2017 Artist Bios

09.05.2017 / 2017 Artist Bios / Super User / 883 hits
Cyrus Chestnut

Cyrus Chestnut

Piano - A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he earned a degree in jazz composition and arranging. After graduating from Berklee, Chestnut went on to work with jazz vocalist Jon Hendricks from 1986-88, and trumpeter Terrence Blanchard and saxophonist Donald Harrison from 1988-90, before joining jazz legend Wynton Marsalis in 1991. But Chestnut really cut his teeth in the business when, one day at Berklee, jazz vocalist Betty Carter arrived to perform. When the famous singer found herself without a piano player, the entire auditorium erupted with suggestions for Chestnut to fill in, and he was ushered to the stage. Terrified and nervous, Chestnut took the stage, but when Carter asked him to play Body and Soul in the key of G, Chestnut mistakenly played it in C. "I told myself that someday I would make it up to her," Chestnut told Berklee Today.

In 1991 Cyrus went on the road with Betty Carter for two years as the pianist for the Betty Carter Trio. "She wanted you to create a mode of creating, not re-creating”…. He has often said that playing with Carter was a form of graduate school. http://www.cyruschestnut.net/
Delfeayo Marsalis

Delfeayo Marsalis

Trombone - Known for his “technical excellence, inventive mind and frequent touches of humor…” (Leonard Feather, Los Angeles Times), he is “…one of the best, most imaginative and musical of the trombonists of his generation.” (Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner.) In January 2011, Delfeayo and the Marsalis family (father Ellis and brothers Branford, Wynton and Jason) earned the nation’s highest jazz honor – a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.

 Born in New Orleans on July 28, 1965, Marsalis was destined to a life in music. “I remember my dad (Ellis Marsalis) playing piano at the house, and me laying underneath the piano as a child, listening to him play. After briefly trying bass and drums, in sixth grade I gravitated towards the trombone, which was an extension of my personality. .” Early influences included J.J. Johnson, Curtis Fuller, Al Grey, Tyree Glenn, Tommy Dorsey and Ellington’s trombone masters.

https://www.delfeayomarsalis.com/bio
Jimmy Cobb

Jimmy Cobb

Drummer - A superb, mostly self-taught drummer, Jimmy Cobb has been a dominant accompanist and outstanding soloist. He approaches the drum kit in both a melodic and percussive fashion, never playing overly long or rambling solos. He's known for working slightly ahead of the beat, and has anchored many fine sessions as well as spending five years with Miles Davis in the '50s and '60s. Cobb did study briefly with Jack Dennett, a percussionist with extensive symphonic credentials. He played with Charlie Rouse, Leo Parker, Frank Wess, Billie Holiday, and Pearl Bailey in Washington, D.C.
Javon Jackson

Javon Jackson

Tenor Saxophone - Jackson began playing alto saxophone[ aged 10. At the age of 16, he changed to tenor saxophone and in his teens, he was taught by pianist Billy Wallace.. He was briefly enrolled at the University of Denver before spending part of 1985–86 at the Berklee College of Music, which he abandoned to join drummer Art Blakey's band. He played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1987 until Blakey's death in 1990 and has played with the Harper Brothers, Benny Green, Freddie Hubbard, and Elvin Jones. Jackson finished his undergraduate degree and obtained a master's degree from the State University of New York at Purchase. In his solo career, his music has been a mix of hard bop with soul and funk influences., where he later taught. He now is the head of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford

http://www.javonjackson.com/
Elio Villafranca

Elio Villafranca

Pianist - Born in the Pinar del Río province of Western Cuba, pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was classically trained in percussion and composition at the Instituto Superior de Arte in Havana, Cuba. Since his arrival in the U.S. in late 1995, he has been involved in jazz and Latin jazz scenes on both the East and West Coasts. Based in New York City, he is resident professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.Elio Villafranca is at the forefront of the latest generation of remarkable Cuban pianists, composers and bandleaders that for several years has been making major creative contributions to the international development of modern jazz. In the 2010 Grammy Awards he was nominated in Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year, for his performance, composition and coproduction in the album Things I Wanted To Do by Chembo Corniel.

