Howard Vincent Alden was born in Newport Beach, California on October 17, 1958. Growing up in Huntington Beach, he played piano, harmonica, the four-string tenor guitar, and then four-string banjo at age ten. After hearing recordings of Barney Kessel, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and other jazz guitar greats, he got a six-string guitar and started teaching himself to play.
As a teenager he played both instruments at venues in the Los Angeles area and studied guitar with Jimmy Wyble when he was 16. In 1977 he studied jazz guitar for a year at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood with Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, and Howard Roberts. While there he assisted Roberts in organizing and preparing curriculum materials, then conducted some of his own classes at GIT.
Making his first trip to the east coast in the summer of 1979, he played in the trio led by vibraphonist Red Norvo for 3 months at Resorts International in Atlantic City. Moving to New York City in 1982, Howard played an extended e engagement at Café Carlyle with jazz pianist/songwriter Joe Bushkin. Soon afterwards, he was discovered by Joe Williams and Woody Herman. 1983 saw him collaborating with Dick Hyman, appearing with him and a host of other musicians at Eubie Blake’s 100th birthday concert.
With Dan Barrett he formed the Alden-Barrett Quintet in 1985 which played in the swing idiom, as he has done for most of his career. He also began partnerships with Kenny Davern and Jack Lesberg, joined George Van Eps, innovator of the seven-string guitar, on tour and recorded albums with him, switching to the seven-string himself in 1992.
Alden has recorded the guitar performances for Sean Penn’s character Emmet Ray in the Woody Allen 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown, and taught Penn how to mime the performances for the film. He has received Best Emerging Guitar Talent by JazzTimes, Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, from Down Beat four times, named Guitar Player of the Year by American Guitar Museum and included on the Down Beat list of Top 75 Guitarists. He continues to perform and compose.
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Kazumi Watanabe (渡辺香津美) was born on October 14, 1953 in Tokyo, Japan. He learned to play the guitar at the age of 12 from Sadanori Nakamure at the Yamaha Music School in Tokyo. He released his debut album as a leader at the age of 18 in 1971. By 1979, he had put together a jazz rock band with some of Japan’s leading studio musicians, and recorded the album Kylyn. The same year, he toured with the pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra.
The 1980s saw him touring as guest soloist with different groups – Steps, the Brecker Brothers, and Word of Mouth, led by Jaco Pastorius. Watanabe created the jazz-rock/jazz-fusion band Mobo in 1983 with saxophonist Mitsuru Sawamura, pianist Ichiko Hashimoto, Gregg Lee on guitar, Shuichi Murakami on drums, and Kiyohiko Senba.
During the eighties Kazumi also released the jazz-rock albums To Chi Ka (1980), Mobo Club (1983) Mobo Splash(1985), and Spice of Life (1987). A DVD was issued from the tour which featured drummer Bill Bruford and bassist Jeff Berlin, who also played on the record.
In the 1990s Kazumi assembled an all-Japanese line-up called Resonance Vox with Vagabonde Suzuki on bass, Rikiya Higashihara on drums and Tomohiro Yahiro on percussion, releasing several adventurous fusion albums. Over his career he has released four dozen albums as a leader, four DVDs of live performances and has worked with numerous musicians such as Lee Ritenour, Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Jeff Berlin, Bill Bruford, Sly and Robbie, Wayne Shorter, Patrick Moraz, Marcus Miller, Richard Bona, and Peter Erskine.
Since 1996, he has been a visiting professor of music at Senzoku Gakuen College and has been chosen Best Jazzman 24 years in a row by Swing Journal magazine’s annual poll. Jazz fusion guitarist Kazumi Watanabe continues to perform, record, tour and teach.
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Charles Davis was born on September 29, 1946 in Sydney, Australia and started playing flute during his youth. After a short period of studying classical guitar in Sydney, he started playing jazz, rock and folk in groups after moving to Brighton. Hearing a lot of music in a rock music context, I was so fascinated.
