Wayne Escoffery was born on February 23, 1975 in London, England. He and his mother emigrated to the U.S. in 1986 and settled in New Haven, Connecticut. At age eleven he joined The New Haven Trinity Boys Choir and began taking saxophone lessons from Malcolm Dickinson. By sixteen, he had left the choir and engaged in a more intensive study of the saxophone in New York City at the Jazzmobile, the Neighborhood Music School and the ACES Educational Center for the Arts, both in New Haven.
During his senior year in high School, he attended the Artists Collective, Inc. in Hartford, Connecticut. While there he met Jackie McLean who founded the jazz program at The Hartt School, that Escoffery would ultimately attend under scholarship. He went on to matriculate through the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the New England Conservatory in Boston. During this time, he toured with Herbie Hancock and performed and studied with several jazz greats. In 1999, he graduated with a Masters degree and moved to New York to begin his professional career.
Since 2000, Wayne has been working in New York City with Carl Allen, Eric Reed, Mingus Big Band, Ralph Peterson, Ben riley, Ron Carter, Rufus Reid, Bill Charlap, Bruce Barth, Jimmy Cobb, Eddie Henderson, Mary Stallings, Cynthia Scott, Nancie Banks, Laverne Butler and his wife, Carolyn Leonhart.
Tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery has released nine albums to date and in addition, he collaborates with his wife, continues to perform with his own quartet and quintet, the Tom Harrell Quintet, Abdullah Ibrahim’s Akaya and Jazz At Lincoln Center and others.
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Jeff Clayton was born February 16, 1954 in Venice, California and studied oboe at California State University and undertook a tour with Stevie Wonder. Following this he recorded with Gladys Knight, Kenny Rogers, Michael Jackson, Patti Labelle, Madonna B. B. King, Joe Cocker and Ray Charles.
No stranger to jazz, joining his brother, bassist John Clayton, they founded the Clayton Brothers in 1977 and later formed the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra with drummer Jeff Hamilton. Clayton has performed and recorded with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Ethan Smith, Lena Horne, Kurt Elling, Diana Krall, and the Count Basie Orchestra under the leadership of Thad Jones. From 1989 to 1991 he was a member of the Phillip Morris Superband, and has toured with Gene Harris and Dianne Reeves.
In 2009 Brother To Brother by The Clayton Brothers received a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group. Alto saxophonist and flautist Jeff Clayton continues to perform, record and tour.
Brent Jensen was born on February 12, 1960 in Boise, Idaho. By 1986 on a grant from the Idaho Commission on the Arts he was studying in New York City with Lee Konitz.
Throughout his career Brent has performed with jazz artists including Gene Harris, Bobby Shew, Gary Foster, Dave Peck, Joe LaBarbera, John Clayton, Wycliffe Gordon, Warren Vache, Curtis Stigers, John Stowell, Kristin Korb, Jamie Findlay, Duck Baker, Dianne Schuur and many others.
Jensen has charted to #1 with his debut recording, The Sound of a Dry Martini: Remembering Paul Desmond, and Stay Cool, his sophomore release both on Origin Records. By his fifth CD for Origin, One More Mile he teamed up with Seattle musicians, pianist Bill Anschell, bassist Jeff Johnson and drummer John Bishop. This he followed in 2009 with the release of We Couldn’t Agree More is a collection of duets with Seattle pianist Bill Anschell.
He would go on to be a featured winner of the Woodwinds on Fire international talent search conducted by Jazziz magazine in 1996. Soprano saxophonist Brent Jensen is an Assistant Professor of Music at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, is the Artistic Director for the CSI Jazz Summit and the Jazz Saturdays workshop series.
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Zoltan Sagi was born in Hungary on February 10, 1956. He attended the Guildhall School of Music studying clarinet with Robert Earle and later Frank Allen at Warwick University. Self-taught on saxophone, he draw much of his inspiration from Johnny Hodges, Cannonball Adderley and Stan Getz.
His early career was spent playing in dance bands and in New Orleans jazz genre playing in festivals stateside and overseas. This was followed by a period as an educator as Director of Music and a country music service manager. He spent two and a half years extensively touring the world with Chris Barber.
Zoltan has recorded numerous CD’s and other recordings as a freelance session musician and has also appeared with such musicians as Earl Warren, Benny Waters, Kenny Davern, Bob Humphrey Lyttleton, Marty Grosz, Digby Fairweather, Duncan Swift, , Janusz Carmello, Bill Coleman, Greg Abate, Alan Barnes, Paul Degville and John Barnes among many others.
Has worked extensively both in this country and abroad. His experience spans from New Orleans jazz to jazz fusion. Sagi has been a part of several groups including Harlem, Swing Syndicate and The Charleston Chasers. Clarinetist Zoltan Sagi also plays all saxophones and currently performs with the Sticky Wicket Big Band, the Big Chris Barber Band, the Stars of British Jazz and with his own quartets and trios.
Bill Evans was born William D. Evans on February 9, 1958 in Claredon Hills, Illinois to a father who was a classical piano prodigy. Until junior high school he studied classical clarinet but early in his studies he was able to hear such artists perform live as Sonny Stitt and Stan Getz at the jaz Showcase in Chicago. He attended Hinsdale Central High School and studied with tenor saxophonist Vince Micko. His stylistic influences include Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Steve Grossman and Dave Liebman.
Evans attended the University of North Texas and William Patterson University where he studied with Miles Davis alum Dave Liebman. His move to NYC in 1979 saw him spending countless hours in lofts playing jazz standards and perfecting his improvisational style. By the age of 22 he joined Miles Davis and was part of his musical comeback in the early to mid-1980s, recording on The Man With The Horn, We Want Miles, Star People and Decoy.
During the 1980s and 1990s Bill was a member of the jazz fusion group Elements. Beginning in 1990 Evans has been touring with his own band playing close to 90 concerts a year worldwide. He has recorded over 17 solo CD’s, received two GrammyAward nominations for his albums Soul Inside and Soulgrass, and recorded an award-winning CD called Bill Evans – Vans Joint with the WDR Orchestra in 2009.
Tenor and soprano saxophonist Bill Evans has played a wide variety of music with his solo projects including bluegrass influenced jazz, funk and contemporary groove and has played, toured and recorded with Herbie Hancock, Michael Franks, Gil Evans, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Les McCann, Mark Egan, Danny Gottlieb, Ian Anderson, Randy Brecker, The Allman Brothers and Medeski, Martin and Wood to name a few. He continues to perform, tour and record.