Presented in Collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center
Saturday July 15 All Day
Curated by our friends at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Caramoor’s 24th annual Jazz Festival is for jazz enthusiasts of all ages. Headlined by legendary jazz pianist McCoy Tyner, the day-long festival throughout the grounds will feature a wide range of music—including interactive sessions for the kids, the infectious Cuban rhythms of the Pedritro Martinez Group, the innovative guitarist Mary Halvorson, and a centennial celebration of innovative jazz great Thelonious Monk.
Echoes with a Friend: McCoy Tyner Trio with Special Guests Helen Sung* & Craig Taborn
Pedrito Martinez Group
Zaccai Curtis Quartet
Christian Sands Trio
Camille Thurman with the Darrell Green Trio
Michael Mwenso and the Shakes
Monk Centennial Celebration with Sullivan Fortner, Christian Sands, and Helen Sung
Riley Mulherkar: In the Land of Oo-Bla-Dee
Vibes in the Garden with Joseph Doubleday and Simon Moullier
Mary Halvorson and Stephan Crump
Citizens of the Blues
Mariel Bildsten Trio
Jazz at Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra Ensembles
The Mini Shakes (Members of Michael Mwenso and the Shakes)
The Big Clotter Trio
In Honor of Geri Allen: NJPAC’s All Female Jazz Residency
Riffin’ with Riley (children’s program)
Swingin’ with Camille Thurman (children’s program)
Jazz Chat with Seton Hawkins: McCoy Tyner and the Past, Present and Future of Jazz Piano
Jazz Festival Metro-North Getaway Package Save when you purchase a combined Metro-North rail & Day-Only Festival ticket at Metro-North ticket offices or full service ticket vending machines. Learn More.
Members’ Jazz Lounge for all membership levels.
*Pianist Helen Sung will join the evening program, after the loss of legendary jazz pianist Geri Allen, who passed away on June 27.
Enhance your Caramoor experience.
Pre-Order Picnic Boxes
Let us pack your picnic for you! For heartier options, no lines, and the ease of ordering a picnic in advance this summer, consider choosing from our special picnic boxes offered by our caterer, Great Performances. View the menu and order by noting how many of each option you would like after selecting your seats for Jazz Festival. Confirm by selecting "Add to Cart."
Already purchased your tickets? You can still pre-order your picnic by ordering online (be sure to select July 15) or by calling the Box Office at 914.232.1252.
Order by Tuesday at 5:00pm for the upcoming week's performance.
McCoy Tyner’s blues-based piano style, replete with sophisticated chords and an explosively percussive left hand has transcended conventional styles to become one of the most identifiable sounds in improvised music. His harmonic contributions and dramatic rhythmic devices form the vocabulary of a majority of jazz pianists.
Born in 1938 in Philadelphia, he became a part of the fertile jazz and R&B scene of the early 50s. His parents imbued him with a love for music from an early age. His mother encouraged him to explore his musical interests through formal training. At 17 he began a career-changing relationship with Miles Davis™ sideman saxophonist John Coltrane. Tyner joined Coltrane for the classic album My Favorite Things (1960), and remained at the core of what became one of the most seminal groups in jazz history, The John Coltrane Quartet. The band, which also included drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison, had an extraordinary chemistry, fostered in part by Tyner’s almost familial relationship with Coltrane. He performed on Coltrane’s classic recordings such as Live at the Village Vanguard, Impressions and Coltrane’s signature suite, A Love Supreme.
McCoy Tyner was a member of The John Coltrane Quartet and can be heard on the essential albums, My Favorite Things, Live at the Village Vanguard, Impressions and Coltrane’s signature suite, A Love Supreme.
In 1965, after over five years with Coltrane’s quartet, Tyner left the group to explore his destiny as a composer and bandleader. Among his major projects is a 1967 album entitled The Real McCoy, on which he was joined by saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Ron Carter and fellow Coltrane alumnus Elvin Jones. His 1972 Grammy-award nomination album Sahara, broke new ground by the sounds and rhythms of Africa. Since 1980, he has also arranged his lavishly textured harmonies for a big band that performs and records when possible. In the late 1980s, he mainly focused on his piano trio featuring Avery Sharpe on bass and Aarron Scott on drums.
