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Maria Manousaki

Maria Manousaki stands as one of Greece’s most successful and versatile musicians , working to great acclaim and commercial success as a violin performer and band leader, Maria's musical style can be best categorized within the jazz and world music scene. Maria Manousaki was born in Johannesburg of bicultural parentage. After completing the English Royal School of Music Violin examinations, Maria graduated from the Greek Conservatory Filippos Nakas with a Jazz Violinist Degree. She received a scholarship from the world renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, earning an Honors Degree in Professional Music in 2002. Steadily growing into an international artiste, Maria performs as a soloist as well as with her band “Maria Manousaki Quintet” around America and the world: She performs in different bands as a freelance musician covering diverse musical genres for many prestigious high- profile events, theaters, festivals, clubs, and venues in various major cities across the globe. Since her arrival in New York, Maria has performed alongside some of the worlds most renowned musicians and has released two outstanding albums: "Sole Voyage" which comprises her own original music and the excitingly unusual combinations of Cretan melodies woven into a tapestry of Jazz with Polyrhythmic Percussion. This can be found on all streaming platforms, The album won the best jazz album at the “academia awards” in 2016 Her latest album “Hidden Trails” will be released in 2021. Maria has lived in Dubai where she performed in many prestigious events such as the International Film Festival, at private functions for the Sheikh of Dubai, the Madinat Theatre in Mina Al Salam, various seven star hotels including the Burg Al Arab


Elinor Speirs


There is something amazing that happens when cultures converge. There is surprise and enchantment, chaos and dispute, but in the end, there is always something new. That is where violinist Elinor Speirs likes to set up residence - at the cusp of the conversation. The progeny of a Viking and a celt, raised at the southern tip of Africa with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, it was almost inevitable that Elinor would flee the constraints of the orchestra and join the fire and dance of improvised music. Versatility and flair for style have ensured her place in musical genres across the board. Classically trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and jazz and free music trained at New York University and New England Conservatory, Elinor is an experienced orchestral and chamber music performer with a burgeoning career in jazz, world music fusion, free music, new music and interdisciplinary arts


Winko Ljizz


Winko Ljizz is the OneManBand Storyteller of Sacramento - hosting the Acoustic Sanctuary [mobile piano- bar comedy club] - in the Old Sacramento Waterfront historic district - parked at 200 J Street on Thur, Fri & Saturday nights [from 8 ’til Late]. www.acousticsanctuary.com


Article: The Jazz Life

Fit As A Fiddle: How the Violin Helped Shape Jazz, Part 2

Read "Fit As A Fiddle: How the Violin Helped Shape Jazz, Part 2" reviewed by Peter Rubie

Part 1 | Part 2 This is Now I hate to confess this, but I've never been that keen on Stephane Grappelli's playing, as masterful and brilliant as he assuredly was. ("He plays with an accent," violinist and Berklee professor Rob Thomas confided to me when I hesitantly mentioned this to him. What Rob ...


Article: Rising Stars

Meet Violinist Daisy Castro

Read "Meet Violinist Daisy Castro" reviewed by Sanford Josephson

This article first appeared in Jersey Jazz Magazine. Jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel first saw violinist Daisy Castro play nine years ago when she was 15. “Her tone," he said, “was already powerful. Her rhythmical placement, her intonation were already unreal. And, most importantly, her soul pours out music and shows amazing creativity, poetry, imagination, ...


Katsumi Ferguson


A native of Fukuoka, Japan, Katsumi W. Ferguson began her violin studies at the age of 2, influenced by her father who was the student of Shinichi Suzuki. She began her professional career as a violinist and piano accompanist from the age of 16.

She freelanced extensively with various professional orchestras throughout Japan.

Katsumi moved to New York City in 2008.

As a soloist, she performed at Tanri Cultural Institute, William PatersonUniversity Musical Salon Series, Baruch College and many other places.

