Sadik Hakim was born Argonne Thornton on July 15, 1919 in Duluth, Minnesota and was taught piano by his grandfather and started playing professionally about 1939. In 1944 he moved to New York City and was hired by Ben Webster. A participant in the emergence of bebop, he shared piano duties with Dizzy Gillespie on Charlie Parker’s famous “Ko-Ko” session.
He recorded with Dexter Gordon and Lester Young, heard on the latter’s I’m Confessin’, also credited with co-writing Thelonious Monk’s standard “Eronel” and is rumored to have written a few famous bop tunes credited to other composers. He adopted his Muslim name in 1947.
Hakim moved to Montreal after visiting in 1949 and was a big fish on the small bebop scene there, working with Louis Metcalf’s International Band. Compelled to leave Canada following a drug bust in 1950 he returned to New York and through the decade worked with James Moody and George Holmes Tate.
He returned to Montreal from 1966 to 1976, leading bands and recording with Charles Biddle. He led a few recording dates from 1976–1980 and cut an album with Sonny Stitt in 1978. Hakim played “Round Midnight” at Monk’s funeral in 1982, and the pianist and composer passed away himself the following year on June 20, 1983.
Peter Cincotti was born July 11, 1983 in New York City. The singer, songwriter and pianist started playing a toy piano at the age of three and attended the Horace Mann School. While in high school, he regularly performed at clubs throughout Manhattan and performed at the White House.
At the 2000 Montreux Jazz Festival he won an award for a rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night In Tunisia” and in 2002 Peter reached No. 1 on the Billboard Traditional jazz Charts, the youngest solo artist to do so to date.
Cincotti appeared in a small role and contributed to the soundtrack of the 2004 Bobby Darin biopic Beyond The Sea, had a small role as the Piano Player in Spider-Man 2, and his song “December Boys” is featured in the 2007 film of the same name.
His self-titled debut album is a compilation of traditional jazz songs, while his second album, “On The Moon” featured some of the artist’s own songs, that was followed by his third “East of Angel Town”. Combining pop, jazz, rock and dance, Peter created his fourth studio album, “Metropolis” and released worldwide in the spring of 2012.
That same year, Peter and his sister Pia Cincotti wrote and produced an original full-length musical titled “How Deep Is The Ocean?” that debuted at The New York Musical Theater Festival to sold out audiences in New York. He continues to perform, compose, record and tour.
Eric Watson was born July 5, 1955 in Wellesley, Massachusetts. After graduating from Oberlin Conservatory he moved to Paris and by 1982 he recorded his first trio album with Paul Motian and Ed Schuller followed by two solo albums.
He worked in a long-time duo with double-bass player John Lindberg that became extended with Albert Mangelsdorff and Ed Thigpen. He has played and recorded with Steve Lacy, Linda Sharrock and Joelle Leandrein1991. His trio with Mark Dressler and Ed Thigpen recorded “Silent Hearts” in 1998 that became the basis for the “Full Metal Quartets” a year later with saxophonist Bennie Wallace.
Eric’s current small catalogue of seven recordings includes a solo piano project “Sketches of Solitude” in 2002 that became one of the best-selling jazz albums in France. Between 2003 and 2005 he toured Europe, Asia, and Australia with tenor saxophonist Christof Lauer.
His dance score The Peking Ballet was commissioned by Radio City Music Hall to a record summer attendance of 200,000. Watson has presented commissioned works at the Lyon Opera, the State Theatre in Poitiers, he has written for Martial Solal and the Orchestra National de Jazz and for Australian violinist Jane Peters.
In 2001, Eric Watson was appointed artistic director of La Villette Jazz Festival, is musical consultant to the director of the Cité de la Musique, and in 2003 he was appointed as a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres.
Richard Wyands was born July 2, 1928 in Oakland, California and started working in local clubs when he was 16, graduated from San Francisco State College, and gained experience playing in the San Francisco Bay area.
Although his chordal voicings are a little reminiscent of Red Garland, he spent most of his career as a sideman playing a few early dates for Fantasy and accompanying Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McRae in 1956. A move to New York in 1958 afforded him the opportunity to gig with Roy Haynes, Charles Mingus, Gigi Gryce’s quintet, Oliver Nelson, Etta Jones, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, and Gene Ammons, among others.
Wyands’ association with Kenny Burrell had him playing and touring extensively from 1964-1977. He has played with many other top musicians, including Freddie Hubbard, Zoot Sims, Frank Foster, the Illinois Jacquet Big Band, Benny Carter, Ernie Andrews, and Milt Hinton, among others.
Pianist Richard Wyands has also headed his own trios, but has only had a handful of sessions as a leader including dates for Storyville, DIW and Criss Cross. The hard bop pianist is best known as a sideman, has led a few of his own trios and continues to perform and tour.
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Andrew Hill was born June 30, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois and took up the piano at the age of thirteen, and was encouraged by Earl Hines. He studied informally until 1952. While a teenager he performed in rhythm and blues bands and toured with jazz musicians, including Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.
Hill first recorded as a sideman in 1954, but made his reputation recording as a leader for Blue Note from 1963 to 1970, featuring important post-bop musicians including Joe Chambers, Richard Davis, Eric Dolphy, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, Woody Shaw and Tony Williams.
Hill is recognized as one of the most important innovators of jazz piano in the 1960s but rarely worked as a sideman after the 1960s, preferring to play his own compositions, which may have limited his public exposure.
As an educator he held positions at Portland State University, held residencies at Colgate University of Hamilton, Wesleyan University, University of Michigan, University of Toronto, Harvard University and Bennington College.
Returning to New York City in 1990, composer and pianist Andrew Hill, whose unique idiom of chromatic, modal and free improvisation, made his final public appearance on March 29, 2007 at Trinity Church. Suffering from lung cancer during his later years he died in his home on April 20, 2007. In May 2007, he became the first person to receive a posthumous honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music.