Vladimir Tarasov was born in Archangelsk, Russia on June 29, 1947. He learned to play the drums in his youth and though chose them as his primary instrument he has transcended performance to become a composer as well. In 1968 at age 21 he moved to Vilnius, Lithuania where he has lived and worked. For many years Tarasov performed with the Lithuanian Symphonic Orchestra and other symphonic, chamber, and jazz orchestras in Lithuania, Europe and the USA.
From 1971 to 1986, Tarasov was a member of the well-known contemporary jazz music trio – GTC with Viatcheslav Ganelin and Vladimir ChekasinHe has recorded over 100 albums and CDs as a soloist, with the trio, as a sideman and with orchestras. He has performed and recorded with Andrew Cyrille, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Anthony Braxton, Lauren Newton, and Josef Nadj to name a few.
Vladimir has worked and collaborated in the visual artist field with Ilya Kabakov and Sarah Flohr, participating in numerous one-person or group exhibitions around the world. He has composed music for film and theatre on both sides of the Atlantic, has directed a play and opera, and has been an educator and lecturer at universities and music academies in Bremen, Berlin and Dusseldorf – Germany, Stockton and Sacramento – California, and Pont Aven and Orleans, France. He has authored the books Trio and Tam Tam, has received a grant from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany and has been awarded the Triumph Prize in Moscow for the highest achievements in literature and art. Drummer and composer Vladimir Tarasov continues to perform, compose and record.
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Mousey Alexander was born Elmer Alexander on June 19, 1922 in Gary, Indiana. He studied at the Roy Knapp School in Chicago, Illinois. It was there that he started a working relationship with Jimmy McPartland and soon afterward began playing with is wife Marian.
By the middle of the 1950s he played with the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra and performed in a small group with guitarist Johnny Smith. In 1956 he accompanied Benny Goodman on a tour of the Far EAst. Later in the decade he often worked with Bud Freeman and Eddie Condon. He would go on to play with Charlie Ventura, Billie Holiday, Red Norvo, Clark Terry, Ralph Sutton, Sy Oliver and Doc Severinsen.
Freelancing during the 1960s with many bands, it was in the 1970s Alexander started recording for Harry Lim under the Famous Door record label. A great well-schooled drummer able to swing any band, he performed with his friend Buddy Rich, who thought highly of his playing.
Drummer Mousey Alexander had a bad stroke in 1980 but fully recovered over time, and played up until his death of heart and kidney failure on October 9, 1988 at age 66.
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Della Griffin was born June 12, 1925 in Newberry, South Carolina but grew up in New York, the 19th of 20th children. She greatly admired and was influenced by Count Basie, Charlie Barnet, and most specifically Billie Holiday. She began singing when she was 12 and a few years after her graduation in 1943 from Jamaica High School in Queens, New York, she began singing professionally.
1950 found Griffin and Frances Kelley forming one of the first all female R&B singing group that played in small clubs whenever they could for about a year. In 1951, Della invited Jerry Blaine, the owner of Jubilee Records, to hear the group perform. So impressed by the group that he signed them the next day and in January 1952 Jubilee released “The Enchanters” first record, they began touring, dropped their second record and two members left the group.
Della and Kelley were determined to continue their careers and replaced the two members becoming the “Dell-Tones” after lead singer and drummer Della. They went on to record with Brunswick and Rainbow record labels, and toured with Jimmy Forrest. By 1957 the Dell-Tones slowly began to drift apart and Della left to perform on her own.
Over the years Griffin migrated towards jazz touring with and playing in support to many artists including Sonny Stitt, Benny Green, Illinois Jacquet, and Etta Jones. She began performing again in New York City clubs including the Blue Note and The Blue Book where she stayed for years.
In 1984, Della was hit by a car and took a break from singing. She came back as a featured singer that garnered her more attention than her drumming. Recording with Houston Person, she began performing overseas at age 88, she has since all but ceased her performances and appearances. While singing remained her passion, vocalist Della Griffin is also proficient on the drums, alto saxophone, and piano.
Karl Latham, born on June 9, 1961 is currently based in New York. He received a B.S.S. from Ohio University and studied music performance at Rutgers University, Ohio University and Berklee College of Music, including private studies with drumming greats Gary Chester and Joe Morello.
Latham is known for his exceptional ability to dig into a variety of musical styles, playing straight-ahead jazz, avant-garde, funk, rock, Latin, and more. As a freelance performer he has performed with wide spectrum of notable artists such as Bernie Worrell, Dave Valentine, Dave Samuels, Chuck Loeb, Ali Ryerson, Claudio Roditi, Clark Terry, John Lee, Andy Snitzer, The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars, Slide Hampton; Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Yotam Silberstein, Charlie Elgart, Michal Urbaniak, The Real Deal Big Band and for the Broadway hit musical “Bring it On” just to name a few of his drumming exploits.
Karl is widely recognized as a veteran of the modern European Jazz scene since 1993, has released 7 CDs with Atilla Zoller, Randy Brecker, Cameron Barnes, Seamus Blake, Joel Frahm, Joe Lovano and others. He is a member of the electric jazz jam group, Unit1, with Mark Egan and John Hart, was ranked 7th drums, in the 2013 35th Annual Jazz Station Poll. He is also a member of “Constellations” with Ryan Carniaux and Mark Egan and is co-leader of Big Fun(K) with saxophonist/composer Don Braden and has released two CD’s as a leader. In addition to performing, recording and touring he is a long-standing adjunct professor at several New Jersey colleges and teaches workshops, master classes and clinics in the USA and abroad.
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Willie Jones III was born on June 8, 1968 in Los Angeles, California. His initial exposure to music came from his father Willie Jones II, an accomplished jazz pianist. With his guidance and inspiration the young drummer began studying with acclaimed drummers and music instructors. By the time he was in his teens her was performing with numerous distinguished musicians. He completed his training at California Institute of the Arts under the tutelage of Albert “Tootie” Heath.
As a co-founder of the group Black Note, he took the West Coast bop movement and gave it a hard swing, propelling them into first place in the John Coltrane young Artist Competition in 1991. He would go on to become a semifinalist the following year at the Thelonious Monk Jazz Drum Competition, and eventually the group released four albums. He has played, toured, and/or recorded with Milt Jackson, Horace Silver, Arturo Sandoval, Roy Hargrove, Peter Zak, Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, Herbie Hancock, Eric Reed, Kurt Elling and Wynton Marsalis Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Jazz musicians appreciate his exceptional speed and control together with his use of a wide range of textures that characterize most of his playing. He is a master of many styles and moves quickly and easily between bebop, big band, avant-garde, Latin jazz grooves, hard bop and swing.
He has released several albums under his own name as a leader and on his indie label, WJ3 Records. His music has been sampled, however, he has filed a lawsuit in 2014 against California rapper Kendrick Lamar for allegedly sampling “The Thorn” illegally in Lamar’s song Rigamortis. Drummer Willie Jones III continues to perform, record and tour both as a leader and sideman.
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