Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2013 Artist biographies

Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra

Eddie Palmieri is known for his charismatic power and bold innovative drive, has a musical career that spans over 50 years as a bandleader of Salsa and Latin Jazz orchestras.  With a discography that includes 36 titles, Mr. Palmieri has been awarded nine Grammy Awards.  Born in Spanish Harlem in 1936, Eddie began piano studies at an early age, as did his celebrated older brother, the late Salsa legend and pianist, Charlie Palmieri.  He has one of the most actively touring Salsa and Latin Jazz orchestras to date, tours of which have taken him to Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America, North Africa and throughout the Caribbean.  A true powerhouse of brilliance known for his astute arranging skills and historic compositions, Mr. Palmieri has shown that time is infinite with respect to his repertoire as he continues to thrill audiences with his legendary style.


Gerald Clayton 

Born in the Netherlands in 1984, jazz pianist, Gerald Clayton grew up mainly in Los Angeles with a musical family that includes his father, bassist/composer John Clayton, and uncle, saxophonist Jeff Clayton.  His dynamic and award-winning sound has been praised in print by the Jazz Times and Los Angeles Times.  The New York Times has saluted his “Oscar-Peterson like style” and “huge, authoritative presence” and Down Beat Magazine’s 2008 Readers’ Poll named him one of the top up-and-coming pianists to watch.  As a composer, his work has been commissioned by the Jazz Gallery in New York City and performed overseas by the BBC Orchestra.  He has been honored with a Level 1 award by the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA), the title “Presidential Scholar in the Arts,” and second place in the Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Piano Competition.  Dodging early pressures to emerge as a prodigy, Gerald instead honed his talents and his resolve to ensure that this next generation is never lacking for intricate, swinging pieces and performances that are steeped in tradition while always facing the future.


Pat Martino

Philadelphia native, Pat Martino, began playing professionally at age 15 after moving to New York City. Martino has been recognized as one of the most exciting and virtuosic guitarists in jazz. With a distinctive, fat sound and gut-wrenching performances, he represents the best not just in jazz, but also in music.  He embodies thoughtful energy and soul and has performed with a wide variety of artists including Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Jimmy Smith, Chick Corea, Jack McDuff, and Stanley Clark. The Grammy nominated virtuoso has been selected as the Guitar Player of the Year, Downbeat Magazine’s 2004 Reader’s Poll and has taught at several prestigious universities including Duquesne, New York University, Pennsylvania University, Stanford University. He’s also been a recording artist for Blue Note, Prestige, Vanguard and Warner Brothers Records.


Allan Harris

Allan Harris is a world-class singer, guitarist and songwriter.  Perhaps best known for his interpretations of jazz standards, Allan’s smooth vocals and guitar styling easily crosses genres from jazz to rock to blues. Variety magazine wrote that “Harris is a velvet-voiced jazz singer, with a savvy manner and music in his veins.” The legendary 

Tony Bennett has called Allan “my favorite singer.” Harris has cultivated a global following, playing for packed audiences and receiving outstanding reviews throughout the United States, Europe, Russia and the Far East and most recently had a 10 day stint at the 2012 London Olympics.  He is also a three-time winner of the New York Nightlife Award for “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist,”  and The Miami Herald wrote that Harris’ voice and demeanor “project the warmth of Tony Bennett, the bite and rhythmic sense of Sinatra, and the sly elegance of Nat ‘King’ Cole.


David Budway

Max Jazz Recording Artist, David Budway is one of the most versatile pianists on the New York music scene today.  Deeply rooted in many styles, his masterful command for Modern Jazz vocabulary has propelled him into the midst of present day jazz pioneers.  He has recorded and performed with Branford Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Stanley Turrentine, Hubert Laws, Jeff”Tain”Watts, Wynton Marsalis and George Benson.   He has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Village Vanguard, The Blue Note, The Cotton Club and The Jazz Standard.  David’s forthcoming release on Max Jazz, “A New Kiss” features Branford Marsalis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Eric Revis, Ron Affif, Marcus Strickland and Joe Barbato. David was a Professor at Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University from 1983- 1995, and presently gives Master classes at William Patterson University.  David also is an accomplished composer. Artists that have recorded and performed his songs include   Marvin Hamlisch, Hubert Laws, Jeff “Tain” Watts and more.  David scored original music to “Lift”, a short film that features Dominic Pinon.   David also performs the piano solos in the movie “Giant Steps” which stars Billy Dee Williams


Marcus Miller

Marcus Miller is a two-time Grammy-winner and the composer/producer of ten critically acclaimed and genre-defying albums. As a multi-instrumentalist, Marcus is highly proficient as a keyboardist, clarinetist/bass clarinetist and, primarily, as a world-renowned electric bassist, topping critics’ and readers’ polls for three decades.  His résumé as an A-list player brims with over 500 recording credits as a sideman on albums across the spectrum of musical styles that include collaborations with Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Donald Fagen and Eric Clapton, David Sanborn, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Sample, Wayne Shorter, Grover Washington, Jr., Roberta Flack, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Chaka Khan, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Z.Z. Hill, Billy Idol, Al Jarreau, Dave Koz and opera sensation Kathleen Battle.  As film music pro, Miller rose from writing the go-go party classic “Da Butt” for Spike Lee’s “School Daze,” to becoming the go-to composer for over 20 films including the Eddie Murphy/Halle Berry classic “Boomerang.”

The Nevilles
Appearing in Pittsburgh for The Nevilles are Art Neville (founding member and oldest brother), Charles Neville (original band member and second oldest brother), Ivan and Ian Neville, Tony Hall and Nikki Glaspie.

