September 22, 2009, Washington, D.C.—The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz today announced its 22nd annual Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and all-star Gala Concert will take place at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 11.
A special feature of this year’s Competition, the Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert will bring together the biggest names in music, showcasing Blue Note recording artists past and present, including Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Kurt Elling, Bobby McFerrin, Ron Carter, Terence Blanchard, McCoy Tyner, Earl Klugh, John Scofield, and Joe Lovano.
President Barack Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama will serve as the honorary chairs of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition and Gala Concert. This year’s Gala co-chairs include Madeleine Albright, Herb and Lani Alpert, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, Bill and Carolyn Powers, and Joseph E. Robert Jr.
Bruce Lundvall, president and CEO of EMI Music’s legendary jazz label Blue Note Records, will be presented with the 2009 Maria Fisher Founder’s Award, a highly coveted award that honors individuals who have made valuable contributions to jazz and jazz education. Past recipients include Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, George Wein, and Clint Eastwood.
The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, often compared in stature to classical music’s International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, is widely regarded as the most prestigious jazz competition in the world. Each year, the competition features a different musical instrument and major scholarships and prizes are awarded to talented young musicians. Over the past 22 years, the competition has launched the careers of a number of major jazz stars including Joshua Redman, Jane Monheit, Marcus Roberts, Tierney Sutton and Joey DeFrancesco. These artists and dozens of others from past competitions have forged successful careers as performing and recording artists, as well as music educators to help preserve and perpetuate America’s legacy of jazz.
The 2009 competition will feature the bass and 15 of the world’s most outstanding young jazz bassists who have been selected to compete before a panel of jazz greats including David Baker, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Dave Holland, Bob Hurst, Christian McBride, and John Patitucci.
Scholarships and prizes totaling over $100,000 will be awarded to finalists with a first place award of a recording contract with Concord Records and $20,000 scholarship, second place award of a $10,000 scholarship, and third place award of a $5,000 scholarship. The scholarships are geared to help pay tuition for college-level jazz education studies and provide funds for private, specialized instruction.
The 2009 semifinalists are David Baron, West Hartford, Conn.; Matt Brewer, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Shawn Conley, Nu’uanu, Hawaii; Adam Cote, Poughquag, N.Y.; Corcoran Holt, Washington, D.C.; Daryl Johns, the Bronx, N.Y.; Raviv Markovitz, Lexington, Mass.; Ben Meigners, New York, N.Y.; Linda Oh, Australia; Harish Raghavan, North Brook, Ill.; Jorge Roeder, Lima, Peru; Ruben Samama, The Netherlands; Joe Sanders, Milwaukee, Wis.; Clemes van der Feen, The Netherlands; and Ben Williams, Washington, D.C.
The Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition Semifinals will be held at 12 p.m. on Saturday, October 10, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium. The three finalists will perform with a group of jazz all-stars at Sunday’s Kennedy Center concert, followed by the awards announcement.
The concert will also feature the winner of the Thelonious Monk International Composers Award, sponsored by BMI. This year’s winner is Joseph Johnson of Kansas City, Mo., who will perform his winning composition, “Shepherd’s Song.” The Composers Award, which carries a prize of $10,000, is presented to a composer who best demonstrates originality, creativity and excellence in jazz composition.
Proceeds from the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition and Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert will help fund public school blues and jazz education programs throughout Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Delta.
Since 1999, Black Entertainment Television has produced and broadcast a documentary about the Competition, featuring performance clips and interviews with the contestants and judges.
United Airlines serves as the Official Airline of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and has generously donated the air travel for the participants of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition and Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert.
Saturday, October 10, 2009, at 12 p.m. Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium, 10th St. and Constitution Ave. N.W.
Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition Semifinals
Tickets are free and will be distributed on a first-come basis beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Baird Auditorium. For general information, call 202-364-7272.
Sunday, October 11, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater
Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition Finals Blue Note Records 70th Anniversary Gala Concert Thelonious Monk International Composers Award
Tickets start at $35 and go up to $1,000 for VIP orchestra seats, which includes admission to thepost-show cast party. For more information on VIP ticket packages, call 202-364-7272. Tickets may be purchased by calling 800-444-1324, online at www.kennedy-center.org, and at the Central Box Office for all theaters located in the Kennedy Center’s Hall of States. The performance run time is two hours, plus a 20-minute intermission.
Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, a nonprofit jazz education organization, was founded in 1986 in memory of the legendary jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Sphere Monk. The Institute fosters the next generation of jazz greats by offering the world’s most promising young musicians college level training by internationally recognized jazz masters, educating young people around the world about jazz through innovative public-school initiatives, and presenting a wide range of programs that help expand and perpetuate America’s indigenous musical art form.
Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition Since 1987, the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz has presented the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, which is widely regarded as the most prestigious jazz competition in the world. Each year, major scholarships and prizes are awarded to talented young musicians. The scholarships help pay tuition for college-level jazz education studies and provide funds for private, specialized instruction. It has launched the careers of a number of major young jazz stars over the past 22 years including Joshua Redman, Jane Monheit, Marcus Roberts, Tierney Sutton, Joey DeFrancesco, and many more. Each year the Institute presents a major all-star benefit concert gala immediately following the Competition. In 2007-08, the Competition was held on the west coast at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles and featured tributes to Herbie Hancock and B.B. King.
David Baron grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut and began studying bass at age nine. He attended the Banff International Workshop, where he studied with Scott Colley and Dave Douglas. Baron won the DownBeat award for Outstanding Jazz Soloist Performance in 2006 and Outstanding Performance with a Jazz Group in 2007. He has performed with Wycliffe Gordon and saxophonist Bill Evan, with whom he toured Russia this summer. Baron is currently a student at the Eastman School of Music.
Matt Brewer was born in Oklahoma City and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He began studying bass at the age of 10 and was performing professionally by the time he was 12. Brewer attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he studied jazz and classical bass. After graduation, he was accepted into the inaugural class of the Juilliard Jazz Program. During his second year in the program, he began performing and recording with Greg Osby, appearing on Osby’s Blue Note release Channel Three. Brewer has also performed with Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Terence Blanchard.
Shawn Conley grew up in Nu’uanu, Hawaii and began studying bass at age 14. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Conley was awarded a Wagoner Fellowship to study in Paris with classical bassist Francois Rabbath at the International Rabbath Institute. In 2007, Conley won the International Society of Bassists Scott LaFaro Jazz Competition. He can be heard on the new self-titled CD by Honolulu-based jazz group Bop Tribal.
Adam Cote grew up in Poughquag, New York and began playing electric bass at the age of 13. He attended the University of Hartford, where he studied with Nat Reeves. During his sophomore year, Cote shifted his focus to double bass. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in music, he received a master’s degree from SUNY Purchase, where he studied with Todd Coolman and Doug Weiss. This year, Cote was a participant in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program. He is the house bassist at the Small’s Tuesday night jam session.
Corcoran Holt grew up Washington, D.C. and began studying classical bass at the age of 10, performing with the DC Youth Orchestra. He attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where he began focusing on jazz. Holt received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Shenandoah Conservatory and his master’s degree from Queens College. He has performed with Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, and Jimmy Heath, and appeared on Javon Jackson’s 2008 album Once Upon a Melody. Over the past several years, Holt has performed in Senegal with his own group, as well as in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Daryl Johns was born in the Bronx and began playing bass at age seven with encouragement from his father, drummer Steve Johns, and his mother, saxophonist Debbie Keefe. Now in the eighth grade, Johns has studied with Chip Jackson and Dave Santoro. He has attended the Jazz in July program, the Vermont Jazz Center, and the Litchfield Jazz Camp. Johns sits in regularly around the New York area with musicians including Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, and Randy Brecker. He also performs throughout New York and New Jersey with a trio of his peers. Johns was recently featured on a Fox television segment called “12-Year-Old Jazz Prodigy.”
Raviv Markovitz grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and began playing piano at age four and bass at age 10. He attended the Berklee College of Music Summer Performance Program in 2007. Markovitz has received numerous awards, including the Outstanding Musicianship Award at the 2008 Clark Terry UNH Jazz Festival, Jazz in July Summer Program Scholarship, and IAJE Most Valuable Player Award. He has studied with John Clayton and Bruce Gertz, among others. Markovitz is a freshman at Columbia University.
Ben Meigners was born in New York City but grew up in Ramat-Gan, Israel. He began playing bass at age 12 and attended the Thelma Yellin International High School of the Arts. He has composed music for two Israeli television documentaries. In 2000, Meigners was awarded a grant from the American-Israel Cultural Foundation. He moved back to New York in 2002 and has since studied at the New School, City College, and SUNY Purchase. He has also performed with Slide Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Cobb and others. Meigners can currently be heard on the Fat Cat Big Band CD, Face.