In the summer of 2005, Tyner joined forces with the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York and became the first client of Blue Note Management. That summer, Tyner began work on some unique projects, including performances with tap-dancer Savion Glover and the development of the Impulse! Septet, featuring his trio with some of today’s top horn men.
Tyner’s partnership with the Blue Note has led to the formation of his own record label, aptly titled McCoy Tyner Music. The label is a subsidiary of the Blue Note’s In-House record label, Half Note Records. The label launched on September 11, 2007, upon the release of Tyner’s latest CD, Quartet featuring Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, and Jeff Tain Watts. Recorded live on New Year’s Eve 2006, the album features a working band at its finest with some of today’s legends in training. Additionally, the record shows that Tyner, who now carries the torch as the only surviving member of the John Coltrane Quartet, is still at the top of his game as a composer, performer, and bandleader.
Tyner has always expanded his vision of the musical landscape and incorporated new elements, whether from distant continents or diverse musical influences. More recently he has arranged for big bands, employed string arrangements, and even reinterpreted popular music. Today, Tyner has released nearly 80 albums under his name, earned four Grammys and was awarded Jazz Master from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2002. He continues to leave his mark on generations of improvisers, and yet remains a disarmingly modest and spiritually directed man.
“Taborn’s penchant for sustaining creative fluency through a 360-degree span of stylistic taxonomies, in contexts “inside’ and “outside”, acoustic or electronic, makes him a singular figure among improvisers of his generation” – Downbeat Magazine
Composer/pianist/electronic musician Craig Taborn’s work lives on the imaginary boundary between improvisation and composition as well as between tradition and innovation. He creates pieces that seek to personalize and extend the tradition of jazz and improvised performance that has been defined by luminaries such as Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Muhal Richard Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell and many others.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota Craig Taborn has been performing piano and electronic music in the jazz, improvisational, and creative music scene for twenty years. He has experience composing for and performing in a wide variety of situations including jazz, new music, electronic, rock, noise and Avant Garde contexts. He has played and recorded with many luminaries in the fields of jazz, improvised music and electronic music including Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Tim Berne, John Zorn, Steve Coleman, Dave Holland, Vijay Iyer, David Torn, Susie Ibarra, Carl Craig, Dave Douglas, Meat Beat Manifesto, Larry Klein, Rudresh Manhatappa, and many others.
Taborn is a Doris Duke Artist, a Civitella Rainieri Fellow, and a Shifting Foundation Fellow and was recently voted the Keyboardist of the Year 2016 by the Jazz Journalists Association. His 2011 solo piano album Avenging Angel (ECM Records) was named one of top 10 albums of 2011 by many publications including the New York Times. His 2013 trio album Chants also appeared on many top 10 lists. Daylight Ghosts, a new album of compositions for electric and acoustic 4 piece ensemble, will be released in early 2017 on ECM records.
Hailing from Houston, TX, Helen Sung attended the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and was an aspiring classical pianist before jazz intervened during studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She went on to graduate from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and win the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition.
Presently based in New York City, Sung has worked with such luminaries as the late Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Wynton Marsalis (who named her as one of his “Jazz Musicians to Watch!”), Wayne Shorter, and MacArthur Fellow Regina Carter. In addition to her own band, Sung currently appears with such fine ensembles as the Mingus Big Band and Terri Lyne Carrington’s Grammy-winning Mosaic Project.
With six leader recordings and appearances at festivals/venues including Newport, Monterey, Detroit, SFJAZZ, and Carnegie Hall, Sung’s star continues to rise through regular touring, composition commissions, and unique collaborations (Sung With Words, her Chamber Music American New Jazz Works grant project with celebrated American poet Dana Gioia, is featured on her next release). Inspired by her experience at the Monk Institute, Sung stays involved in music education through residencies and workshops, and serves on the jazz faculties at the Juilliard School and Columbia University.
“The Pedrito Martinez Group is writing a new chapter in Cuban music history” NPR All Things Considered.
Pedro Pablo “Pedrito” Martinez was born in Havana, Cuba, Sept 12, 1973. Having settled in New York City in the fall of 1998, by 2000, he had been awarded the Thelonius Monk Award for Afro-Latin Hand Percussion.
Pedrito has recorded or performed with Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Sting and has contributed, as a percussionist and vocalist, to over 50 albums.
