Josh Aguiar is one of LA's up-and-coming trumpeters, pianists and composers in jazz and improvised music. He recently completed his MFA in jazz studies at CalArts in Valencia, where he studied with Charlie Haden, David Roitstein, Vinny Golia, Larry Koonse, and many other fine musician instructors. He has played with such jazz luminaries as Joe La Barbera, Bob Sheppard, Bill Cunliffe, Butch Morris, Vinny Golia, Darek Oles, David Baker. Aguiar has been increasingly heading groups playing his own compositions at venues throughout the Los Angeles area.
A sensitive, lyrical player with a warm, rounded tone, Aguiar has earned numerous plaudits from colleagues in the field. In 2000, he was awarded second prize in the International Trumpet Guild's Jazz Improvisation Contest. Also in 2000, at the recommendation of jazz education guru David Baker, he received a coveted Player's Certificate after performing for a committee of Indiana University musical faculty. Saxophonist Chuck Manning of the LA Jazz Quartet summed up Aguiar's playing: "He plays the trumpet with a depth and harmonic knowledge of someone twice his age. He also has something that is rare at any age and that is a soulful and swinging sound with a singular style that communicates a story in every solo."
Ariel Alexander has gained recognition as a jazz saxophonist, composer, and educator. Originally from St Louis, Ariel earned her B.A. at Indiana University and her M.A from USC. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at USC in Jazz Studies.
Ariel participated in the IAJE Sisters in Jazz Ensemble, the Kennedy Center's Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency, and the Steans Young Artist Program.
Ariel recently performed and arranged for the "We Love Ella" tribute on PBS on which she performed with Take 6, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, Patti Austin, Stevie Wonder, Ruben Studdard, James Moody, Jon Faddis, and Monica Mancini. Ariel also arranged for and plays on Steve Miller's (Steve Miller Band) next CD to be released on Capitol Records.
Besides performance, Ariel is largely active in jazz pedagogy. In 2003 she formed the Musical Arts Youth Center's Jazz Combo Program. She also served as the Program Coordinator for Los Angeles branch of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and worked on the staffs of the Indianhead Arts Center and Jamey Aebersold Jazz Workshops. She has also been a clinician and judge at a number of schools and jazz festivals.
In addition to being a musician, Ariel owns Rock Star CD Recording Workshop (www.rockstarworkshop.net), a mobile recording studio for kids and teens. Rock Star Workshop travels to over 200 events a year.
Duane Allen was born in Hollywood, Fl. in 1972. In 1996, he graduated Florida International University with a degree in Music Education. In Florida he performed with many of the top jazz musicians such as: Ira Sullivan, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Duffy Jackson, Turk Mauro, Eddie Daniels, Arturo Sandoval, Carlos Aberhof, Kevin Mahogany and others. He recorded his first CD with friend, and musical partner Dave Goldberg entitled Jazz Standard. His next CD with the Dave Goldberg/Duane Allen quartet, featuring Adam Nussbaum entitled When Time Approaches.
In 2001 he took up residence in Southern California where he continued performing and teaching as well. He has performed in many venues in the LA/OC area such as The Jazz Bakery, Steamers, Kikuya, The Grand Star Jazz Cafe, Cafe 322, La Cave, and several other clubs and restaurants. He has also performed throughout the country in various festivals such as the Bel Chere festival, The Charlotte Jazz festival, and others. In 2006, he performed with recording artist Tania on the Montel Williams show. In the last few years he has recorded several more CDs as well: Duane Allen’s Yin Yang, The Dave Goldberg/Duane Allen Quartet’s Surreality, and Dave Goldberg’s The Path You Choose.
He plans to record a new cd next year under his own name. He is currently attending the University of California, Irvine to earn his Master’s degree in Jazz Studies.
Duane Allen’s influences range the entire spectrum of jazz. He is influenced by everyone from Louis Armstrong and Charlie Christian, to Bill Frisell and Brad Mehldau. He is also influenced heavily from many other types of music as well such as blues, rock, classical, funk, world music, avant-garde, electronic, and more. He is aspiring to somehow blend all ot these styles into an individual style that will express his own view of the world around him.