Linda Oh grew up in Australia and began playing classical piano at four, clarinet at 11, and bassoon at 13. In high school, she switched to electric bass and after being accepted to the West Australia Academy of Performing Arts, began studying double bass. In 2004, Oh was a winner of the IAJE Sisters in Jazz collegiate competition. She has also participated in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program and the Banff Program for Creative Artists. In 2008, Oh was the recipient of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award. She recently received her master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music.
Harish Raghavan grew up in North Brook, Illinois and began playing bass at age 17. He attended the University of Southern California, where he studied with John Clayton and Robert Hurst. Raghavan moved to New York after graduation and has since performed with artists such as Kurt Elling and Eric Harland. Raghavan is a regular instructor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and the Jazz at Centrum summer program in Port Townsend, Washington. He will be featured on pianist Taylor Eigsti’s upcoming Concord release.
Jorge Roeder was born and raised in Lima, Peru. At the age of 14 he began studying cello and electric bass. Two years later, he was invited to study cello at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. He soon switched to double bass and became the principal bassist for the Lima Philharmonic and Opera Orchestras. In 2002, Roeder received a scholarship to attend the New England Conservatory of Music. After graduating with a degree in jazz performance, Roeder moved to New York, where he joined Kenny Werner’s Trio. He has since recorded with Alex Acuña, Roy Haynes, and others.
Ruben Samama was born in Utrecht, Netherlands and began playing bass and writing music at the age of 12. The following year, he was admitted to the young talent department of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2007 and relocated to New York to earn his master’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Samama has since performed with Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, and many others. He has also written for film and theatre.
Joe Sanders was born in Milwaukee and began playing electric bass at age 12. Sanders later switched to double bass and in high school he performed with the GRAMMY® Band, composed of the nation’s top high school jazz musicians. Sanders attended The Brubeck Institute, studying with Christian McBride and other jazz masters. After performing in New York for a year, Sanders attended the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, studying with John Clayton and Robert Hurst and performing with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. He also toured North America and Europe with the Roy Hargrove Quintet.
Clemes van der Feen grew up in the Netherlands and began playing electric bass at age 11. He later attended the Conservatory of Amsterdam and the Hochschule für Musik Detmold in Germany, where he received a master’s degree. Van der Feen moved to New York to study with John Patitucci and Ben Street before settling in Amsterdam. He has won several awards, including the Capberton Bass Encounter, the Best New Talent Award at the Dutch Jazz Competition, and the Ruud Jacobs Award. Van der Feen has performed with Michael Moore, Toots Thielemans, and Seamus Blake. He also performs with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and leads his own jazz group, Narcissus.
Ben Williams was born in Washington, D.C. and began playing bass at age 10. He attended the Duke Ellington High School of the Arts and the Michigan State University School of Music, where he majored in music education and studied with Rodney Whitaker. Williams has won numerous awards, including the Duke Ellington Society Annual Scholarship Award and the first place prize in the jazz category of the 2005 International Society of Bassists competition. He has performed with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, and Bobby Watson. Currently, Williams is a member of Stefon Harris’ band, Blackout.
