Harry Allen was born in Washington, D.C. on October 12, 1966. When he was a small child, his father, a big band drummer, played records for him including recordings of tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves, which made a lasting impression. By his high school years he was recognized as an exceptional talent being able to uncannily play tunes such as Body and Soul in the style of legendary tenor players Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Flip Phillips, or Sam Donahue.
While in high school he also added the traditional influences from Scott Hamilton to his repertoire before attending and graduating from Rutgers University in 1988. A master interpreter of standards, he has recorded with Daryl Sherman, Joe Cohn and Jan Lundgren. He is best known for his work with John Colianni, Keith Ingham, John Pizzarelli and Bucky Pizzarelli. The tenor saxophonist has about two dozen albums under his belt and continues to perform , record and tour.
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Agenor Garcia was born in Campo Grande, Brazil on October 10, 1967 and received classical training from the age of 12. He eventually moved to Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, in 1995 where he started his composition classes with Professor Bohumil Med in the Music Department at the University of Brazil. He also taught lessons at ArtMed, Bohumil Med’s music school and wrote music scores for movies and theatre plays.
Moving to the United States in 2001 Garcia recorded his debut piano trio album Alabastro. During this period he studied jazz under Cliff Korman and by 2003 he received an invitation to participate in the Jazz Walk Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 2004 saw him move to Paris, France, teaching music lessons at the Bill Evans Piano Academy and working as a music director and performing solo. Returning to America, in 2009, he started to work with Steinway & Sons performing contemporary piano concerts across the country. His album “The Music of Agenor Garcia” was recorded live while on the Steinway tour.
Pianist, composer, performer and musical director Agenor Garcia has played numerous jazz festival, has received awards including the Spanish Heritage Award for Best Composition, and in 2014 released his album Symbiosis, blending improvisation with his musical influences. He continues to perform, record, tour and educate.
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Denys Baptiste was born on September 14,1969 in London, England. He studied music at school from the age of 13 and then at the West London Institute, aka Brunel University. In 1992, he continued his music education at London’s Guildhall School of Music, studying under former Jazz Messenger, Jean Toussaint and is a graduate of Tomorrow’s Warriors.
Baptiste played with Gary Crosby and Nu Troop, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Hill, Ernest Ranglin, Bheki Mseleku, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Michael Bowie, Courtney Pine, Manu Dibango, Gary Crosby, Steve Williamson, Julian Joseph, Jason Rebello, Martin Taylor, Lonnie Plaxico, Ralph Moore, Billy Higgins, Jerry Dammers, Sean Oliver, Jean Carne, Marlena Shaw, Noel McCoy, Juliet Roberts, Incognito and Jazz Jamaica.
He released his debut album in 1999, Be Where You Are, and received a nomination for a Mercury Music Prize, and won the MOBO award for Best Jazz Act 1999. Denys has released two albums since, garnering another nomination for the MOBO award for Best Jazz Act, the BBC Jazz Awards for Best New Work and Best Album, and the Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Album for his third album Let Freedom Ring! Was in 2004.
Tenor and soprano saxophonist, composer and arranger Denys Baptiste continues to embark on new projects in addition to performing.
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Marcus Lamar Miller was born on September 9, 1970 in Chesapeake, Virginia and began his musical journey at the age of three playing drums in his mothers church. During his elementary school years, 3rd-5th grade, he studied classical harp with the principal harpist for the Norfolk Symphony. Between the years 1983-88 he recorded on three albums with several mass choirs of the United Holy Church of America Inc. His high school and college years were spent backing rock, reggae, funk, Appalachian folk and jazz bands.
He went onto attend Washington & Lee University studying four-years of African, European, and Latin American histories. Setting his sights west to continue studies in music, Marcus landed in Berkeley, California in 1993 and began working with numerous local bands in the San Francisco bay area.
Miller landed a CNN spotlight of up and coming jazz musicians before touring and performing 1995 and 1996 with Ben Harper throughout Europe, Japan, and North America. He then moved to Anaheim after the tour, began a stint with Disney, started studying African traditional drumming with percussionists Leon Mobley and Angel Figueroa, and was a founding member of Leon Mobley & Da Lion.
Marcus has since gone on to perform with such artists as Ashanti, Sheila E, Andre Cymone, Barbara McNair, the Watts Prophets, Bennie Maupin, Vinx, Jimmy Sommers,Tony Furtado, and Ozomatli. He has collaborated with such choreographer/dancers as Lula Washington, Cleo Parker Robinson, Winifred Harris, Bonnie Homesy, Toni Pierce, Marguerite Donlon, and wife Tamica Washington-Miller.
Educating children is one of his biggest passions and teaches regularly at the New Roads School and holds private lessons. He founded YDLA, a performance group called the Young Drummers of Los Angeles, and works with various organizations throughout California facilitating drum workshops for the youth. His Freedom Jazz Movement serves as his main vehicle of musical expression, fusing traditional African rhythms with a East Coast swing. Drummer, composer, bandleader and educator Marcus L. Miller continues to perform, record and educate.
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Ron Blake was born on September 7, 1965 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was eight when he began studying the guitar, and at the age of ten, he started learning to play the saxophone after being exposed to the record collection of his father, who was seriously into hard bop, soul-jazz and organ combos.His first saxophone was an alto, but eventually, he learned the tenor, soprano, and baritone saxes, as well as the flute.
After leaving home for the Midwest, Ron graduated from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan before moving to the Chicago area and attending Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Though studying classical saxophone with Dr. Frederick Hemke, jazz ultimately won out. By the late Eighties he was playing a lot of bop gigs in Chi-Town, crossing paths with tenor man Von Freeman and pianist Jodie Christian.
Blake moved to Florida in 1991 to accept a teaching position at the University of South Florida. Then it was off to New York City the following year where he spent five years in trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s quintet and seven years in flugelhornist Art Farmer’s group. By the early 2000s, he was leading his own quartet, which included pianist Shedrick Mitchell, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Greg Hutchinson.
Releasing his first album as a leader, Up Front & Personal on the Tahmun label in 2000, was followed in 2003 with a Christian McBride-produced Lest We Forget on the Mack Avenue release that found Ron paying tribute to three soul-jazz greats who had died: saxophonists Grover Washington, Jr. and Stanley Turrentine, and organist Charles Earland.
He is a member of the Saturday Night Live Band, Dion Parson & 21st Century Band and the Grammy-winning Christian McBride Big Band. As an educator he holds a position as professor of Jazz studies at The Juilliard School. His discography has four albums as a leader/co-leader and has more than fifty credits as a sideman for Roy Hargrove, Art Farmer, Reuben Rogers, Joey DeFrancesco, Razor & Tie, Ropeadope, Gerald Wilson, Latin pop group, Yerba Buena, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Cain, Regina Carter, among others.
Saxophonist Ron Blake is also a band leader, composer and music educator who continues to compose, record, and perform.
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