Mads Vinding, born December 7, 1948 in Copenhagen, Denmark, took up the basses as a child. By sixteen he was playing professionally becoming the house bassist at Copenhagen’s legendary Café Montmartre.
Along with the acoustic double bass, he has also refined his playing on the electric bass making him an outstanding artist and a sought-after soloist for his musical command and his maturity. Vinding has performed all over the world, produced several records and has been honored with numerous jazz awards such as the Ben Webster Prize, Palae Jazz Prize, Readers Polls and three Grammy Awards among others.
One of the “Aces of Basses” with more than 600 recordings to his credit as a sideman, Mads has performed or recorded with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Sonny Stitt, Tony Williams, Wayne Shorter, Dizzy Gillespie, Dollar Brand, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Renee Rosnes, Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Gary Burton, Quincy Jones, Monty Alexander, Don Byas, Toots Thielemans, Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon, just to name a few in a long list of jazz luminaries. He continues to perform, record, tour and produce.
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Enrico Pieranunzi was born December 5, 1949 in Rome, Italy. When he was only five and a half years old he began studying piano. At the same time his father, a guitarist, started introducing him to the wonders and challenges of jazz improvisation as well. From then on Enrico followed a double road in music developing his jazz style while studying classical piano.
At 19, Enrico began his professional career in Italy and since then he has worked with an abundance of bands, both Italian units and groups led by Americans. His wide-ranging experiences include collaborations with jazz luminaries such as Johnny Griffin, Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Lee Konitz, Jim Hall, Johnny Griffin, Phil Woods, Charlie Haden, Frank Rosolino, Mads Vinding, Lee Konitz, Billy Higgins and Kenny Clarke among others.
Since 1975 Pieranunzi has led his own groups, mostly trios, with which he has played clubs and festivals all over Europe and released his first album that year. He has performed as unaccompanied pianist and still does to this very day. As an educator he has taught both in the jazz and classical fields and is currently full professor of piano at the “Conservatorio di Musica” in Frosinone.
Pianist Enrico Pieranunzi is a very original musician and a talented composer, able to travel the high road with his own ideas and remarkable musical sensitivity. Voted “Musician of the Year” in the “Musica Jazz” critic’s poll in 1989, twice the recipient of the Djangodor Award “Best Jazz Musician” in 1992 & ’97 and the 2003 Django d’Or in Italy. In 2006 he started the Trans Alpine Jazz Project and since the beginning of his career has amassed a catalogue of fifty-one recordings as a leader. He continues to perform, tour and record.
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Lester Koenig founded the jazz label, Contemporary Records, in Los Angeles in 1951. It was known for seminal recordings embodying the West Coast sound, but also released recordings by jazz artists known throughout the world. Under his leadership, Contemporary recorded such artists as Sonny Rollins, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, the Curtis Counce Group featuring Harold Land, Jack Sheldon, Carl Perkins and Frank Butler; also Ben Webster, Miles Davis, Benny Carter, Chet Baker, Art Pepper, Phineas Newborn, Woody Shaw, Shelly Manne, Hampton Hawes, Barney Kessell and Leroy Vinnegar.
Les maintained extremely high audio standards. In 1956 he hired Roy DuNann from Capitol Records, who, out of the label’s shipping room turned studio, turned out some of the best sounding records of the 50s and 60s using German and Austrian condenser microphones that produced very high output of these microphones, especially close-in on jazz musicians’ dynamic playing. DuNann would achieve his signature sound for the label, a crisp, clear and balanced without distortion or unpleasant “peak presence” by keeping his microphone setups very simple, generally one per musician, and he avoided the use of pre-amplifiers.
In the mid 1960s the company fell into relative limbo, but limited new recordings were made in the late 1970s including a series of albums by Art Pepper recorded at the Village Vanguard in New York. After Koenig’s death in 1977, his son, John ran the label for seven years and continued the legacy producing albums by George Cables, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson and Chico Hamilton to name a few.
Fantasy Records purchased the Contemporary label and catalogue in 1984 but not before ushering in a number of major figures in the music business such as Nesuhi Ertegun, who went on to exec at Atlantic Records, and writers Nat Hentoff and Leonard Feather among others.
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Wynton Kelly was born December 2, 1931 in Jamaica but grew up in Brooklyn, New York from age four when his parents emigrated to the United States. He started playing piano professionally as a teenager in R&B groups led by Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, then went on to work with Lee Abrams, Cecil Payne, Dinah Washington and Dizzy Gillespie.
Kelly recorded fourteen titles for Blue Note with a trio in 1951, worked with Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, and Lester Young during 1951-1952 followed by serving in the military. After his discharge he again worked with Washington, Charles Mingus and the Dizzy Gillespie big band but he would be most famous for his stint in the late 50s with the Miles Davis Quintet from 1959 – 63 and was part of the seminal “Kind Of Blue” replacing Bill Evans on “Freddie Freeloader”, along with notable albums “At The Blackhawk” and “Someday My Prince Will Come”. He would later replace Tommy Flanagan on the “Naima” on Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”.
Wynton left Davis in 1963 and took the rest of the rhythm section bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb with him to form his trio. He recorded as a leader for Blue Note, Riverside, Vee-Jay, Verve and Milestone.
Pianist Wynton Kelly passed away on April 12, 1971 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada of an epileptic seizure. At 39, he was one of the most prolific sideman pianists of his era, performing on scores of jazz albums and a superb accompanist and distinctive soloist who would decades later influence a new generation of jazz pianists.
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William “Billy” Hart was born November 29, 1940 in Washington, D.C. is a drummer who worked first with soul groups Sam & Dave and Otis Redding then later with locals Buck Hill and Shirley Horn. This led to work as a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers, Jimmy Smith, and Wes Montgomery prior to his death in 1968.
Hart moved to New York and started playing with Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, Marian McPartland and recording with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter and Zawinul. In 1969 he became a member of Herbie Hancock’s sextet followed by another stint with McCoy Tyner, then Stan Getz, Quest and Miles Davis along with extensive freelancing. In the nineties he worked with Charles Lloyd, Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell and performed with the Three Tenors – Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano and Michael Brecker.
Billy Hart is one of the most in-demand jazz drummers and educators alive and has recorded more than 500 albums as a sideman. Since the early 1990s has spent considerable time at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, is an adjunct professor at the New England Conservatory of Music and at Western Michigan University. He conducts private lessons through The New School and New York University. He also often contributes to the Stokes Forest Music Camp and the Dworp Summer Jazz Clinic in Belgium, while leading a quartet Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson and Ben Street.
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