JAZZ AT THE SANDBAR ARCHIVES
Drummer SHANNON POWELL
Shannon Powell is a highly sought-after drummer and percussionist who has achieved international acclaim for his commanding technique and style, rooted in the characteristic funky drum beats of New Orleans. As a youth growing up in New Orleans' storied Faubourg Tremé, home to many of the city's jazz performers, Powell was surrounded by music. From 1987 to 1992, Powell toured extensively with Harry Connick, Jr. and released two platinum albums with Connick. During subsequent years, Powell has toured with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Marcus Roberts, Diana Krall, Dr. John, Earl King, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and John Scofield. Powell has also recorded with a long list of noteworthy artists, including Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison, Irvin Mayfield, Leroy Jones, Blind Boys of Alabama, Topsy Chapman, John Boutte, Kermit Ruffins, Tommy Ridgely, Charmaine Neville, Jeremy Davenport, Chuck Carbo, Johnny Adams, Lars Edegran, Russell Malone, Juanita Brooks, Henry Butler, Mighty Sam McClain, Barbara Shorts, George Porter, Jr., Snooks Eaglin and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Considered a living legend in New Orleans music, Shannon Powell is heralded as "The King of Treme," the neighborhood where he grew up in New Orleans, which has given birth to countless musical inspirations and innovations.
Percussionist ALEXEY MARTI
Havana-born percussionist Alexey Marti made New Orleans his home-base back in 2008 and has been tearing up stages all over town ever since. Alexey began performing in Afro-Cuban religious ceremonies in Cuba at the age of 7. At the age of 16 he joined the world renowned Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble “Diákara”, under the leadership of the legendary singer and drummer Oscar Valdés. Since moving here, Alexey has been studying in the UNO Jazz Studies program and has performed with many New Orleans greats including Los Hombres Calientes, Davell Crawford, Shannon Powell, David Torkanowsky and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Currently, he is at the forefront of the Latin music scene in New Orleans, tirelessly exploring new musical terrain and incorporating it back into his own rich musical roots. There is no doubt in his skills, as he finished first place in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Institute Competition for his Afro-Latin Hand Drumming. Alexey incorporates elements of modern New Orleans percussion into his flavorful Cuban conga and rumba music and the result is a dance-worthy, entertaining and high-energy show.
Singer SASHA MASAKOWSKI
Sasha Masakowski was born into a family of musicians in New Orleans, Louisiana and has been a leading voice on the New Orleans music scene since 2009, when she was awarded “Best Emerging Artist” by the Big Easy Association. She has since performed major clubs and festivals across the United States and abroad, and leads three bands of her own that range from traditional New Orleans jazz (Sidewalk Strutters) to contemporary jazz and world music (Musical Playground) to experimental electronic art-rock (Hildegard, Tra$h Magnolia). Vanity Fair Magazine just listed Sasha as one of the top jazz musicians in the world and December 2015 issue of Downbeat Magazine named Sasha among the most innovative musicians coming out of New Orleans to date. She has performed 5 years consecutively at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and has toured across the U.S., Asia, Europe and Central America. Sasha'a approach to music is as playful, charismatic and spontaneous as her personality. Her influences draw from jazz to electronic music to rock and she performs often in fully improvised settings to help cultivate her exotic style. Sasha has earned a reputation internationally as a daring, fearless improviser and charming interpreter, working often alongside other progressive, genre-defying musicians such as Zach Danziger, Cliff Hines, Aurora Nealand, Paul Thibodeaux, Irvin Mayfield, and Jason Lindner to name a few.
Organist DR. LONNIE SMITH
Dr. Lonnie Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer and recording artist. An authentic master and guru of the Hammond B-3 organ for over five decades, he has been featured on over 70 albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the industry. Consequently, he has often been hailed as a “Legend,” a “Living Musical Icon,” and as the most creative jazz organist by a slew of music publications. The Doctor’s first gigs were at Buffalo’s hottest jazz club, the Pine Grill, where he rapidly garnered the attention of folks like Jack McDuff, Lou Donaldson, George Benson and the booking agent Jimmy Boyd. George Benson was looking for an organist for his quartet and enlisted Lonnie. The group soon relocated to New York City, where they quickly established a reputation as innovators in Harlem clubs and throughout the area. His unpredictable, insatiable musical taste illustrates that no genre is safe, as Lonnie has recorded everything from covers of the Beatles, the Stylistics and the Eurythmics, to tribute albums of Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane and Beck–all by employing ensembles ranging from a trio to a fifteen-piece big band. Moreover, many of Doc’s recent compositions reflect dramatic ethereal qualities and orchestration that elicit movie scores or soundtracks. Many awards have followed since 1969, when Downbeat magazine named Dr. Lonnie Smith “Top Organist” of the year. 2003-2014 he was awarded “Organist/Keyboardist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalist Association. The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and Jazz Organ Fellowship have also inducted Dr. Lonnie, and in 2015 he received the Village Music Legends Award. He is scheduled to receive the NEA Jazz Masters Award, the highest honor in jazz, on April 3, 2017.