Pedrito’s career as a leader began in 2005 with the formation in NYC of The Pedrito Martinez Group. The group’s Grammy-nominated first album was released October, 2013 and was chosen among NPR’s Favorite Albums of 2013 and The Boston Globe Critics Top Ten Albums of 2013.
Habana Dreams, PMG’s second album, was released in June 2016. Accolades for Habana Dreams include #1 Latin Jazz Album in NPR’s Jazz Critics Top Jazz Albums for 2016 and being named among Boston Globe World Music Albums for 2016.
After graduating from New England Conservatory in 2005, Zaccai Curtis moved to New York City where he performs regularly with artists such as: Donald Harrison, Cindy Blackman Santana, Eddie Palmieri, Christian Scott, Ralph Peterson, T.K. Blue, Brian Lynch, Ray Vega, and Eric Person amongst others.
Curtis composes and arranges for his own quartet, trio, Big-Band, and more. In 2003 he was chosen as a winner of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s competition and each year consecutively through 2006. Zaccai and his quartet were selected by the U.S. State Department to be in the American Music Abroad (Jazz Ambassadors) program two times in 2006. They performed in Bangladesh, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mumbai, Sri Lanka and Maldives. In 2007 Zaccai Curtis was awarded the ‘Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Artist Fellowship’ for ‘original composition.’
Zaccai currently performs his own music with his group ‘Curtis Brothers Quartet’ and recently released his new album, Syzygy (2017) after three successful releases; A Genesis, Blood Spirit Land Water Freedom and Completion of Proof.
Zaccai, along with his brothers Luques, has developed a recording collective (TRRcollective) of musicians that produce music on their own terms. He is proud to have been a producer for the GRAMMY nominated album (Entre Colegas 2016) released on the label (Truth Revolution Records/TRRcollective). This year, Zaccai created the first ever music news app developed for a record label: ‘TRRcollective’ available on iTunes and android.
With his debut Mack Avenue Records recording, REACH, singularly talented pianist and five-time Grammy® Award nominee Christian Sands is stretching into exciting progressive territory as he breaks new ground traversing from the straight-ahead zone into fresh-sounding music influenced by a range of styles, from Afro-Cuban rhythms to hip-hop beats to dirty blues with an edge. That’s impressive for a youngster who is just 27. “The collection here is about reaching new ideas and reaching new music,” he says. “I’m reaching from past recordings to bring in the future, which is really all about finding myself. It’s a chance to express my experience.”
REACH becomes one more milestone in Sands’ auspicious career that stretches back to his New Haven, Connecticut upbringing. Beginning music classes and composing his first piece at age five, he quickly became a professional by ten. Sands was well-prepared to attend such prestigious schools as the Neighborhood Music School and the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven (he later received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music).
Pianist Christian Sands began music classes and composed his first piece at age five, quickly becoming a professional by age ten.
A key moment came when he attended the Jazz in July summer workshop at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst when he was in high school. That was where he met and began his mentorship with Dr. Billy Taylor. “I was 13 or 14 and I studied with Dr. Taylor,” Sands says. “After the first week, he asked me to stay a second. I went on to take private lessons with him and master classes. He became my music grandfather; I went to his house in the Bronx and we’d talk about different music such as his piano heroes like Art Tatum and then bands I was listening to, including The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, John Legend and he was hip to all this.”
Sands has assembled a stellar trio for REACH, including bassist Yasushi Nakamura and drummer Marcus Baylor. The album also features guests Gilad Hekselman on guitar, Marcus Strickland on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet and percussionist Cristian Rivera. He even convinced the album’s co-producer bassist Christian McBride to make a cameo appearance, bowing his bass at the end of the slow tempo “Use Me.”
Throughout the album, Sands shows how he is able to shift musical gears with a variety of styles. “Actually, my biggest influence in making this album was Michael Jackson’s Bad record,” he says. “There are so many different kinds of tunes on that, so many changes. So that’s what I was setting out to do.”
