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Musician

Kevin Hart

Born:

Kevin Hart is a jazz vibraphonist, pianist and drummer from Central Illinois. His stylistically eclectic The Road to Everywhere was chosen as a 2005 recommended release by Laura Kennedy from WGLT who says, “Kevin Hart is a masterful musician—a generous artist with style, class and a forever sense of fun. His originals sparkle with innovation and cosmopolitan charm and as Axel F demonstrates, his choice of cover material reveals imagination and vision.” Latin-flavored Corazón was also a 2010 top ten pick by KXLU in Los Angeles. Early on, Kevin played his father’s drums to jazz records, studied piano as required by his mother, imitated Lionel Hampton on an older sister’s vibraphone, and began drumming with local pros at 15

Musician

Harold Land Jr

Harold Land, Jr. has toured Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America with Jazz and Funk greats such as Marvin Gaye, Gerald Wilson, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, Pharoah Saunders, Lee Morgan, Roy Ayers, Roland Kirk, Sweet Baby J'ai, Dwight Trible, and many others. The Crusaders' pianist Joe Sample introduced Harold to Wayne Henderson. The meeting led to Harold's first professional gig, and to his first two album appearances, including the cult favorite "People Get Ready". He credits bandleader Gerald Wilson with giving him his first traditional Jazz gig, which came shortly after his time with Henderson

Musician

Miho Sasaki

Born:

Miho Sasaki is a jazz pianist originally from Japan. Born in Tokyo, she began to play piano at the age of 5 and continued studying music through high school. After her exposure to jazz and enrolling in a jazz program for two years, she began her musical career. She has performed in many venues and has taught in Tokyo. In 2016, she received a scholarship from the Rotary Foundation to study abroad, which led her to the jazz program of SUNY Purchase. Approaching her third year in the program, she was selected as the prestigious James Moody Scholarship recipient. She has performed at many jazz venues in New York City, such as Tomi Jazz, Cleopatra's Needle, and Knickerbocker Bar and Grill

Musician

Junichiro Mataga

Born:

Junichiro Mataga is a Jazz Pianist, Jazz Composer, Arranger, and Educator based in New York City. He grew up in Niigata, Japan. He began playing piano when at six years old. He moved to Tokyo after graduating high school and began studying Jazz Piano in the University Jazz Club. He graduated from The University of Electro-Communications with a major in Master of Engineering and then worked as a Sound and Vibration Researcher at Central Research Lab of NEC Corporation. In parallel, he was active in the Jazz scene in Tokyo, Japan. He performed in his leader band, the big band “Shiny Stockings”, the gospel band “7season”, the jazz quartet “Beyond the Cinema”

Musician

Quentin Walston

Born:

Quentin Walston is an active composer, pianist, and music educator in Northern Virginia. He composes for piano and his jazz combo, blending memorable melodies and striking rhythms with adventurous improvisations. As an educator, he teaches lessons and classes to individuals of all ages in areas of jazz, improv, and composition. Quentin Walston was introduced to improvisation surprisingly through bluegrass and folk music. As the harmonica player in the folk band Jake and the Burtones, Quentin fostered a passion for improvising solos and appreciating the musicianship of others around him

Musician

Amanda Suwondo

Originally from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, pianist Amanda Suwondo started learning keyboard at the age of five. She started learning classical music during high school, doing grades, and playing at church. She then took her career as a musician to the next level in 2010 when she moved to Sydney, Australia, studying diploma of contemporary music at C3 College, NSW. During her study, she started to go seeing gigs and got inspired to play jazz by a pianist Judy Bailey, later became her teacher. She started to get more involved in learning jazz by joining SIMA’s Women in Jazz in 2011, taught by Jess Green (through which she was awarded a mentorship by Sirens Big Band)

Musician

Ben Wilcock

Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, Ben Wilcock is most well known as a band leader for the jazz trio The Jelly Rolls[1] and his work as a sideman with New Zealand soul singers such as Bella Kalolo, Aaradnha and Louis Baker, specialising in jazz and soul. After graduating from the New Zealand School of Music in 2001, Wilcock toured with the theatre company Indian Ink as pianist in the show The Pickle King. After a season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2003 he relocated to London where he worked as a pianist in nightclubs and hotels. From 2004-2007 he lived in Cambridge, UK with his wife Fiona Wilcock. In 2008 Wilcock returned to New Zealand where he worked on the faculty at The New Zealand School of Music in Wellington as a jazz educator until 2014, when he relocated to Rotorua. While living in Wellington he recorded and toured extensively with singer Bella Kalolo, including performances at Glastonbury, AWME, City of London festival, and the Java Jazz festival

Musician

Russ Kaplan

Born:

Russ Kaplan is a musical storyteller. A creatively restless composer and versatile keyboardist, his diverse musical obsessions have led him through the worlds of jazz, rock, and theatre music. His newest project is a band that brings all these elements seamlessly together - a postmodern jazz supergroup known simply as "Russ Kaplan + 7." Taking Jazz into a high-concept narrative realm, RK+7 tells fantastic stories through Kaplan’s evocative compositions, which draw on influences from dixieland jazz to ambient rock. Kaplan's debut album as a bandleader - The Ulysses Cycle - is a 20-song narrative suite based on Homer's Odyssey

Musician

Brian Woods

Born:

Brian Woods is an African-American pianist, vocalist, producer, songwriter, actor, and author. Brian’s musical roots are based out of the gospel church in Akron, Ohio where he has performed for most of his life, but his musical accolades expand far beyond that. Serving as a radio DJ for 88.9 “The Edge,” he began to broaden his musical tastes. In college, he also ran security for the national entertainment acts that were brought in. It was there that Brian saw his future. On a fateful evening working detail for Blessed Union of Souls, Brian saw one man playing a piano and singing and watched as it transformed the entire atmosphere


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