Vibraphonist CHUCK REDD
Chuck Redd is well known internationally as a performer on drums and vibraphone. He began recording and touring the globe when he joined the Charlie Byrd Trio at the age of 21 and has since done 25 European tours, six tours of Japan and is featured on over 80 recordings. For two consecutive years, Chuck was awarded “Best Vibist” in New York City’s Hot House Jazz Magazine 2015 and 2016 Fans Decision award. Chuck’s career highlights include a concert with the Dizzy Gillespie Quintet in Africa for the Namibian Independence Celebration, a recital at the White House with the Barney Kessel Trio, four concerts at Carnegie Hall with the Mel Torme Quintet and The Great Guitars appearance on The Tonight Show. In 2008, he was a featured soloist on the finale concert at The Lionel Hampton International Jazz festival with The Lionel Hampton Big Band and the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. Chuck was the 2014 honoree at The Roswell Jazz Festival and the 2013 Los Angeles Jazz Society’s Vibes Summit honoree. Chuck is also on the faculty at The University of Maryland School of Music and presents master classes, workshops and lectures around the country.
Singer KURT ELLING
Renowned for his singular combination of robust swing and poetic insight, Grammy winner Kurt Elling has secured his place among the world's foremost jazz vocalists. Declared "the standout male vocalist of our time" by The New York Times, Elling has garnered unprecedented accolades, including a fourteen-year run atop the DownBeat Critics Poll, a dozen Grammy nominations, and eight Jazz Journalists Association awards for "Male Singer of the Year." Elling's voice is instantly recognizable, embracing listeners with his warm, rich baritone and navigating the full span of his four-octave range as a virtuoso instrumentalist and a compelling storyteller. Whether transforming timeless standards or crafting his own enthralling originals, Elling balances elegant lyricism and technical mastery with wry humor, emotional depth, and keen observations into the human condition. Elling had previously joined Marsalis and his long-running Quartet for 2016’s Grammy-nominated Upward Spiral, which All About Jazz hailed as “suffused with graciousness, beauty, and, on occasion, heartbreak.” The fruitful collaboration has continued (alongside a heated, if tongue-in-cheek, Twitter rivalry), with Marsalis praising Elling for “the ability to create color with his voice that is really unique. Much like Billie Holiday, he can change the sound of his voice to match the emotion that's required for the song." Elling has also played with Associate Chair of the Department of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at the University of New Orleans, Ed Petersen.
Trumpeter KEVIN LOUIS
Kevin Louis, a native New Orleanian, is known for his beautiful tone, swinging feel, and soulful improvisations. He has toured at least thirty countries as a performer, clinician and private instructor. This includes five tours through regions such as Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America as a U.S. Department of State/ John F. Kennedy Center Jazz Ambassador. Like any humble artist, he is quick to note those educators who’ve guided him to this point, and the list is impressive, including such jazz education luminaries as Clyde Kerr Jr., Kenneth Davis, Donald Walden, Stacy Cole, Wendell Logan, Gregory Bandy, Neal Creque, Sir Roland Hanna and Michael Phillip Mossman. Mr. Louis has also has been schooled in classical trumpet technique under the instruction of William Lucas, Byron Pearson, Ronald Benko and Charles Couch. Kevin is a 1995 graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. He earned a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance at Oberlin Conservatory of Music (’99), and he holds a Masters of Arts from the Aaron Copeland’s School of Music at Queens College(’01). “Rarely does talent come along and ring as true as in the case of Kevin Louis. He is truly a great trumpet player and complete musician. I have become a big fan of this very intelligent and soulful musician.” – Paul Mercer Ellington.