A consummate conductor, author, educator, and performer on multiple instruments, David Baker has been a defining force in jazz and jazz education since the 1950s. With more than 2,000 compositions to his credit, including over 500 commissions, he is considered one of the most prolific composers of our time. Baker grew up in Indianapolis and studied trombone. After a friend lent him a Dizzy Gillespie record, Baker became fascinated with jazz, teaching himself to improvise with the help of trombonist Slide Hampton. Baker subsequently played around Indianapolis with Wes Montgomery, worked in Lionel Hampton’s big band, and performed with orchestras led by Quincy Jones, Maynard Ferguson, and Stan Kenton. He also attended Indiana University, attaining an undergraduate and master’s degree. In 1959, influential composer George Russell invited Baker to join his new experimental band, which performed and recorded at a time when jazz was expanding its horizons. In 1962, Baker won the DownBeat New Star Award for trombone. Soonafter, he switched to cello due to chronic jaw problems caused by a car accident years earlier. This had the unexpected effect of opening up avenues for Baker to become involved in jazz education and composition. In 1966, he began teaching at Indiana University and two years later created the school’s world-renowned jazz program. Baker has written over 60 books and 400 articles on jazz improvisation, arranging, composition, and jazz pedagogy. His incredible list of students includes Michael and Randy Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, Peter Erskine, Chris Botti, and Robert Hurst. Baker also developed into a prolific classical composer, writing commissioned pieces for the New York Philharmonic, Beaux Arts Trio, Chicago Sinfonietta, Janos Starker, and many others. He has received countless honors, including the Kennedy Center Living Jazz Legend Award, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award, Smithsonian Institution’s James Smithson Award, and several honorary doctorates, plus Pulitzer Prize and GRAMMY® Award nominations. Baker is Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at Indiana University and conductor of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
Ron Carter, with more than 2,500 albums to his credit, may be the world’s most recorded jazz bassist. His creativity and originality have redefined the role of the bass in jazz and forever changed the way the instrument is played. From his insistent yet relaxed walking bass lines to his wonderfully surprising note choices to his trademark slides, Carter’s style is unmistakable. Growing up in Detroit, Carter studied bass at Cass Technical High School. He attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, receiving a bachelor’s degree in music, and later earned his Master of Music degree in double bass from the Manhattan School of Music. Once in New York City, Carter began gaining a reputation on the jazz scene, performing with Jaki Byard, Randy Weston, and Eric Dolphy. In 1963, while performing with Art Farmer, Miles Davis invited him to join a new quintet that would include Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, George Coleman, and later Wayne Shorter. The group was to become one of the most creative and influential forces in the history of jazz. As a member of the rhythm section, Carter expanded the concept and role of the bassist, altering the harmony and shifting the rhythm to push the music into exciting, new territory. During Carter’s five-year tenure with this quintet, he appeared on classic recordings like Nefertiti, E.S.P., and Seven Steps to Heaven. In the decades that followed, Carter worked with a diverse list of artists, both jazz and pop, including such names as McCoy Tyner, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Roberta Flack, the Kronos Quartet, and A Tribe Called Quest. He also became the house bassist for the CTI label, recording with George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, and Jim Hall, with whom he established an acclaimed duo that still performs today. Carter continued to play with his Miles Davis bandmates in the V.S.O.P. band and in the GRAMMY® Award-winning Miles Davis Tribute Band. Over the years, Carter has also become a major force in education, serving as Distinguished Professor of Music for City College of New York and as Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance from 1995 until 1999. Bassists Robert Hurst, Peter Washington, Larry Grenadier, and Victor Bailey have all studied under Carter. In recent years, he has performed with his own quartet and with his Golden Striker Trio, which includes Mulgrew Miller and Russell Malone. In 2007, Carter celebrated his 70th birthday at Carnegie Hall with a concert that featured him performing with longtime collaborators Hancock, Shorter, Hall and others. This year saw the release of his biography Ron Carter – Finding the Right Notes by Dan Oullette, chronicling the life and music of this great bass master.
The defining bassist of avant-garde jazz, Charlie Haden plays with a brilliant melodic sense and warm tone that have made him a favorite among jazz fans and musicians in a diverse array of genres. Haden has been a performer since early childhood, when he performed regularly on television and radio with his family’s country and western group. He began playing bass as a teenager and at the age of 18 moved to Los Angeles, where he worked with Art Pepper, Dexter Gordon, and Paul Bley. In 1959, Haden joined Ornette Coleman’s group and turned the jazz world upside down. Along with pocket trumpet player Don Cherry and drummer Billy Higgins, Coleman explored harmonic and rhythmic freedom with Haden alternately anchoring the quartet and venturing into his own free territory. Their music came to be known as avant-garde and influenced everyone from Miles Davis to Leonard Bernstein. Haden’s performances with Coleman throughout the ’60s opened a new avenue for the bass. At the same time, Haden continued working with John Coltrane, Pee Wee Ellis, and Keith Jarrett. In 1969, Haden and Carla Bley formed the Liberation Music Orchestra, blending experimental big band jazz with the folk songs of the Spanish Civil War. Throughout the next two decades, Haden was involved in several projects including a reorganized Liberation Music Orchestra, a reunion with Ornette Coleman, and his first-ever small group, Quartet West. He also worked with a new generation of jazz artists, including Michael Brecker, John Scofield, and Joshua Redman, and recorded in duo settings with Hank Jones and Kenny Barron. In 1982, Haden founded the Jazz Studies Program at the California Institute of the Arts, where he still teaches. He has received numerous awards over the years, including two Grammy Awards; the first in 1997 was for his duo album with Pat Metheny, Beyond the Missouri Sky and the second in 2001 honored his album Nocturne. Earlier this year, a documentary was released about Haden titled, Charlie Haden – Rambling Boy. Haden recently released the album Family and Friends: Rambling Boy, a folk/Americana recording that takes him back to his childhood roots with help from Elvis Costello, Jack Black, Bela Fleck, and Pat Metheny, among others. His composition “Is This America? (Katrina 2005)” earned Haden his 16th Grammy nomination.