Camille Thurman, multitalented saxophonist, flutist, vocalist, composer and educator is a young musician emerging on the horizon, acquiring an impressive list of accomplishments that extend well beyond her years. Her lush, velvety, rich & warm sound on the tenor saxophone has eluded others to compare her sound to the likeness of tenor greats Gene Ammons, Dexter Gordon, and Lester Young to name a few. Camille’s ability to sing 4 octaves and perform vocalese has given her the capability to influence audiences with melodies reminiscent to the sounds of Minnie Riperton, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan. Her ability to take the sounds evocative of yesteryear’s legends and creatively pair them with the nuances, edge ad freshness of today’s music has not only expanded the possibilities of jazz in the upcoming generation but also gained her the respect of audiences in Israel, Switzerland, and around the world.
An accomplished performer and composer in her own right, Camille has shared the stage with Dr. Billy Taylor, Benny Golson, Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, and many other jazz and R&B icons. Camille leads her own quartet, which has toured Russia, performed at the International Women in Jazz Festival, the Super Jazz Ashdod Israel Jazz Festival and many others around the world. Camille was a runner up in the 2013 International Sarah Vaughan Vocal Competition. She has appeared on BET’s Black Girls Rock as the saxophonist in the All Star Band and has performed at venues including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Jazz Standard, just to name a few. Camille released two albums on the Hot Tone Music Label – Origins and Spirit Child.
Over a career that has spanned more than two decades Oakland, California native Darrell Green has become a master drummer and prolific sideman, sharing stages with leading jazz artists; from Blue Note vibraphonist Stefon Harris to saxophonist Red Holloway. Though jazz is his primary focus, Green is conversant in every genre from straight-ahead jazz to Latin and West African music.
He developed a style that’s rooted in modern post-bop, but retains elements of his gospel and classical lineage. As a soloist, Green became known for his effortless, masterful technique and captivating rhythms that bring the music to life, taking audiences on a spiritual journey.
In 1997 Green landed a scholarship to attend California Institute of the Arts, where he began a comprehensive study of Jazz and West African performance. After returning back to the Bay Area to work with the dynamic Miss Faye Carol, he moved to New York and began working with trumpeter David Weiss, saxophonists Antoine Roney, Sherman Irby, and the Myron Waldon/Darren Barrett Quartet. Shortly thereafter he became a sought-after musician for both session work and live performances.
Green currently works with his trio and quartet which has performed all over the world. He currently tours with Cassandra Wilson, Pharoah Sanders, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Antoine Roney, Charles Toliver, Sherman Irby, Steve Turre, Wallace Roney, Faye Carol, and Jeremy Pelt. He is one of the most in-demand drummers in New York, Europe, and Japan.
Michael Mwenso and The Shakes is a revue comprising between three to five vocalists (they include himself, Brianna Thomas, Charenee Wade, and Vuyo Sotashe) and a rotating ensemble that includes rising stars like drummers Joe Saylor and Jamison Ross, pianist Chris Pattishall, trumpeters Alphonso Horne and Bruce Harris, and tenor saxophonist Tivon Pennicott. From time to time, internationally acclaimed singer Cecile McLorin Salvant and pianists Jonathan Batiste, Aaron Diehl, and Sullivan Fortner—among others—augment this close-knit musical family. All developed their ideas and accrued public visibility at late night shows booked and overseen by Mwenso since 2012 (when he joined Jazz At Lincoln Center as Curator and Programming Associate) at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at JALC’s complex in New York’s Time-Warner Center.
Mwenso, 31, developed his unique skill sets through the course of several eventful life journeys. Born in 1984, he lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in West Africa until age 10, when his single mother brought him to London, England. He began singing and playing piano, then trombone, and by 13 was touring with an old school swing band. During these formative years, he also immersed himself in recordings of American jazz and roots music. His learning curve rose dramatically after his mother, who worked as a nightclub hostess, decided to have him spend nights at the internationally prestigious Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, whose floor manager was a family friend. Mwenso took advantage of a singular opportunity to witness, talk to and learn from jazz giants like Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, Betty Carter, Benny Carter, Tommy Flanagan and Johnny Griffin, all attracted by his superior knowledge of their recordings. His charismatic blend of raw talent and precocious erudition also drew the attention of James Brown, who offered Mwenso the signal honor of a guest spot singing and dancing at his UK engagements when he was 14, 15, and 16.
Bandleader Michael Mwenso joined Jazz at Lincoln Center as Curator and Programming Associate and brought The Shakes together in 2012 featuring exceptional jazz talents.