Guitarist PETER BERNSTEIN
Jazz guitarist Peter Bernstein has been a part of the jazz scene in New York and abroad since 1989. During that time he has participated in over 200 recordings and numerous festival, concert and club performances with musicians from all generations. As a leader, Peter has released 12 albums and a DVD, Live at Smoke. He got his first break while attending the New School when he met the legendary guitarist Jim Hall. Hall asked Peter to participate in his Invitational Concert as part of the 1990 JVC Jazz Festival. Hall noted that Peter “…has paid attention to the past as well as the future. He is the most impressive guitarist I’ve heard. He plays the best of them all for swing, logic, feel and taste.” Also in 1990, Peter Bernstein was discovered by alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson and took part in the first of four recordings with him. He was a regular member of his group throughout the 1990s. “Peter has also enjoyed long musical associations with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb (Cobb’s Mob), as well as organist Larry Goldings and drummer Bill Stewart as a member of their highly acclaimed trio. The New York Times called them “the best organ trio of the last decade”. Together they recorded a dozen of records, all of which display their distinctive sound, whether exploring the depths of jazz standards or playing their original compositions. From 1995 through 1997, Peter was a member of Joshua Redman’s band and played on Redman’s Freedom in the Groove CD. He played with Diana Krall’s quartet from 1999 through 2001 and with Dr. Lonnie Smith, the legendary organist who made his debut on the George Benson Cookbook albums. He has also recorded five CDs with organist Melvin Rhyne, known for his association with Wes Montgomery. In addition, Peter has appeared in groups led by Sonny Rollins, Bobby Hutcherson, George Coleman, David Fathead Newman, Etta Jones and Nicholas Payton.
Pianist ELLIS MARSALIS
Education icon Ellis Marsalis kicks off the new season of Jazz at the Sandbar. Marsalis is the premier modern jazz pianist of New Orleans and the father of a generation of contemporary jazz musicians who are considered the international leaders of the current scene. Ellis Marsalis returns to the University of New Orleans where he headed Jazz Studies as the first endowed chair of the department in the 1990s.
Saxophonist MARK TURNER &
Pianist ETHAN IVERSON
In a career that spans two decades and encompasses a broad array of musical ventures, saxophonist Mark Turner has emerged as a towering presence in the jazz community. With a distinctive, personal tone, singular improvisational skills and an innovative, challenging compositional approach, he has earned a far-reaching reputation as one of jazz's most original and influential musical forces.After graduating from Bostons prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1990, Turner moved to New York, where his rapidly developing talents were quickly recognized. Between 1995 and 2001, he recorded five albums of his own while keeping busy as a sought-after collaborator and sideman. With an impressive musical history already under his belt and more on the way, Mark Turner is clearly on the verge of a creative renaissance. As The New York Times noted, His best work is clearly still ahead of him.
Pianist, composer, and writer Ethan Iverson was a founding member of The Bad Plus, a game-changing collective with Reid Anderson and David King. The New York Times called TBP “…Better than anyone at melding the sensibilities of post-60’s jazz and indie rock.” Iverson also has been in the critically-acclaimed Billy Hart quartet for well over a decade and occasionally performs with an elder statesman like Albert “Tootie” Heath or Ron Carter. For over 15 years Iverson’s website Do the Math has been a repository of musician-to-musician interviews and analysis, surely one reason Time Out New York selected Iverson as one of 25 essential New York jazz icons: “Perhaps NYC’s most thoughtful and passionate student of jazz tradition—the most admirable sort of artist-scholar.”
Trumpeter ASHLIN PARKER
A sought-after and versatile jazz trumpeter in New Orleans, UNO Alumni, Ashlin Parker plays with large and small ensembles nationally and internationally. His solos have been described at various times as being lyrical or fiery, with throaty growls or "brilliant vibrato," and with lightning staccato runs or "superb legato" phrasing. Ashlin shared in the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble for the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s album, Book One. Ashlin leads the Trumpet Mafia that made their festival debut in 2015 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He plays with numerous ensembles, such as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, Bill Summers and Jazalsa, The Next Generation Big Band, Vivaz! and the Moscow-New Orleans Project, as well as groups led by Roland Guerin, Adonis Rose, Derek Douget, and Leroy Jones. He has played with musicians such as Jason Marsalis, Herlin Riley, Vincent Gardner, Brice Winston, Kermit Ruffins, Nicholas Payton, Igor Butman, Aretha Franklin, Anthony Hamilton, and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Ashlin has been teaching various aspects of jazz, including improvisation, theory, repertoire, arranging, and performance preparation in private lessons, courses, summer institutes, jazz camps, and master classes for more than ten years. He has been leading the jazz trumpet studio in the Music Department at the University of New Orleans since January 2011.
