NEA Jazz Masters: The Blues Feeling
Join us on November 12th for an exciting concert, featuring a very talented group of musicians and NEA Jazz Masters. See the artist bios below and get excited to see them all play together live in the Flushing Town Hall theater. Buy your tickets using the link above!
Legendary Jazz artist JIMMY OWENS (trumpet, flugelhorn) has over forty-five years of experience as a Jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, lecturer, and music education consultant. His experience covers a wide range of international musical achievement, which includes extensive work as a studio musician, soloist, bandleader, and composer of orchestral compositions, movie scores, and ballets.
Jimmy is one of the few trumpeters of his generation who played as a sideman with such extraordinary Jazz leaders as Lionel Hampton, Hank Crawford, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Duke Ellington, Billy Taylor, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band, among others. As a result, his musical and personal recollections are unique. He can share personal recollections of being a sideman in some of the most exciting bands in the history of Jazz music. His anecdotes are priceless: playing with Cootie Williams, Sweets Edison, Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie in an historic concert at Yale where Eubie Blake and Paul Robeson were in the audience; sitting in with Miles Davis at the age of fifteen, and many others.
Throughout his long career, Jimmy has consistently emphasized in both his performances and recordings a deep understanding of the blues as well as beautiful and articulate emotional projection on ballads. As a reviewer stated in All About Jazz regarding Jimmy’s performance on One More: The Summary – Music of Thad Jones, Vol 2 (2006), an all-star recording on which Jimmy appeared – “Jimmy Owens … proves that he’s better than ever, whether employing a breathy, vocal quality (Little Pixie), a smooth flugelhorn sound (Three in One), or brilliant and elliptical Jones-like melodic ideas (Rejoice).”
For more information on Jimmy Owens, please visit www.jimmyowensjazz.com.
Remember the name Camille Thurman. As a composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and unique interpreter of the jazz tradition, she is quickly becoming one of the standard bearers for the form, making a considerable and dynamic contribution to the legacy of jazz while paying tribute to its heroes.
Fluid and powerful on the tenor saxophone and highly inventive as a vocalist, she also plays bass clarinet, flute, and piccolo. Her rich sax sound has been compared to Joe Henderson and Dexter Gordon, while her vocal approach—including an impressive scatting ability—has been classified alongside those of Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Carter.
In a few short years, Thurman has shared stages with such jazz and R&B luminaries as George Coleman, Roy Haynes, Dianne Reeves, Wynton Marsalis, The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (JALCO) featuring Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Barron, Buster Williams, Charles Tolliver, Jack DeJohnette, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jon Hendricks, Harry Connick Jr., Jon Batiste, Audra MacDonald, Diana Krall, Patti LaBelle, Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Louis Hayes, Russell Malone, Nicholas Payton, Jacky Terrasson, Janelle Monáe, Alicia Keys, Lalah Hathaway, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, among others.
The New York City native has already amassed several distinctive honors for her musicianship: runner up in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition, two-time winner of the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award and a winner of the Fulbright Scholars Cultural Ambassador Grant, The Chamber Music of America Performance Plus Grant (Sponsored by the Dorris Duke Charitable Foundation) and the Jazz Coalition Composers Grant among others. Thurman also has four full-length recordings as a leader to her credit.
Her compositions were featured and performed by her quartet in the ASCAP/The Kennedy Center “Songwriters: The Next Generation” showcase as well as the Greenwich School of Music “Uncharted” Series. Camille has appeared on BET’s “Black Girls Rock” as the saxophonist and flutist in the All-Star Band. Equally adept as a player and a singer, and recognized for her compositional abilities as well, Thurman has also earned accolades from the media, from Jazz Times to Downbeat, All About Jazz to the New York Times, NPR to Sirius XM Satellite Radio, BET to Jazz Night In America.
Thurman toured internationally toured two seasons withe the world-renowned Jazz At Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis as a saxophonist, becoming the first woman in 30 years to tour and perform full time (2018-2020). After guesting with the JALCO on several shows, including a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and again during the 2017-2018 season as a featured vocalist for the world premiere of the historic work, “The Every Fonky Lowdown,” Thurman was invited to play the tenor saxophone chair for the past two seasons, which covered four continents. When she is not touring with the JALCO, Thurman is on the road leading her band, The Camille Thurman Quartet. She is also a featured artist with the Darrell Green Trio, where she has performed at the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, and numerous respected international jazz festivals and venues.
Thurman was chosen by the State Department under the Fulbright Scholarship grant to perform in Paraguay and Nicaragua with her band. She and Darrell Green were selected by American Music Aboard to travel and perform in various African nations including Cameroon, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, and Mauritania.