At 16, Mwenso left school and turned professional. He played trombone in reggae and Afrobeat horn sections (including a group led by drum legend Tony Allen) and jammed with American expat drummer Clifford Jarvis and London’s strongest African- and Caribbean-descended hardcore jazz musicians. At 21, he started to focus on singing, most consequentially in a four-voice group, mixing well-wrought high-velocity bebop vocalese and scat, the blues, standards, and Black American folk music. They performed not infrequently at Ronnie Scott’s, where in 2007 Mwenso established a late-night jam session. Under his ministrations, it soon became a go-to spot not just for jazz musicians, but millennial generation dancers, actors, artists and general music fans.
In 2009, Wynton Marsalis—who met and befriended Mwenso in 1997—played a week at Ronnie Scott’s. After witnessing the vibrant scene that Mwenso had coalesced, he invited him to move to New York, with a mandate to attract a younger, broader audience to Dizzy’s and JALC, while retaining values consistent with Marsalis’ “all jazz is modern” mantra. Mwenso’s success in accomplishing this mission is evident: the Shakes were featured on the November 17, 2015 edition of Christian McBride’s Jazz Night In America on NPR, and performed at the Kennedy Center’s 2015 New Year’s Eve Gala.
“You’re getting a generation of holistic musicians who love Louis Armstrong just as much as Woody Shaw, Sidney Bechet as much as Ornette Coleman,” Mwenso says. “They want to be free in all styles of music—free in themselves. We’re figuring out ways to play this music as art, but as entertainment, too.”
Sullivan Fortner is the 2015 Cole Porter Fellow in Jazz of the American Pianist Association.
Sullivan Joseph Fortner Jr. is a native New Orleanian who has already made a significant foray into the jazz world that belies his young age. While touring with Stefon Harris & Blackout, Christian Scott Quintet, and the Roy Hargrove Quintet, Sullivan completed his Master’s degree in Jazz Performance at Manhattan School of Music under the tutorage of Jason Moran, and Phil Markowitz. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Sullivan began playing music by ear at the age of seven. Two years later, he was playing for church choirs throughout New Orleans. By the time he was 11 years old, Sullivan had won a Cox Cable “Amazing Kids Award”. At the age of 13, Sullivan furthered his formal education in piano by attending the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and earned scholarships to several prestigious summer jazz programs, including the Vail Jazz Institute and the Skidmore Jazz Studies Summer Program. A standout on the stage and in the classroom, Sullivan was Valedictorian of his high school class while simultaneously graduating from NOCCA. He has studied and performed with many great musicians, including The Marsalis Family, Donald Harrison, Nicholas Payton, Billy Hart, Gary Bartz, Marcus Belgrave, The Jordan Family, Irvin Mayfield, Peter Martin, Dave Liebman, and a host of others.
Riley Mulherkar has been recognized as a “smart young trumpet player” by The New York Times and praised by The Wall Street Journal as a “youngster to keep an eye on.” As a bandleader, Riley is a founding member of The Westerlies, a new music brass quartet that has premiered over 50 new works since its inception in 2011, creating the rarest of hybrids: music that is both “folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). As a musical director, Riley has worked with a number of leading artists of our time, including NEA Jazz Masters Wynton Marsalis and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Riley also serves as Artistic Director for Jazz at The Joye in Aiken Festival, bringing leading young musicians, actors and dancers to the historic city of Aiken, South Carolina.
Born and raised in Seattle, Riley moved to New York in 2010 to study at The Juilliard School, where he completed his Bachelor’s Degree in 2014 and his Master’s in 2015, receiving the Knowles Prize for Jazz and the Peter Mennin Prize for outstanding achievement and leadership in music. He is also an inaugural recipient of Juilliard’s Marks Fellowship. In 2011, Riley was named a “rising jazz artist” by Wynton Marsalis in JET magazine, and in 2014 was the first recipient of the Laurie Frink Career Grant at the Festival of New Trumpet Music.
Riley Mulherkar is a member a founding member of The Westerlies, a musical director having worked with Wynton Marsalis and Dee Dee Bridgewater, and is Artistic Director for Jazz at The Joye in Aiken Festival.
Riley is actively engaged in educational outreach, founding the music program at stART Osceola, a summer arts intensive in Florida, where he taught for five years. He has facilitated master classes in Brazil, Mexico, and across the United States.