A move to Germany in the Seventies saw him playing the flute and later for a short period of time, the saxophone in jazz rock groups. By 1980 he started playing guitar and piano. Being inspired by the various saxophone groups that appeared in the 70s, by the 90s Davis formed one of the first jazz groups composed solely of flutes. This ground breaking group required that the various members compose for this unique formation taking into account the different types of flutes. Later in the decade, after meeting bansuri player Joachim Hübner, his interest turned to the classical north indian music and became a student of the Chanchala and Duo Bubachala.
Charles has attended workshops and masterclasses conducted by James Newton, Robert Dick and Dieter Bihlmeier, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Jeremy Steig, Hossein Omoumi and Herbie Mann. Alto, bass and double bass flautist Charles Davis currently resides in Germany and continues to compose, record and perform.
Jerry Hahn was born on September 21, 1940 in Alma, Nebraska and began playing the guitar at age 7. By 11 he was playing professionally with the Bobby Wiley Rhythmaires, appearing daily on Wichita’s first television station, KEDD.
He went on to study music at Wichita State University. Moving to San Francisco, California in 1962, he played with John Handy in 1964 and recording a live album with him at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1966, then toured with the 5th Dimension in 1968 before joining Gary Burton in 1968 with Roy Haynes and Steve Swallow, With Burton he recorded three albums and toured the United States, Europe, Canada and Japan.
He began his recording career with his debut album Ara-Be-In as a leader in 1967 and led the Jerry Hahn Brotherhood in 1970, a country-blues jazz-rock ensemble, that was one of the trailblazers of the jazz-rock movement. In 1972, Jerry went back to Wichita, Kansas, where he became a full-time member of the Wichita State University faculty and established the degree program in jazz guitar.
1986 saw him relocating to Portland, Oregon where he joined the Bennie Wallace Quartet, recording and touring the United States, Europe and Japan. In 1992 he moved to Denver, Colorado, where he taught at the Colorado Institute of Art and in 1995 Jerry returned to Portland and joined the faculty of Portland State University and developed the curriculum for the Jazz Guitar program.
Jerry wrote a five-year monthly column for Guitar Player magazine titled Jerry Hahn’s Guitar Seminar, penned The Jerry Hahn Method for Jazz Guitar, published by Mel Bay Publications in 2003 and can also be heard on the movie sound track for White Men Can’t Jump.
He has recorded eight albums as a leader and over the years has been seen working with Michael White, Jack DeJohnette, Noel Jewkes, Ron McClure, Paul Simon and Ginger Baker among others. Guitarist Jerry Hahn is a contributor to the emerging fusion movement and continues to conduct clinics and work on new publications and recordings.
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Joseph Francis Michael Morris was born September 13, 1955 in New Haven, Connecticut. Starting on guitar he was primarily self-taught with only a few lessons, and played his first professional gig in 1969 . Jimi Hendrix and other guitarists of that period inspired him to learn to play the blues and John Coltrane’s Om inspired him to learn about jazz. From the age of 17 he worked to establish his guitar voice in the free jazz context, inspired by Cecil Taylor, Eric Dolphy, Leroy Jenkins and Thelonious Monk. After high school he performed in rock bands, rehearsed in jazz bands, and played improvised music until 1975, when he moved to Boston, Massachusetts.
By 1983 he formed his own record company, Riti, and recorded his first album, Wraparound. An early mentor and playing partner was pianist Lowell Davidson. Between 1989 and 1993 he performed and recorded with his electric trio Sweatshop and electric quartet Racket Club. 1994 saw Joe become the first guitarist to lead his own session in the twenty-year history of Black Saint/Soul Note with the trio recording Symbolic Gesture.
Morris has continued to record extensively for Leo, Knitting Factory, AUM Fidelity, Hathut, Clean Feed, ESP and RogueArt record labels. He has led his own groups and has recorded and performed with Matthew Shipp, William Parker, John Zorn, Joe Maneri, Rob Brown, Ivo Perelman, Ken Vandermark and DKV Trio, Jim Hobbs, Steve Lantner, Daniel Levin, Petr Cancura and David S. Ware among others.
He has lectured and conducted workshops throughout the United States and Europe, is a former member of the faculty of Tufts University Extension College and is currently on the faculty at New England Conservatory in the jazz and improvisation department. Guitarist, bassist, improviser and composer Joe Morris continues to perform and record.