The dynamic musician is endorsed by D’Addario Woodwinds & Co. for reeds, Conn-Selmer Inc. for saxophones and Key Leaves saxophone products.
For more information on Camille Thurman, please visit www.camillethurmanmusic.com.
Wycliffe Gordon experiences an impressive career touring the world performing to great acclaim from audiences and critics alike.
Jazz Journalists Association named him 2020 “Trombonist of the Year” for the record breaking 13th time, and he’s topped Downbeat Critics Poll for “Best Trombone” again for an unprecedented six times (2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2013 & 2012). Last year he was the recipient of the “Louie Award”, the International Trombone Award and the Satchmo Award, among others. Wycliffe is a prolific recording artist and is extremely popular for his unmatched signature sound, plunger technique and unique vocals. He can be heard on hundreds of recordings, soundtracks, live DVD’s and documentaries.
In addition to an exceptionally successful solo career, Gordon tours regularly leading his quintet, headlining at legendary jazz venues and performing arts centers throughout the world. He is commissioned frequently, and has an extensive catalog of original compositions that span the various timbres of jazz and chamber music. Musicians and ensembles of every caliber perform his music throughout the world and his arrangement of the theme song to NPR’s “All Things Considered” is heard daily across the globe.
Gordon is a former veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and has been a featured guest artist on Billy Taylor’s “Jazz at the Kennedy Center” Series. Gordon is also one of America’s most persuasive and committed music educators, and serves as Director of Jazz Studies at Augusta University in Augusta, GA.
Wycliffe Gordon is a Yamaha Performing Artist and has his own line of Wycliffe Gordon Pro Signature Mouthpieces by Pickett Brass.
For more information on Wycliffe Gordon, please visit www.wycliffegordon.com.
A prolific piano virtuoso who has performed in the U. S. and Internationally, Daniel Asbury Mixon was born on August 19, 1949 in Harlem and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up in a musical household he was influenced by his mother and grandparents beginning his early artistic expression at the age of 3. He studied and performed as a tap dancer at the Ruth Williams Dance Studio and even then was known as “The Show Stopper.” Danny attended the High School of Performing Arts with dance as his major.
During an afternoon outing at the Apollo Theatre with his grandfather Danny was inspired by the jazz musicians he heard. It was then that he decided that he would like to be a pianist and he never once looked back. At the age of thirteen Danny began piano lessons. His most memorable piano instructor was Sir Roland Hanna. By the time Danny was 17, he was invited to play with Sam Brown and Patti Labelle and the Blue Bells in Atlantic City and two years later he found himself with the Muse Quartet under the auspices of Chris White. Among his earlier credits Danny played regularly with Joe Lee Wilson from 1967 to 1970, Betty Carter from 1971 to 1973.
He also recorded and played extensively with Charles Mingus and Dannie Richmond in the late 70’s. He began playing the organ at Brooklyn’s Baby Grand with Carlos Garnet, and accompanied Big Maybelle at the Blue Coronet. In the mid 90’s he appeared regularly at Showman’s as an organist.
Danny has worked with such legendary performers as Lionel Hampton, Joe Williams, and Frank Foster and continues to be in Frank Foster’s Loud Minority Big Band and his Non-Electric Company. He was honored to have participated in the first Newport Jazz Festival at Sea on the Queen Elizabeth 2. He was also a recipient along with Max Roach for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation Jazz Appreciation award and in December, 2002 was awarded the Harlem Unsung Heroes of Afrikan Amerikan Classical Music award.
In April of 2002 Danny was privileged to take part in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake city, Utah while performing with Savion Glover, and also performed at the International “Fall in Jazz Festival” in Milan, Italy. From November 1-8, 2003 he performed for the second time aboard the Holland American Ms Zaandam Jazz Cruise.
In May of 2004 Danny was one of the first musicians to be honored by the National Jazz Museum in Harlem in a series entitled “Harlem Speaks,” which resulted in an invitation to the White House for Black Music Month on June 22nd. More recent, Danny had been interviewed by New York Oneat Showman’s and Lenore Raphael on her show on Pure Jazz Radio. He was honored by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Mark Markowitz along with other artists from Ft Green in June and September 22, 2011 was decreed “Danny Mixon Day” in Brooklyn. He performed with the Lisle Atkinson and the Neo Bass Choir June 10th and later kicked off Jazzmobile’s Summer Series with the Danny Mixon Quartet at Grant’s Tomb July 27, 2011.
