George Garzone

GEORGE GARZONE’S newest recording, Crescent, is a must hear recording with pianist, LEO GENOVESE, and bassist, ESPERANZA SPALDING.  It is an interesting trio recording with no drums. The drums really are not missed considering the solid time of all three musicians. Garzone is one of the few saxophonists on the planet that can do justice to the Coltrane tradition while maintaining his own unique voice. Crescent is a very fitting name for this recording!

Here is a little background on each of the artists:

George Garzone (from his website) [click here to go there]

Saxophonist George Garzone is a member of The Fringe, a jazz trio founded in 1972 that includes bassist John Lockwood and drummer Bob Gullotti, that performs regularly in the Boston area and has toured Portugal. The group has released three albums. A veteran jazzman, Garzone has appeared on over 20 recordings. He began on the tenor when he was six, played in a family band and attended music school in Boston. In addition Garzone has guested in many situations, touring Europe with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and performing with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette, Rachel Z and John Patitucci among others.

Garzone is well-known as a sought-after jazz educator, currently teaching at the Berklee College of Music.  He has also previously taught at New England Conservatory, Longy School of Music, New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Northeastern University and the New School University. He has pioneered the triadic chromatic approach and students of his have included Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, Teadross Avery, Luciana Souza, Mark Turner, Donny McCaslin, Doug Yates and Danilo Perez, to name a few.

In 1995 he recorded a fine tribute to Stan Getz on NYC called Alone; Four’s and Two’s followed a year later with compatriot Joe Lovano which earned him four stars in Downbeat magazine, and in 1999 Garzone returned with Moodiology. Fringe in New York was released in summer 2000. He is a member of the Grammy-winning Joe Lovano Nonet, and performed and recorded with this group at the Village Vanguard in September 2002. George is endorsed by Rico Reeds, JodyJazz mouthpieces and R. S. Berkeley musical instruments.


George has performed with many prominent artists, too many to name. Listed below are a select few.

  • Saxophonists: George Adams, Jerry Bergonzi, Michael Brecker, Claire Daly, Kenny Garrett, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Tony Malaby, Joshua Redman, James Spaulding, Stan Strickland, Frank Tiberi, Steve Wilson
  • Trumpet players: Randy Brecker, Tom Harrell, Eddie Henderson, Ingrid Jensen, John McNeil, Tiger Okoshi, Herb Pomeroy, Barry Ries
  • Trombonists: Bob Brookmeyer, Hal Crook
  • Pianists: Kenny Barron, Ran Blake, Joanne Brackeen, Jaki Byard, Joey Calderazzo, Chick Corea, Stanley Cowell, David Kikoski, Bevan Manson, John Medeski, (NEC Alum), Alan Pasqua, Danilo P?ez, Kenny Werner, Rachel Z
  • Guitarists: John Abercombrie, Mick Goodrick, Chuck Loeb, Ben Monder, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Martin Taylor, Barry Wedgle, David White
  • Drummers/Percussionists: Don Alias, Jeff Ballard, Brian Blade, Gary Chaffee, Dennis Chambers, Jack DeJohnette, Peter Erskine, Al Foster, Bob Gullotti, Billy Hart, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones, Mel Lewis, Mike Mainieri (Vibes), Bob Moses, John Patitucci, Buddy Rich, Mickey Roker, George Schuller, Steve Smith, Jerry Steinhilber, Bill Stewart, Lenny White
  • Bassists: Ron Carter, Ray Drummond, Eddie Gomez, Larry Grenedier, Dave Holland, Dennis Irwin, Marc Johnson, John Lockwood, Cecil McBee, Christian McBride, Gary Peacock, Ed Schuller (NEC Alum), Harvie Swartz, Miroslav Vitous, Reggie Workman
  • Composers/Conductors: Gil Evans, Gunther Schuller, Carla Bley
  • Ensembles: The Carla Bley Big Band, Gil Evans Orchestra, The Fringe (with John Lockwood and Bob Gullotti), George Russell and the In Living Time Orchestra, The Joe Lovano Nonet, Medeski, Martin and Wood, Orange Then Blue, The Woody Herman Band
  • Non-jazz artists: Aerosmith, Music Aviva (Tribute to Kurt Weill), The Dells, Extreme, Aretha Franklin, Engelberg Humperdink, Tom Jones, Gladys Knight, Liberace, New Kids on The Block, Elvis Presley, The Temptations

During his 30 years of teaching at institutions, George has taught countless of students. Listed below are a select few of his most noted students.

  • Saxophone/Woodwinds: Teadross Avery, Seamus Blake, Kenny Brooks, Chris Cheek, Dino Govoni, Branford Marsalis, Donny McCaslin, Bill McHenry, Andrew Rathbun, Joshua Redman, Scott Robinson, Chris Speed, Marcus Strickland, Mark Turner, Doug Yates
  • Bruce Barth, piano, Damian Draghici, pan flute, Danilo P?ez, piano, Antonio Sanchez, drums, Luciana Souza, voice, John Sullivan, bass, Chris Wood, bass, Manuel Valero, piano, Norm Zocher, guitar

Leo Genovese (from his website) [click here to go there]

Calling Leo Genovese a “pianist” just doesn’t do him justice. Even the term “musician” is rather limiting. Sure, he’s a great musician and a great jazz pianist but Leo’s goals are more existential. Armed with 88 keys, Leo writes and performs music that feeds off of dissonance and unconventional improvisation all under the guise of “jazz.” But what Leo really wants to do is exist between the notes, in a state of musical enlightenment.

