Carmen Souza was born in Lisbon, Spain on May 20, 1981 of Cape Verdean heritage speaking Creole, the Cape Verde dialect and Portuguese. In her teens she sang professionally in a Lusophone Gospel Choir. Musicians like Luis Morais, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Diana Krall were some of her inspirations. Theo Pas’cal, her producer and mentor and one of the best bass players in Portugal, discovered her talent and introduced her to jazz, fusion and other contemporary sounds that markedly influenced her musical development.
Working with Theo in 2003, two years later Carmen released to critical acclaim her debut album Ess ê nha Cabo Verde that combined Creole, African and Cape Verde rhythms like Batuke, Morna, and Cola djon with her jazz contemporary influences. The album led to her international breakthrough performance at the WOMAD at Reading Festival of the same year.
Her sophomore album Verdade she co-produced and is featured on Wurlitzer and guitar. She returned in 2010 with the impressive Protegid (Protected) that continued to push the limits of what constitutes the Cape Verdean music, world music and jazz. The expressive voice, versatile style of vocalist Carmen Souza continues to perform, record and tour.
More Posts: vocal
Christian Scott, also known as Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah was born March 31, 1983 in New Orleans, Louisiana. A twin to brother Kiel, at the age of 13 he was given the chance to play with his uncle, jazz alto saxophonist Donald Harrison. A year later he was accepted into the New Orleans Center of Creative Arts where he studied jazz under the guidance of program directors, Clyde Kerr, Jr. and Kent Jordan.
After graduating NOCCA, Christian received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating in 2004. While matriculating his last year he was member of the Berklee Monterey Quartet and recorded as part of the Art:21 student cooperative quintet. He studied under the direction of Charlie Lewis, Dave Santoro, and Gary Burton. He majored in professional music with a concentration in film scoring.
Scott has worked across musical genres with Stefon Harris, David Sanchez, Donald Harrison, Karin Williams, Nnenna Freelon, Grace Kelly, Erin Boheme, X Clan, Prince, Mike Clark, David Benoit, Global Noize, Ledisi, Marcus Miller and Esperanza Spaulding, to name a few.
His debut album Rewind That on the Concord Record label garnered him a Grammy nomination and received the Edison Award in 2010 and 2012. Since 2002, he has released eight studio albums, and two live recordings. Trumpeter, composer and producer Christian Scott continues performing with his eight-piece ensemble his legacy in jazz.
More Posts: trumpet
Aaron Parks was born on October 7, 1983 in Seattle, Washington. He studied piano at the University of Washington at the age of 14 through the Transition School and Early Entrance Program as a double major in computer science and music. At 15 he was selected to participate in the GRAMMY High School Jazz Ensembles, which inspired him to move to New York City and transfer to the Manhattan School of Music.
During his final year in school Aaron began touring with Terence Blanchard’s band and recorded three albums with him for Blue Note Records, including the Grammy-winning A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina). He went on to tour with Kurt Rosenwinkel, and he has recorded for Blue Note as a leader. He is a member of James Farm, a quartet with saxophonist Joshua Redman, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland.
Parks has seven albums to his credit as a leader, and more the two-dozen as a sideman working with Daisuke Abe, Amanda Baisinger, Walter Smith III, Kendrick Scott, Christian Scott, Gretchen Parlato, Lage Lund and many others. He can be heard on the soundtracks to Their Eyes Were Watching God and Spike Lee films Inside Man, She Hate Me and When The Levees Broke.
He won first place as a Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association, and third place at the Jas Hennessy Piano Solo Competition at Montreux and in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Pianist Aaron Parks continues to compose, record, perform and tour.
More Posts: piano
Grace Kelly was born Grace Chung on May 15, 1992 in Wellesley, Massachusetts of Korean ancestry. A move to Brookline, Massachusetts, mother remarried and a legal adoption and her name became Kelly. Growing up in an environment of music appreciation of American standards, Broadway and jazz.
Hearing Stan Getz during the ritual Sunday brunch she fell in love with the sound, however, too young to play saxophone she started taking classical piano lessons at age six. She hanged to jazz because she liked making up her own melodies. She wrote her first song On My Way Home at age seven, took up the clarinet in 4th grade the switched to saxophone later the same year and by 12 recorded her debut CD Dreaming. While in the recording stages Kelly met An Hampton Callaway who offered to write liner notes for her first CD.
At age 14, Kelly appeared as special guest artist for two nights with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops, at 15 with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the following year for the Let Freedom Swing Celebration of America concert with Dave Brubeck as part of the inaugural festivities for President Obama. She left Brookline High at 16, got her GED, recorded her CD with Lee Konitz titled GRACEfulLEE, attended Berklee College of Music on full scholarship and graduated in 2011.
She has studied with Lee Konitz, Greg Osby, Jerry Bergonzi, James Merenda, George Garzone, Jeremy Udden and Allan Chase; played National Anthem for the Celtics preseason and playoff games, and has opened the Newport Jazz Festival in 2010.
Her list of collaborations is extensive but includes Harry Connick, Esperanza Spalding, Kenny Barron, Teri Lyne Carrington, Chris Potter, Dianne Reeves, Marian McPartland, Adam Rogers, Bob Dorough, Frank Morgan and Phil Woods among others. She has to date amassed more than two-dozen awards, recorded 10 sessions as a leader and continues to perform at some of the 600 concerts, clubs and festivals all over the world.
Ambrose Akinmusire was born May 1, 1982 and raised in Oakland, California. A member of the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble, he caught the attention of saxophonist Steve Coleman who was visiting the school to give a workshop. Coleman hired him as a member of his Five Elements band for a European tour and the young trumpeter was also a member of the Monterey Jazz Festival’s Next Generation Jazz Orchestra.
Ambrose studied at the Manhattan School of Music before returning to the West Coast to obtain a master’s degree at the University of Southern California and attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles. In 2007, he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and released his debut recording Prelude…To Cora on the Fresh Sound New Talent label.
Moving back to New York City he began performing with Vijay Iyer, Aaron Parks, Esperanza Spalding and Jason Moran, taking part in Moran’s innovative multimedia concert event In My Mind: Monk At Town Hall, 1957. It was also during this time that he caught the attention of Bruce Lundvall, President of Blue Note Records. Akinmusire released his sophomore album as a debut on the Blue Note label in 2011 titled When The Heart Emerges Glistening, featuring his quintet of tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III, pianist Gerald Clayton, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown. His third album, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint was released in 2014.
Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire has won the North Sea Jazz festival Paul Acket award and has worked with Kendrick Lamar, Aaron Parks, Sara Gazarek, Alan Pasqua, Mike Ladd, Josh Roseman, David Binney, John Escreet, Le Boeuf Brothers, Vince Mendoza, Jack DeJohnette and Dana Stephens. He continues the tradition of performing and recording.
More Posts: trumpet