Aidan Carroll was born on January 21, 1984 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and grew up in the blues-infused city with his musical parents’ unwavering support. He studied music classical, rock and roll and R&B drumming avidly from a young age beginning with playing drums in his father’s band at age 10. After winning numerous awards on classical marimba and percussion, Carroll was drawn to the bass and to the world of jazz and improvisation.
In high school Aidan attended the Classen School of the Advanced Studies where he eventually switched from percussion major to bass major to play in jazz band and orchestra. He performed regularly with his school jazz band in big band and combo formats at local functions, and seasoned his experience with several awards at state competitions. Receiving a full jazz scholarship to the University of Central Oklahoma, he played in the top jazz big band all four years, as well as the orchestra and wind ensemble.
Prior to a move to New York City and matriculating through the City College of New York under the tutelage of John Patitucci, Aidan attended the Banff Creative Workshop and worked with the likes of Dave Douglas, Rez Abassi, Donny McCaslin and others.
A consummate sideman Carroll has recorded with Fred Hersch, Seamus Blake, Ralph Alessi, and toured with the Dan Tepfer Trio, Logan Richardson’s SHIFT, multilingual singer Marta Topferova, Zimbabwean singer Chiwoniso (R.I.P.), Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, and Melody Gardot.
His debut album “Original Vision” is due out in March 2015. In the meantime he is touring with Grammy winner Lisa Fischer, when not regularly working with his New York peers playing in town with groups led by Sullivan Fortner, Chris Dingman, Julian Shore, John Raymond, Richie Barshay, Jason Palmer and others.
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Oli Bott was born January 16, 1974 in Hofheim am Taunus, Germany. He learned his trade on the vibraphone first in his native town under the tutelage of drummer Detlef Biedermann. Subsequent study in music was at the Berklee College of Music in Boston with Gary Burton, Bob Brookmeyer, Phil Wilson, Greg Hopkins, John LaPorta and Hal Crook, completing in 1996 with a diploma in Jazz Composition.
As a freelance musician in Berlin he has received several grants from the Berlin Senate and composition commissions for his own jazz orchestra. Bott’s awards include the NDR music prize for jazz directors, 1st prize at the Leipzig Improvisation competition, the Europ Jazz Contest and the Wayne Shorter Award.
Vobraphonist Oli Bott is currently active as a musician in various bands. In addition to his work as a composer and conductor for his twelve-headed “Oli Bott Orchestra”, he is also leads a quartet “Vibratanghissimo”. It is a project with original compositions as well as those by Astor Piazzolla, originally composed for bandoneon. They are now being reinterpreted on the vibraphone, part of the repertoire of this group. With his partner, guitarist Thomas Wallisch, he also performs his own compositions on “Thomas Wallisch & Oli Bott Duo”.
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Born January 14, 1982 in California, Ben Stapp grew up as a brass musician before turning to jazz. Studying with his mentor, the late Tommy Johnson, the voice of the Jaws’ theme, at UCLA, he was awarded a fellowship during this period to play principal tuba in the Henri Mancini Orchestra. He obtained his masters from RNCM in Manchester, England where he studied with tuba legend Roger Bobo, and for composition, Anthony Gilbert.
While living in Europe, he played in numerous Euro/international festivals including Festival do Sodeste, Gulbenkian August Music Festival, Festival of New Music in Krems and the Barcelos Music Festival. Back in New York, tubist and composer Stapp hit the forefront in city’s creative music scene. His debut CD release, Ecstasis featuring Tony Malaby and Satoshi Takeishi, has received a critical acclaim from the New York Times and All About Jazz.
He has recorded for Clean Feed in Portugal, Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra in LA, Franz Hautzinger in Austria, James Gourlay in England, and has appeared with the NYJA All Stars on CNBC. Ben Stapp now plays and subs with such tuba luminaries like Howard Johnson and Bob Stewart. He also directs and composes for his large ensemble, the Zozimos Collective and continues to perform and tour.
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Ramiro Flores was born on January 12, 1977 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his musical training through the alto saxophone at the age of 11 years. He studied composition at the UCA and saxophone at the National Conservatory, while both played in the band folklorist César Isella, in addition to various projects.
In 1998 he traveled to Boston to continue his studies at Berklee College of Music, where he studied with musicians such as Joe Lovano, George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi among others. He graduated with a dual major in Film Scoring and Performance in 2002 before moving to New York and continued developing his musical career in this city.
During this period he collaborated with Pedro Giraudo, Mr. Live Big Band, Pablo Ablanedo, The Monkeys, Ryle’s Big Band, Jerry Bergonzi and Slide Hampton. For a period he worked as a show band musician for Carnival Cruise Lines, was a composer for American Music Co. and wrote a book of instruction flute, and recorded for Music Sales Corporation NYC. He began his development as a leader to form his own band and performing his own music in Boston and New York.
Returning to Argentina in 2005, he participated in the projects of the local jazz including Mariano Otero, Ligia Piro, Juan Cruz de Urquiza, Pepi Taveira and Javier Malosetti amongst numerous others. The following year he won “80mundos, and by 2007 he produced and recorded his first CD “Flowers”, for BAU records, in which he collaborated with the likes of Juan Quintero,
That same year in December he received the Clarín Award as the revelation of jazz, voted best soprano saxophonist in 2008 by the newspaper La Nación. Alto saxophonist Ramiro Flores released his sophomore project “Son Dos” and continues to perform.
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Neal Caine was born in St. Louis, Missouri on January 11, 1973. Growing up in University City he started out with the Suzuki Method on violin at age three. He heard a lot of Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie around the house as a child, inheriting his mother’s passion for jazz and learned music as a native language. He played bass at University City High School until graduating in 1991. He was immersed in the school’s jazz scene and its widely recognized jazz program alongside trumpeter Jeremy Davenport, pianist Peter Martin and saxophonist Todd Williams.
After high school, Caine still played jazz bass as a hobby and he moved to New Orleans he enrolled in Tulane University, majoring in political science and heading towards a law degree. But his love for jazz proved too strong to resist. Soon Caine was playing with the Ellis Marsalis and at gigs around the city with trumpeter Nicholas Payton, saxophonist Donald Harrison and trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, touring Europe with the later, leaving college in his sophomore year.
A move to New York saw him joining Elvin Jones’ Jazz Machine for four years, followed by a year with Diana Krall and then on to spending the final year of her life with Betty Carter, known for her creativity and nurturing young musicians seeking solo careers. After her passing in 1998, Neal worked on establishing his name in New York and in 2000 Harry Connick Jr. called on him to tour Europe with his big band, which has become his regular gig for half a year.
He was also a frequent presence on the Smalls scene for many years, performing often with regulars Sherman Irby, Gregory Tardy, Charles Owens, Harry Whitaker, Zaid Nasser, Frank Hewitt, and others. These days, he has dual residency between New Orleans and New York City, and is active on both scenes. He’s on a long list of recordings by artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, John Hicks, Wess Anderson, Billy Hart, Oliver Lake, and Harry Connick Jr.
As a composer he has been influenced by the freedom and looseness of Wayne Shorter’s writings. With a long list of sideman gigs behind hem bassist Neal Caine has taken on the role of bandleader, putting a quintet together and releasing his debut recording “Backstabber’s Ball” on the Smalls Records label.
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