Esa Pietilä was born on December 9, 1964 in Finland and started learning the saxophone as a youth, taking his inspiration from Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane. He studied saxophone and composition in the Sibelius- Academy jazz department in Helsinki and privately in United States with David Liebman.
Pietilä started his career as a jazz musician and later on expanded his expression to many different musical genres. Performing with his jazz groups Liberty Ship and Esa Pietilä 3, he also has duo collaborations with contemporary classical & new music chamber musicians, and has soloed with chamber orchestras and other larger ensembles. He performs totally free improvisations at his solo concerts.
He has worked with conductors Esa-Pekka Salonen, Santtu-Matias Rouvali, with Avanti! Chamber Orchestra. Esa has premiered the saxophone concerto of Kalevi Aho, Eero Hämeenniemi and Pietilä´s concerto Graffiti Play for chamber orchestra & contemporary jazz trio.
His jazz collaborators have been Paal Nilssen-Love, Harvey Sorgen, Michael Jefry Stevens, Mathias Eick, Jeff Siegel, Karl Berger, Mark Helias, Brian Melvin, Heiri Kaenzig, Christoph Baumann, Baenz Öster, Franziska Baumann, Mike Nock, Ron McClure, Claudio Fasoli, Anders Begcrantz, Odean Pope, Hilmar Jensson, Raoul Björkenheim. Markku Ounaskari, Ulf Krokfors, Iro Haarla.
Saxophonist and composer Esa Pietilä, who in his home country, received the Yrjö Jazz award in 2016 for his original, genre-defying work in the field of avant-garde jazz, continues to work diversely in the field of contemporary music.
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Rebecca Coupe Franks was born on November 27, 1961 in San Jose, California. It was natural that she started playing trumpet when she was ten, as her brother, mother, grandfather, and great uncle all were trumpeters.
A professional by the time she was 15, Rebecca moved to New York City saw her attending New York University from 1990 to 1991 and practicing on the roof of the music building overlooking Lower Manhattan.
In the early 1990’s, she made a strong impression with her two albums for the Justice label. Her 1992 release Suit of Armor included appearances by saxophonist Joe Henderson, pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Buster Williams. During the 2000s she self-released several records, including Exhibition: Tribute to Joe Henderson.
Trumpeter Rebecca Coupe Franks continues to compose, record, perform and tour with her Groovemobile, which is a five piece band playing a mix of r&b, jazz and soul.
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Richard Tee was born in Brooklyn, New York on November 24, 1943 where he spent most of his life and lived with his mother in a brownstone apartment building. Graduating from The High School of Music & Art in New York City, he attended the Manhattan School of Music.
Tee went on to lead a jazz ensemble, the Richard Tee Committee and in 1981 he played the piano and Fender Rhodes for Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert In Central Park. Over the course of his prolific career he played with Quincy Jones, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Stanley Turrentine, Rahsaan Roland Kirk,Chuck Mangione, Grover Washington Jr., George Benson, Herbie Mann, Doc Severinsen, Patti Austin, Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Barbra Streisand, Lou Rawls, Etta James.
Not limiting himself to jazz and blues, Richard also performed and recorded with Carly Simon, The Bee Gees, Aretha Franklin, Peter Allen, George Harrison, Diana Ross, Duane Allman, Bill Withers, Nina Simone, Juice Newton, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, Kenny Loggins, David Ruffin, Peter Gabriel, Joe Cocker, Tim Finn, Peabo Bryson, Mariah Carey, Chaka Khan, Phoebe Snow, Leo Sayer and countless others.
He was a founding member of the band Stuff, ed by bassist Gordon Edwards and included guitarist Cornell Dupree, drummer Chris Parker and later adding guitarist Eric Gale and drummer Steve Gadd to the line up. Pianist, studio musician, singer and arranger Richard Tee, better known as a studio and session musician, passed away from prostate cancer on July 21, 1993 in Cold Spring, New York at the age of 49.
Miles Jaye Davis was born on November 12, 1957 in Yonkers, New York and is known professionally as Miles Jaye. He studied music theory and classical violin for more than a decade at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Saratoga School of Orchestral Studies, Indian Hill and Brooklyn College.
While in the Air Force Jaye played flute, keyboards and bass and launched his singing career while stationed at Clarke Air Force Base in the Philippines. He toured Europe with jazz guitarist Eric Gale and singers Phyllis Hyman and Jon Lucien before taking over as “Cop” in the Village People in the mid 1980s. He stayed with the band for two years before launching his solo career and signing to Teddy Pendergrass’ production company Top Priority Records.
Releasing his debut album, Miles, on Island Records, he continued on the soul course with his music, contributing as musician, songwriter and co-producer on the Pendergrass 1988 hit album, Joy.
In 1991 he formed his own company, Black Tree Records, and recorded and released a string of increasingly jazz-influenced albums. Never straying completely from jazz he has also worked with George Duke, Roy Ayers, Grover Washington, Jr. and Branford Marsalis. Violinist, singer, producer and songwriter Miles Jaye continues to pursue new horizons in jazz.
Christopher Stephen Botti was born October 12, 1962 in Portland, Oregon and raised in Corvallis, although he also spent two years of his childhood in Italy. His earliest musical influence was his mother, a classically trained pianist and part-time piano teacher and started playing the trumpet at nine-years-old, and committing to the instrument at age 12 after hearing Miles Davis play My Funny Valentine.
1981 saw Chris selected as a member of McDonald’s All American High School Jazz band which marked his first Carnegie Hall performance. At 17, he enrolled at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, by convincing his high school to allow him to fulfill his remaining senior year credits there which allowed him to play Portland clubs at night. Mount Hood’s band under Larry McVey, was a proving ground and regular stop for Stan Kenton and Mel Tormé when they were looking for new players.
After graduating from high school, Botti studied at the Indiana University School of Music, received two NEA grants and studied with trumpeter Woody Shaw and saxophonist George Coleman during two consecutive summer breaks. Leaving Indiana University during his senior year for short touring stints with Frank Sinatra and Buddy Rich, in 1985, he moved to New York City to hone his craft as a studio musician.
The Nineties had him in a decade long touring and recording relationship with Paul Simon and where he also performed/recorded with Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler, Joni Mitchell, Natalie Merchant, Scritti Politti, Roger Daltrey and others. He also met saxophonist Michael Brecker, co-produced a track on the Brecker Brothers’ Out of the Loop titled Evocations, and the album won a 1995 Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance.
His solo debut, First Wish,released in 1995 began a succession of recordings on the Verve record label. He became a member of the experimental, jazz fusion-oriented group Bruford Levin Upper Extremities, composed the score and recorded a soundtrack for the 1996 film Caught and closed out the century touring with Sting as a featured soloist that ultimately changed the course of his career.
In 2001 Chris signed with Columbia Records through an introduction by Bobby Colomby, drummer and founding member of Blood, Sweat & Tears, who also became his producer and manager. As his career advanced another succession of releases proved his jazz/pop crossover appeal, he played Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball weekend honoring her African American heroines, and in 2006, Billy Childs, Gil Goldstein and Heitor Pereira won the Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? with Sting from Botti’s album To Love Again – The Duets.
He has performed and recorded with Andrea Bocelli, the Boston Pops Orchestra, Yo-Yo Ma, Steven Tyler, Josh Groban, Katharine McPhee, John Mayer, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Burt Bacharach, Gladys Knight, Jill Scott and Renee Olstead, among others. Trumpeter Chris Botti has hosted a radio show for several years where smooth meets cool jazz as he continues to perform, record, produce, compose and tour.
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