Bassist, composer, and bandleader Dave Holland’s understated demeanor belies his tremendous impact on the last 50 years of jazz. From his years with Miles Davis to his highly influential current group, Holland has paved a unique artistic path. Holland grew up in Wolverhampton, England and began taking an interest in music at age four, when he taught himself to play the ukelele. He switched to guitar and later electric bass and by age 15 was so committed to music that he quit school to tour with a top 40 band. The same year, he heard a recording of Ray Brown and immediately switched to acoustic bass. By the time he was 20, Holland was living in London, performing with London-based artists including John McLaughlin as well as international artists that would pass through the city such as Ben Webster and Joe Henderson. In 1968, Miles Davis heard Holland at Ronnie Scott’s, a popular London jazz club, and invited him to join his band. Along with Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, and Jack DeJohnette, this band continued to explore new ideas in jazz eventually leading to Davis’ groundbreaking Bitches Brew. After two years with the group, Holland released his first album as a leader, Music for Two Basses. He continued to collaborate with Davis band members Chick Corea and Jack DeJohnette, and also worked with Stan Getz, Anthony Braxton, and Betty Carter. Together with DeJohnette and John Abercrombie, Holland formed the Gateway Trio, which recorded two acclaimed albums on the ECM label. By the early ’80s, Holland felt he was ready to lead a band of his own. Along with musicians like Steve Coleman, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, and Kevin Eubanks, Holland began to shape his musical concepts, experimenting with odd meters and developing an original compositional approach. Throughout this time, he continued to perform and record with other artists including Pat Metheny and Hank Jones and began establishing himself in jazz education, teaching at the Banff School in Canada and the New England Conservatory. In the ’90s, Holland toured with Herbie Hancock, reunited the Gateway Trio, and recorded with Michael Brecker. He also began to receive major recognition for his own group, which by this time featured Chris Potter and Robin Eubanks. In 1999, Holland won his first of three Grammy awards for Like Minds. Holland has received numerous other awards and accolades, including the 2003 IJFO Award for Outstanding Contribution to Jazz. Most recently, he has continued touring and recording with his group and with an expanded big band version of this group. His latest release, Pass It On, featuring Robin Eubanks, Antonio Hart, Mulgrew Miller, and Eric Harland, provides another view into Holland’s extraordinary musical world.
Bassist Robert Hurst’s beautiful sound and remarkable musicality have made him one of the most significant instrumentalists of our time. Whether composing, improvising, or walking a bassline, Hurst brings a high level of artistic sensitivity to all of his musical pursuits. Hurst grew up in Rochester, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, and began playing guitar before switching to bass. As a senior in high school, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Presidential Scholarship Award. He attended Indiana University, where he studied with renowned educator David Baker. Hurst’s schooling was then interrupted by an invitation to join Wynton Marsalis’ band. Soon after, Hurst was launched onto the world stage, recording and performing around the world with Marsalis and heralding a resurgence in acoustic jazz. Marsalis’ band also included saxophonist Branford Marsalis, pianist Kenny Kirkland, and drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, all of whom would become iconic figures in jazz. Hurst performed on the now classic Marsalis recordings J Mood and Live at Blues Alley. In 1991, Hurst joined Branford Marsalis’ band and expanded his work as a composer, contributing tunes such as “Roused About” for the recording The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. A year later, the group was selected to become the new Tonight Show Band for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. For the next decade, Hurst performed with hundreds of artists in different genres and also composed and arranged music for the show. During this time, he wrote scores for several movies including Brown Sugar and The Wood; performed on film soundtracks for Ocean’s Eleven and Good Night and Good Luck; and released his first CD, the chart topping Robert Hurst Presents: Robert Hurst. He also found time to record with artists including Keb’ Mo’, Lou Rawls, Dianne Reeves, and Eric Reed. Since leaving the Tonight Show, Hurst has toured and recorded with Diana Krall and Chris Botti. In 2005, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as Associate Professor of Jazz Bass and Improvisation Studies. Over the years, Hurst has received four Emmy Awards, five Grammy Awards, and numerous accolades. He has released four of his own CD, including Unrehurst, Volume 1, which features pianist Robert Glasper and was released on Hurst’s own Bebob Records.