Raised in Mustang, Oklahoma, Joseph Doubleday was the first Vibraphonist accepted to the Jazz Studies program (MM ’15) at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City.
Since completing his studies, he has been co-leading “Felix Peikli & Joe Doubleday’s Showtime Band”, which focuses on pre-bebop and swing-era music with instrumentation reminiscent of Benny Goodman’s small groups. Their first CD It’s Showtime! was released in fall 2016, headlining major jazz festivals (Oslo Jazz Festival, Sopot Jazz Festival Poland, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival).
In addition to being a band leader, Joe has toured with Chris Potter’s Underground Orchestra, played at The Village Vanguard with The Kenny Barron Quintet, recorded for rap superstar Mac Miller, and was recently featured in a duo setting with Stefon Harris on his upcoming record.
Born in France, Simon Moullier was introduced to music at a very early age. After twelve years of classical music studies, drumming and African percussions, he found his voice on the vibraphone. Simon performed in several clubs and jazz festivals around the world: France, U.S, Sweden, Cuba, Italy, U.K, Panama, Spain, and Indonesia.
In 2012, Simon was accepted in Berklee where he studied for four years with Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Garzone, Dave Liebman, and Antonio Sanchez.
As of today, Simon is a versatile multi-instrumentalist on vibraphone, keyboards, balafon, and drums. In 2016, he was selected to be a part of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz two-year program with renowned musicians Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
Riley Mulherkar, trumpet
Zubin Hensler, trumpet
Andy Clausen, trombone
Willem de Koch, trombone
The Westerlies are a New York based brass quartet comprised of four childhood friends from Seattle, Washington: Riley Mulherkar and Zubin Hensler on trumpet, and Andy Clausen and Willem de Kochon trombone.
Formed in 2011, the self-described “accidental brass quartet” take their name from the prevailing winds from the West to the East. “Skilled interpreters who are also adept improvisers” (NPR’s Fresh Air), The Westerlies explore jazz, roots, and chamber music influences to create the rarest of hybrids: music that is both “folk-like and composerly, lovely and intellectually rigorous” (NPR Music). Equally at home in concert halls and living rooms, The Westerlies navigate a wide array of venues with the precision of a string quartet, the audacity of a rock band, and the charm of a family sing-along.
The Westerlies’ four members were childhood friends and sometime musical rivals in their hometown of Seattle – they regularly competed against each other in regional competitions. Each member independently moved to New York City, which led to the old friends reconnecting and performing together. Since their inception, The Westerlies have shared the stage with such diverse acts as Radiolab, Bill Frisell, Vieux Farka Toure, and Juilliard Dance.
Every member of The Westerlies attended the same Seattle high school and after independently all relocating to NYC, a chance reunion led the old friends to begin performing and playing music together.
The Westerlies are currently performing in support of their self-titled sophomore album, which features original music by each member of the ensemble captured in vivid detail by GRAMMY-winning producer Jesse Lewis (Roomful of Teeth, Brooklyn Rider, Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, LA Phil). The group discovered Jesse through his discography, but as luck would have it, he attended the same Seattle high school as three of The Westerlies’ members. The connection between the five of them was immediate and deep, and the collaborative recording process reflects the democratic nature of The Westerlies and pushes the sonic limits of the brass quartet instrumentation.
Much of the music was composed over the course of two residencies in the summer of 2015, then recorded at The Farm Studio (a painting of which is on the album’s cover) in West Chester, PA. Following their critically acclaimed debut album Wish the Children Would Come On Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz, this is a boldly personal set of music that is equally virtuosic and vulnerable.
The Westerlies perform without sheet music, allowing a direct connection to the audience that is all too rare in the chamber music world. This is no homogenous chamber group, unified in its allegiance to the wishes of a composer. Every piece of music touched by The Westerlies reflects the unique sensibilities and personalities of these four individuals, in all their strengths and quirks. Their music exudes the warmth of their longstanding friendships and reflects the broad interests of the band members.
Recent engagements include The Newport Jazz Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn, New Music Bryant Park, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland, NYU Skirball Center, Cooper Hewitt Museum, The New School, The Juilliard School, Seattle Symphony, The Festival of New Trumpet Music, Juilliard in Aiken Festival, Music in the Mountains (Durango, CO), Vancouver Jazz Festival, Roulette, Constellation Chicago, Seattle Art Museum and Earshot Jazz Festival. Active collaborators, The Westerlies have worked with artists in a variety of disciplines, including Vieux Farke Toure, Dave Douglas, Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Julia Easterlin, visual artist David Foarde, Cocoon Central Dance Team, Choreographer Garth Johnson, and Juilliard Dance.
Guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson has been called “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts), “the most forward-thinking guitarist working right now” (Lars Gotrich, NPR.org) and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice). Ms. Halvorson is best known for her longstanding trio, featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, and more recently for her solo guitar project, Meltframe. She has several other projects as a bandleader including a quintet, septet and octet. Collaborative projects include the collective ensembles Thumbscrew (with Michael Formanek and Tomas Fujiwara) and Secret Keeper (with Stephan Crump), a chamber-jazz duo with violist Jessica Pavone, and the avant-rock band People. Ms. Halvorson has also performed in bands led by Anthony Braxton, Tim Berne, Taylor Ho Bynum, Trevor Dunn, Tomas Fujiwara, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot and John Zorn, among others.
Memphis-bred, Grammy-nominated bassist/composer Stephan Crump has lived in Brooklyn since 1994. As a longtime collaborator with adventurous jazz composers (since 1999 with Vijay Iyer) as well as guitar visionary Mary Halvorson and singer-songwriter Jen Chapin, he has become known for the elegance and purposeful groove of his acoustic and electric bass playing, and for transforming his instrument into a speaking entity with magnetic pull. As a composer, he is emerging as a singular voice. His music can be heard in numerous films and on his ten critically acclaimed albums as leader, the latest of which is the forthcoming, Rhombal, featuring his quartet with Tyshawn Sorey, Ellery Eskelin, and Adam O’Farrill. Stephan is an enthusiastic endorser of Velvet strings, Aguilar bass amplifiers, AMT acoustic bass microphones, and David Gage Czech Ease travel bass.
Citizens of the Blues
Citizens of the blues (COTB) is a group comprised of young musicians who are all currently studying at the Juilliard School of music. They came together after realizing that they were all united by a mutual dedication towards playing the blues, swinging, and finding greater meaning in life and music. They are about something more than the tangible. In a time where strong spiritual and aesthetic conceptions are not a priority and there is no substantial platform to deal with the troubles we face, COTB seeks to be citizens of something that promotes a greater level of depth in our consciousness by addressing these problems through music. Their music speaks to the realities of the people. Through the power of blues and swing, Citizens of the Blues seek to emit a feeling of joy that penetrates deep into the soul, giving people the strength to transcend the problems of daily life and march into the future with style and grace.
Fernando Saci is an accomplished percussionist, producer, arranger, composer, and educator based in New York City. Throughout his career, he has performed and recorded with renowned artists including samba, bossa nova, and jazz greats Dona Ivone Lara, Leci Brandão, Almir Guineto, Nilson Matta, Kenny Barron, Leny Andrade, Steve Wilson, Harry Allen, Grechen Porlato, Anat Cohen, Duduka Da Fonseca, Paul Lieberman, Mario Adnet, Moacir Santos, Mark Walker, Oscar Stagnaro, Alexei Tsignov, Fernando and Sergio Brandão, Alberto Netto, R&B singer Cherryl Pepsii Riley, and Brianna Thomas. Saci is frequently sought after as a collaborator. He currently performs with the Nilson Matta Group, Brianna Thomas, Catarina dos Santos Project, Nation Beat, Brazista, Tiago E A Familia, and the traditional Brazilian samba ensemble Turma do Samba.
Originally from Campinas, Sao Paulo, Saci demonstrated a passion and natural talent for all things percussion at a young age. Surrounded by music as a child, his grandfather hosted several musical gatherings where he first learned to play various percussion rhythms from family and friends. At age 7, he began his percussion studies at the community center Casa de Cultura Tainã. Here he quickly mastered his craft and soon began teaching various percussion instruments to others at the center. After playing professionally for several years, in 2002, Saci was selected to study at one of the most respected musical conservatories in Brazil, Conservatório Dramático e Musical “Carlos de Campos” in Tatuí, São Paulo. At Tatuí, he specialized in jazz and MPB percussion and graduated in 2005, going on to explore many other genres of music.
