BackCountry Jazz is graciously supported by these world-class musicians and educators who dedicate their time and expertise to the BCJ program. They provide one-on-one mentorship and group master classes, and are our featured artists for benefit concerts.
Bennie Wallace, tenor saxophonist, composer and recording artist for more than three decades is one of the most exciting saxophonists on today’s jazz scene. He has released over 20 jazz recordings, won five DownBeat awards, numerous recording awards and has performed and recorded with many jazz greats, among them: Elvin Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Chick Corea.Wallace has also shown his Southern roots by playing and recording with Stevie RayVaughan, Dr. John and other blues and gospel artists. Wallace is also the composer for Oscar-nominated movies whose credits include Bull Durham, Paul Newman's Blaze, White Men Can't Jump, among others.
For more than three decades, Ray Anderson has conjured sounds that move and delight, gracefully bridging swing and bop and free jazz, blues and gospel and New Orleans funk. Described by pre-eminent jazz critic Gary Giddons "as one of the most compellingly original trombonists, the most exciting slide brass player of his generation." A supremely lyrical player and footloose innovator, a bold texturalist and a polished nostalgist, Ray has shared his gifts in groups including his own Slickaphonics and Pocket Brass Band with ensembles led by Charlie Haden, Bennie Wallace, and Sam Rivers among others. He is Director of Jazz at Stony Brook University.
Simply “one of the top jazz pianists in the world” according to the Los Angeles Times, Kenny Barron has captivated audiences for 4 decades with his keyboard lyricism and extraordinary technique. Chet Baker, Stan Getz, George Benson, Anne Hampton Callaway, Ron Carter, Dizzy Gillespie and Jane Monheit are a few of the stellar musicians whose albums have been graced by Kenny’s artistry. http://www.kennybarron.com/
Vocalist Malou Beauvoir born in Chicago of Haitian parents, raised in New York, is a unique combination of her multi-cultural influences and experiences. Beauvoir performs in leading venues around the world including Dubai, Rio, Beirut, London, and in Paris performing at the renowned Paradis Latin and at the Petit Journal Montparnasse. “An Evening at the Swan” and “Live at the Lionel Hampton” are her most recent recordings.
Bobby Broom is one of the premiere guitarists in jazz today earning three DownBeat awards as one of the world’s foremost jazz guitarist. Versed in traditional jazz, Broom draws from funk, soul, R&B and the blues to create one of the few truly recognizable styles. Thirty years into a distinguished, wide-ranging career he has performed and recorded with Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Dr. John, among others. His latest release and eleventh lead album, My Shining Hour, is an exploration of American Songbook classics. “Bobby Broom is the full monty: ultra-refined timing and tone, continuous flow of ideas, a touch of grease, a treat for the connoisseur.” DownBeat
Regina Cater is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. A highly original soloist whose sophisticated technique and rich, lush tone took the jazz world by pleasant surprise when she arrived in New York from her native Detroit, she has crafted a signature voice and style. Time Magazine said of the jazz violinist, “Wonderfully listenable, probingly intelligent and, at times, breathtakingly daring.” In 2006 Ms. Carter was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. Her latest release, "Southern Comfort" is an ode to Carter's childhood, with a combination of gospel, Cajun fiddle and modern versions of work songs like the ones her grandfather sang as a coal miner in Alabama.
With her beautiful sound, uncommonly wide range, razor sharp intonation, and sensitivity to lyrics, Carla Cook is one of the major jazz voices of the new millennium. The rich texture of her contralto, her natural feel for the rhythm of bebop, she has sass that enlivens her impeccable diction, and tremendous soul that lets her swagger with gutbucket finesse, but it's all buttressed with sparkling optimism and innocence," said The Washington Post. Cook's debut album It's All About Love was nominated for a Grammy.
Alto saxophonist and flautist, Jerry Dodgion, is a jazz institution. His resume includes stints with Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie and most of the rest of the jazz pantheon during his five plus decades of gigging and recording.
