Toshiyuki Honda was born on April 9, 1957 in Tokyo, Japan. A professional saxophonist while still a university student, he released his debut album in 1978 as a leader titled “Burnin’ Wave”.
Honda is one of Japan’s best-known saxophonists and has since recorded with a host of world-celebrated musicians including Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, and Christopher Cross among others. He is widely known for his composing and arranging, having scored for television dramas, commercials, movies, and classical music genres.
He has received the Japan Academy’s highest honors for his work on the soundtrack for the movie, Marusa no onna. Toshiyuki’s “Concerto du vent”, a work commissioned by classical saxophonist Nobuya Sugawa, was recorded with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. The album was subsequently released on Chandos, a label for classical masterpieces.
Honda has released numerous original albums and soundtracks. One of his latest releases is with the Hyper Chamber Music Unit, “SMILE!” and has composed a work commissioned by Band Restoration 2012. Composer, arranger and producer Toshiyuki Honda continues to perform, record and tour in between utilizing his other talents.
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Leron Thomas was born on April 8, 1979 in Houston, Texas and his musical journey began with inspiration fro his family rich with respect and understanding of quality music. He graduated from Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and ventured to New York City to develop as a trumpet player and composer, enrolling in Manhattan’s The New School.
While studying, Leron’s own music was evolving and maturing and began performing professionally with various artists including Bilal, Billy Harper, Charles Tolliver and Roy Hargrove. The quality of his original compositions was enhanced when playing live alongside talented peers Robert Glasper, Damion Reid, Vicente Archer, Marcus Strickland, Harold O’Neal, Isaac Smith, Reggie Quinerly and Omer Avital.
After matriculation through The New School in 2003 he remained in Manhattan to pursue his professional career as a writer and trumpeter. Thomas expanded his scope of playing and has worked with many artists from a variety of genre’s including Michael Stipe, Lauryn Hill, Bobby Watson and Mos Def, to name a few. Subsequently he found ways to liberate himself through a natural, fluid progression into writing and performing ‘other music’. These compositions required his personal trumpet tone along with his vocals to emphasize the diverse sound.
Since 2004 he has developed this genre-crossing music incorporating jazz, blues, pop, country, electro-pop and rock. With eight independently released projects and critical acclaim, he explores a range of artistic media. Having composed for film, he is featured in an independent short film 2010 and appears on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Bubblers Eight. Trumpeter Leron Thomas continues to compose, perform and record.
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Victor Stanley Feldman was born on April 7, 1934 in Edgware, London, England and caused a sensation as a musical prodigy when he was discovered at aged seven. His family members were all musical and his father founded the Feldman Swing Club in 1942 to showcase his talented sons. His first professional appearance was playing drums at No. 1 Rhythm Club as a member of the Feldman Trio with brothers Robert on clarinet and Monty on piano accordion.
At eight years old the drummer was featured in the films King Arthur Was A Gentleman and Theatre Royal, in 1944 he was featured as “Kid Krupa” at a Glenn Miller AAAF band concert when he was 10, and went on to play vibraphone for Ralph Sharon Sextet and the Roy Fox band. Victor eventually made piano his instrument of choice and became best known.
Feldman recorded with Ronnie Scott’s orchestra and quintet from 1954 to 1955, and then in 1955 came to the U.S. He first worked with Woody Herman, then with Buddy Defranco. He recorded some thirty albums as a leader and recorded with Benny Goodman, George Shearing, Milt Jackson, Blue Mitchell, Lalo Schifrin, John Klemmer Sam Jones, Cannonball Adderley and others, as well as, Miles Davis on Seven Steps To Heaven, having composed the title track. He was a part of the 5-LP recording of Shelly Manne Black Hawk sessions in 1959.
Feldman settled in Los Angeles permanently and specialized in the lucrative session work for the film and recording industry. He also branched out to work with a variety of musicians outside of jazz, working with artists such as Frank Zappa, Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits and Joe Walsh through the Seventies and Eighties.
Vibraphonist, drummer, percussionist, pianist and composer Victor Feldman died on May 12, 1987 at his home in Woodland Hills, California at age 53, following a heart attack. In 2009, he was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.
Evan Shaw Parker was born on April 5, 1944 in Bristol, England and his original inspiration was Paul Desmond and the cool jazz saxophone scene with later influences being Warren Marsh and Lee Konitz. Better known for his later work, he rapidly assimilated the American avant-garde of John Coltrane, Pharoah Sander, Albert Ayler and others and forged his own, instantly identifiable style.
Parker’s music of the 1960s and 1970s involves fluttering, swirling lines that have shape rather than tangible melodic content. He began develop methods of rapidly layering harmonics, false notes, circular breathing and rapid tonguing which initially were so intense that he would find blood dripping onto the floor from the saxophone. He also became a member of the important big band, The Brotherhood of Breath.
Evan became interested in electronics and his collaboration electronically processed his playing in real time, creating a musical feedback loop or constantly shifting soundscape. He has recorded a large number of albums both solo or as a group leader, and has recorded or performed with such musicians as Peter Brotzmann, Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxton, Cecil Taylor, George Lewis, Joe McPhee, Mark Dresser and Dave Holland among numerous others.
Parker is one of the few saxophone players for whom unaccompanied solo performance is a major part of his work. Along with Bailey and drummer Tony Oxley founded the Incus record label in 1970. The label continued under Bailey’s sole control, after a falling-out between the two men in the early 1980s and currently Parker curates the Psi record label. He also performs monthly at London’s Vortex Jazz Club.
Though Parker’s central focus is free improvisation, he has also occasionally appeared in more conventional jazz contexts, such as Charlie Watts Big Band, Kenny Werner’s ensembles, and Gavin Bryars’s After the Requiem. He has also performed in pop and rock settings but remains a pivotal figure in the development of European free jazz and free improvisation and has pioneered or substantially expanded an array of extended techniques on the European free jazz scene.
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Jeff Barone was born on April 2, 1970 in Syracuse, New York and after hearing a Joe Pass recording received his first guitar at age eight. By age 16 he was playing in local jazz clubs and invited to play with touring bands coming to his hometown. During this period he also performed with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra as well as vocalist Al Martino.
Jeff went on to matriculate through Ithaca College studying classical guitar and percussion. His next stop was the Manhattan School of Music leaving with a Masters in jazz performance. While in New York he worked small clubs with Evelyn Blakey, was part of the Harlem organ scene, and did a stint with Reuben Wilson.
Teaming with guitarist Jack Wilkins, who was instrumental in getting Barone gigs with the Vanguard and the Mingus Epitaph Orchestras, they co-produced Crazy Talk, his first album, with a mix of standards and originals. His next project would be Open Up. He would go on to work with Tom Harrell, Warren Chiasson, Joe Magnarelli, Eddie Montiero and Bobby Caldwell’s Big Band.
He is the guitarist and assistant conductor for the Big Apple Circus in New York City, has subbed on Broadway shows such as Wicked, Seussical and The Dead, and was recently included in Scott Yanow’s book The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide. Guitarist Jeff Barone continues to perform, record and tour in between his other duties.
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