Fascinated by jazz, in 2011 he moved from Brazil to the United States, first settling in Somerville, MA outside of Boston. Here, he founded the first maracatu group in the area, and was invited by Berklee College of Music professor Alberto Netto to participate in his percussion week workshops teaching Brazilian rhythms. He also met and collaborated with a range of respected jazz musicians at the top of their craft, including Duduka Da Fonseca, Nilson Matta and Paul Lieberman, with whom he toured. In order to pursue more opportunities to play with the great artists of the genre, he was encouraged to move to NYC, and did so in 2012 where he currently resides.
In the fall of 2012, he was asked by the legendary bassist Nilson Matta to participate in the recording sessions for his new album Nilson Matta’s Black Orpheus released the following spring. In May of 2013 he served as a faculty member at the Samba Meets Jazz workshops in Bar Harbor, ME. Currently he lives in East Harlem and teaches private percussion and drum set lessons. He is at work on his first solo album to be released in 2014.
Mariel Bildsten is a trombonist who works as a bandleader and side-woman in New York. She plays in jazz big bands and small groups, as well as world and Caribbean music, classical, funk, r&b, and Latin music bands. She has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Smalls Jazz Club, Minton’s, and Smoke Jazz Club, among other venues, and her music has brought her to Australia and Venezuela. Mariel has also performed alongside Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Wycliffe Gordon, Brian Lynch, Cyrus Chestnut, Lew Soloff, and Frank Lacy. Mariel graduated from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in the fall of 2015, and studied with mentors such as Elliot Mason, Vincent Gardner, Mike LeDonne, Reggie Workman, and Jane Ira Bloom. Her mission is to play music that uplifts spirits and honors both the past and the present of jazz music.
The Big Clotter Trio
Jason Clotter, bass
Jason Clotter, a bassist from Puerto Cortes, Honduras, has always been fascinated with sound since his earlier years. During his years migrating from Honduras to New York City, he has studied the sound of music, English, and has grown tremendously since he started playing the bass in high school. Clotter has shared the stage with numerous great musicians such as Eli Yamen, Vincent Gardner, Marquis Hill, Pete Malinvarni, Steve Davis, Nat Reeves and many more. He has performed in venues such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Smalls Jazz Club, Smoke, Grand Ole Opry, and Reduta Jazz Club ( Czech Republic). Clotter has been selected to be apart many programs such as Jazz Lincoln Center, Manhattan school music Pre college, Bloomingdales school in music, Skidmore Jazz Institute and much more. Currently, Jason attends Purchase College.
Giveton Gelin, trumpet
Pursuing jazz is difficult when you lack an environment to develop in the Bahamas, but since the age of 10 Giveton Gelin (now 18) has taught himself how to play the trumpet simply by emulating what he would hear on his favorite records. Despite years of self-tutelage it wasn’t until he saw double bass player Adrian D’Aguilar playing live that Giveton realised “there was a place for jazz in the Bahamas!” Through this encounter led to Giveton taking part in music program abroad such as The Manhattan School of Music Summer Camp Jazz Band, Manhattan School of Music Summer Camp Latin Jazz Band and The Spike Wilner Trio. Giveton has won top position at both the YoungArts Foundation and the Betty Carter Jazz ahead program. Giveton has received mentoring from some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Eddie Henderson, Barry Harris, Jason Moran, Ralph Peterson, Roy Hargrove and much more. Giveton continues to excel in his musical growth.
Julius Rodriguez, drums
Julius Rodriguez is pianist and drummer bringing his unique approach to the growing pool of young jazz talents. Julius has shared the stage with many recognizable names including Javon Jackson, Andra Day, Wycliffe Gordon, James Morrison, Jazzmeia Horn, Dev Hynes, Roy Hargrove, Macy Gray, Wynton Marsalis, Nick Hakim, and many more. Hailing from Westchester, NY, Julius has traveled to perform at places such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington D.C., the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia, the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, and the Monterey Jazz Festival, as well as internationally in Japan and Australia. Julius has been selected as a YoungArts National Finalist on both piano and drums, as well as a drummer in the Grammy Jazz Session and Next Generation Orchestra, a pianist at the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Workshop and a 4-Time NAACP ACT-SO (Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological, and Scientific Olympics) National Medalist for instrumental music performance and music composition. Julius currently studies jazz piano at the Juilliard School while performing around New York City.