http://www.eliovillafranca.net/index.htm
Mala Waldron

Mala Waldron

Piano/Vocals - A native of NYC whose first paid gig playing keys and singing back-up vocals with a local R&B band, "Liquid Pleasure" at the Elk's club at age 15.   She later enrolled at SUNY, Old Westbury to study jazz piano, voice & composition with Makanda Ken McIntyre, Richard Harper, Warren Smith and Amina Claudine Myers, ultimately earning a B.A. Degree. Her recordings as featured artist include “Lullabye” her debut and tribute to her godmother, Billie Holiday and He’s My Father” a duo project with her father Mal Waldron. She has performed most recently at the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage and NYC’s most prestigious stages including: Blue Note, and the Jazz Standard. Her career has taken her all over the world doing performances in such countries as Japan, France, Italy, Belgium, Italy, and Russia.

"When you hear Mala Waldron's soulful voice on “Always There”, you realize that you are experiencing something very special, for Waldron is not only an accomplished vocalist and songwriter, but also a fine pianist who hits the keys with great precision, bringing various musical influences into the jazz realm." Ernest Barteldes, All About Jazz www.malawaldron.com
Dion Parson

Dion Parson

Drums - “It’s not easy to innovate in any musical genre –- but Grammy-winning drummer Dion Parson, a native of St Thomas, is doing just that – bringing together the worlds of the Caribbean and jazz and creating what is a truly unique sound. Parson, who is working on his latest album with his 21st Century Band, a recording of performances at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, has been traveling between New York and the US Virgin Islands for decades. Now, he’s doing more – with a jazz education programme in schools across St Croix, St Thomas and St John, and trying to fill what he sees as a void and a desire for jazz in the islands.” Alexander Britell, Caribbean Journal

http://www.jazz.org/dizzys/events/158378/Dion-Parson-and-21st-Century-Band/
Peter Slavov

Peter Slavov

Bass - Peter is a New York-based Bulgarian double bassist,composer,session musician,arranger and educator. Since he started performing professionally in the mid-1990’s, Peter has performed at some of the most prestigious venues and festivals in more than 30 countries on 5 continents.

Peter has also performed at numerous legendary performance venues, such as: Jazz at Lincoln Center (New York City), Town Hall(NYC),The Village Vanguard (New York City),Birdland (New York City), Blue Note (New York, Milan, Tokyo and Nagoya), The Fox Theater (Atlanta), Severance Hall (Cleveland), MGM Grand (Las Vegas),The Detroit Institute of Art (Detroit), Olympia Hall (Paris), Massey Hall (Toronto),The Jerusalem Theater (Jerusalem), Bulgaria Hall (Sofia), Chang Kai Shek National Theater (Taipei),Bimhuis (Amsterdam), Centro Nacional de las Artes (Mexico City),The Jazz Standard (New York City),Yoshi’s (San Francisco), Minton’s Playhouse (New York City), Dakota (Minneapolis), New Morning (Paris), La Cigale (Paris), Duc Des Lombards (Paris), Zappa (Tel Aviv) and countless more.
Steve Nelson

Steve Nelson

Vibes/Marimba - Vibraphonist has been a member of Dave Holland's Quintet and Big Band for over a decade. He graduated from Rutgers University with both Master's and Bachelor's degrees in music. He has appeared at concerts and festivals worldwide and has made recordings as the leader of his own group. As a resident of the New York City area he has performed and recorded with many musicians, including Kenny Barron, Bobby Watson, Mulgrew Miller, David "Fathead" Newman, Johnny Griffin, and Jackie McLean.
Christopher Dean Sullivan

Christopher Dean Sullivan

Bass - Originally from Pittsburg, the Hudson Valley is now home for this creative artist. Sullivan has shared the stage in performance and recorded with Archie Schepp, Sheila Jordan, Yusef Lateef, Odean Pope, Freddie Hubbard, Billy Hart, Irene Reid, Jon Faddis, Vanessa Rubin, Eddie Henderson, Bob Gluck, Charli Persip, , Stanley Turrentine , Johnny Lytle, just to name a few. Chris’ discography is vast in genres. From the jazz traditional art forms to open free style expressions, as well as Latin jazz, Poetry/Spoken Word driven, contemporary and commercial genres.

