Calvin Keys was born on February 6, 1943 in Omaha, Nebraska. Getting caught teaching himself how to play on his uncle’s Gibson got him the gift of the instrument. By 16 he was playing pop and blues gigs professionally
In 1961 he teamed with organist Frank Edwards and after hearing Calvin play with Ahmad Jamal, Charles Earland invited him to play a special New York City performance.
By 1969 he was in Los Angeles, California gigging in the Persia Room with Red Holloway, co-led a band with Blue Mitchell and played the Doug/Jean Carn project Adam’s Apple. He went on to play with Oscar Brown Jr. at the Memory Lane club and began his association with Ray Charles.
In 1974 he began his musical relationship with Ahmad Jamal the lasted twenty years. He would go on to perform and record with Donald Byrd, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Eddie Marshall, Sonny Stitt, Pharoah Sanders, Leon Williams, Jimmy Witherspoon, Stanley Turrentine, George Coleman, Hadley Caliman, M.C. Hammer, Carmen McRae, Gloria Lynne, Woody Shaw, Jackie Ivory, Luther Vandross, Jackie Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Denise Perrier, James Van Buren, and many others.
As a leader and composer he has released a dozen albums for Black Jazz, Silverado, Wide Hive, Olive Branch, Life Force Jazz and Ovation Records, been a sideman on another nineteen and appears on three compilations. Guitarist Calvin Keys continues to compose, record and tour.
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Noel Lorica was born on January 29, 1968 in Manila, Philippines and played in a rock band as a teenager. His mother urged him to take piano lessons but his love was always the acoustic guitar. Musically at that time he got exposed to the music of George Benson, Wes Montgomery, Paul Desmond, and the modern jazz instrumentalists. Leaving home he first migrated to San Francisco then went east and worked in New York and around Philadelphia.
He later moved to South Florida where he found Latin Beats and jazz influences were all around. Finding his perfect musical fit he started to concentrate on perfecting his craft through tireless practice and soulful dedication. His music today is an expression of his musical and personal journey.
Noel has received critical acclaim for his skill & artistry, has had two PBS specials, and with his band Treebo has played major festivals around the world. He has opened for Marcus Miller, has won Jazz Song of the Year and Best Jazz Instrumental solo, Best Instrumental Arrangement, and has been featured in Billboard and Italian Jazz magazines.The guitarist has released four albums and currently continues to perform jazz and Latin music.
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Bobby Broom was born Robert Broom Jr. on January 18, 1961 in New York City and began studying the guitar at age 12, taking lessons in the American Folk music style. A year later, he studied with jazz guitarist Jimmy Carter in Harlem where he took weekly lessons for the next two years.
His interest in jazz began in earnest at age 15 and as a result he began his research, study and practice of the jazz art. Broom attended the Laguardia High School of Performing Arts where he played in the jazz ensemble. He received an award for Outstanding Jazz Improvisation during his senior year.
Broom began his career while still in high school, performing at New York clubs with Charlie Parker’s pianists, Al Haig and Walter Bishop Jr. By 1977 he was playing with Sonny Rollins and Donald Byrd at Carnegie Hall. He went to Berklee School of Music in 1978, then returned to New York the next year in order to pursue his career while attending Long Island University.
At this time he began working in New York as guitarist for Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers, Dave Grusin, Hugh Masekela and Tom Browne and landed his own recording contract with GRP Records. He earned three DownBeat Critics Poll nods from 2012 to 2014 as one of the world’s foremost jazz guitarists.
He has performed with Max Roach, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Garrett, Miles Davis, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Charles Earland, Dr. ohn, Ron Carter, Dianne Reeves, Eon Blake, Eric Alexander, Ron Carter and Ramsey Lewis among others. He has recorded as a leader with The Deep Blue Organ Trio, The Bobby Broom Organi-Sation and his trio with Kobie Watkins and Makaya McCraven..
In the mid 1980s Broom relocated and as an educator, Broom began his work in 1982 for Jackie McLean, Director of African American Music at Studies for the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. Over the years he has also been a lecturer/instructor at the American Conservatory of Music, Chicago Musical Colege-Roosevelt University, DePaul University and North Park University. He currently instructs and coaches Chicago area high school students for the Ravinia Festival Organization’s community outreach — Jazz Scholar Program, as well as the Thelonious Monk Institute.
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Louis Stewart was born January 5, 1944 in Waterford, Ireland. He began his professional career performing in Dublin showbands. In 1968 he performed at the Montreux International Jazz Festival with Irish pianist Jim Doherty and received the Outstanding European Soloist award.
He was offered and turned down a scholarship to attend Berklee Colege of Music for a job with Benny Goodman’s band in 1970. Stewart began recording as a leader in the 1976 with Louis the First. His sidemen have included Sam Jones, Billy Higgins, Peter Ind, Red Mitchell and Spike Robinson
During the late 1970s he began working with George Shearing, touring America, Brazil and major European festivals, and recording eight albums, including several in trio with bassist Niels-Henning Orsted-Pederson. Louis also appeared on albums with Joe Williams and J.J. Johnson.
As a leader his musical roots lean towards be-bop and material associated with Charlie Parker. Guitarist Louis Stewart has recorded twenty albums to date and has received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College Dublin and continues to perform, record and tour.
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Irving C. Ashby was born December 29, 1920 in Somerville, Massachusetts. After playing rhythm guitar in Lionel Hampton’s orchestra, he played in the Nat King Cole Trio from 1947 to 1951. He then briefly replaced drummer Charlie Smith in the Oscar Trio, producing a lineup of piano, guitar and bass similar to the Cole Trio’s, a substitution that continued until 1958.
After leaving the Peterson Trio, Ashby concentrated on session work for the labels. His subsequent recordings included sessions with Norman Granz, Sheb Wooley, LaVern Baker, Howard Roberts, B.B. King, Louis Jordan, Pat Boone and Illinois Jacquet.
In addition to performing on guitar, Irving Ashby also played the upright bass until his passing on April 22, 1987 in Perris, California at the age of 66.