Coltrane Revisited with Jeremy Pelt, Jimmy Greene, Billy Drummond and more!
Jeremy Pelt has become one of the preeminent young trumpeters within the world of jazz. Forging a bond with the Mingus Big Band very early on, as his career progressed, Pelt built upon these relationships and many others which eventually lead to collaborations with some of the genre's greatest masters. These projects include performances and recordings with Cliff Barbaro, Keter Betts, Pelt...maintains a consistent forward momentum.. while he transmits a modern-day sense of urgency with his songs. more » Bobby "Blue" Bland, Ravi Coltrane, Frank Foster, Winard Harper, Jimmy Heath, Vincent Herring, John Hicks, Charli Persip, Ralph Peterson, Lonnie Plaxico, Bobby Short, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, Nancy Wilson and The Skatalites, to name a few.
Pelt frequently performs alongside such notable ensembles as the Roy Hargrove Big Band, The Village Vanguard Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Big Band, and is a member of the Lewis Nash Septet and The Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band featuring Louis Hayes. As a leader, Pelt has recorded ten albums and has toured globally with his various ensembles, appearing at many major jazz festivals and concert venues.
Pelt's recordings and performances have earned him critical acclaim, both nationally and internationally. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal by legendary jazz writer and producer, Nat Hentoff, and was voted Rising Star on the trumpet, five years in a row by Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Journalist Association. Pelt is currently touring throughout the United States and Europe in support of his latest release, "Make Noise!" (Highnote rec. 2017).
GRAMMY® Award-nominated saxophonist, composer, and arranger Jimmy Greene wrote and recorded an album four years ago that no parent should ever have to make – Beautiful Life celebrated the life of Ana Márquez-Greene, his 6-year-old daughter that was murdered along with 19 other children and six educators on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Now, Greene continues to honor and memorialize her spirit with Flowers, his second release for Mack Avenue Records.
As on his acclaimed Mack Avenue debut, Beautiful Life, a poignant, reflective program that honored his daughter’s love of singing with a program combining jazz, spirituals, contemporary Christian music and ballads, Greene again fulfills his stated imperative of “reflecting the way that Ana lived.” Here, Greene hones in on Ana’s love of dance with a kinetic, groove-filled program comprising ten original compositions—including two Greene-penned lyrics—and his arrangement of the “new standard,” “Something About You.”
Feeding the fire on six tracks is Jimmy Greene’s Love In Action, a unit comprising veteran all-stars Renee Rosnes on piano and Fender Rhodes, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, with Rogerio Boccato on an array of percussion instruments, and, on three selections, next-generation guitar hero Mike Moreno. Raising a joyful noise on the other five pieces is Greene’s quartet, with first-callers including keyboardist Kevin Hays, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Otis Brown, III. Greene himself solos on tenor and soprano saxophone with melodic focus, harmonic ingenuity and soulful authority.
“Saxophonist Jon Irabagon is a subverter of the jazz form,” declares Martin Longley in his Irabagon feature in the August issue of The New York City Jazz Record. “He’s a revolutionary who’s secretly messing with the changes. He might be dismantling the music’s mechanics from the inside, but from the outside he can frequently persuade a crowd that he’s an old- school practitioner. There are few players who can so deftly stride from postbop to free improvisation, avant country to doom metal and then wander from chaotic collage-spraying to sleek-blowing fluency.”
The winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, Irabagon has since topped both the Rising Star Alto Saxophone and the Rising Star Tenor Saxophone categories in the DownBeat Magazine Critics’ Poll and been named one of Time Out New York’s 25 New York City Jazz Icons. Jon was also named 2012 Musician of the Year in The New York City Jazz Record and is an integral member of such high-profile ensembles as the Mary Halvorson Quintet, Septet and Octet, the Dave Douglas Quintet, Barry Altschul’s 3Dom Factor and formerly of Mostly Other People do the Killing as well as an established bandleader in his own right. The long-standing Jon Irabagon Quartet features Luis Perdomo, Yasushi Nakamura and Rudy Royston, and the Jon Irabagon Trio includes Mark Helias and Barry Altschul. Both ensembles have done numerous tours throughout North America, South America and Europe.
Irabagon has performed and/or recorded with such luminaries as Wynton Marsalis, Evan Parker, Dave Douglas, Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, Kenny Wheeler, Christian McBride, Joey DeFrancesco, Tom Harrell, Conor Oberst, Kenny Barron, Lou Reed, Rufus Reid, Nicholas Payton, Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society, Jah Wobble, Michael Buble, George Cables, Bill Laswell, Tom Rainey, Mary Halvorson and Peter Evans, to name a few.
Irabagon is also the recipient of funding for three Shifting Foundation projects, a French-American Cultural Exchange grant from the Mid-Atlantic Foundation and a grant through the Stone Commissioning Series at National Sawdust. Jon has also received a 2012 Mabuhay Award by the National Association of Filipino-Americans and a 2014 Philippine Presidential Award.
Jon’s record label, Irabbagast Records, has currently released six of his own efforts, including I Don’t Hear Nothin’ but the Blues Volume 2: Appalachian Haze (with Mike Pride and Mick Barr), Outright! Unhinged (with Ralph Alessi, Jacob Sacks, John Hebert and Tom Rainey), It Takes All Kinds (featuring Mark Helias and Barry Altschul), Behind the Sky (featuring Tom Harrell, Luis Perdomo, Yasushi Nakamura and Rudy Royston), Inaction is an Action (a solo sopranino saxophone recording) and Dr. Quixotic’s Traveling Exotics (with Tim Hagans, Luis Perdomo, Yasushi Nakamura and Rudy Royston). As an educator, Irabagon has led masterclasses in Japan, England, the US, Argentina, Scotland, Norway, Mexico and Denmark, as well as leading residencies at Temple University, Columbia College and Hunter College, among others.