Christian McBride is a chameleonic virtuoso of the acoustic and electric bass. When he appeared on the jazz scene nearly 20 years ago, he set a new standard for his instrument. His larger-than-life sound, driving rhythm, breathtaking technique, and charismatic musical personality have made him one of the most sought-after bassists in jazz and beyond. McBride began playing bass at the age of nine, following in the footsteps of his father, who performed with some of the great R&B acts of the ’70s, including the Delphonics and Billy Paul. During a jazz workshop in McBride’s junior year at Philadelphia’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Wynton Marsalis invited him to play a duet. The following week, Marsalis invited him onstage during a show at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. After high school, McBride studied at Juilliard on a scholarship and then joined Bobby Watson’s band. After that, he seemed to be everywhere at once, performing with Pat Metheny, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Hargrove, and a host of other notable jazz artists. In 1991, Ray Brown invited McBride to join SuperBass, a trio that included bassist John Clayton. This deepened an already growing relationship between McBride and Brown, who had been a major influence on the younger bassist’s playing. Meanwhile, McBride continued to create music with peers like Joshua Redman, Brian Blade, and Brad Mehldau, drawing on a mix of traditional jazz influences as well as the funk, rock, and R&B that helped to shape the musical minds of his generation. In 1996, he appeared as a 1940s-era bass player in the Robert Altman film Kansas City. By 2000, he had released four CDs on Verve and was establishing himself as a composer and bandleader. He was also being recognized all over the world for his superlative musicianship, receiving countless awards. In 2001, McBride formed the Philadelphia Experiment with pianist Uri Caine on piano and hip-hop drummer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, both Philadelphia natives. Later that year, he joined Sting’s band, touring and recording a CD and DVD with the former Police singer and bassist. More than just an incredible performer, McBride has been commissioned to write several pieces including “Bluesin’ in Alphabet City” for Jazz at Lincoln Center and “The Movement, Revisited” funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has also become heavily involved in jazz education, serving as Artistic Director at The Brubeck Institute and the Jazz Aspen Snowmass summer program. In 2005, McBride was named co- director of the Jazz Museum in Harlem and the following year became the Carolyn and Bill Powers Creative Chair for Jazz at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Currently, McBride performs regularly with his own groups, including the Christian McBride Band, the Christian McBride Situation, and Inside Straight. Somehow, he has still found time to perform with Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, McCoy Tyner and Sonny Rollins. The story of this bass phenomenon is still unfolding - stay tuned!
John Patitucci is one of the true modern masters of the bass. His stunning virtuosity on both the electric and acoustic bass along with his world-class musicianship have put him in a class by himself. Patitucci was born in Brooklyn and began playing bass at age 10. He attended San Francisco State University and Long Beach State University, where he studied classical bass. While living in Los Angeles, Patitucci began developing a reputation for his outstanding musicianship, and by 1980 he was playing professionally with artists like Victor Feldman, Tom Scott, Larry Carlton, and Freddie Hubbard. In 1985, Chick Corea invited Patitucci to join his band, leading to a long musical association that would have a defining impact on Patitucci’s career. As a member of both Corea’s Elektrik Band and later, his Akoustic Band, Patitucci had a forum to display the full extent of his virtuosity on the world stage. He became a major figure, distinguishing himself particularly as a world-class improviser on electric bass. Corea encouraged Patitucci to compose and record his own albums and even helped him get a record deal with GRP. In 1986, Patitucci was voted Most Valuable Player by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and the following year he released his self- titled debut recording, which went to number one on the Billboard charts. During the next decade, he continued performing and recording with a wide range of artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Natalie Cole, and Carly Simon, winning numerous awards and topping readers and critics polls. Patitucci released six recordings as a leader before moving back to New York City in 1996 and signing with the Concord label. In 2000, he joined the Wayne Shorter Quartet, a group that also includes Danilo Perez and Brian Blade. This highly interactive and creative group, which has released three CDs, shines a spotlight on Patitucci as an acoustic bass player. In 2001, Patitucci toured with Directions in Music along with Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, and Roy Hargrove. In 2003, he became Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at City College, a position formerly held by Ron Carter. Patitucci currently performs with his trio, continues to lead clinics and master classes around the world, and has just released his seventh CD for Concord, Remembrance, which features Joe Lovano and Brian Blade.