Noel Lorica was born on January 29, 1968 in Manila, Philippines and played in a rock band as a teenager. His mother urged him to take piano lessons but his love was always the acoustic guitar. Musically at that time he got exposed to the music of George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Paul Desmond, and the modern jazz instrumentalists. Leaving home he first migrated to San Francisco then went east and worked in New York and around Philadelphia.
He later moved to South Florida where he found Latin Beats and jazz influences were all around. Finding his perfect musical fit he started to concentrate on perfecting his craft through tireless practice and soulful dedication. His music today is an expression of his musical and personal journey.
Noel has received critical acclaim for his skill & artistry, has had two PBS specials, and with his band Treebo has played major festivals around the world. He has opened for Marcus Miller, has won Jazz Song of the Year and Best Jazz Instrumental solo, Best Instrumental Arrangement, and has been featured in Billboard and Italian Jazz magazines.The guitarist has released four albums and currently continues to perform jazz and Latin music.
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Bill Ware III was born William Anthony Ware III on January 28, 1959 in East Orange, New Jersey. He played bass and piano early in his career at Harlem’s Jazzmobile, prior to choosing vibraphone as his main instrument. After spending several years playing Latin jazz he formed his own Latin Jazz group, AM Sleep.
In 1987 Ware joined saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes’ Jazz Passengers as a regular memberand by 1990 had put together a group of sidemen as the Club Bird All-Stars, who accompanied him on a tour of Japan. Stretching out to other genres he played with Groove Collective and Steely Dan during the first half Nineties.
Later in the decade Bill teamed up with fellow former Jazz Passengers, Brad Jones and E. J. Rodriguez forming the ensemble Vibes. His 2001 tribute to Duke Ellington was recorded with guitarist Marc Ribot, and Deborah Harry on his 2002 effort Four.
During the mid-2000s, he recorded several projects blending jazz with Western Classical music as well as composing five film scores with Nathanson. He recorded fourteen solo projects as a leader for AM Sleep, Knitting Factory, Cathexis, Wollenware, Random Chance and Pony Canyon record labels. Vibraphonist Bill Ware continues to compose, perform and record.
Manny Oquendo was born on January 1, 1931 in New York City of Puerto Rican ancestry. Growing up he began studying percussion in 1945 and went on to work in the tropical bands and Latin music ensembles like Carlos Valero, Luis del Campo, Juan “El Boy” Torres, Chano Pozo, Jose Budet, Juanito Sanabria, Marcelino Guerra, Jose Curbelo and Pupi Campo.
In 1950, he became the bongo player for Tito Puente followed by Tito Rodriguez four years later. He moved on to Vicentico Valdes the next year and freelanced in the City before joining Eddie Palmieri’s Conjunto La Perfecta in 1962, where he helped develop the New York style of the mozambique rhythm.
Manny co-led Conjunto Libre with bassist Andy González from 1974 and had a worldwide hit with the Freddie Hubbard composition Little Sunflower in 1983 on the album Ritmo, Sonido y Estilo. He also was a sideman with Paul Quinichette.
His timbales solos were famous for their tastefully sparse, straight forward “típico” phrasing and his solos also incorporated the rhythmic language of the folkloric quinto, the lead drum ofrumba. Percussionist Manny Oquendo, who also played bongos, timbales, and left a small catalogue of nine albums as a leader, passed away on March 25, 2009.
Ed Byrne was born on December 30, 1946 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and he worked for more than fifteen years on the New York City jazz scene as a soloist with Chet Baker, Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Maynard Ferguson, Billy Eckstine, Charles Mingus, Gerry Mulligan, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Archie Shepp, Mel Torme and the list continues. He also performed, composed, and arranged numerous recordings and toured the Americas, France, Germany and Sweden.
Ed was nominated Best Trombone Soloist by Latin New York magazine, as a leader was nominated for a Grammy Award for his Fenway Funk album, and won a Grammy for Eddie Palmieri’s Latin jazz album, Unfinished Masterpiece.
As an educator he hold a doctorate of Musical Arts in Jazz Studies from the New England Conservatory, has been on the faculties of Berklee College, Baruch College, University of the Arts, Greenfield Community College and the University of Rhode Island. Ed has published 42 texts on jazz improvisation and his Linear Jazz Improvisation Method, sold world-wide.
Trombonist, author, bandleader, composer, arranger and educator Ed Byrne is currently the leader of his Latin Jazz Evolution that released their first CD titled Conquistador, on Blue Truffle Records and continues to perform, record and tour.
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Mike Barone was born on December 27, 1936 in Detroit, Michigan. He started playing the trombone at age 12 and was taught by his trumpeter father Joe Barone, who played with the Bob Crosby Orchestra and other big bands. He graduated from Brush High School in Cleveland, Ohio in 1954 and studied trombone, guitar and arranging until 1956 until his acceptance into the West Point Army band studying with Louis Van Haney of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. After graduation he was stationed in Germany with the Special Services and formed his first jazz big band touring service clubs.
By 1959 Mike was back in California attending Valley College but left to tour with Sy Zentner and Louis Bellson Orchestra. He worked many years arranging, performing and recording with Louis and Pearl Bailey, recording with Lalo Schifrin’s New Continent and Dizzy Gillespie’s Quintet. He has performed with Dick Grove, Pete Jolly, Gabor Szabo, Oliver Nelson, Terry Gibbs, Gerald Wilson and many more. Twenty-seven of his arrangements have been recorded by Wilson and others, and the now classic Johnny Hartman album Unforgettable has 7 tunes were his arrangements.
He put together a quintet with Frank Rosolino, formed the Mike Barone Big Band, recorded with Bob Edmondson, John Williams and Shelly Manne, took session work for film including Harper, The Dirty Dozen, Kelly’s Heroes, Sweet Charity, Up the Down Staircase and The Thomas Crown Affair. On television he performed the theme Mission Impossible, Dynasty, Falcon Crest, The Grammys, The Midnight Special, Redd Foxx Show and the Johnny Carson Tonight Show among others.
Since 1997 Mike returned to Los Angeles, California after stints in Colorado and Vancouver, he formed a new band and performed at area clubs. Arranger, composer, trombonist Mike Barone, known for one of the best known West Coast big bands in the Sixties, continues to arrange, perform and tour.
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