Carolyn Breuer was born on July 4, 1969 in Munich, Germany, the daughter of jazz musician Hermann Breuer. When she was 19 years old, she studied saxophone as a member of the Bundes Jazz Orchestra at the Konservatorium in Hilversum under Ferdinand Povel. After graduation, she moved to New York City where she took private lessons with George Coleman and Branford Marsalis.
She has worked with Coleman, Fee Claassen and Ingrid Jensen before starting her own label, NotNowMom!-Records. Breuer’s Serenade release won her the “Heidelberger Künstlerpreis” which is Heidelberg’s prize for artists in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She is the first jazz musician to receive this award, previously only given to classical musicians.
Breuer has toured internationally and and performed with WDR’s Big Band, the Berlin Jazz Festival and the North Sea Jazz Festival. Her album, Fate Smiles On Those Who Stay Cool, became so popular in the Netherlands that politician Klaas De Vries began a speech in parliament with exactly those words.
Alto and soprano saxophonist Carolyn Breuer has recorded six albums as a leader, two with her father and one with Fee Classen. She continues to perform, record and tour.
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Sameer Gupta was born July 1, 1976 in San Francisco, California and is a percussionist, tabla player, and composer. He is the founder of the jazz ensemble The Supplicants and drummer for the Marc Cary Focus Trio.
Gupta has performed with Kosmic Renaissance, vidyA, Grachan Moncur III, Victor Goines, Vincent Gardner, Sekou Sundiata, Sonny Simmons, Marcus Shelby, Calvin Keys, Richard Howell, Dayna Stephens, and Julian Lage.
With his playing has been described as kinetic, bass-heavy, and tender, he made his recording debut in 2006 with Marc Cary on Focus, adding Marc Cary and Focus Trio Live in 2010. He released his debut album as a leader, Namaskar that same year, and has also recorded with Srinivas Reddy and Ross Hammond. Percussionist Sameer Gupta continues to compose, perform and record.
Monika Herzig was born June 12, 1964 in Germany and studied piano in her childhood. After receiving a scholarship in 1987 from the pedagogical institute in Weingarten, Germany for a one-year exchange program at the University of Alabama. Arriving in the United States in 1988 with one suitcase and a guitar, she went on to complete her Doctorate in Music Education and Jazz Studies at Indiana University, where she is a faculty member.
She recorded with the jazz fusion group BeebleBrox and has produced four albums as leader of the Monika Herzig Acoustic Project. Peace on Earth was released locally in Indianapolis, Indiana in 2008 and was released nationally in 2009 on the Owl Studios label.
She was awarded 1994 Best Original Composition, Let’s Fool One by DownBeat, was a two times finalist with BeebleBrox in 1994–1996, was a winner with Oliver Nelson Jr., WTPI Winter Jazzfest Competition in Indianapolis, and in 2000, 2003 and 2005 was the recipient of the Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. Pianist Monika Herzig continues to perform, record and tour.
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Alex “Sasha” Sipiagin was born June 11, 1967 in Yaroslavl, Russia and began learning to play the trumpet at the age of twelve. He studied at the Moscow Music Institute and the Gnessin Conservatory in Moscow where he received his Baccalaureate. In 1990 he competed in the International Louis Armstrong Competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute in Washington, D.C. winning top honors. Moving from Russia to the United States in 1991 and began his career shortly thereafter.
His first gigs were with the Gil Evans Band and George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band and soon became a favored player for various bands including the Gil Goldstein’s Zebra Coast Orchestra, drummer Bob Moses’ band Mozamba, the Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, the Mingus Orchestra, the Dave Holland Big Band, Sextet and Octet groups.
He has recorded and performed with Michael Brecker, Mulgrew Miller, Eric Clapton, Dr.John, Aaron Neville, Elvis Costello, Michael Franks, Dave Sanborn, Deborah Cox, legendary producer Phil Ramone and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, among others. Alex has recorded fifteen albums as a leader, for the most part on the Criss Cross Jazz label.
He is a founding member of the collective Opus 5, along with Seamus Blake, David Kikoski, Boris Kozlov and Donald Edwards. Trumpeter and flugelhornist Alex Sipiagin, who teaches at the Groningen Prince Claus Conservatory, Academy of Music, Basel, Switzerland as well steady professorship at NYU and continues to compose, perform and record.
Koby Hayon was born June 5, 1972 in Jerusalem, Israel and studied guitar at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Tel Aviv. While there he gained experience as a guitarist with the DGK Trio, Hulon Big Band, and many other notable groups.
Moving to the United States in 2001, he earned his BFA in Jazz Performance at SUNY Purchase, was a recipient of the Ullendorff Memorial Foundation Scholarship, and studied with John Abercrombie, Hal Galper, Todd Coolman, and Jon Faddis. In 2009, Hayon formed the Koby Hayon Jazz Trio. With bandmates Kermit Driscoll and Jerome Morris, he fuses his heritage with his vast musical training by performing classic Israeli songs in a jazz setting, as well as his own compositions. In addition he is part of Trio Shalva with pianist Assaf Gleizner and percussionist Nadav Snir-Zelniker.
As a sideman, Hayon has performed and toured throughout Western New York and Canada, playing and recording with countless bands, from Dixie/Swing Band, led by the legendary Sol Yaged, to playing alongside bassist Bill Crow and with various bands playing traditional Israeli music.
In addition to playing live music where he can be heard regularly at the 55bar, Cornelia St. Cafe, Watercolor Cafe, Birdland and other reputable New York clubs. Hayon is the musical director of “Nigunim – A Festival of New Improvised Jewish Music” and through his efforts, the festival became a recipient of the Arts Project Grant from Westchester Arts Council.
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