Jon Bremen is a Los Angeles guitarist and educator. His latest recording, Lines, was released in April of 2009 on the Jazz Collective Label. The album features original compositions and is available at www.jonbremen.com.
Jon has a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from the University of Southern California and a Master’s degree from the prestigious Indiana University where he studied with famed jazz educator David Baker. Currently, he teaches a variety of music courses at Fullerton College and Chaffey College. He also spends time as a freelance guitarist.
Brian Carmody lived in San Francisco from 1997 to 2007. During that time he performed and recorded as both a leader and a sideman in musical settings that included the original Jazz trios “Oscar Fabulous” and “The Doppler Trio”, the Afro-Cuban ensemble “Mas Que Nada”, the rock band “Flut”, and many other ensembles of various sizes and musical visions. In August of 2007 he moved to Los Angeles to explore the larger city and it’s endless opportunities. In addition to pursuing his jazz drumming career, Brian works as a producer, composer, sound designer and educator.
Born in Ayr, Scotland, more than 40 years study and experience in music and the percussive arts, in many diverse settings - organ trio to big band, percussion ensemble to talking drum ensemble – and genres. Mainly self-taught, my first training came from listening to and emulating the great musicians of the late-Fifties to mid-Sixties such as Louis Bellson and Sam Woodyard with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Ed Thigpen with the Oscar Peterson Trio, Papa Jo Jones, Rufus “Speedy” Jones, and Sonny Payne with the Count Basie Band, Joe Morello with Dave Brubeck, and so many more, as well as all the pop and rock sounds that were filling the airwaves.
As my experience and expertise grew over the years, I found myself drawn to the more creative and improvisatory aspects of music, focusing my energies towards spontaneous composition and dynamic development drawing on all the musical traditions and expressions found worldwide. Performed and studied with Dave Holland, Kenny Wheeler, Don Thompson, Albert Mangelsdorff, Lee Konitz, John Abercrombie, Eddie Marshall, performance artist Martha Rosler, Bobby Bradford, Fred Katz, Karl Denson, Kei Akagi, Scott Colley, Ralph Alessi, Darek Oles, Chuck Manning, Cecilia Coleman, Jay Anderson, Joey Sellers, Frances Awe, ESP, Mother Tongue (Paul Carman, Eric Schultz, A.C.), the Misty Isle Pipe Band, Woven Image, among others.
Scott Cummings started playing drums at the age of 16 back in his hometown of Chico, California. Scott got his first big break back in high school when he was tapped to play the gong in his high school's concert band rendition of Phantom of the Opera. This moment left a lasting impression on him, so when he enrolled in college two years later he made music his major. Scott graduated Chico State in 1999 and moved down to Southern California a few years later. Since then he has been active as a teacher and as a performer playing regularly in Los Angeles and Orange County. He's currently in the Master's program at Cal Arts studying drum set with Joe Labarbera, Percussion with Randy Gloss and Tabla with Swapan Chaudhuri.
The Dave Goldberg Quartet is based on 1950's and 1960's bebop and modern jazz. While paying tribute to the jazz masters of the past, Dave Goldberg allows his quartet to look forward by focusing on original compositions as well as the traditional jazz standards. For the past fifteen years Goldberg has performed throughout South Florida, New York City, and Los Angeles to critical acclaim. Jazz writer Matt Schudel of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel writes, "Dave Goldberg plays solid, bop influenced jazz the way it's supposed to be done." Now residing in the Los Angeles area, Goldberg has established a loyal following on both the east and west coast.