Trumpeter JEREMY PELT
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. 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.
Clarinetist DON BYRON
American composer and multi-instrumentalist, Don Byron, primarily plays clarinet, but has also been known to use the bass clarinet and saxophones. Though rooted in jazz, Byron's music is stylistically eclectic. He has worked in many different musical genres, ranging from klezmer music and German lieder, to Raymond Scott's "cartoon-jazz," hard rock/metal, and rap. Most of Byron's albums have been conceptual, devoted to works of a particular musician and/or style of music. Don Byron has been consistently voted best clarinetist by critics and readers alike in leading international music journals since being named “Jazz Artist of the Year” by DownBeat in 1992. Continually striving for what he calls "a sound above genre," Byron has created a unique musical aesthetic in a wide range of contexts over the years.
An integral member of New York's cultural community for decades, Byron has taken part in an extraordinarily wide range of projects. For four seasons, Byron served as artistic director of jazz at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Other projects include arrangements of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musicals; There Goes the Neighborhood; original scores for the silent film Scar of Shame and a 1961 comedic television episode by Ernie Kovacs. A residency at the Library of Congress featured his Fine Line band; the premiere of Slip, his composition for violin and piano commissioned by the McKim Foundation; and a lecture about music in films. As artist-in-residence at Symphony Space in New York City, Byron created Contrasting Brilliance: The Music of Henry Mancini and Sly Stone in 2000.
Pianist DANILO PEREZ
Pianist, composer, educator and social activist, Danilo Pérez is among the most influential and dynamic musicians of our time. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in electronics in Panama, he studied jazz composition at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. While still a student, he performed with Jon Hendricks, Terence Blanchard, Slide Hampton, Claudio Roditi and Paquito D’Rivera. Quickly established as a young master, he soon toured and/or recorded with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie United Nations Orchestra from 1989-1992, plus many more. In 1993, Pérez turned his focus to his own ensembles and recording projects, releasing eight albums as a leader, earning Grammy® and Latin Grammy® nominations for Central Avenue (1989), Motherland (2000), Across The Crystal Sea (2008). Pérez, who served as Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF, has received a variety of awards for his musical achievements, activism and social work efforts. He currently serves as UNESCO Artist for Peace, Cultural Ambassador to the Republic of Panama, Founder and Artistic Director of the Panama Jazz Festival, and Artistic Director of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Guitarist PHIL DEGRUY
Critically acclaimed guitarist Phil deGruy's delightful fusing of creative energy, radical genius and impeccable craft has yielded much acclaim from contemporaries. Upon hearing Phil, Danny Gatton opined, "I have never been more impressed with anybody's playing, ever!" And Jazz star Larry Coryell has described him as the "most original solo guitarist of the 90s." After falling under the spell of Chet Atkins, New Orleans native deGruy began plucking an electric guitar behind its bridge and was compelled to incorporate these sounds into his music. Hank Mackie, Phil's extraordinary teacher, suggested fashioning the harp strings to sit on the guitarp's body where the pick guard would be located, thereby extending chord voicings in one motion and evoking the illusion of a "limitless" guitar, turning a sad chord into a tragedy, a happy chord into bliss and thereby enabling the juxtaposed variations of both.
Drummer JAMISON ROSS
Jamison Ross is a vocalist and drummer that delivers messages of humanity through the medium of jazz.
A native of Jacksonville, FL, Jamison began his study of jazz as a high school student and gained worldwide acclaim as a featured musician in the Tribeca Film Festival winning documentary CHOPS.
Ross continued his studies at Florida State University, where he met his current band members, and at UNO, in the city where he currently resides. In 2012, Ross’ career began to take shape after winning the Thelonious Monk Jr. International Jazz Competition for his drumming. This achievement afforded him a recording contract with Concord Jazz. His 2015 debut release, Jamison, introduced the world to his concept of rhythm and melody and also garnered a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Saxophonist JANE BUNNETT & MAQUEQUE
As an educator, spokesperson and social activist, she remains unafraid to explore uncharted territory in her quest for excellence! Bunnett has recorded more than a dozen albums featuring Cuban artists, including 1992’s landmark Spirits of Havana.
