Frank Colón was born October 13, 1951 of Puerto Rican descent in Washington, D.C. but moved to Puerto Rico with his parents at the age of five. His musical instruction began at age eleven, beginning with classical piano lessons, under the guidance of Angelina Figueroa and Rafael Figueroa, both members of Puerto Rico’s most prestigious classical music family.
Colón kept up his piano studies throughout his teenage years, trying his hand at pop guitar, electric bass, and trap drums, as well as being very active in municipal and collegiate sports, martial arts, and amateur theater. Throughout this period in his life he worked with various local pop music groups throughout the island of Puerto Rico.
Moving back to Washington, D.C. in 1970 he attended college at American University, where Frank majored in Political Science. During this time, his musical orientation changed from melodic instruments to percussion and upon completion of his university requirements, he turned full-time to his music.
In 1976, Colón moved to New York City, on a call to work with his friend and mentor, the legendary drum master, Julito Collazo. Through Julito’s guidance, he became proficient at playing the Batá drums, sacred to the Orisha in the Santería religion.He has played Brazilian percussion since the time he lived in Washington, D.C.
Frank was performed and recorded with The Manhattan Transfer, Wayne Shorter, Weather Report, Mary J. Blige, Harry Belafonte, Gato Barbieri, Chet Baker, Pat Metheny, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Hancock, Gilberto Gil, Larry Coryell, Jimmy Smith, Milton Nascimento, Tania Maria, Ernie Watts, Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Valentin, Jon Lucien, João Bosco, Michael Wolff, Billy Taylor, Gal Costa, Dianne Reeves, Michel Camilo, Nestor Torres, Felix Cavalieri, Airto, and George Benson, among numerous others..
Percussionist Frank Colón has released two albums as a leader and continues to perform, record and tour.
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Edgar Gómez was born October 4, 1944 in Santurce, Puerto Rico and emigrating with his family at a young age arrived in New York City, where he was raised. He started on double bass in the City’s school system at the age of eleven and at age thirteen went to the New York City High School of Music & Art. He played in the Newport Festival Youth Band, led by Marshall Brown from 1959 to 1961, and graduated from Juilliard in 1963.
Gómez has performed with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, John Coltrane, New York Art Quartet, Benny Goodman, Buck Clayton, Ahmad Jamal, Bill Bruford, Scott LaFaro, Marian McPartland, Paul Bley, Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, Steps Ahead, Steve Gadd, Ron Carter, Jeremy Steig, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Al Foster, Chick Corea, Mark Kramer, Eugenio Toussaint and Carli Muñoz, just to name a few giants.
Spending a total of eleven years with the Bill Evans Trio and touring the United States, Europe and Asia, as well as recording dozens of albums, in which two of the Trio’s recordings won Grammy awards. Though Eddie was a member of the Manhattan Jazz Quintet and Steps Ahead, most of his career has been as an accompanist, a position suited for his quick reflexes and flexibility. This gave him the opportunity to record some 73 albums above and beyond his projects as a leader.
He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain, and was the first honorary doctorate granted at the college’s new international campus. Double bassist Eddie Gómez continues to perform, record and tour.
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Edward Simon was born July 27, 1969 in Punta Cardón, Venezuela into a musical family as both his brothers, Marlon and Michael Simon are also noted professional musicians. Sent to the United States by his father at the age of fifteen to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, he studied classical piano with Susan Starr. After that, beginning in 1989 he studied with Harold Danko at the Manhattan School of Music and played with Kevin Eubanks and Greg Osby.
His stay in New York City saw Simon playing with Herbie Mann, Paquito D’Rivera, Bobby Hutcherson, Jerry Gonzalez, John Patitucci, Arturo Sandoval, Manny Oquendo, and Don Byron. He was a member of Bobby Watson’s band Horizon from 1989 to 1994, and since 2002 has been a member of the Terence Blanchard Group.
Recording his debut album as a bandleader in 1994, that same year Edward was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. The following year he composed his Rumba Neurotica for the Relache Ensemble and composed his Venezuelan Suite on behalf of Chamber Music America.
He has since performed on several Grammy-nominated jazz albums. Besides his trio he also leads the Sexteto Venezuela, the Afinidad Quartet, and the group Simon, Simon & Simon, with his brothers, he teaches at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. Pianist Edward Simon is currently an artist in residence at Western Michigan University and continues to compose, record and perform.
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Gonzalo Rubalcaba was born Gonzalo Julio González Fonseca in Havana, Cuba into a musical family on May 27, 1963. He adopted his great grandmother’s name, Rubalcaba, for professional use as did his father. He began studying classical piano and drums at the age of eight. Earning his degree in music composition from Havana’s Institute of Fine Arts in 1983, he began playing in clubs, music halls and toured France with Orquesta Aragón.
Discovered by Dizzy Gillespie in 1985, he garnered international attention in jazz circles and it was soon afterwards that he began performing regularly at major festivals. That same year he formed his own ensemble, Grupo Projecto. Emigrating to America in 1993, since then he has released twenty-nine albums as a leader on Blue Note, Impulse and 5Passion labels, and another so fifteen albums as a sideman with Ignacio Berroa, Ron Carter, Francisco Céspedes, Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Richard Galliano, Charlie Haden, Katia Labèque, Tony Martinez, David Sanchez and Pat Martino among others.
Grammy Award-winning Afro-Cuban pianist and composer Gonzalo Rubalcaba has been nominated eleven five times for a Grammy Award, Billboard Music Award, and the Latin Grammy Award and brought home two Grammy Awards and two Latin Grammy Awards for Best Latin Jazz Album at both ceremonies. Settling in South Florida in 1996 he balances touring, recording, composing and teaching as a faculty member of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
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Etienne Bouyer was born on March 18, 1982 in Saint-Denis on the island of Reunion and took violin lessons from age four to 11, opting to play the saxophone. In 1995 he played tenor saxophone in the big band of the Conservatoire d’Antibes and joined the Nice CNR in 1997, where he studied classical saxophone and contemporary music.
1999 saw Etienne gaining admittance to the Baccalauréat Général in Paris, France to study in the American School of Modern Music. For the next five years he studied saxophone, harmony, arrangement and composition, writing for big band and string quartet. Leading an active professional life while studying, he plays in numerous bands and orchestras of all styles including big band, salsa, gypsy and co-founded La Brocante, recording and performing in concert in France and Morocco.
In 2004 he joined the Didier Lockwood Music Center and where he studied with a host of musicians like André Villéger, Pierrick Pedron and Stéphane Guillaume among others. During this period Bouyer met many other musicians with whom he works regularly, taking part in the electro-jazz project Blözar and forming his quartet, the Etienne Bouyer Group with Pierre Antoine, Martin Berauer and Alexis Sébileau.
Following graduation he began teaching, studying privately in New York City with Dave Liebman and Sam Newsome, taking a week-long master class with Charlie Haden and began working with the Belgian violinist Cécile Broché, that led to recordings. He returned to Europe to study in Paris and Brussels, taking master classes with Bob Mintzer, François Jeanneau and creating the Collective Of Active Composing. Etienne has been a member of the Yuval Amihai Ensemble that won the Jazz Festival Tremplin in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.He has performed with Avishai Cohen, Rabih Abou-Khalil, Bojan Z, Kyle Eastwood and Manu Katché.
Tenor and soprano saxophonist Etienne Bouyer teaches at the Conservatory of Music and Dance of Châtenay-Malabry and the Conservatoire with Regional Radiation of Amiens Métropole. He currently Is the coordinator of the Jazz & Current Music Department at the Amiens Metropole Regional Conservatory and continues to perform, record and compose.
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