João Gilberto Prado Pereira de Oliveira was born on June 10, 1931 in Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil. From an early age, music was a part of his life with his grandfather buying him his first guitar at the age of 14. During high school he teamed up with some of his classmates to form a small band and was influenced by Brazilian popular songs, American jazz, and even some opera, among other genres. After trying his luck as a radio singer in Salvador, Bahia he was recruited in 1950 as lead singer of the vocal quintet Garotos da Lua (Moon Boys) and moved to Rio de Janeiro. A year and a half later, he was dismissed from the group for his lack of discipline, showing up late to rehearsals or not at all.
João Gilberto’s first recordings were released in Brazil as two-song 78-rpm singles between 1951 and 1959. In the 1960s, Brazilian singles evolved to the “double compact” format, and João would release some EPs in this new format, which carried 4 songs on a 45-rpm record. For seven years, Gilberto’s career was at a low ebb. He rarely had any work, was dependent on his friends for living quarters, and fell into chronic depression. Eventually, in 1955 he was rescued from this rut by Luiz Telles, leader of the vocal group Quitandinha Serenaders, where he blossomed musically. His first bossa nova song was Bim-Bom, written as Gilberto watched passing laundresses on the banks of the Sao Francisco River balance loads of clothes on their heads.
This style, which Gilberto introduced in 1957, created a sensation in the musical circles of Rio’s Zona Sul, and many young guitarists sought to imitate it. It was first heard on record in 1958 in a recording of Chega de Saudade, a song by Jobim and Vinicius de Morais. With this success launching his career and the bossa nova craze, João featured new songs by a younger generation of performer/composers such as Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal on two more albums. By 1962, bossa nova had been embraced by North American jazz musicians such as Herbie Mann, Charlie Byrd, and Stan Getz, who invited Gilberto and Jobim to collaborate on what became one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, Getz/Gilberto. Through this album, Gilberto’s then wife Astrud—who had never sung professionally prior to this recording session became an international star, and the Jobim/de Moraes composition The Girl from Ipanema became a worldwide pop music standard.
Gilberto went on to work with Claus Ogerman, Clare Fischer, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Maria Bethânia among other collaborations. He won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 2000 for his album João Voz E Violão. Singer, guitarist and composer João Gilberto continues to perform, record and composer.
Rocco Scott LaFaro was born on April 3, 1936 in Irvington, New Jersey and grew up in Geneva, New York when his family moved there when he was five. His father played in many big bands and started him on the piano in elementary school. He switched to the bass clarinet in junior high school and the tenor saxophone in high school. It wasn’t until he was eighteen the summer before entering Ithaca College that he finally landed on the double bass.
During the early weeks of his sophomore year Scott joined Buddy Morrow and his big band, then left them in Los Angeles, California after a cross-country tour. Luck prevailed and he quickly found work and became known as one of the best of the young bassists. He studied under Red Mitchell who taught him how to pluck the strings with both the index and middle fingers independently. By 1958 he was spending much of the year in pianist/percussionist Victor Feldman’s band.
In 1959, after many gigs with Chet Baker, Stan Kenton, Cal Tjader, and Benny Goodman he moved back east and joined Bill Evans after his recent departure from Miles Davis. Along with Paul Motian and Evans that he developed and expanded the counter-melodic style that would come to characterize his playing. The trio committed to the idea of three equal voices in the trio, collectively working together organically towards a singular musical idea, often without the time being explicitly stated. LaFaro’s prodigious technique on bass made this concept possible.
By late 1960, LaFaro replaced Charlie Haden as Ornette Coleman’s bassist. In between gigs with Evans he played with Stan Getz and got a recruitment card of interest from Miles Davis. By summer they settled into the Village Vanguard in New York City for a two-week gig. The last day of the run, June 25, was recorded live in its entirely for eventual release as two albums, Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz For Debby, both considered among the finest live jazz recordings of all time.
Double bassist Scott LaFaro passed away from an automobile accident on July 6, 1961 in Flint, New York four days after accompanying Stan Getz at the Newport Jazz Festival and ten days after the Village Vanguard recordings with the Bill Evans Trio.
Posthumously, in 2009, the University of North Texas Press published Jade Visions, a biography of Scott LaFaro by his sister Helene LaFaro-Fernandez. It includes an extensive discography of his recorded work. The same year Resonance Records released Pieces of Jade, the first album released featuring Scott as a bandleader. The album includes five selections recorded in New York City during 1961 that showcase LaFaro with pianist Don Friedman and drummer Pete LaRoca, as well as 22 minutes of LaFaro and Bill Evans practicing My Foolish Heart in late 1960 during a rehearsal.
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Stephen Scott was born March 13, 1969 in Queens, New York. He started piano at the age of five, and progressed rapidly to the point where he was taking private lessons at Juilliard at 12. Grounded in classical music, he was also exposed to reggae and salsa on the radio. It was in high school that he was introduced to jazz, giving Justin Robinson credit.
By the age of 18, Scott was playing in the Betty Carter band and soon began performing or recording with the likes of the Harper Brothers, Wynton Marsalis, Bobby Watson and Bobby Hutcherson.
Beginning in 1991, as a leader and solo artist, Stephen recorded a stream of mainstream albums for Verve and Enja record labels, using mixtures of fellow young lions Roy Hargrove, Craig Handy, Peter Washington, Christian McBride, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Lewis Nash and esteemed veterans like Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Elvin Jones as sidemen. Henderson returned the invite on his commercial breakthrough Lush Life, the same year and also recorded with Freddie Hubbard and Sonny Rollins.
Jazz pianist Stephen Scott continues to perform, tour and record fusing his neo-bop music base with soul jazz tendencies with Latin rhythms.
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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.