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Photo via Stranahan / Zaleski / Rosato.

Photo via Stranahan/Zaleski/Rosato.

Reflecting on his collaboratively-led trio with the pianist Glenn Zaleski and the bassist Rick Rosato, the drummer Colin Stranahan muses: “What’s great about this band is that we are all composers, and we work on our music as a band. One of us writes something, but the composition doesn’t take shape until we work on it together as a band, making changes as each of us adds our input.”

Anticipation (Capri), the debut release from Stranahan/Zaleski/Rosato, has been described by The New York Times as “an estimable album… [with a] meticulously flowing sound.” The Ottawa Citizen remarks that the album should be “required listening,” and that the band “helps set the standard high for not only jazz 20-somethings, but for musicians of all ages.” Stranahan remarks, “We started playing and noticed how making music together seemed so effortless. It was really a pleasure and we felt the chemistry right away.”

All three members of the trio are active sidemen and have received independent recognition for their work. Colin performs with Kurt RosenwinkelJonathan KreisbergDan TepferMaria Neckam, and others, and recently took third place in the 2012 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Drum Competition. Glenn can be heard with the likes of Ravi ColtraneLage Lund, and Ben van Gelder. The pianist was a finalist for the 2011 APA Cole Porter Fellowship in Jazz, and a semi-finalist in the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition. Rick’s performance credits include work alongside Ari HoenigAaron GoldbergAaron Parks, and Tigran Hamasyan, among numerous others.

Colin, Glenn, and Rick have all appeared at The Gallery both separately and together numerous times over the past few years, and we look forward to their performance on Saturday night. In anticipation of the show (no pun intended), we’re offering an exclusive stream of “Limitless,” which is the title track from the trio’s forthcoming album:

[audio http://www.jazzspeaks.org/wp-content/MEDIA/Limitless.mp3 ]

Photo by Marc Monaghan via Flickr

Photo by Marc Monaghan via Flickr

The New York Times characterizes Greg Ward‘s music as “a tight but expansive sort of post-bop, strutting and soulful.” Popmatters declares that the young saxophonist takes listeners to “a place where even something like a simple vamp is cursed with all of the catchiness of a pop melody.” One thing is for certain: he plays as though he means every note. Recently, when asked about his motivations as a musician, Greg responded: “I’m up here because I love this and I don’t want to be anywhere else. You have to play and work with that kind of intensity. No half-steppin’.”

Into his fourth year in New York, Greg shows no sign of slowing down. A Chicago native, Greg cut his teeth participating in (and eventually running) sessions at the late great tenorman Fred Anderson‘s fabled club, The Velvet Lounge, while performing with like-minded peers in groups such as Mike Reed’s People, Places, and ThingsOccidental Brothers Dance Band InternationalBlink., and others. During his time in Chicago, Greg performed with artists such as Von FreemanAl JarreauCarl AllenRufus ReidJeff ParkerHamid Drake, and many more. He has also penned works for the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), the Peoria Ballet Company, and the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra. More recently, Greg has recorded with the electronic music artist Prefuse 73, arranged and conducted an orchestra for the rapper Lupe Fiasco, and is slated to tour with the acclaimed post-rock band Tortoise.

In the past couple of years, we have watched Greg grow his ideas in collaboration with a trio, dubbed “Phonic Juggernaut.” In this setting, Greg entrenches himself in the heavy-hitting New York rhythm section of the bassist Joe Sanders and the drummer Damion Reid, both of whom are Jazz Gallery veterans. Speaking on WBGO’s The Checkout, Greg marveled at the flexibility and spontaneity of his collaborators: “They blow me away every time we play together…playing with musicians like this, I can always be surprised.” Listening to the group’s eponymous debut album, it is clear that the rhythm section feels the same way: Joe, who we commissioned last year as a part of the 2012 Jazz Gallery Residency Commissions, says of the band, “To call this trio a power trio is an understatement. [Through Greg’s] very intriguing compositions and arrangements, this trio pushes my thinking and approach to new heights.”

Join us this Friday for a look at what Greg might be cooking up next: a quartet featuring the guitarist (and longtime collaborator) Dave Miller, the bassist Zack Lober, and the drummer Tomas Fujiwara.

Photo via Camille Thurman

Photo Courtesy of Camille Thurman

Rio Sakairi, our Director of Programming, offers the following advice: “Don’t sleep on Camille Thurman. This girl is bad.” The guitarist Russell Malone praises Camille’s “warm and beautiful sound,” and heralds the reedist and vocalist as “a creative improviser…with taste. Keep your ears on this young lady!” The pianist Luis Perdomo concurs, noting Camille’s ”very versatile talent” and suggesting that she is one “to watch out for.” “Look out for this fresh new voice on the New York scene,” proclaims the saxophonist Tia Fuller, “As a saxophonist, flutist, vocalist and composer, Camille is versatile and deeply rooted in the tradition. Get ready world…Camille Thurman has it all.”

If you haven’t checked out Camille’s own groups yet, you may have heard her performing with one of the artists whose effusive praise you just read. Or perhaps you’ve seen her sharing the stage with elder statesmen like Dr. Billy TaylorBenny Golson, or George Coleman, or backing up R&B and Hip-Hop stars like Alicia KeysIndia ArieCiara, or Missy Elliott. One thing is certain: with the formidable combination of “gutbucket” (The Hartford Courant) tenor stylings and a four-octave vocal range, you’re likely to start hearing more about Camille very soon.