In 1993 saxophonist Dave Goldberg graduated from Florida State University with a B.A. in Jazz Studies. He has performed with notable musicians such as trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trumpeter & saxophonist Ira Sullivan, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, pianist Marcus Roberts, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, guitarist Gene Bertoncini, drummer Adam Nussbaum, trumpeter Marcus Printup, trumpeter Scotty Barnhart (Count Basie Band), trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, saxophonists Herb Harris, Victor Goines, and Walter Blanding (all currently or formerly with the Wynton Marsalis Septet.) Dave Goldberg has led successful jazz groups in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area and now in Los Angeles as well. He has appeared in the major jazz establishments in both of these cities as well as some of the major jazz clubs in New York City. He has also been featured in various jazz magazines and publications. A recent review in Jazz Times Magazine had this to say about him…”Goldberg, displays a strong and assured tone and a maturity of style, rooted in swinging mainstream modern jazz.” L.A. Jazz Scene also recently commented about Goldberg’s distinct saxophone sound…” Goldberg’s tenor sound is full and rich; yet remains light throughout.” While it is safe to say that Dave Goldberg is influenced by the entire history of jazz, some of his more notable influences are John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Henderson.
Dave Goldberg currently has four CD releases under his own name on Tritone Records. The CDs have drawn praise from Jazz Times Magazine and other international publications. Goldberg’s 2nd CD – “When Time Approaches” was the winner of the 2001 City Link Best of Jazz Award. Matt Schudel - jazz writer for the Sun Sentinel says "When Time Approaches is an excellent effort in every way" with "original music in the finest sense". Goldberg’s 3rd release – “Surreality” was described by LA. Jazz Scene as “the future of jazz without digging up all the roots.” Dave Goldberg has been receiving extensive radio airplay along with these rave reviews. Goldberg’s newest 2007 release entitled “The Path You Choose” features four original compositions and some interesting jazz versions of songs by Bjork, Coldplay, and the Beatles. Dave Goldberg believes it is his finest work yet to date and looks forward to sharing it with the jazz community.
Saxophone player Ken Kawamura has a varied musical background going back to the early 90's with involvement in alternative/punk groups (Beekeeper (LA), Jackknife), solo experimental projects (Fellaheen (LA)), avantgarde/free jazz ensembles (The Chic Empowerment Center, Ah Um Quartet, Crepuscule, Hollywood Squaretet, False Face Society) as well as a motion picture soundtrack scoring credit to boot. Ken was an often-featured musician on KXLU Radio Los Angeles with two live on-air studio performances and has vinyl and compact disc releases on the following labels: Magnatone Products, Karate Brand Records, Little Mafia Records (OKC), Imp Records (PDX), Munsters Records (Spain), Glucher Records (FLA), Giant Robot Recordings, and OC Avantgarde Jazz Collective.
Hailing from the Idaho Rocky Mountains, drummer Jens Kuross brings a unique sound and energy to the LA jazz scene. Having first developed musically in the Idaho punk rock and bar band scene, he picked up his first jazz gig in a piano trio at the ripe old age of fifteen. He immediately fell in love with jazz, and studied at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he graduated in 2005 with a degree in music performance. He now resides in Los Angeles where he keeps busy playing the local jazz hot spots, leading his own band, and teaching a few lucky students. Jens has gone over 70mph on a snowboard. Jens can kill a marmot at 600yrds. Jens cannot afford health insurance. You can see him play every Tuesday night with the "Gnu Sextet" at club 1160 in Hollywood.
Tenor saxophonist Chuck Manning studied jazz performance at the University of North Texas and studied privately with Joe Henderson. For the last 25 years, he has made hundreds of appearances throughout the world and has collaborated with other musicians such as the Los Angeles Jazz Quartet, Bobby Bradford Mo’tet, James Carney, and Swiss multi-instrumentalist Isla Eckinger. He has also has appeared on 50 recordings and performed with such diverse musicians as Alan Broadbent, Cedar Walton, Charlie Haden, Alphonse Mouzon, Conte Condoli, Fransisco Aguabella, Harold Land, Jimmy Rowles, Albert "Tootie" Heath, and Al Mckibbon. The Chuck Manning Quartet’s 2008 Monteux Jazz Label release "Notes from the Real" "… is a great one," writes the LAWeekly, "Manning is a fine inventive tenor player. With Joe Henderson as his baseline, he plays a gorgeous ballad, can blow some brilliant and slightly understated post-bop frenzy, and can lay out the bop lines fresh”. The Chuck Manning Quartet was featured on National Public Radio’s "Jazz Set with Branford Marsalis". He recently returned from Europe and is working on a new CD with top Greek jazz musicians.
