Coco Rouzier was born on April 14, 1966 in Washington, DC and began singing as a child by imitating the sounds that came from her mother. She sang in the Concert Choir at Kelly Miller Jr. High School taught her harmony. While working summers in musical theater she learned acting and subsequent immersion into cabaret taught her to and learned to connect intimately with the audience.
While at Howard University, Rouzier won the amateur singing contest and that led her straight to the Apollo Theater in New York City where she performed on “It’s Showtime at the Apollo”. New York City become her home, where she discovered jazz and started to swing with The Jerry Kravat NY Orchestra, now called Tribeca Rhythm.
Coco’s performances have garnered her the labels of a Jazz Diva in France, the Soulful Swinging Songstress in America, and The Jewel in China. She has performed in Norway on some of stages her heroes stood decades before. As yet she has not led her own recording session to showcase her own style she has developed and for the past 15 years. Vocalist Coco Rouzier continues to perform for audiences around the world with a blend of straight-ahead swing, blues and old-school soul.
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Rusty Jones was born Isham Russell Jones II on April 13, 1942 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and began playing drums at the age of thirteen and continued on throughout his college years choosing traditional and modern jazz as his preferred mode of music.
He went “on the road” after graduating college in 1965 from the University of Iowa with a degree in history and political science, to “get it out of his system”, but he never stopped his pursuit of a musical vocation. He moved to the Chicago area in 1967.
Jones appeared with Chicago musician Judy Roberts from 1968 to 1972, soon after becoming a member of George Shearing, then accompanied pianist Marian McPartland, then free-lanced throughout Chicago with several bands, touring the United States and Europe. He has worked with Patricia Barber, Adam Makowitz, Larry Novak, Ike Cole, Clifford Jordan, Danny Long, Johnny Gabor, Frank D’Rone, Art Hodes, Buddy DeFranco, Mark Murphy, Eddie Higgins, Red Holloway, Anita O’Day Stephane Grappelli, Ira Sullivan and J. R. Monterose, and the list goes on.
Between 1958 and 2004 this consummate sideman has been a part of nearly four-dozen recording sessions, all while performing and touring the U.S. and the world. Drummer Rusty Jones currently, appears quite regularly around the Chicago area with the Johnny Gabor Trio featuring vocalist Connie Marshall.
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Ryan Kisor was born April 12, 1973 in Sioux City, Iowa and learned trumpet from his father. He started playing in a local dance band, the Eddie Skeets Orchestra, at age ten. By 12 he was taking classical trumpet lessons, met Clark Terry when he was 15 while attending his summer jazz camp, and played with all-star high school bands. In 1990, he won the Thelonious Monk Institute’s trumpet contest at the age of 17, performing against Nicholas Payton and Marcus Printup.
Following this he was signed by Columbia Records and released his first two albums, 1992’s Minor Mutiny and 1993’s On the One. Following this, Kisor entered the Manhattan School of Music and studied under Lew Soloff among others.
He has played in New York with the Mingus Big Band, Michel Camilo Big Band, with Gerry Mulligan, Wynton Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Horace Silver and Walter Blanding. Since 1994 he has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, has released fifteen albums as a bandleader and continues to perform and record.
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Beyond the Sea was originally titled La Mer, and the lyrics were written by sixteen-year old French lad named Charles Trenet. It wasn’t until 1943 while riding on a train that he composed the music for the song. Jacques Lawrence translated the original French lyrics into what has been widely known to the English-speaking world as Beyond The Sea. Though already a hit around the world as La Mer, it became a huge hit for jazz singer Bobby Darin and has been associated with him ever since.
The song became the title of the 2004 Bobby Darin biopic starring Kevin Spacey and has been heard in the 1995’s French Kiss starring Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, and as the end music for the 2011 film Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and in the 2003 movie Finding Nemo.
Greg Ruggiero was born on April 11, 1977 in Albuquerque, New Mexico and and studied the guitar as a youth. Then at the age of twenty-seven he decided to make his jazz mark in the clubs of New York City and moved to Brooklyn in 2004. It was just three years later that he released his debut record as a leader “Balance” on the jazz label Fresh Sound New Talent.
As a sideman he has recorded with Luisa Sobral, Mark Turner, Nasheet Waits, Greg Osby, Matt Brewer, Logan Richardson, Nick Halley and Gavin Fallow and has several projects that are still in production. Greg has the honor of featured artist at the Canjazz Festival in Galicia, Spain; taught workshops, recorded two records, and performed in concert.
As an educator he sits on the New School University Applied Music faculty, has taught at the Academy of Creative Education in Los Angeles, California, and has been a guest artist and clinician at the Crossties Jazz Festival hosted by Delta State University in Greenville, Mississippi along with Mulgrew Miller.
Ruggiero was a part of the Jazz of Enchantment radio program and educational series as one of the top 20 Jazz artists associated with his home state of New Mexico, along with Frank Morgan, Bobby Shew, Rob Wilkerson and Matt Brewer. Greg has performed with Matt Brewer, Logan Richardson, and many others.
Of late, Greg has renewed his passion for the jazz standard repertoire leading his trio or quartet. Taking license from the classic vocal performances of Billy Holiday, Nat Cole, Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald to name a few, his passion has led the guitarist to release his sophomore project “My Little One”, a collection of original music set to lyrics.
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