Born and raised in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, Leo had an early musical influence through his mother who played classical piano. It must be in the genes; Leo soon found himself behind the keys, studying classical piano at the National University of Rosario. It wouldn’t be until 2001 when the native-Argentinian would make his way to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. where he studied with Danilo Perez, Joanne Brackeen, Frank Carlberg and Ed Tomassi.

Two years later, Genovese would graduate as a Professional Music Major and begin his career of performing, recording, writing and just about anything that involved music. He released his first solo record, Haikus II, in 2004 and will enter the Ropeadope family with his new record Unlocked which will feature not only Genovese but Joe Hunt and Justin Purtill (aka the Chromatic Guachos).

But what separates Leo’s style of piano from what’s already been done? Simple: his desire and ambition to achieve the zen (read: total consciousness) of music. You can hear it in Genovese’s chromaticism-fueled compositions, that pull no punches. Eerie dissonant tones flirt with traditional jazz style creating something that only Genovese’s mind could cook up.

“What’s the difference between dissonance and consonance?” Genovese asked. “There is no difference for me. It’s all the same. It’s all beauty. It’s all life. Titles, names, categories, definitions, rules and theories are mankind inventions. Those belong to the human world. I try to stay away from that and just keep moving forward. I believe in chromaticism.”

It’s clear that Genovese would rather have his music speak for itself; using those man-made conventions (which would include the words you’re reading right now) would simply tarnish the musical/existential experience that Genovese has virtually perfected. Sit back, stop thinking and enter into Genovese’s world, where the music can truly speak for itself.


Esperanza Spalding (from her website) [click here to go there]

From the beginning of her life to her current success as a creative musician, Esperanza Spalding has charted her own course. The young bassist/vocalist/composer was one of the biggest breakout stars of 2011—not just in jazz, but in all genres of music. Her receipt of the 2011 GRAMMY® for Best New Artist was unprecedented—the first time a jazz musician had won the award— but Spalding continues to make the unprecedented the norm.

Born in Portland, Oregon, Spalding grew up in a single-parent home and learned early lessons in the meaning of perseverance and moral character from the role model whom she holds in the highest regard to this day – her mother.

But even with a rock-solid role model, school did not come easy to Spalding, although not for any lack of intellectual acumen. She was both blessed and cursed with a highly intuitive learning style that often put her at odds with the traditional education system. On top of that, she was shut in by a lengthy illness as a child, and as a result, was home-schooled for a significant portion of her elementary school years.

However, the one pursuit that made sense to Spalding from a very early age was music. At age four, after watching classical cellist Yo Yo Ma perform on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the roadmap was suddenly very clear. “That was when I realized that I wanted to do something musical,” she says. “It was definitely the thing that hipped me to the whole idea of music as a creative pursuit.”

Within a year, she had essentially taught herself to play the violin well enough to land a spot in The Chamber Music Society of Oregon, a community orchestra that was open to both children and adult musicians. She stayed with the group for ten years, and by age 15, she had been elevated to a concertmaster position.

But by then, she had also discovered the bass, and all of the non-classical avenues that the instrument could open for her. Suddenly, playing classical music in a community orchestra wasn’t enough for this young teenager anymore. Before long she was playing blues, funk, hip-hop and a variety of other styles on the local club circuit. Her first band, Noise for Pretend, expanded Spalding’s musical horizons and presented her earliest opportunities to sing and write music.

She also came under the influence of several elders in Portland’s musical community, including Greg McKelvey, Ronnie Harrison, Geoff Lee, Warren Rand, Stan Bock, Ronnie Steen, Janice Scroggins, Dr. Thara Memory and many other teachers in the Cultural Recreation Band and Mel Brown’s Jazz Camp.

At 15, Spalding left high school for good. Armed with her GED and aided by a generous scholarship, she enrolled in the music program at Portland State University. “I was definitely the youngest bass player in the program,” she says. “I was 16, and I had been playing the bass for about a year and a half. Most of the cats in the program had already had at least eight years of training under their belts, and I was trying to play in these orchestras and do these Bach cello suites. It wasn’t really flying through the material, but if nothing else, my teachers were saying, ‘Okay, she does have talent.’”

Berklee College of Music was the place where the pieces all came together and doors started opening. After a move to the opposite coast and three years of accelerated study, she not only earned a B.M., but also signed on as an instructor in 2005 at the age of 20 – an appointment that has made her one of the youngest faculty members in the history of the college. She was the 2005 recipient of the prestigious Boston Jazz Society scholarship for outstanding musicianship.

In addition to studying and teaching at Berklee, Spalding also had a chance to perform with many jazz icons, including pianist Michel Camilo, singer Patti Austin, guitarist Adam Rogers, and saxophonists Donald Harrison and Joe Lovano. “Working with Joe was terrifying,” she recalls, “but he’s a really generous person. I don’t know if I was ready for the gig or not, but he had a lot of faith in me. These years playing with him have been an amazing learning experience.”