Esperanza Spalding was born October 18, 1984 in Portland, Oregon. Raised in a single parent household she was greatly influenced by her mother who was a singer, though she attributes cellist Yo-Yo Ma as her inspiration to make music her life. By the time Spalding was five, she had taught herself to play the violin and was playing with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon, staying with them until fifteen and left as concertmaster.
While homeschooled through elementary years Esperanza gleaned lessons from her mother’s guitar instructor when she was eight and would return home and play what she learned. She played oboe and clarinet before discovering the bass at 14 while attending The Northwest Academy. Bored with the ease of high school when she was 15 or 16 years old, Spalding dropped out and started writing lyrics for music for the local indie rock/pop group Noise for Pretend, touching on any topic that came to mind.
Spalding had begun performing live in Portland with her first gig at 15 in a blues club, when she could play only one line on bass and was soon learning from seasoned professionals during the band’s rehearsals. She went on to get her GED, enroll in Portland State University, then left with full scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music.
Almost immediately after graduation Esperanza was hired by her alma mater at age 20, becoming one of the youngest instructors in the institution’s history. In 2006 she released her debut album “Junjo” followed by her sophomore project “Esperanza” in which she sings in English, Spanish and Portuguese. These two projects were followed up with “Chamber Music Society” and her fourth album “Radio Music Society”.
She was personally chosen by President Obama to perform at the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies and concert, she has won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2011, Jazz Artist of the Year at the Boston Music Awards, has collaborated with Tineke Postma, Nicholas Payton and Teri Lyne Carrington among others, performed at the 84th Academy Awards and has donated a portion of her 2012 tour proceeds from merchandise sales to the non-profit organization “Free The Slaves” that combats worldwide human trafficking. She continues to compose, record, perform and tour.
Etienne Charles was born in Trinidad on July 24, 1983 into a family with four generations of musicians. He was immersed in the folk music of his country suffused with the sounds of calypso, steel pan and African Shango drumming to create the diverse colors of his harmonic palette.
The Bishop Anstey Junior School proved to be a potent incubator where he began playing the recorder, followed by trumpet at 10 and formal lessons. An athlete with prowess, Etienne eclipsed his musical success with academics with football, cricket, swimming and water polo teams at Fatima College, winning the Provincial Cup three times, first at the age of 13. He studied privately, at the Brass Institute, become a member of the band, added drums and percussion, landed his first job in a pit orchestra, worked with his father on the road during carnival and with Phase II for the Panorama steel pan competition.
By sixteen Charles was attending the summer performance program at Berklee College of Music, then on to Florida State University, placed or won several competitions, performed at North Sea Jazz Festival, attended the Henry Mancini Institute and received his Master’s from Julliard School of Music.
Etienne has toured, performed or recorded with the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, Grammy Award winners Roberta Flack, Wynton Marsalis, Johnny Mandel, Ralph MacDonald, Maria Schneider and the Count Basie Orchestra as well as Marcus Roberts, Monty Alexander, Frank Foster, Wycliffe Gordon, Rene Marie, Lord Blakie and David Rudder.
He released his debut album “Culture Shock” in 2006 was followed by “Folklore” three years later and then “Kaiso”. Trumpeter Etienne Charles stands at the vanguard of a new generation of Caribbean musicians and he continues to record, perform and tour.
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Matt Slocum was born on July 18, 1981 in New Richmond, Wisconsin. From his sophomore year in high school on he studied drums with Phil Hey, while playing in a Ska band. At the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, Matt studied with Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua, John Clayton and Joe LaBarbera. After graduating USC, Slocum spent three years in Pasadena but in 2007 he moved near New York City.
Since his move Slocum has toured with vocalist Sarah Gazarek for three years and has played with Shelly Berg, Seamus Blake, Alan Broadbent, Bill Cunliffe, Danny Grissett, Larry Koonse, Lage Lund, Wynton Marsalis, Linda Oh, Dayna Stephens, Gerald Wiggins, Anthony Wilson and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, among numerous others.
Slocum’s list of influences on composing is impressive citing Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter, Tom Harrell, Dave Holland, Debussy and Ravel; and drummers Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Kendrick Scott and Marcus Gilmore.
Drummer Matt Slocum is the recipient of a Meet the Composers Foundation grant, and has lead recording sessions for his debut album, Portraits and After The Rain. He continues to perform, record and tour.
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The Leading Man: This 1993 issued session is considered a classic for both material and performances of the various ensembles Harold Mabern put together. With the exception of DeJohnette and Carter, all the other players rotate throughout the sessions. Style and grace fill this recording.
Personnel: Harold Mabern – piano, Ron Carter – bass, Jack DeJohnette – drums, Bill Easley – alto saxophone, Bill Mobley – trumpet, Kevin Eubanks – guitar, and Pamela Baskin-Watson – vocals
Record Date: Columbia Records / November 9, 1992 – April 12, 1993
Cover: The cover is an alternate cover used for the import version of this session is currently unavailable. The U.S. release is still available.
Songs: Look On The Bright Side, Save The Best For Last, Full House, Alone Together, It’s A Lonesome Old Town, Yes And No, Moment’s Notice, Au Privave, B And B, Mercury Retro
Harlem Nights: 1989 film written and directed by Eddie Murphy also stars Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Danny Aiello, Della Reese, Stan Shaw, Jasmine Guy, Lela Rochon and Arsenio Hall.
The Story: Sugar Ray is the owns an illegal casino, who contend with the pressures of a ruthless gangster, corrupt policemen and a sultry siren who want to take a huge percentage of his earnings and put him out of business. To escape the carnage of the Roaring Twenties, Ray and his crew must pull off the greatest con of their lives.
The Music: Original music score by pianist & composer Herbie Hancock. Contributing composers Duke Ellington, Irving Mills, Walter G. Samuels, Leonard Whitcup, Teddy Powell, Arthur Johnston, Sam Coslow, Arthur Altman, James Cavanaugh, Barney Bigard, Count Basie, Reginald De Koven, Clement W. Scott, Jararaca, Vincente Paiva, Albert Stillman
Soundtrack: Just One More Chance, Black Beauty, Drop Me Off In Harlem, That Gal From Joe’s, Heaven Help This Heart Of Mine, It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing), Just One More Chance, Long Time No See, Mama Eu Quero, Mood Indigo, Oh Promise Me, One O’Clock Jump, Sophisticated Lady, Take My Heart,
Performers: Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Buddy Clark, Eddy Duchin, The Andrew Sisters, John McCormick, Buddy Clark, Nat Brandywynne, Duke Ellington, Count Basie
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