Live Video: Click here to view a recent live performance with violinist Regina Carter, drummer Alvester Garnett, and tenor saxophonist Jed Levy playing Gershwin's "Lady, Be Good." It's swinging and fun.
Tony Reedus: On November 16, 2008, the world lost one of its great drummers and human beings. Getting to know Tony as I did over the past dozen or so years, I consider it a distinct privelege that I was both his friend and among his preferred bass players. Beneath his gruff and sometimes intimidating exterior, Tony was warm, funny, intensely loyal, and had one of the best, most memorable laughs of anyone I have ever known. I'm still figuring out some of the many things playing with him taught me, as well the finer points of words like "jackleg" and "tricky." I was honored to be among the guests at his wedding to Niecy last year and to have the opportunity to know both her and their beautiful daughter Cameron. Tony, I miss your beat, I miss your opinions, I miss your many expressions, verbal and facial, and so many other things. I miss my friend, Reedy-Ree.
New CD: Bennett Paster & Gregory Ryan - Grupo Yanqui Rides Again, featuring Chris Cheek (saxophones), Alex
Norris (trumpet), Keith Hall (drums) and Gilad (percussion), on the Miles High Records label. Now available on iTunes and other download sites, Amazon.com and other fine internet retailers, as well as a record store near you. Even better, check out the new online store at the redesigned www.grupoyanqui.com.
New CD: Paster, Ryan and Hall - Invisible Horizon is here! Recorded in May 2006, our new trio record also features special guest Chris Cheek on tenor saxophone on 3 tracks. The CD sounds great (and looks great too). click here for info about the record and sample some tracks.
Serbia, Baby! Bennett Paster and I spent 2 weeks in Belgrade, Serbia in October conducting a jazz workshop for students at the Belgrade Music Academy. Jazz at Lincoln Center and the U.S. Department of State decided to send us back to Serbia to teach as an extension of our February 2006 The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad tour. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to spend 2 weeks there, getting to know the city and it's people. The students at the academy were terrific: hungry, attentive and talented, to boot. I'd like to extend our thanks to Milica Blitva, Ljubisa Jovanovic and Milan Mihailovic at the Music Academy, John Johnson and Jelena Putre at the State Department in Belgrade, Van Monak Chhun and Ashley Dunn at J@LC, and Sandi Rouse and her staff at the State Department in Washington for all their hard work in making our return a success. I look forward to our next visit. As they say in Serbia - Hvala!
In Spring and Summer 2006, I toured with master guitarist Pat Martino, playing dates across the US, Canada and Europe.
Grupo Yanqui, featuring myself, Bennett Paster, Keith Hall and trumpeter Jim Seeley, was selected to tour internationally as part of the 2006 Jazz at Lincoln Center / US State Department's prestigious The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad program. For the month of February 2006, we performed and conducted workshops in Sweden, Russia, Estonia and Serbia-Montenegro. We see this as our chance to foster positive, creative change in the world on behalf of the U.S. Government. It was a great month, travelling to all sorts of places I'd never been and was unlikely to go otherwise. Russia was incredibly cold, but the audiences were wonderful. People everywhere were friendly and very receptive to our music. What a pleasure! I'd like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all at the State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center for all their work in making the tour happen and to all of the State Department personnel in the individual countries - if there weren't so many people involved, I'd acknowledge you all by name. For specific cities, dates and other information about where we went, see the calendar page. The photo above is from our performance at the Club Von Krahl in Tallinn, Estonia - an especially fun evening and quite unlike any other on the tour.
I spent the last part of December 2005 performing at the Half Note Jazz Club in Athens, Greece with singer Paula West. The band featured pianist Matthew Clark, drummer Tony Reedus, and myself. We had a lot of fun - full houses, nice people, good food, and some swinging music. Athens is an amazing city where ancient history and modern life rub up against each other. Check out this photo of Reedus and me atop Areopagus Hill with the Acropolis behind us. The views from here are incredible in all directions; I hope you enjoy this one.
I'm involved in an exciting new recording project with drummer Joel Rosenblatt, guitarist Vinny Valentino, and my old friend and longtime partner in crime, keyboardist Bennett Paster. Bennett, Joel and I have been playing trio gigs together for the past year or so and decided we should do some recording. However, we chose to record in a setting that augmented the core trio. I suggested Vinny for the project because of his prior relationships with Joel and me. The sessions have also featured the talents of percussionist Gilad and tenor saxophonist Chris Cheek, two of my favorite musicians. Bennett describes the music aptly as an exploration of original funk, jazz and Latin compositions in a setting that blends trusted musical connections with the freshness of new relationships.
In August 2005 I had the singular pleasure and honor of playing an informal duo concert with legendary guitarist Jim Hall. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to play with musicians you have admired for a long time, and I've been a Jim Hall fan since I first heard Sonny Rollins' The Bridge when I was 17. The core of the music making process is listening: listening to your inner ear and voice, listening to your collaborators, listening to what the moment offers. Playing with Jim was truly inspiring because the way he plays inevitably draws you in to that mode of deep listening. It compels you to be more aware and more open, naturally changing the way you play. In short � a joy. Thanks, Jim.
I am delighted to announce the release of Skyline, the new CD by Bennett Paster, Gregory Ryan and Keith Hall. Recorded in Brooklyn, NY, this recording showcases original compositions by each of us, as well as our interpretations of three standards. I love playing with these guys. Check it out, I think you'll find that "the good feeling" is very much in effect. Click here for more information about this CD, including the press release and promotional photo. Please visit the recordings page to hear samples and purchase the CD. In late April 2005, we completed a successful tour of New Mexico to promote the record, performing in concert and at clubs in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos.
In January 2005, I spent two very cold days recording with guitarist Freddie Bryant for his next CD release, a program of compositions by Thelonious Monk. The record features a trio of Freddie, playing electric, nylon string, and 12-string guitars, drummer Willard Dyson and me. It also features guitar duets with Howard Alden, Peter Bernstein, and Romero Lubambo. I've worked with Freddie in a variety of settings for several years and always relish the opportunity to play together. A wonderful composer in his own right, this project centers on Freddie's reimagining of Monk's music in a setting sans piano, casting Monk tunes, familiar and less so, in rhythmic territory reflecting his own wide-ranging palette. The record is rounded out by two Monk-inspired original compositions.
I continue to perform with my trio at Hillstone in NYC on Sunday, Monday and Thursday evenings. I have had the pleasure of making music with some of the finest pianists, drummers (and sometimes others) in New York and beyond. Check out my schedule for details and personnel.