Camille is a native of Queens, New York. Her musical journey started with early lessons from memorizing and singing the music of Stevie WonderMarvin GayeSarah Vaughan, and other artists in her mother’s record collection. Camille added the flute and the saxophone to her arsenal in her early teens, and was performing professionally even while studying the geological and environmental sciences at Binghampton University. After graduating, Camille made the move to New York, where she is a regular member of the Nicholas Payton Television Studio Orchestra, the Mimi Jones BandCharlie Persip and Supersound, theValery Ponomarev Big Band, and the UMOJA Sextet. Her own quartet has performed around the country and around the globe. Most recently, Camille won the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award for the second time in a row, and was one of four artists featured as a part of the “ASCAP’S Songwriters: The Next Generation” showcase at the Kennedy Center.

On Thursday, we will present Camille for the second time as a part of our debut series. This time, she’ll be supported by a quartet featuring the pianist Luis Perdomo, the bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and the drummer Johnathan Blake.

Watch a video of Camille performing “A Change of Mind” live at The Jazz Gallery last November.

Photo by Jozef Van de Poel via Flickr

Photo by Jozef Van de Poel via Flickr

New York Times review of Jaleel Shaw‘s new album, The Soundtrack of Things to Come (Changu), praises the saxophonist’s “warm, frank tone on alto saxophone and an attraction to music of earthy enlightenment.” “The essential trait of Mr. Shaw’s music is balance: between the internal and the external, intellect and emotion, fealty and license,” they write. “Listen closely enough and you realize that he has considered his aesthetic from every angle.”

The saxophonist was born and raised in Philadelphia. He absorbed the city’s rich musical heritage, and the omnivorous leanings of it’s artists; in an interview with The Revivalist, Jaleel recalls:

The great thing about coming up in Philly is that everyone was open musically. You could play with a straight ahead player one day and the next day go do a avant-garde gig, or a hip hop gig. It was all love and everyone knew and supported each other. I think it’s great that I grew up in an environment that included such a diverse group of musicians.

After cutting his teeth on local bandstands and training under Philly educators such as Rayburn Wright, Robert Landham, and Lovette Hines, Jaleel moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. It wasn’t long before he relocated again to New York, this time to pursue a masters’ degree at the Manhattan School of Music. While still a student, Jaleel was approached by two of jazz’s premier big bands: the Mingus Big Band and the Count Basie Orchestra. He went on to contribute to two of the Mingus Big Band’s Grammy-nominated albums, Tonight at Noon and I Am Three.

Upon graduating, Jaleel began to make advances as a bandleader while continuing to work with numerous artists in New York and beyond. His debut album, Perspective, was self-released in 2005 and received strong acclaim from publications including The New York Timesand JazzWise. His sophomore effort, 2008′s Optimism, saw a similarly strong reception from the Times, OkayPlayer, and AllMusic, among others. In the wake of this release, The Jazz Journalists Association recognized Jaleel as one of the “Up and Coming Musicians of 2008″; he has subsequently been heralded as a contender for Alto Saxophonist of the Year byJazzTimes (readers’ poll).

Also in 2005, Jaleel was asked to join Roy Haynes‘ band, a group which he continues to perform with today. The ensemble received a Grammy nomination for their album Whereas (Dreyfus), and performs frequently around the globe.

Recently, Jaleel released The Soundtrack of Things To Come, a musical tale which responds to an array of impulses, from works of art to the passing of loved ones. The album has swiftly garnered critical notice. The New York Times reports:

Throughout the album Mr. Shaw plays commandingly with narrative logic and forward pull…It registers clearly that he made the album with a working band, breaking in his new music before entering a studio. His quartet features the powerfully expressive drummer Johnathan Blake — another former Philadelphian, and his steadiest musical partner — as well as the bassist Boris Kozlov and the pianist Lawrence Fields. (Mr. Shaw will lead a version of this quartet, with Linda Oh on bass, at the Jazz Gallery on April 6.) On a track like “Leel’s Tune,” which rides a shifting and often asymmetrical pulse, the rhythm section’s dynamic exchange is both bracing and matter-of-fact.

Jaleel has been performing at The Gallery as both a leader and a sideperson for many years; this Saturday night, he returns to The Gallery with his quartet to celebrate the release of The Soundtrack.

Watch an interview between Jaleel and JazzTimes in which he discusses the new album.

Photo via http://benvangelder.com

Photo via http://benvangelder.com

When asked about the saxophonist Ben van Gelder, the pianist Aaron Parks describes him as “just a monster. One of my favorite alto players around today, period.” JazzTimes praises his “flowing facility on the horn and fresh ideas,” and ArtsJournal proclaims, “he is one of those rare young musicians who establishes his individuality in three or four notes.”

Ben was born and raised in the Netherlands by a musical family. He studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and The New School, the latter of which included lessons with the master reedist Lee Konitz. It wasn’t long before the saxophonist started making waves in the local scene, sharing the stage with artists like David BinneyAmbrose AkinmusireAaron Parks, and John Escreet, among others. Ben’s talents have also been recognized by institutions; he was an NFAA Stan Getz/Clifford Brown Fellow in 2005, and received the Deloitte Jazz Award in 2008.Last year, Ben self-released his debut album as a leader, Frame of Reference, which features the pianist Aaron Parks, the vibraphonist Peter Schlamb, the bassist Rick Rosato, the drummer Craig Weinrib, as well as guests Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet) and Kyle Wilson(tenor saxophone). Praised for making a “strong impression” by JazzTimes, the album has received accolades from the international press.

This Friday, we welcome Ben and his quintet back to The Gallery with the same core quintet from Frame of Reference, except with Sam Harris occupying the piano chair.

Watch some recently posted footage of Ben’s quintet performing live in New York.