Billy Drummond began playing at the age of four under the influence of his father, also a drummer. Arriving in New York in 1988, Drummond joined piano master Horace Silver's Sextetand toured with them extensively. A powerful and highly musical drummer, he is one of the most called for players sought by a variety of jazz masters including the great Sonny Rollins. With his crisp, clear sound and ease of articulation, Billy Drummond is a master drummer who makes his set sing. Cult hit Dubai was named No. 1 Best Jazz CD by the New York Times. Drummond is also a highly respected educator. He is Professor of Jazz Drums at the Juilliard School of Music and New York University and gives workshops around the world.
Joy and spirited musical communication are what characterize the artistry of Alvester Garnett’s drumming. Singers such as Abbey Lincoln and the late great Betty Carter, to instrumentalists Regina Carter, Dr. Lonnie Smith among many others, have all called on Mr. Garnett for the energy and fire that he brings to the bandstand.
Eddie Gomez is one of the true giants of his chosen instrument, the double bass. Long tenures with luminaries Chick Corea and Bill Evans have been supplemented throughout his career with other high-profile gigs, such as his associations with Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Herbie Hancock and Gerry Mulligan who have all been drawn to his instantly recognizable sound and prodigious technique. http://www.eddiegomez.com/
Bruce Harris' affinity for Jazz music began as a child listening to his grandfather play the alto sax in his family's Bronx, New York apartment, where Bruce's love for the trumpet was born. His journey continued at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College, where he was mentored by trumpet virtuoso, Jon Faddis. Bruce completed his studies in 2009 earning a Masters in jazz performance. Since then he has performed with jazz giants such as Barry Harris, Frank Wess, The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars, Winard Harper, T.S. Monk, Myron Walden and Jimmy Cobb. In a 2013 Ebony Magazine article, Bruce was highlighted as one of the five important young jazz musicians you should know. Bruce is one of the young cornerstones at Jazz at Lincoln Center. He has also toured regularly around the world as a member of one of the most classic and important Jazz big bands, The Count Basie Orchestra. performing with his band in the hottest clubs all over the world. http://www.bruceharristrumpet.com/
Winner of the 2015 Thelonius Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition and 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, Jazzmeia Horn has a name that speaks for itself capturing her very essence. Hailing from the great Dallas, Texas Jazzmeia has already earned a reputation in New York as a “Rising Star.” With the ambition to pursue a solo career, Jazzmeia graced the New York scene in 2009 and earned her degree at The New School for Jazz and contemporary Music.
Jazzmeia has appeared in world famous jazz festivals and legendary jazz clubs such as Lenox Lounge, The Apollo, The Blue Note, Dizzy’s Jazz Club Coca Cola, Minton’s, The Jazz Standard, Smalls Jazz Club, Birdland, and The New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Her accolades include Downbeat Student Music Award Recipient 2008, 2009, and Best Vocal Jazz Soloist Winner 2010, The 2013 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program at The Kennedy Center Washington D.C., The Rising Star Award for the 2012 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Jazz Competition, Finalist for MidAtlantic Jazz Vocal Competition 2014, and The 2015 16th Annual Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium’s Young Lioness Award. http://www.theartistryofjazzhorn.com/
Hank Jones’ stature among jazz pianists is iconic. High profile collaborators during his illustrious career include Artie Shaw, Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine, Coleman Hawkins and Benny Goodman. Fittingly, the National Endowment for the Arts has accorded Hank the rare honor of designating him a Jazz Master. http://www.officialhankjones.com/
Drumming great Victor Lewis has compiled an impressive discography since his arrival in NYC in 1974. A short list of musicians he has accompanied includes Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Kenny Barron, Bobby Watson, Woody Shaw, Abbey Lincoln. According to jazz scribe Bill Kohlhasse, “Lewis is master of shading and color, and the kind of timekeeper that could teach a clock new ways to tick.”
