John Coltrane By 1960 Coltrane had formed his own quartet which included pianist McCoy Tyner, drummer Elvin Jones, and bassist Jimmy Garrison. Eventually adding players like Eric Dolphy, and Pharoah Sanders. The John Coltrane Quartet created some of the most innovative and expressive music in Jazz history including the hit albums: "My Favorite Things," "Africa Brass," " Impressions," " Giant Steps," and his monumental work "A Love Supreme" which attests to the power, glory, love, and greatness of God. Coltrane felt we must all make a conscious effort to effect positive change in the world, and that his music was an instrument to create positive thought patterns in the minds of people
Charlie Hunter ”I knew that I wanted to do this with my life from when I was 16”, says Hunter about his musical career. His early recognition of this may have been influenced by the fact that he grew up in homes where his mother repaired guitars for a living in Berkeley, California where he has lived since he was eight years old. Charlie picked up his first guitar when he was twelve years old for $7, and a few years later was taking lessons from Joe Satriani, who at that time was just another guitar teacher. “People can't believe that but I was just another Berkeley kid and every Berkeley kid took lessons from Joe Satriani. He must have had a hundred students. He's a great teacher.”
Dave Sanborn Renowned and revered the world over as one of the greatest saxophone players of all- time, David Sanborn is an artist whose music has inspired countless other musicians while creating a body of work that spans the genres of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, pop and jazz. A naturally gifted performer, David has helped defined the saxophone’s modern sound while influencing a generation. Born July 30, 1945 in Tampa, Florida, David William Sanborn contracted polio when he was only 3 years old. As a part of his rehabilitative therapy, David was introduced to the saxophone. It was an introduction with consequences quite beyond the imagination of his parents, doctors – or anyone else. The selection of the alto sax – a favourite from David’s days spent listening to the radio – would prove to be a pivotal moment in the development of his sound.
The Carpenter Ants Even the best bands come and go but the Carpenter Ants have been around - with virtually the same line up - for more than 16 years. The Ants have defied the odds and outlasted most of their peers for a number of reasons. First and foremost, regardless of the occasion, the band never fails to have a good time. And, after more than 2,000 performances, the members still like and respect each other - and you can feel it in their music. Having evolved into WV's premier rhythm & blues group, the band has unearthed a wealth of classic and forgotten American music. The Ants wail through classic R&B, country- swamp and gospel-soul with equal conviction. A few years back, the band caught the ear of famed singer/songwriter/producer/ rock'n'roller Don Dixon. The upshot was the band's second record, the all-gospel Picnic with the Lord. Last year Dixon anxiously signed on to produce the groups third effort, Ants in Your Pants, and steered the band to Scott Beal's Gaff Music. The disk will be released in spring 2004. The core of the group consists of guitarist Michael Lipton, drummer Jupiter Little, bassist Ted Harrison and vocalist/saxophonist Charlie Tee. A revolving cast of auxiliary Ants include singer/songwriter Larry Groce, host of the internationally syndicated radio show "Mountain Stage," ex-NRBQ guitarist Steve Ferguson and Robert Shafer, one of the Country's premier Telecaster slingers and two-time national flatpicking champion.
David Arkenstone A keyboardist who is skilled on guitar, flute, percussion, and other instruments, Arkenstone has explored a variety of sonic textures on his recordings. His versatility is showcased in the interstellar majesty of VALLEY IN THE CLOUDS; the globetrotting diversity in CITIZEN OF TIME (1990); the trilogy-launching, rock-orchestral bravura of IN THE WAKE OF THE WIND, his 1991 magnum opus (with the subsequent QUEST OF THE DREAM WARRIOR and RETURN OF THE GUARDIANS); the traditional power and mystery of THE CELTIC BOOK OF DAYS (1998); the multi-cultural sound paintings of CITIZEN OF THE WORLD (1999); and the vivid colors of CARAVAN OF LIGHT (2000). One writer once noted that if a person’s imagination could earn frequent-flyer mileage, Arkenstone would have already earned a couple of round trips to Saturn. “A love for travel and adventure is just something that’s embedded in my personality,” says Arkenstone. “Sometimes I get the feeling that I’m painting as much as I’m composing. I tend to envision a place where I would like to go, or an adventure I would like to take, and I let my mind run free. I’ve gotten countless e-mail messages from listeners who love to take these journeys with me. I’m sometimes surprised by how powerfully people respond to my music.”
Tracy Chapman Renowned African American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman was born on March 30, 1964. Chapman came from humble beginnings, raised in a working class neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. At an early age, Chapman had already found her calling as a musician. She began by writing poetry, and then at the age of eight she received her first guitar as a gift from her mother. Chapman quickly progressed with the guitar and also learned to play the ukulele and the piano. Her initial interest in poetry developed into a talent for writing her own music. This driven young lady also excelled academically, winning an academic scholarship to attend a private high school in Connecticut followed by a minority placement scholarship which she decided to put towards attending Tufts University in Massachusetts. At Tufts, Chapman studied anthropology and African studies.
Lee Ritenour Growing up in L.A. in the 60's, Grammy award winning guitarist Lee Ritenour received a rich cross section of exposure to jazz, rock and Brazilian music. From one of his first sessions at 16 with the Mamas and Papas to accompanying Lena Horne and Tony Bennett at 18, his forty year eclectic and storied career is highlighted by a Grammy Award win for his 1986 collaboration with Dave Grusin, Harlequin; 17 Grammy nominations; numerous #1 spots in guitar polls and the prestigious "Alumnus of the Year" award from USC. He has recorded over 40 albums, with 35 chart songs, notably the Top 15 hit "Is It You," which has become a contemporary jazz radio classic. In the 90s, Ritenour was a founding member of Fourplay, the most successful band in contemporary jazz, with keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason. The first Fourplay album in 1991 spent an unprecedented 33 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's contemporary jazz chart. Adding to this legacy is his latest CD Smoke ‘n' Mirrors; the recently completed Grammy nominated recording Amparo, (a follow-up with Dave Grusin to their highly-successful 2001 Grammy Award nominated contemporary classical crossover CD) and producer of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band's latest CD Act Your Age (which is nominated for 3 Grammys.
Nina Simone Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina. The sixth of eight children in a poor family, she began playing piano at age three; the first song she learned was "God Be With You, Till We Meet Again". Demonstrating a talent with the instrument, she performed at her local church, but her concert debut, a classical recital, was given when she was twelve. Simone later claimed that during this performance her parents, who had taken seats in the front row, were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. Simone said she refused to play until her parents were moved back to the front, and that the incident contributed to her later involvement in the civil rights movement.