Kent Kessler was born January 28, 1957 in Crawfordsville, Indiana and grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He began playing trombone at age ten and when his family moved to Chicago when he was 13, he became intensely interested in jazz. While attending St. Mary Center For Learning High School, he began taking electric bass lessons and jazz theory in the middle of the 1970s.
In 1977 Kent formed the ensemble Neutrino Orchestra, spent a year in Brazil in 1980, took time studying off and on at Roosevelt University in Chicago; and formed a group called Musica Menta, which played regularly at local Chicago venue Link’s Hall.
Kessler began playing double bass in the 1980s and it became his primary instrument when he was asked in 1985 to join the NRG Ensemble, toured Europe, recruited Ken Vandemark, recorded for ECM Records and the two would go on to collaborate extensively on free jazz and improvisational projects such as the Vandemark 5, DKV Trio and the Steelwool Trio.
From the 1990s on Kent would work with the leading Chicago musicians such as Hamid Drake, Fred Anderson and Joe McPhee as well as several European musicians. In 2003, Kessler released a solo album, Bull Fiddle, on OkkaDisk. Kessler performs alone on nine of the twelve tracks and with Michael Zerang on three. The double-bassist who remains active is best known for his work in the Chicago jazz and avant-garde scene.
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Jimmy Bond was born on January 27, 1933 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He started playing bass in junior high school in Philadelphia. While only so much interest can be generated with accounts of a player’s high school days, in this case the details include jamming with the likes of Gene Ammons and Charlie Parker.
Starting in the summer of 1955, the bassist was working with the extremely popular trumpeter and vocalist Chet Baker, a connection that resulted in dozens of record releases. He went on to backup Ella Fitzgerald from 1956 to 1957, but in the ’60s he began to break away from what had seemed to be his genre of choice.
The Bond studio recordings of the ’60s and ’70s involved sessions with Randy Newman, the Jazz Crusaders, Phil Spector and Fred Neil among others. As one of a few studio players who shunned the electric bass and his studio involvements included stints with Tim Buckley, Frank Zappa and Lightnin’ Hopkins as well as Jimmy Witherspoon and Nina Simone.
Adolescent boys couldn’t help noticing the name of this dependable bassist in the wake of James Bond becoming a superhero in the ’60s. When he attended a conference, it was no doubt to get a recording session started. The talk would have been about what key a song is in or how quickly it should move, hardly the stuff of international intrigue. But the main reason these aforementioned lads were noticing the Bond name in the first place was because this was a bassist who shifted his talents from the jazz bandstand to the recording studio, perhaps out of necessity but with great skill and subtlety nonetheless.
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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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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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Noah Jarrett was born on January 2, 1978 and raised between New Jersey and New York City. He began studying the electric bass at age nine, after five years of violin. His initial interest was in the many forms of rock and spent most of his days after school playing in his basement with friends.
His taste would evolve and he would lean towards jazz, reggae, Indian, African and Gnawan music while also studying the classical traditions. For nine years he primarily has studied the double bass but still plays his electric bass, ultimately graduating from the New England Conservatory. Jarrett plays in a variety of groups around New York and Boston including current group Fat Little Bastard and The InBetweens. He accompanies virtuosic Malian kora player Mamadou Diabatein a variety of music settings.
In addition, Noah plays with a 14-piece band, the Brooklyn Qawwali Party, which commemorates the late Sufi singer Nusrat Faeh Ali Khan. The group uses Pakistani qawwali melodic and propulsive rhythms as a basis for further improvisations.
Double bassist Noah Jarrett has played with John Abercrombie, George Garzone, Bob Gulotti, Bill Goodwin and numberous other New York City musicians. He continues to perform and record.
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