"...Sullivan supports with underpinned emotive interaction…"  “Before long, piano and sax head off into almost opposite directions, with Sullivan often the only sonic connection…”~ Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition “... Sullivan plays not just the upright bass strings but the bass itself, throwing himself into the performance not to draw the spotlight, but to impart a palpable joie de vive to go with his rhythmic, rippling (think Charlie Haden, somewhat) bass tones."

~ Mark Keresman, JazzReview.com
Bobby Sanabria

Bobby Sanabria

Drummer/Percussionist - Sanabria, has performed with a who’s who in the world of jazz and latin music. His diverse recording and performing experience includes work with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Marco Rizo, Yomo Toro, Henry Threadgill and the God father of Afro- Cuban Jazz Mario Bauza’. The son of Puerto Rican parents, he was raised in the “Fort Apache” section of the Bronx. Graduating from the Berklee College of Music he has become a leader in the Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Jazz Fields as both drummer and percussionist.

“Bobby is equally adept at the swinging big band sounds of drummers Buddy Rich and Louis Bellson along with another boyhood hero, fusion pioneer Billy Cobham and timbale titan Tito Puente” Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times

http://www.bobbysanabria.com/
Gregory Tardy

Gregory Tardy

Saxophone - Tardy studied classical clarinet as a child, encouraged by his parents, both of whom were opera singers. His mother, Jo Anne Tardy, after singing classical music became a gospel-influenced jazz singer. After switching to tenor saxophone, Tardy played with funk bands in Milwaukee before his brother urged him to listen to jazz, after which he was especially influenced by John Coltrane’s recordings. He studied at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and at the University of New Orleans, along the way encountering Ellis Marsalis who became tutor and mentor. Resident in New York City from 1992, Tardy became deeply involved in the contemporary jazz and improvised music scenes. Among musicians with whom he has played are Rashied Ali, Omer Avitel, Jonathan Blake, Betty Carter, Steve Coleman, George Colligan, Ravi Coltrane, Sean Conly, Xavier Davis, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Aaron Goldberg, Russell Gunn, Eric Harland, Tom Harrell, Antonio Hart, Andrew Hill, Elvin Jones, Joe Lovano, Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Jay McShann, Mulgrew Miller, James Moody, John Patitucci, Nicholas Payton, Chris Potter, Dewy Redman, David Schumacher, Mark Turner and Bobby Watson, the latter being cited as an especially important influence.
Bruce Harris

Bruce Harris

Trumpet - Bruce Harris' affinity for Jazz music began as a child listening to his grandfather play the alto sax in his family's south Bronx apartment. After viewing Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues, Bruce's intrigue with the trumpet grew and his relationship with his instrument has been star-crossed since.

Bruce completed his studies in 2004 earning a BFA in jazz performance. He continues to work tirelessly, striving for superior musicianship. In his spare time, Bruce inspires young musicians, teaching private lessons. His eclectic tastes are evident in the variety of bands he performs with including Latin, and Blues styled groups. He can be seen regularly performing with his Quintet, and Big Band in various clubs in New York City.
Jeff

Jeff "Siege" Siegel

Drums, Percussion, Composer, Leader - A member of the Sir Roland Hanna Trio from 1994-‘99, Siegel's diverse career has also led him to perform and/or record w/ Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Jack DeJohnette, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Shiela Jordan, Helen Merrill, Mose Allison, and more. He has co-led several touring/recording projects over the years. Siegel teaches at The New School, SUNY New Paltz and WCSU. He holds a M.A. in Jazz from Queens College where he studied composition with Jimmy Heath.
Dylan Canterbury

