Guitarist, composer, and band-leader Liberty Ellman has worked on many important projects with the likes of Hip-Hop groups Midnight Voices and the Coup, pianist Vijay Iyer, saxophonists Rudresh Mahanthappa and Greg Osby, and composed for and performed internationally with the Tony award winning political theater company The San Francisco Mime Troupe. Recently Liberty recorded with Henry Threadgill’s new project ZOOID, and performed with the pioneer of Conduction – Lawrence “Butch” Morris.
Pianist Vijay Iyer is an accomplished pianist and composer who has performed in Toronto, New York, Chicago, all over Europe, Senegal, and Mexico, and performs frequently in New York City. He manages to lead a few groups: The Vijay Iyer Quartet, featuring alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, Fieldwork, a trio with tenor saxophonist Aaron Stewart and drummer Elliot Kavee, and Third Pole,a sextet also co-led by Aaron Stewart. Vijay has toured extensively with Steve Coleman, and has worked with such artists as Cecil Taylor, John Tchicai and Amiri Baraka.
Brilliant saxophonist Eric Crystal has been a stalwart of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene for many years. An immensely innovative, versatile and melodic improviser whose sophisticated sound belies his youth, Crystal has brought his strong, sensitive musical voice to a vast array of performance settings. Highly in demand as a jazz session player, he has been featured on 14 recordings. His first as a leader was released in the summer of ’98. The original compositions therein are brought to life by Dred Scott, Vijay Iyer, John Shifflet, Trevor Dunn, Dave MacNab, Elliot Kavee, Marty Wehner and Ben Goldberg.
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Rudresh Mahanthappa represents a new generation of American jazz musicians by portraying the culture of his ancestry through his music. Jazz is an indigenous American art form; yet Rudresh, having been raised as a first-generation Indian-American by immigrant parents, has fused his various cultural influences to creatre a truly unique style. Rudresh made appearances with Steve Coleman, Jack DeJohnette, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Von Freeman, George Garzone, Tim Hagans, Fareed Haque, Vijay Iyer, Howard Levy, David Liebman, Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Clark Terry.
Guitarist Thor Madsen is making a name for himself on the Jazz and Electronica scene in New York. He has performed with George Garzone, James Hurt, Dana Murry, Eric Revis, Fred Wesley and Anders Bergcrantz. Lately he has co-produced Sherman Irbys new album. Thor Madsen produces his own electronic works under the name Mazza, remixes for other artists and produce for the X-ist label at
the Temple of Soul Studio, NYC. Thor Maden Group feautures alto saxophonist Douglas Yates, bassplayer Francois Moutin and drummer Ari Hoenig. Plays frequently in New York and has toured over most of Europe both as a sideman and as a leader.
Featuring Mohammed Bilal of MTV’s Real World San Francisco, Midnight Voices brilliantly combine their ethics as social activists with their vision as musicians. Joining the likes of En Vogue, Too Short and Rappin’ 4-Tay, Midnight Voices were nominated two times for best urban contemporary album at the Bay Area music awards (the Bammies). In addition to being awarded for their sound, the band is also recognized for their commitment to being positive role models.