Already a national treasure, Jane Bunnett certainly doesn’t sit on her laurels. She’s too busy creating music, touring, and championing Cuban artists, and making sure visas are in order, for that. A long-time jazz musician on the scene, Bunnett began digging deep into the music of Cuba during a trip there in 1982, and falling in love with its intricate folkloric Afro-Cuban rhythms, blending them with contemporary jazz sounds. Bunnett has been credited with introducing a lot of great Cuban musicians to North American audiences over the past couple of decades, including Dafnis Prieto, Yosvanny Terry, Pedrito Martínez and David Virelles. -Raul da Gama, latinjazznet.com
Pianist MATT LEMMLER
Matt Lemmler is considered to be one of the most original musicians (piano, vocal, arranger, composer, educator, producer) to recently emerge from the birthplace of jazz. Matt remembers a childhood in the Lower 9th Ward where music constantly filled the house. After earning a Bachelor of Music from Loyola University and a Master degree from Manhattan School of Music in NYC, Matt toured four years with Andrew Lloyd Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera. After touring, he came back to the Big Easy and sharpened his skills with some of New Orleans finest bandleaders including: Bob French and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band; Herb Tassin and the Blue Room Orchestra, and master clarinetist Pete Fountain. "Matt Lemmler is a pianist of rare originality and a point of view about standard songs that's always surprising and often quirky." -Dave Frishberg
Saxophonist DAVID MURRAY
Few musicians in jazz history have proven more vigorously productive and resourceful than David Murray. During the past 35 years, from the moment he first visited New York as a 20 year-old student, playing in a walk-up loft in 1975, David has careened forward in a cool, collected rocket-fueled streak. He has released over 150 albums under his own name yet more impressive than the numbers is the constancy of two abiding achievements. As a tenor saxophonist, he has perfected an instantly recognizable approach to improvisation that even in its freest flights acknowledges the gravity of a tradition. He also has altered the context for his improvisations as an infinite mosaic of musical challenges and explorations. At 56 years of age, David Murray goes down as a worthy successor for some of the biggest names in jazz.
Clarinetist EVAN CHRISTOPHER
Evan Christopher combines virtuosity, immaculate taste, and enthusiasm with a commitment to exploring the full range of possibilities in the New Orleans clarinet tradition. His highly personal brand of “contemporary, early jazz” strives to extend the legacies of early Creole clarinetists such as Sidney Bechet, Barney Bigard and Omer Simeon. Evan Christopher began his musical training on clarinet at age 11. In high school, he received the Louis Armstrong National Jazz Award and was one of the first graduates of the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Academy. He continued studies at the University of Southern California and graduated with honors from California State University. A brief teaching stint at UNO saw the creation of a New Orleans music ensemble that performed with guest mentors such as Lucien Barbarin and Marcus Roberts. Since 2008, having returned again to New Orleans, Christopher actively advocates for the cultural workforce and music education. He frequently tours with and records as a guest with forward-looking artists, while performances under his own name are often complemented by workshops and educational and community outreach.
Guitarist PASQUALE GRASSO
One of the most strikingly unique artists of his generation, Pasquale Grasso has undoubtedly changed the way the world views jazz guitar. Born in Ariano Irpino, Pasquale began playing guitar at a very young age. By the summer of 1997, his parents, who recognized the depth of their young son’s talent, sought out the instruction of jazz innovator, Agostino Di Giorgio. During his time at the Music Conservatory of Bologna under Professor Walter Zanetti, Grasso developed a new approach to the guitar, combining classical tradition with Chuck Wayne's modern technique. In 2012, he moved to New York City and quickly made a name for himself in the city's vibrant jazz scene. Later that year, Pasquale was named a Jazz Ambassador with the US Embassy, going on to tour extensively across Europe, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Cyprus, Lithuania, and Ukraine, among others.
Trumpeter TERENCE BLANCHARD
Since top-tier jazz and multiple Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard embarked on his solo recording career with his eponymous Columbia Records album in 1991, the New Orleans-born and -based artist has traveled many paths musically, including delivering adventurous and provocative acoustic jazz outings of original material, composing over 50 soundtracks and even, in 2013, debuting Champion: An Opera in Jazz. He has also, in the spirit of his onetime membership in the jazz school of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, mentored several musicians in his bands who have gone on to have significant recording careers of their own (including Lionel Loueke, Aaron Parks, Kendrick Scott and one of his current band members Fabian Almazan).As a leader and co-leader, Blanchard has recorded more than 30 albums that often defied genres, yet were still critically acclaimed. But for his latest Blue Note Records album, Breathless, Blanchard powerfully and playfully journeys into another jazz realm with his quintet, The E-Collective—an exciting zone of grooved fusion teeming with funk, R&B and blues colors.