave drum instruction under the R.C.C. Takeshi Inomata Drum School at Yamaha Music Shops. During this period, she volunteered in the community as a musician and performed at charity concerts and events for a local youth group and welfare facility.
Introduced to Japan’s best-known drummer, the late Motohiko Hino, in 1996 Yamada started to train with him and two years later she began her professional drumming career. Since that time she has performed with her bands “Wet” and “Petit Agasa”. She has also worked as a side person for Terumasa Hino, Fumio Karashima, Kosuke Mine and Yosuke Inoue, among other Japanese jazz musicians.
Moving to New York in 2007 she broadened her music horizons playing venues like Showman’s and Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola of Lincoln Center, and more. She plays with Carol Sudhalter, James Zollar, Nabuko Kiryu, Valery Ponomarev, Alvin Walker, Peter Brainin, Cecilia Coleman, Chris Haney, Marco Panascia, Robert Bowen, Steve Millhouse, Miki Hayama, Madame Pat Tandy, Vito Di Modugno, Radam Schwartz, Akiko Tsuruga, Satoshi Inoue, Kayo and more. In 1994 Kaori was awarded the Best Ensemble Award at the Yamaha Music Festival. Drummer Kaori Yamada continues to perform both as a leader and side person, but as yet has not led a recording session.
More Posts: drums
Ehud Asherie was born on December 20, 1979 in Israel and with his family moved to Italy at the age of three. He started playing piano at the age of seven and attended the Sir James Henderson School, now The British School of Milan, before they moved to the United States when he was nine. As a New York City teenager he visited Smalls Jazz Club, taking private lessons from Frank Hewitt, a pianist who often played there and attending the New School University.
Asherie first played at Smalls when he was a high school sophomore. In 2010 he recorded his debut solo piano album, Welcome to New York with a focus on stride and standards. The same year he played Hammond organ on his quartet release, Organic, mixing bop and swing with standards.
He has recorded seven albums as a leader ranging from duo to quintet group configurations on the Arbor and Posi-Tone labels. He has been a sideman recording with Bryan Shaw, Hilary Gardner and Harry Allen. He has performed with Peter Bernstrin, Joe Cohn, Billy Drummond, Bobby Durham, Frank Gant, Paul Gill, Jimmy Green, Dennis Irwin, Jimmy Lovelace, Joe Magnarelli, Bob Mover, Tim Pleasant, Ben Street and Mark Taylor.
Pianist and organist Ehud Asherie has for two years been playing regularly at Smalls with his own trio, the Grant Stewart Quartet and the Neil Miner Quintet. He has also served as a rehearsal pianist for the Village Vanguard Orchestra and Since January 2000 he’s part of Trio65 at New York City’s Rainbow Grill with bassist Joseph Lepore and drummer Tommaso Cappellato. He continues to perform, record and tour.
More Posts: piano