Josh Nelson, born and raised in Southern California, maintains an active and creative schedule as a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and recording artist. At 30 years old, he has already performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Natalie Cole, Anthony Wilson, Bob Hurst, Jeff Hamilton, Ralph Moore, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Seamus Blake, Matt Wilson, Sara Gazarek, Ernie Watts, Jack Sheldon, Tom Scott, Peter Erskine, Abe Laboriel, and Alex Acuna, to name a few. Josh has recorded for countless albums, films, and TV shows, but also makes time for his own projects: First Stories (1998), Emergence (2001), The Leadwell Project (2002), and Anticipation (2004). Let it Go (2007, Native Language Music) garnered critical claim, and boasts an impressive lineup of an all-star band. Josh’s new album, I Hear a Rhapsody, will be released in July 2009. Compositions and performances of his have appeared on various prime-time and cable shows and films, including “Jack and Bobby”, "The Division", “Lucky”, and “First Daughter” (directed by Forest Whittaker). He has also worked with film composer Michael Kamen, and actors Eric Idle, Clint Eastwood, and Jon Lovitz. Josh has earned many awards, scholarships, and accolades over the years, some of which include the Louis Armstrong Award and the John Philip Sousa Award. He was also one of 12 semi- finalists in the 2006 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.
Josh is also musical director for vocal talent Sara Gazarek, of which he penned the title track of her debut record, “Yours”. That record reached No. 10 on the Billboard Jazz Charts. Sara’s second studio album, Return to You (2006), also featured Josh’s songwriting talent. He continues to tour the world with her, as well as with legendary vocalist Natalie Cole.
Gabe Rosenn is a blues, funk, and jazz guitarist. He grew up outside of Boston and began playing jazz guitar in high school. Attending Vassar College from 1996-2000, he was a featured soloist in the school's big band, played in a modern jazz quartet,as well as funk and hip hop projects. After graduation, Gabe moved to New York City, directing and editing music related videos for companies like Blue Note Records, as well as playing with original jazz and funk bands. He lives in Los Angeles and leads the blues funk band, Los Devastrados. He cites BB King, Eric Clapton, John Scofield, the Meters, Jim Hall, Grant Green, and Sonny Rollins as influences.
The origins of RootSystem lie in Lima, Peru, where saxophonist Robby Marshall (San Francisco) and drummer Rafael Barata (Rio de Janeiro) met on the stage of the Jazz Zone, an unforgettable nightclub that was host to the 2004 Lima Jazz Festival. The music that was explored that night was destined to continue. Two years passed, and Barata came to visit Marshall at his residence in Los Angeles. Upon the first meeting with bassist Dominic Thiroux (Los Angeles), the group recorded a trio session of jazz and original music.
Later that year, the group began peforming live with the addition of pianist Tigran Hamasyan (Armenia/New York). A studio session quickly followed, introducing more textures and original compositions to their rapidly maturing sound. Exploring many world rhythms through each of their respective backgrounds, RootSystem began creating profound improvisational journeys that feed from many genres and cultures.
RootSystem has since expanded their list of collaborators, including drummer Gene Coye (Chicago) and pianist Matt Politano, who is nothing short of a Los Angeles treasure. The members of the band are all active performers in their own right and appear in concerts, competitions, recordings and jazz festivals all over the world (Montreux, Montreal, IAJE, New Orleans, Thelonious Monk Competition). Collectively, their credits include Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington, Michael Bublé, Francois and Louis Moutin, Jeff Gardner, and many more.
Robby Marshall and Rafael Barata made an emotional return to the Lima Jazz Festival in 2007, this time with their new band, RootSystem. They toured throughout the country playing concerts and conducting educational workshops. With a whole world between them, every meeting of these musicians is a rare and treasured opportunity, and their audience becomes a natural part of this experience as the group explores the universal language of music.