Louisiana Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, The Neville Brothers: Art (oldest), Charles (second), Aaron (third) and Cyril (youngest) have a combined musical performing, writing and recording history of 35 years; with individual brother’s musical careers spanning 55 years from Art Neville’s beginnings with the Hawkettes and “Mardi Gras Mambo” to individual solo careers, including Aaron’s 1966 hit, “Tell it Like it Is”.   The Nevilles, combine funk and blues style, finding inspiration from their family roots in New Orleans and from the city’s rich and varied musical history and legendary musicians.  The group was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in January 2012.  The Nevilles recording history together began in 1976 and continues to the present.

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Few musicians share the ability of saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. Time and again, Mahanthappa has eloquently displayed the capacity to absorb numerous styles and genres of music, combine them with the language of modern jazz, and emerge with a new form still recognizably jazz.  What has materialized is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year in Downbeat’s 2011 & 2012 International Critics Polls and for four years running by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2012). Rudresh has studied at Berklee College of Music and DePaul University.

Sean Jones Quartet

Sean Jones is a trumpeter, composer and educator. He was formerly the lead trumpet player with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra Directed by Wynton Marsalis. Jones is currently a professor of Jazz Studies at Duquesne University and has eight critically acclaimed jazz albums to his credit.  The multi Grammy Award nominee is particularly adept at plumbing complex emotional plateaus through his trumpet playing and composing. Most recently, he’s toured with Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller and Wayne Shorter in Europe with a project that celebrated the Miles Davis legacy.  Jones’ heart stopping quartet consists of Philadelphia-based pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis, and Miami-born drummer Obed Calvaire. No matter what angle they take on the subject, Jones and company’s blazing interactions reveals what any jazz fan knows is the greatest love of all: that between an artist and his music. As Jones says, “I like to play from the heart and not the head.”


Orrin Evans

Philadelphia firebrand Orrin Evans, has been recognized as one of the most distinctive and inventive pianist of his generation. In a short span of time Orrin has earned the titles of pianist, composer, bandleader, teacher, producer and arranger. The New York Times described the pianist as “…a poised artist with an impressive template of ideas at his command,” a quality that has undoubtedly assisted in keeping Orrin at the forefront of the music scene.  Evans is a graduate of the Girard Academic Music Program, and attended the Mason Gross School of The Arts at Rutgers University. While attending Mason Gross some of his teachers included Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Ralph Bowen, & Ted Dunbar. In 1996, Orrin was invited to join Bobby Watson’s band “Horizon” on their European tour.  His recording and performing resume includes Wallace Roney, Mos Def, Common, Antonio Hart, Ralph Bowen, The Mingus Big Band, Roy Hargrove, Nicolas Payton, Brandford Marsalis, Sean Jones, Ravi Coltrane, Robin Eubanks and Duane Eubanks.  Evans’ band, which at different times features such notables as Ralph Peterson, Jr., Sam Newsome, Ralph Bowen, Nasheet Waits, Reid Anderson, Eric Revis, J.D. Allen, Stacy Dillard and Duane Eubanks.


Ralph Peterson

Master drummer, respected educator, bandleader, and talent scout extraordinaire Ralph Peterson has carried on in the tradition of his mentor and idol Art Blakey, who was renowned for his hard-driving approach to the kit and his uncanny knack for discovering new talent.

The list of jazz greats who passed through the ranks of Blakey’s Jazz Messengers reads like a Who’s Who in Jazz, and Peterson is proud to be included on that list. Similarly, Peterson has helped launch the careers of several promising young players in his various bands over the years, including trumpeters Sean Jones and Jeremy Pelt, saxophonists Steve Wilson, Ralph Bowen, and Tia Fuller, vibist Bryan Carrot, and pianist Orrin Evans.  Peterson’s current band the new Fo’tet, who debuted on the Grammy-nominated album Duality Perspective, released by Onyx in 2012, is the most recent example of Peterson’s continued stewardship.  Duality Perspective also features Ralph’s sextet containing: Lucques Curtis, Zaccai Curtis, Walter Smith III, Tia Fuller, and Sean Jones.  Peterson has taught at the Philadelphia University of the Arts and is a full-time professor at Berklee School of Music.


Sarah Elizabeth Charles

Sarah Elizabeth Charles is a vocalist and composer based out of New York City. Sarah’s musical stylings are unique and the intricacies to her art focus on modernizing classics and composing distinctive originals.  Sarah has performed at numerous venues throughout New York City including The Apollo Theatre with Geri Allen, Blue Note NYC, The Iridium, Smalls Jazz Club, Zinc Bar NYC, and New York Couture Fashion Week. Performances outside of the city have taken her to such venues as the International Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland playing opposite Jack DeJohnette, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC as a selected member of the 2009 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Composers Residency.  She attended and graduated with a BFA from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and a BA from Eugene Lang College. Since beginning her journey as a jazz musician, she has had the pleasure of studying and working with musicians such as Jimmy Owens, Geri Allen, Dr. Billy Taylor, Sheila Jordan, Cecil Bridgewater and Reggie Workman.


Cecil Brooks, III

Pittsburgh native Cecil Brooks, III is a contemporary drummer and aggressive, polyrhythmic stylist. Cecil has worked in the New York area for over 20 years with such musicians as Greg Osby, Geri Allen and Lonnie Plaxico.  Influenced by his father Cecil Brooks II, Art Blakey and Tony Williams, he recorded his debut album as a leader for Muse in 1989. He later released efforts including 1990’s Hangin’ with Smooth, 1993’s Neck Peckin’ Jammie and 2000’s Our Mister Brooks in addition to session work in both a hard bop and bebop settings.  Brooks also made his mark on the music as a producer with Westside Records where he produced vocalists Gail Allen and Jackie Woods and saxophonist Reggie Wood. Brooks is also an impresario of note by formerly owning and operating the West Orange, New Jersey jazz club “Cecil’s” for over 8 years.