Guitarist Tony Lombardozzi has been active on the jazz scene since the 1970's. He has performed extensively with some of the legends of jazz such as Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Ray Charles, Clark Terry, Milt Hinton and more. He is head of the Jazz Department at Wesleyan University and also head of the jazz faculty for BackCountry Jazz Summer Music Camp. Lombardozzi is musical director for Melissa Newman.
Godwin Louis was born in Harlem and grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut and Port au Prince, Haiti. He started playing saxophone at age 9. A recent graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, Louis has performed with Herbie Hancock and Dee Dee Bridgewater just to name a few. He has appeared at the World Expo in Shanghai, China and the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, the JVC Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival.
You only need to hear one note from the horn of Joe Magnarelli to know why he's one of the most in demand trumpet players in New York. His big sound, sense of swing and melodic interpretation have earned him worldwide recognition over the last 20 years.
Guitar great Russell Malone began playing at the age of four in his home of Albany, Georgia with a toy guitar his mother had bought him. Malone is one of the most commanding and versatile guitarists performing. He can move from blues to gospel to pop to R&B and jazz without hesitation, a rare facility that has prompted some of the highest profile artists in the world to call upon him: Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Natalie Cole, Shirley Horn, Christina Aguilera, Harry Connick, Jr, Dianne Reeves. He was part of the Diana Krall Trio, participating in three Grammy-nominated albums, with the final one winning. In 2010 Malone became a member of the band for saxophonist Sonny Rollins.
Rene Marie, whose style incorporates elements of jazz, soul, blues, and gospel has graced the Billboard charts multiple times propelling her to headliner status at major venues in the US and abroad, most recently at BAM with Dr. John and at the Kennedy Center. Since her recording debut, she has evolved into the most sensuous vocalist with immaculate phrasing, and the ability to pack emotional wallops. “Her release of Black Lace Freudian Slip, Marie cements her place among the vocal elite” Jazz Times. I Wanna Be Evil-With Love to Eartha Kitt, was released in September.
Mulgrew Miller is a consummate artist who is held in the highest esteem by his peers, as reflected in the fact that he is the most widely recorded pianist of his generation. A partial list of artists with whom he has collaborated includes an impressive number of jazz legends such as Tony Williams, Betty Carter, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey, Benny Golson and Johnny Griffin. http://www.mulgrewmiller.com/
George Mraz is one of the best-known bassists worldwide. A native of the Czech Republic, he attended the Prague Conservatory studying bass violin. With a profound gift for the acoustic bass, Mraz has been a stalwartpresence on the modern jazz scene from the moment he first landed on these shores. A who's who of jazz masters have made him their first call bassist including the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Clark Terry, Stan Getz, Elvin Jones, Tommy Flanagan, Roland Hanna, Hank Jones, Jimmy Rowles, Zoot Sims, Pepper Adams, Jim Hall, Chet Baker, Art Farmer, Carmen McRae, and many others. He has graced dozens of groundbreaking albums and with credits on almost 1,000 records and CDs, is at the top of a very short list of bassists whose talent and virtuosity is entirely unquestioned. With legendary status, Mraz has dedicated his career to developing the melodic potential of the bass.
While the 2013 presidential inauguration ceremonies may have featured A-list talent, it was the voice of a classically trained mezzo-soprano who drew the most critical acclaim. Honing her craft for many years, St. Louis native Alicia Olatuja has been creating a buzz in the jazz world.
Blending elements of classical, jazz, gospel and pop, Alicia’s unique and soulful musical style is refined and captivating.
Luisito QuinteroO was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where he was surrounded by Afro-Venezuelan and Afro-Cuban rhythm and music. As one of the most sought after percussionist in the country, Luisito has worked and recorded with The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, Diana Krall, the late Celia Cruz, among others. He has earned more than thirteen Grammy awards for his work in numerous recordings for high prole artists. He is the touring percussionist for legendary jazz pianist Chick Corea.