Dylan Canterbury

Trumpet/Flugelhorn - A graduate of the jazz studies at SUNY Purchase. Since graduation, Canterbury has worked with a wide range of notable musicians, including Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, the All-Star O'Rourkestra, and the Smoke Big Band. Locally, he can be heard leading his own groups as well as with Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble, the Phil Allen Concert Jazz Band, the Empire Jazz Orchestra, Joe Barna and Sketches of Influence, and Cliff Brucker and Full Circle. Actively involved in education, Canterbury is an adjunct member of the faculty of the Schenectady County Community College School of Music, where he teaches jazz history.
Francesca Tanksley

Francesca Tanksley

Piano - Tanksley has performed with David Newman, Reggie Workman, Cecil Payne, Nick Brignola, Slide Hampton, Jay Clayton, Sheila Jordan, Jimmy Cobb, Clifford Jordan, and many others. Following her studies at Berklee she returned to Munich and began her professional career performing w/ various European jazz groups. She then moved to New York City and joined Melba Liston's group, Melba Liston & Co. She became an integral member of the Billy Harper Quintet, as well as the Erica Lindsay Quintet, Howard Johnson’s HoJo5, and the Jeff ‘Siege’ Siegel Quartet. Ms. Tanksley is a full-time Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Rich Syracuse

Rich Syracuse

Bass - Rich Syracuse has performed with John Mehegen, Joey Calderazzo, Ted Rosenthal, Nick Brignola, Mose Allison, Kurt Elling, Dave Liebman, Brubeck Brothers, Warren Bernhardt, Sumi Tonoka, Bernard Purdy, Jeff "Siege" Siegel, Dena DeRose, John Medeski. For was the bassist for Pianist Lee Shaw for 22 years. Rich has for many years been touring throughout Europe, South America, and Southern Africa. Rich’s latest cd as a co-leader with guitarist Michael Musillami “Of the Night” is on Playscape Records.Rich is the Professor of Bass at Skidmore College in Saratoga, New York.
Fred Berryhill

Fred Berryhill

Percussion - African and Latin multi-percussionist: studied with Chief Bey, Steven Lloyd, Budd Johnson Jr. Performed and recorded with various artists and groups over the past 30 plus years such as: Diana Ross (Central Park), Ben Vereen, James Stubblefield, Rashid Ali, Second Sight, James Spaulding, Club 1600, Steven Scott’s Orchestras, Bernice Johnson Dance Co., Chuck Davis Dance Co., Akyene Baako Ensemble and many others. Currently teaching band and instrumental music in the New York City School system.
Erica Lindsay

Erica Lindsay

Tenor Saxophone, Composer - Erica Lindsay is an Artist-in- Residence at Bard College where she teaches and is an active performer, arranger and composer. She has performed with Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, Melba Liston Co.,Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Al Grey, Britt Woodman and Mary Lou Williams, McCoy Tyner and many others.
Neil Clarke

Neil Clarke

Percussion Master Clarke, in addition to his ongoing collaborations with Randy Weston and fellow African Rhythms sidemen. Clarke has enjoyed long- standing relationships with Harry Belafonte, Dianne Reeves, David Sanborn, Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu, and many others. When not touring Clarke is a Lecturer at New York City College, his course on African Percussion Ensemble is requested by serious students of all music genres.

On April 8, 2017 Master Conguero Mongo Santamaria would have been 100 years old. On that evening, Percussion Master Neil Clarke introduced to an appreciative audience his Mongo Santamaria Project. “…Clarke played with bare hands on the conga skins…accenting rhythmic phrase-ends on two small cymbals, which gave the music a floating ethereal quality…Clarke supplied the most transformative moments with solos that, minus affectation or histrionics, revealed deep feeling for the music…” Tom Greenland, New York City Jazz Record.

The project personnel includes: EDDIE ALLEN, trumpet, renown for being part of the Mongo Santamaria recordings, Brazilian Sunset, Mongo Returns, Mambo Mongo, Free Spirit and others.