Raul Pineda was born on November 5, 1971 in Havana, Cuba. As a young boy, he scoured his neighborhood for anything that could be used to create drums. He used metal rods driven into the ground to support used cooking oil cans, and formed drumsticks from the branches of orange trees. He was influenced by the local rumbero street bands, and at the urging of his musician grandfather, Nefer Miguel Milanés, he went on to study classical percussion for several years. He then immersed himself in Afro-Cuban music.
By 19, Raul was performing and recording with some of the leading Cuban ensembles and bandleaders, including Sentisis, and pianist Chucho Valdés. Over the next several years, international tours and Grammy-nominated recordings brought Raul to the music world’s attention as one of Cuba’s most influential young drummers. He blends a drum kit with percussion instruments, such as, the left foot cowbell.
Staying busy playing and recording with several bands and artists, since 2000, he has been playing with the Afro-Cuban-jazz-funk-rock band TIZER and with Latin superstar Juan Gabriel. Between the two bands he will have toured Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Dubai, Barbados, Aruba, Santiago de Chile, South Africa, Russia and South Korea.
Drummer Raul Pineda has garnered three Grammy nominations and a 2000 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance with the Chucho Valdés Quartet album, Live at the Village Vanguard. He continues to perform and record.
Robin Eubanks was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.on October 25, 1955. Into a musical family. His brothers Kevin and Duane play guitar and trumpet respectively and his uncles are pianist Ray Bryant and bassist Tommy Bryant. After graduating from the University of the Arts, he moved to New York City and first appeared on the jazz scene in the early 1980s. He played with Slide Hampton, Sun Ra, and Stevie Wonder.
Eubanks went on to become a member of the Jazz Messengers with drummer Art Blakey and in then in Elvin Jones’ band. He was a contributor on fellow jazz trombonist Steve Turre’s 2003 release One4J: Paying Homage to J.J. Johnson.
He played for 15 years in double bassist Dave Holland‘s quintet, sextet, octet and big band. J.J. Johnson recommended Robin for the position at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, where he is now a tenured professor of Jazz Trombone and Jazz Composition. He has also taught at New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has been a member in the all-star group the SFJAZZ Collective for the past seven years.
He is one of the pioneers of M-Base, a musical concept he pioneered with other musicians such as Steve Coleman and Greg Osby among others. He has recorded with Geri Allen, Joe Henderson, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Bobby Previte, Hank Roberts, Herb Robertson, Kenny Drew, McCoy Tyner, Barbra Streisand, Abdullah Ibrahim, Andrew Hill and B.B. King, Sadao Watanabe, Grover Washington Jr. and Chip White to name a few.
He has appeared on numerous television shows and specials, is a frequent lecturer, guest soloist and clinician at various colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the world and has voted #1 Trombonist by Down Beat magazine.
Slide trombonist, Robin Eubanks, who plays in the mainstream and fusion jazz genres, has released nine albums as a leader, 38 as a sideman and continues to perform and record.
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Ronald Edward Holloway was born on August 24, 1953 in Washington, D.C. to parents who met at Howard University and were avid jazz fans. He got his initial introduction from his father who favored saxophone and trumpet led albums and would add to his collection of Prestige and Blue Note jazz albums. Though he started with R&B-influenced Willis Gator Jackson it wasn’t long before he identified the sounds of Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane and Miles Davis as his principal influences.
After high school graduation, Holloway routinely practiced 8–12 hours a day, sat in with bands of all kinds and jam sessions, becoming familiar and performed with jazz, R&B, funk, rock, jazz fusion, blues, country and folk music groups. During the Seventies he had the great fortune to meet, play a tape of a performance and get standing invitations to play with anytime they were in town from Freddie Hubbard, Sonny rollins and Dizzy Gillespie. The latter would invite him to sit in with him at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London, England, an association that lasted well into the Eighties.
Straying from jazz Ron would move into funk and go on to become a member of Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band, Osiris, Gil Scott-Heron’s band Amnesia Express, and Dizzy Gillespie’s band, remaining a member until Dizzy’s passing in 1993. That same year he recorded his debut album as a leader on the Milestone label.
He would go on to perform and tour with Derek Trucks, the Allman Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, Gov’t Mule, and is currently a member of The Warren Haynes Band and leader of The Ron Holloway Band.
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James Black was born on February 1, 1940 in New Orleans, Louisiana and though he’s little known outside of his native city and never recorded an album under his own name, the drummer was a Crescent City legend. Soaking up the city’s trademark “second line” rhythms from a young age, by the early 1960s he was already doing session work for the likes of Fats Domino. His main interest was jazz, however, and he played in a group with the young Ellis Marsalis on piano and Nat Perrilliat on saxophone. This trio was part of the Nat Adderley 1962 session In the Bag, to which he contributed two compositions. The following year, Marsalis cut an underrated album of modern jazz called Monkey Puzzle and this time out Black handled four of the seven compositions, including the intricate 5/4 piece Magnolia Triangle, which ranks as perhaps his greatest work.
James went on to play with Yusef Lateef and Lionel Hampton in the mid-’60s. However, his career was interrupted by a stint in the Angola State Penitentiary,during which time he actually played in a prison band with blues pianist James Booker and saxophonist Charles Neville. The late Sixties saw him on the R&B circuit around New Orleans, and in 1968 became the house drummer at the Scram label. He played on Eddie Bo’s Hook and Sling, helping to make it one of the great New Orleans funk singles, and soon took his place alongside Smokey Johnson and the Meters’ Ziggy Modeliste as one of the city’s top funky drummers.
He continued to play jazz on the side as part of Ellis Marsalis’ band ELM Music Company. They took up residency at Lu and Charlie’s beginning in 1972 and became local favorites. During the ’70s, Black also led his own group, the James Black Ensemble, which often featured his longtime girlfriend “Sister Mary” Bonette on vocals. He attempted several times to record a full-length album, including once for the Sound of New Orleans label and another time at Allen Toussaint’s studio, but the sessions never progressed beyond a few tracks.
He would continue performing in New Orleans into the ’80s playing with Ellis Marsalis and then teenager Harry Connick Jr., and served as the drummer for the 1982 Marsalis Family album Fathers and Sons. Drummer James Black passed away of a drug overdose on August 30, 1988 in New Orleans.
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Phillip Guilbeau was born on January 16, 1926 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Like many of his fellow musicians he took up the trumpet and during World War II served in the Navy, Honorably discharged in 1945 he moved to Detroit, Michigan and successfully became a session player. Throughout his career he recorded on hundreds of albums including sessions with Count Basie, Big Joe Turner, David “Fathead” Newman, Otis Redding, Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, soloist on Hank Crawford’s recording of What A Difference A Day Makes from his Soul Clinic album and with Ray Charles, he was the soloist on the landmark 1961 album Genius + Soul = Jazz.
By the Seventies Phil moved to Washington, DC and recognizing the evolution of the music, moved into the new sound called funk. He became the trumpeter and manager of the group The Young Senators, the top-rated R&B group in the area after the release of their hit, that Guilbeau penned, The Jungle. With the success of this single they were asked to tour as the backing group of Eddie Kendricks, and recorded his seminal album My People… Hold On with them. The album included what is widely considered the first ever Disco song, Girl You Need A Change Of Mind.
As a manager, Gilbeau would go on to discover another group called Black Heat, get them to Atlantic Records and record three albums before they disbanded. After a lifetime career of playing jazz, funk and rhythm & blues music that spanned five decades, trumpeter and composer Phil Guilbeau passed away on September 5, 2005 in Florida.
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