Master drummer, Herlin Riley is steeped in the rhythmic traditions of his native New Orleans and brings those exotic favors to all his musical projects. Member of the Ahmad Jamal Trio, he has recorded with Dr. John, Harry Connick, Jr., George Benson, Dianne Reeves, Bennie Wallace, among others. Herlin’s own group performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center. http://www.herlinriley.com
Playing: "It has Happened to Me"
Catherine Russell is that rarest of entities, a genuine jazz and blues singer who can sing virtually anything. Ms. Russell has performed on three continents, and been a hit on major Jazz Festivals including Monterey, Newport, North Sea, Tanglewood and at shows at premier venues like the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Yoshi’s in San Francisco, and many more. “Her singing is drenched in emotion, drama, experience and pure swing.” – The Wall Street Journal. “With a voice that wails like a horn and whispers like the snake in the Garden ofEden, she’s finally claiming her place in the pantheon of 21st-century jazz divas.” – NPR
Dr. Lonnie Smith
Dr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. Jazz icon and undisputed master of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, he has been featured on over seventy albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry. Dr. Smith’s fan base is worldwide and “everybody rocks when the Doctor is in the house.”
Terell Stafford has been hailed as “one of the great trumpet players of our time” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Known for being a gifted and versatile player with a voice all his own, Stafford combines lyricism and a deep love of melody with a spirited, adventurous edge. Currently, he is a member of the Grammy award winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Stafford has recorded six albums as a leader, including the critically acclaimed This Side of Strayhorn and is heard on over 90 albums as a sideman
Vocalist Brianna Thomas had her NYC debut performance at Dizzy’s Club and at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her talents have captivated the world's major jazz festivals and concert halls including Montreaux, North Sea, and Umbria Jazz Festivals. "With impeccable taste and musicianship, Ms. Thomas may well be the best young straight-ahead jazz singer of her generation.” Will Friedwald - The Wall Street Journal.
Classically trained in his native Nicaragua, American jazz pianist, composer and educator, Donald Vega immigrated to the United States at age 14. A graduate of Juilliard, his awards include the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in 2010 and the prestigious Los Angeles Spotlight Award. Vega has collaborated with masters in jazz such as Billy Higgins, Milt Jackson, Bennie Wallace, Diana Krall, Lewis Nash, Al McKibbon and Alex Acuna. He is also a member of bassist Ron Carter’s Trio. http://www.donaldvega.com/
Inspired by Sarah Vaughn, Charenee Wade began singing jazz at the age of twelve. With a powerful, soulful, elegant voice, she has grown to become a critically acclaimed vocalist, composer and educator, and has been featured in settings from jazz trio to big band to symphony orchestra. Wade tours extensively both in the U.S. and worldwide. Her domestic engagements have included appearances at the Apollo Theater, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Savannah Music Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center and abroad at Festival de Riou, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and recently in Russia. Her musicianship is sought after by many of her peers and her own debut recording Love Walked In, was released in 2010. Her next recording will be released in spring 2015.
The leading bassist of his generation, Peter Washington was a member of the Tommy Flanagan Trio, called by many as “the greatest trio in jazz.” With his adaptability, emphasis on creative, supportive, swing-time playing as well as inventive soloing, he has recorded and performed with a “who’s who” of jazz artists of all generations, Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Hank Jones, Mulgrew Miller, Bennie Wallace, Bill Charlap and many more. A complete discography would list over 350 recordings, and is expanded on a weekly and monthly basis. http://www.allaboutjazz.com
Playing: "At Lulu White's"
David Wong was born and raised in New York City. In 2004, he graduated from the Juilliard School in classical music. He has studied classical bass with Orin O'Brien of the New York Philharmonic, and jazz bass with Ron Carter, Ben Wolfe, and John Clayton. He is currently a member of Roy Haynes' Fountain of Youth band, touring throughout the United States, Europe and Japan, as well as bassist with the “Heath Brothers” quartet,, led by jazz legends Jimmy and Albert "Tootie" Heath. David has an impressive discography for a player only in his first decade of professional playing.
BackCountry Jazz | 15 East Putnam Avenue, #397 | Greenwich, CT 06830-5424 | Phone: 203-869-9454 | Founded in 2007.facebook