Miles Senzaki, a native San Franciscan, received his Bachelor degree in Ethnomusicology and Jazz Studies at UCLA, where he was blessed to study with such legends as Billy Higgins, Kenny Burrell, and Harold Land. Currently Miles is playing with the electric jazz/indie-pop duo, the Leviathan Brothers, as well as numerous groups in the local LA jazz scene. He is also working on his own electronic/hip hop projects on which he is composing, producing and engineering.
David Sills lives and works in the Los Angeles area where he performs regularly and maintains a private teaching studio. He has performed throughout the US, Europe, and Asia in jazz clubs and festivals with his own quartet, The David Sills Quartet, as well as working with The Acoustic Jazz Quartet, and Line Up. David's playing has been described by the LA Times as "a meeting of Stan Getz and Joe Henderson, a style in which smooth reserve and technical ability combine in a single cool to the bone sound."
Through his career he has had the honor to perform with many notable jazz artists including John Lewis, Art Farmer, Elvin Jones, Frank Wess, Alan Broadbent, Billy Higgins, Bill Perkins, Sam Most and many others. He is currently part of the jazz faculty at Pasadena City College where he teaches jazz woodwinds and jazz improvisation. David has a Bachelors degree in saxophone performance from Cal State University Long Beach, and a Masters degree in Jazz Studies from The Manhattan School of Music. He has studied woodwinds and jazz improvisation with Gary Foster, Bob Mintzer, Dave Liebman, Dick Oatts, Leo Potts, and Marya Martin.
David has recorded several albums as a leader which include Hangin' Five -1997 on Resurgent Records, Journey Together -1998 and Bigs -2000 on Naxos, Stay Cool -2002, Eastern View -2004, Down The Line -2006, and most recently Green -2007 all on Origin Records.
Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III began playing the saxophone at the age of 7 in his hometown of Houston, TX. At Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, in 1998, Smith received a Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship from IAJE and NFAA; the NFAA Young Talent Award; a full tuition scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music; and a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts medal. Walter Graduated from Berklee in 2003 with a degree in Music Education.
While in Boston, Walter was selected by the Boston Jazz Society to receive its annual award whose past winners have included Branford Marsalis and Donald Harrison. In July of 2002, Walter walked away from the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland with third place in the 1st annual International Saxophone Competition, as well as winning the Audience's Favorite Award. In 2003, Walter moved to New York and began studying at Manhattan School of Music on a full tuition scholarship to receive a master's in jazz performance. While in New York, Smith kept himself busy touring and performing with such artists as Roy Haynes and Ralph Peterson, as well as Bilal, Destiny's Child and Lauryn Hill.
Walter has performed all over the world participating in numerous national and international festivals as well as famed stages in the U.S. such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Smith has shared the stage and/or appeared on recordings with many jazz notables including Terence Blanchard, Darren Barrett, Herbie Hancock, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Sample, Bob Hurst, Donald Harrison, Wayne Shorter, Joe Lovano, Bill Pierce, Myron Walden, Walter Beasley, Lewis Nash, Terri Lynne-Carrington, and a host of others. To date, Walter has appeared on over 40 recordings that are released worldwide.
Walter's debut recording as a leader was released in March of 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and features many of his original compositions. The band is comprised of some of the best young musicians on the scene today including Aaron Parks, Robert Glasper, Lionel Loueke, Lage Lund, Gretchen Parlato, Rueben Rogers, Vicente Archer, Kendrick Scott, Eric Harland, and Matt Kilmer. (for reviews, please visit www.waltersmith3. com)
Walter is currently touring with the Sean Jones Sextet, and Christian Scott, both of which have new releases coming soon. In addition to these groups, Walter tours with Jason Moran's Big Bandwagon, Christian McBride situation, as well as his own quintet.
Martin Sullivan has recorded/performed with Francisco Aguabella, The Bjorkestra, Brian Swartz, Matt Otto, Brian Culbertson, The Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, and the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Recieved B.M in Performance from Indiana University, and M.M in Performance from Manhattan School of Music.