Danny’s greatest joy is performing, composing, and arranging for his own group “The Danny Mixon Trio or Quartet,” and has recently completed his new CD entitled “The Danny Mixon Trio Live at the Rubin Museum.” He has also performed, toured and/or recorded with Yusef Lateef, Hank Crawford, Savion Glover, Pharoah Sanders, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stanley Turrentine, Gene Ammons, Eubie Blake, Noel Pointer, Jimmy Witherspoon, Grant Green, Eddie Jefferson, Charles McPherson, Marlena Shaw, Irene Reid, Houston Person, Dakota Staton, Ben Vereen, Leon Tomas, Chaka Khan, Cassandra Wilson, Lou Rawls, Gloria Lynne, Lisle Atkinson, Oscar Brown, Jr., John Hendricks, Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Earl May, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Kenny Dorham and many others.
Danny was formerly the Musical Director of the Legendary Lenox Lounge and was briefly the Musical Director at the newly restored Minton’s. Danny is an instructor and performance artist with the Jazzmobile as well as instructing at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, along with private instruction.
For more information on Danny Mixon, please visit www.dannymixonsounds.com.
Kenny is a native of Chicago, Illinois. Kenny’s career began with listening to such great R&B artists such as: Earth Wind & Fire, Brothers Johnson and The Temptations, just to name a few. First being self taught, he then studied music theory with David Holder Sr. He then went on to Northeastern Illinois University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education.
Upon entering Northeastern University, he discovered jazz music and he quickly became part of the Chicago jazz scene, playing with Von Freedman, Ari Brown and Fred Anderson. Later, he went on to study classical bass with Warren Benfield of the Davis was the bassist of The Tonight Show Band from September, 1999 thru March, 2002. Chicago Symphony, and had a number of lessons with Jeffrey Bradetich. Some of his jazz influences are Ray Brown, Paul Chambers and Ron Carter. In addition, he also was influenced by the following electric bass musicians: Jaco Pastorius and Verdin White.
He moved to New York in 1986, where he played with Out of the Blue (OTB), and then quickly adapted to the New York scene. While there, he also made a living by doing sessions and jingles. In New York, he began appearing with such artists as: Freddie Hubbard, Cassandra Wilson, Abbey Lincoln, Diane Reeves and Art Farmer, while studying music with Ron Carter.
One of the highlights of his career was being a music arranger for a song on the Grammy Award winning CD by artist Cassandra Wilson, “Blue Light Till Dawn”. Throughout the 90’s, Davis toured with such notable jazz artists as Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves and Art Farmer. In 1999, Kenny Davis got the call from Kevin Eubanks, then band leader/music director of The Tonight Show Band. Davis was the bassist of The Tonight Show Band from September, 1999 thru March, 2002.
Terri Lynn Carrington
With technical wizardry and profound creativity, NEA Jazz Master, Terri Lyne Carrington, has become one of the giants of today’s jazz music. A three-time GRAMMY Award-winning drummer, composer, producer, and educator, Carrington began her professional career at only ten years old and received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music at the age of 11. She is the first female artist to ever win the GRAMMY Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, which she received for her 2013 work, “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Over the four-decade-plus span of her career, she has played with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Lester Bowie, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Stan Getz, Al Jarreau, John Scofield, Pharoah Sanders, and Esperanza Spalding among countless other jazz luminaries.
In 2019, Carrington received the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award as recognition of her important work in the field. She has curated musical presentations at Harvard University, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the John F. Kennedy Center, and has enjoyed multi-disciplinary collaborations with esteemed visual artists Mickalene Thomas and Carrie Mae Weems. Her artistry and commitment to education earned her honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music and Berklee College of Music, where she currently serves as founder and artistic director of the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice, whose mission is to recruit, teach, mentor, and advocate for young musicians seeking to study jazz with racial justice and gender justice as guiding principles. She is also the artistic director for the Carr Center in Detroit, as well as Berklee’s Summer Jazz Workshop.
To date, she has released eight albums, including her 2011 work, “The Mosaic Project: LOVE and SOUL,” which features a leading cast of superb female instrumentalists and vocalists, such as Regina Carter, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, Ingrid Jensen, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Meshell Ndegeocello, Patrice Rushen, Nancy Wilson, Lizz Wright, and others. Carrington also combined forces with David Murray and the late Geri Allen to form the MAC Power Trio. Their 2016 release, “Perfection,” is a tribute to Ornette Coleman. In 2019, Terri Lyne Carrington and Social Science released their critically acclaimed double album, Waiting Game, a project that elevates social justice issues, featuring pianist Aaron Parks and guitarist Matthew Stevens. The album was nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award, and won 3 awards in the 2020 Downbeat International Critics Poll for Artist of the Year, Album of the Year and Group of the Year.
For more information on Teri Lynn Carrington, please visit www.terrilynecarrington.com.