Pianist/composer Helen Sung has spent most of her life in two distinct worlds. A classical student from a young age who transitioned to jazz in her early twenties, she understands the limitless range and potential of the piano in a way that few specialists in either genre can. In addition, as the daughter of Chinese immigrants, Sung embodies two diverse cultures and has discovered a musical voice and identity that are true to both - and more importantly, true to herself.
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Sung began classical piano and violin lessons at age five, studying during her formative teenage years with a severe teacher of the Russian classical piano tradition.
Helen walked this straight and narrow path all the way through four years of Houston's acclaimed High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), choosing to continue her classical piano studies at the University of Texas in Austin despite her parents' hopes that she pursue a more traditional career in medicine.
Her plan was to become a concert pianist, enter competitions, and most likely teach in tandem with performing, but a seismic shift occurred in her last year of undergraduate studies, when a friend invited her to a Harry Connick, Jr., concert.
It was the beginning of her musical emancipation and the result was an unexpected course correction: while she finished her classical studies, Sung enrolled in beginning jazz courses, convinced the Jazz Piano Professor to give her lessons, and immersed herself in jazz recordings and books at UT's music library.
After receiving her Bachelor of Music, Helen decided to stay and complete a Master of Music degree in classical piano performance (UT did not offer a Master's degree in jazz at that time) while also taking every available jazz course.
A growing concern over this change in Helen's musical studies caused her parents to insist that she consider doctoral programs in classical piano after she received her Master's degree. Walking a fine line between their agenda and her own, she requested information from various schools, including the New England Conservatory. A modest paragraph in NEC's brochure announced the brand new Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance to be housed there, starting in 1995. The two-year program would only accept seven students, one on each instrument to form a jazz septet. Helen secretly decided to only apply for that program and was accepted as the pianist for the inaugural class.
In addition to Carter, the two-year program featured a Who's Who of Jazz Master teachers including Clark Terry, Jackie McLean, Sir Roland Hanna, Jimmy Heath, Wynton Marsalis, Barry Harris, and Jon Faddis, to name a few. The students also toured India and Thailand with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, performed at the Kennedy Center, and gained experience giving masterclasses and workshops.
Upon graduation, Helen gigged around Boston with some of her Monk Institute alumni and area artists before moving to New York in 1999: that year she was a semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Piano Competition, and also received a Fish-Middleton Jazz Scholarship. She started her small group with which she further refined her performance chops and also began testing her abilities as a composer. By 2002, Sung had compiled enough material to record PUSH, her first album released on the Fresh Sound New Talent label in 2003. Helenistique followed in 2006, before she landed at Sunnyside Records with the 2007 release of Sungbird After Albeniz, a project that interweaves her jazz and classical experiences. That same year, Sung won the Kennedy Center's Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition, and was featured on the late Marian McPartland?s celebrated NPR show Piano Jazz.
The middle child in a family of musicians, Chicago-born lonnie Plaxico inherited a gift for music that was discovered and nurtured early. By the age of twelve he had taught himself to play the electric bass, and he was soon venturing into Chicago's music scene, renowned for its mix of jazz, funk and blues. It was not long before the young musician made his first recording, featuring his family's band. At the age of just fourteen, having already performed alongside several prominent Chicago jazz figures, Lonnie Plaxico turned professional, playing the electric and acoustic bass with equal facility.
In 1980 Plaxico moved to New York and soon began to appear with such artists as Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon and Wynton Marsalis. His first extended tenure was with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers: between1983 and 1986, lonnie performed on twelve of Blakey's albums, including the Grammy Award-winning, New York Scene. In 1986 he joined Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition, continuing with that group until 1993. Presently, Plaxico is the musical director and featured bassist for Cassandra Wilson; their critically acclaimed and award-winning collaboration has now spanned fifteen years.
Plaxico's recording and performance catalog is equally impressive for its caliber, depth and diversity. He has appeared with such luminaries as Sonny Sitt, Junior Cook, David Murray, Alice Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Sample, Abbey Lincoln, and Dizzy Gillespie. Just as noteworthy are his performances with younger artists -- among them Steve Coleman, Rachelle Farrell and Dianne Reeves. lonnie has also recorded with Bill Cosby, Lonnie Liston Smith, Ravi Coltrane and Barbara Dennerlein, as well as his Grammy-winning collaborations with Art Blakey and Cassandra Wilson. He has also recorded five critically acclaimed albums as leader.
Thrilling, powerful and highly musical, bandleader, educator, composer, and much in-demand sideman, Billy Drummond cut his teeth apprenticing with jazz greats including Horace Silver, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, and Sonny Rollins, to become one of today’s most versatile drummers. His cult-followed album Dubai (with Chris Potter, Walt Weiskopf and Peter Washington), which was picked as the Number 1 Jazz Album of the Year by the New York Times when it was released, was recently dubbed one of the “50 Crucial Jazz Drumming Recordings of the Past 100 Years” by Modern Drummer magazine.
Drummond’s playing, praised by Stanley Crouch as “having the kind of highly refined musical intelligence that Max Roach brought to drumming,” has made him one of the most called for players of his generation, with over 300 sideman albums to his credit. He has also made three as a bandleader, and five as a co-leader, including 2016’s We’ll Be Together Again (Chesky), in Three’s Company – a trio with Javon Jackson and legendary bassist, Ron Carter – which made many of the year’s Top Ten lists. Acclaimed by Downbeat as “one of the hippest bandleaders now at work,” Drummond is looking forward to recording with his New York band, Freedom of Ideas.