Over the course of his multifaceted career, saxophonist Greg Osby has forged a formidable reputation as an instrumentalist, composer, entrepreneur, and recording artist. But he's also a leading music educator who holds a professorship in the Ensemble Department at Berklee. Tonight, Jazz Standard welcomes the professor and a hand-picked group composed of some of the school's most promising student players. Past performances have featured Berklee alumni like Esperanza Spalding, Julian Lage, and Kendrick Scott. "You can practice by yourself all you want," says Greg Osby, "but unless you're playing with and responding to another musician and contributing to a group, you don't really know what your role is. It's really the last stage, but the most important stage, of a person's education."
Berklee Greg Osby Sextet
Barclay Moffitt began playing the saxophone at age 12 in his hometown of Pueblo, Colorado. Barclay reached out to many programs to nurture his art and music; the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts, Berklee Saxophone Weekend, and the Stanford Jazz Workshop are among the programs he attended. In these programs he was fortunate enough to study with jazz greats such as Lee Konitz, Joshua Redman, Greg Gisbert, Richard Davis, John Gunther, Phil Grenadier, Jerry Bergonzi, and many other jazz masters. Barclay was awarded the esteemed Presidential Scholarship at Berklee in 2008. Since entering the college, he has had the honor to study and perform with master musicians and educators such as Phil Wilson, Andy McGhee, George Garzone, Dave Santoro, and Greg Osby.
Benjamin Allen, 19, an alto saxophone player hailing from the city of jazz, New Orleans, attempts to blend New Orleans traditional, bebop, and pop music genres together. Studying under Donald Harrison, as well as artists such as Barry Harris, Ellis Marsalis, Jim Odgren, Kent Jordan, Jake Saslow, Kidd Jordan, and Alvin Batiste, he comes from a background of teaching styles that vary from very rigorous to very open and creative. This allows him access to multiple models and techniques in his attempts to teach and learn. New Orleans NPR affiliate WWNO-FM describes him as "musically soaring."
In 2009 he was awarded a full scholarship to the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program, where he was then awarded a full-tuition scholarship for four years to Berklee. He often plays at various New Orleans venues, while also teaching private lessons as a part of the Tipitina's Internship Program and on his own. He has growing strengths as a composer, teacher, and performer and hopes to use them to advance the musical community.
Lucian Gray is a guitarist from Toronto, Canada who gigs regularly with his trio and quartet at numerous clubs in the Toronto area. He was the first winner of the Slaight Family Scholarship, allowing him to begin his studies at Berklee in fall 2008. While performing at the 2009 Prince Edward County Jazz Festival, Gray won the Rising Young Star Award. He has since studied with teachers such as Mick Goodrick, David Tronzo, Greg Osby, and George Garzone.
Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1991, Eitan Kenner began studying classical piano at the age of six. Inspired by his father, a well-known musician in Israel, Kenner began studying and expanding upon his musical knowledge and gradually chose to focus on jazz. At 16, after two years in the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, he joined Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music on a scholarship and was the youngest ever to participate in the finals of Rimon's Jazz Player of the Year. Two years later, Kenner graduated with honors, and by the age of 18 he had already studied and performed with top Israeli jazz musicians all over Israel and in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Currently pursuing a degree in performance at Berklee, Kenner has studied with JoAnne Brackeen, Benny Green, Alain Mallet, Jamey Haddad, Dave Santoro, Tiger Okoshi, and Ed Tomassi. He is a current member of the Berklee World Jazz Octet and will perform in Washington, D.C. with Paquito D'Rivera this June.
Tamir Shmerling is a double and electric bass player from Israel. He served as a bassist in the IDF Orchestra (2005–2008) and has performed with Tel Aviv and Holon big bands, directed by Amikam Kimelman and Guri Agmon, respectively (2008–2009). While on scholarship at the Rimon School of Jazz, he studied with Guri Agmon, Ilan Mochiach, Mamelo Gaitanopoulos, Yoray Oron, Yuval Cohen, Rami Levin, Avi Lebovich, and Daniel Zamir.
Shmerling was awarded a scholarship from Berklee in 2008. He currently studies at Berklee with Terri Lyne Carrington, Greg Osby, Jamey Haddad, Alain Mallet, John Lockwood, Oscar Stagnaro, Whit Browne, Dave Samuels, Ed Tomassi, Dave Santoro, Dennis Montgomery III, and other great teachers. During his studies, he has had the honor to perform with artists such as Kevin Eubanks and Ignacio Berroa.
21-year-old Toronto, Canada native Adam Arruda began studying drums at the age of five, started performing regularly when he was 10, and hasn't stopped since. He holds the record for winning the Zildjian Outstanding Young Drummer Award at Music Fest Canada eight times in a row. In February of 2007, he was selected as the drummer for the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Big Band, where he played with Phil Woods, James Moody, Tom Scott, and Patti Austin. In 2008 Arruda was selected as the drummer at the prestigious Brubeck Institute Fellowship along with four other band members.
Arruda is fortunate to have studied with many master musicians, including Jimmy Cobb, Ed Thigpen, Gerald Cleaver, Jeff Ballard, Lewis Nash, Willie Jones III, Clarence Penn, Ari Hoenig, Dan Weiss, Jim Black, Dafnis Prieto, and Joshua Redman, to name a few. He has performed at the 2007 Grammy Awards, and the North Sea, Detroit, Monterey, Next Generation, Brubeck, and Toronto jazz festivals.
Arruda is a scholarship recipient at Berklee, where he began his college career in the fall of 2010. Ralph Peterson, Terri Lyne Carrington, Jamey Haddad, and Alain Mallet have been particularly influential in his first year at the college. He can be heard at the legendary Wally's Jazz Café in Boston with trumpeter Jason Palmer.