Ray Alexander was born on February 7, 1925 in Lynbrook, Long Island, New York. His mother was a concert pianist who began him on the instrument as a very young child. Asthma ended his ambitions to be a trumpeter but after hearing Gene Krupa his interest turned towards drums. He education also came from listening to Big Sid Catlett, Art Tatum, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker in the clubs.
Ray started his musical career as a drummer, playing with Claude Thornhill, Bobby Byrne, the Dorsey Brothers, Stan Getz, Joe Venuti, Mel Torme, Johnny Smith, Chubby Jackson, Stuff Smith and numerous others. Switching to the vibraphone he worked with George Shearing, Charlie Barnett, Bil Evans, Anita O’Day and Mel Lewis, as well as his own quartet.
In the early ’70’s he joined with Mousey Alexander and formed the Alexanders the Great quartet which was booked frequently at the new Half Note uptown, as well as gained notoriety and bookings through the city.
By 1983 Ray put out an album called “Cloud Patterns“, recorded live at Eddie Condon’s featuring Albert Daily on piano, Harvie Swartz on bass, Ray Mosca on drums and Pepper Adams on baritone saxophone. He would go on to work with Kenny Barron, Warren Vache Jr., Bob Kindred, Harvie Swartz, Oliver Jackson, Mac Chrupcala, John Anter and Marshall Wood, tour England and nearby European countries. Vibraphonist and drummer Ray Alexander passed away on June 9, 2002 in new Hyde Park, New York as a result of complications from elective surgery.
Bill Ware III was born William Anthony Ware III on January 28, 1959 in East Orange, New Jersey. He played bass and piano early in his career at Harlem’s Jazzmobile, prior to choosing vibraphone as his main instrument. After spending several years playing Latin jazz he formed his own Latin Jazz group, AM Sleep.
In 1987 Ware joined saxophonist Roy Nathanson and trombonist Curtis Fowlkes’ Jazz Passengers as a regular memberand by 1990 had put together a group of sidemen as the Club Bird All-Stars, who accompanied him on a tour of Japan. Stretching out to other genres he played with Groove Collective and Steely Dan during the first half Nineties.
Later in the decade Bill teamed up with fellow former Jazz Passengers, Brad Jones and E. J. Rodriguez forming the ensemble Vibes. His 2001 tribute to Duke Ellington was recorded with guitarist Marc Ribot, and Deborah Harry on his 2002 effort Four.
During the mid-2000s, he recorded several projects blending jazz with Western Classical music as well as composing five film scores with Nathanson. He recorded fourteen solo projects as a leader for AM Sleep, Knitting Factory, Cathexis, Wollenware, Random Chance and Pony Canyon record labels. Vibraphonist Bill Ware continues to compose, perform and record.
Matthias Albrecht Lupri was born October 29, 1964 in Germany but grew up in Manhattan, Kansas and Alberta, Canada. Initially he played the drums as a teenager in blues, rock and country music bands. In his early twenty’s he studied music at Mount Royal College, where he heard Gary Burton’s recordings and became interested in jazz vibraphone music.
Matthias practiced the instrument for the next five years while on the road with rock bands as a drummer. He then enrolled at the Berklee College of Music and studied with Gary Burton himself. Since graduation he has released several records that have charted in radio’s Top 40 GAVIN, CMJ and Chart Magazine Canada, and was heard on the TV show Alias.
Lupri was named as a rising artist on vibraphone in the Down Beat critics poll for the 2nd time in 2005. He has recorded with Greg Osby, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin, Myron Walden, Greg Hutchinson, Antonio Sanchez, Reuben Rogers, Ian Froman, George Garzone, Jeff Ballard, Rick Margitza, Cuong Vu, Sebastiaan de Krom and Boris Wiedenfeld among other. He continues to perform and tour throughout Canada and the United States.
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Gary McFarland was born in Los Angeles, California on October 23, 1933. An influential composer, arranger, vibraphonist and vocalist, he made a name for himself on Verve and Impulse Records during the Sixties, making one of the more significant contributors to orchestral jazz. He attained a small following after working with Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Johnny Hodges, John Lewis, Stan Getz, Bob Brookmeyer and Anita O’Day.
His debut as a leader came in 1961 with the Jazz Version of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Gary recorded for Skye, Buddah and Cobblestone Records through the 1960s into the early Seventies. As well as eighteen of his own albums as a leader and arrangements for other musicians such as Lena Horne, Steve Kuhn, Gabor Szabo, John Lewis, Shirley Scott, Zoot Sims and Gary Burton, he composed the scores to the films Eye of the Devil in 1968 and Who Killed Mary What’s ‘Er Name in 1971.
By the end of the 1960s McFarland was moving away from jazz towards an often wistful or melancholy style of instrumental pop, as well as producing the recordings of other artists on his Skye Records label, run in partnership with Szabo and Cal Tjader until its bankruptcy in 1970.
Gary McFarland and Louis Savary wrote the classic song Sack Full Of Dreams that was first released by Grady Tate in 1968. He was considering a move into writing and arranging for film and stage when on November 3, 1971 he was poisoned with methadone in a New York City bar at the tender age of 38. In tribute Bill Evans performed Gary’s Waltz in 1979, shortly before his own death.
Eldad Tarmu was born on August 26, 1960 in Los Angeles, California where he began studying drums and percussion. Upon graduating from Tel Aviv University in Israel, he returned to the States and got a master degree in Afro-Latin music from California State University Los Angeles and a master degree in Classical composition from Stony Brook University in New York.
Tarmu established a partnership in 2006 with the American Cultural Centre in Bucharest to improve cultural ties between Romania and the United States and promote American music.]
Eldad has recorded and performed with Poncho Sanchez, Ernie Watts, Taj Mahal, Cybil Shepherd, Freddie Hubbsrd, Billy Higgins, Frank Morgan, and Ron Affif just to name a few. He has performed in over twenty-five countries around the world in various festivals and concert tours, recorded seven albums with his latest mixing jazz, Middle Eastern and strings with chamber ensemble arrangements.
Along with performing vibraphonist Eldad Tarmu keeps his education hat ready as a professor teaching World Music Studies, Intro to Music and African-American Music at Hudson County Community College. In addition he has developed a Latin American Music Studies course for the college and also reaches at SUNY Stony Brook Manhattan. He holds clinics and workshops at festivals and music camps worldwide.
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