From the Fall in 2018 to Winter in 2020, she participated Dr


Gabriel Bismut


Gabriel Bismut is a Parisian violinist and violist playing jazz and traditional music. After his studies at the Regional Conservatory (CRR) of Boulogne-Billancourt, he was in contact with internationally renowned jazz musicians such as Antonio Ciacca and Carine Bonnefoy. He has also worked and recorded with musicians from the Parisian scene such as Camille Bertault, Helena Recalde, Charlotte Wassy, Mauro Repetto and The Big Hustle. In 2016 he recorded an album containing his compositions with pianist Fady Farah. In 2017, he started playing with pianist-accordionist Maurizio Minardi


Jozef Nadj


Jozef is a contemporary violinist, recording artist and educator. Classically trained from a very young age, Jozef entered the world of jazz and blues in his early teens looking for something different, more modern. After studying classical music at academies in Hungary and Serbia, Jozef entered a new world while studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he developed a deeper understanding of harmony, jazz composition and improvisation. This helped him further nurture his talent, establishing his own style which has been influenced by Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Brecker, Joe Satriani, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Michael Jackson and many others


Armen Boyajian

Armen Boyajian is a jazz violinist and pianist who has been in the Charlotte, NC area since 2008. His jazz quartet Air Apparent was formed in Washington, DC and included Frank Kimbrough, Ed Howard, and Steve Williams. They played Blues Alley, Carter-Barron Amphitheatre and other DC and Baltimore venues. Armen has also played with Gary Thomas, Dennis Chambers, Wycliffe Gordon, Elisa Pruett, George Sykes, Greg Alewine and Ron Brendle. He has written a number of original jazz compositions: "Waltz for Bill Evans" (originally entitled "Sweet & Sour") was named Best Jazz composition by the Washington Area Music Association


Johan Renard


Johan Renard is a French violinist musician based in Paris. He is known for his mastery of the violin, his approach to improvisation, composition, and his teaching. Very early on, he obtained his diplomas and finished his classical musical studies to then enter the CNSMDP to deepen the art of improvisation, he studied there with Jean François Jenny Clark, Daniel Humair, François Jeanneau, Hervé Sellin. He graduated. Johan works regularly from the age of 9 on the violin with Madame Nell Gotkowsky, she instills in him the desire and freedom of creation, the love of art. During the Yehudi Menuhin competition, still a student Johan will present a program where he mixes classical and improvised violin, in the Jury are Stephane Grappelli, Pierre Boulez, who salute his performance. Stephane Grappelli will write him a letter in which he urges him to continue in this direction and underlines to him the importance of the quality and the emotion which he received by seeing young musicians play the violin differently, and what more is his music. Subsequently as part of the CNSMDP he recorded with the George Russel Orchestra. This meeting will transform his vision towards Jazz and the so-called “European Classic” harmony, thanks to the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization With his technique and his knowledge of the violin, Johan Renard makes a commitment to meet around the most diverse musicians, and coming from all horizons, for him the music is one and indivisible and can not suffer from classification. He then meets Didier Lockwood who considers him to be the next generation of the jazz violin, and asks him to be his assistant in his school the CMDL to develop the teaching of the violin and improvisation. We find him as a musician, arranger and composer, around recognized musicians and in many projects: Emmanuel Bex, Stephan Eicher, Isabelle Olivier, Carine Bonnefoy, Romane, Alex Beaupain, Stochelo Rosenberg, Richard Bona, Archie Shepp, Steve Coleman ... The importance of improvisation and the freedom of creation brought Johan to meet many musicians from all over the world. He regularly leads courses, workshops and exchanges around the violin and improvised music. For Johan Renard the violin is a popular instrument and accessible to all, just like music and improvisation. He teaches at the CRR de Paris and is coordinator of the jazz department of the Gabriel Faure 5th arrondissements conservatory, as well as at the Swing Romane Académie , directed by Romane with whom he shares the importance of oral tradition and creative freedom in music. Johan has performed in many International Festivals: Jazz a Vienne, Jazz Sous les Pommiers, Jazz In Marciac, Nice Jazz Festival (France) Fuji Rock Festival (japan), Festival Zocalo, (Mexico) Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland) Paleo (Switzerland) Haldern Pop, Pondicherry (India) ...


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