The word supergroup is tossed around a lot in instrumental music circles, the result of a seemingly endless supply of efforts to package together individual virtuoso players and make a band out of them. But every once in a while, the group part of that shopworn term becomes authentic and real. Such is the case with the Aristocrats—British guitarist Guthrie Govan (Steven Wilson, Asia); American bassist Bryan Beller (Steve Vai, Dethklok); and German drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Adrian Belew, Necrophagist)—who defiantly and joyously blow the supergroup stereotype to bits, thrilling audiences and fans around the world in the process.
Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto is famously quoted to have said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant." Surely this thought runs deep in fans of the Aristocrats smash debut album. The band found that recording works best when you can look your bandmates in the eye while thrashing out new tunes. Govan, Beller, and Minnemann did exactly that when each brought three even heavier and more adventurous songs to a Nashville studio last January, resulting in a new album appropriately titled Culture Clash in recognition of their multinational backgrounds. The new disc is due for release in July 2013.
There is little doubt that John McLaughlin's return to the electrified fusion he first innovated more than 40 years ago with his own earth-shattering Mahavishnu Orchestra is as electrifying and exhilarating as ever. Ranked as 49th in Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list, McLaughlin has embarked on a new creative venture with the 4th Dimension that reflects a slight, yet significant, alteration of the dynamic, specifically the recruitment of powerhouse Indian drummer Ranjit Barot. Bassist Etienne M'Bappe and keyboardist/drummer Gary Husband join McLaughlin on stage for another unforgettable night of music.
Hadag Nahash has been topping the Israeli music charts for more than ten years. The band’s unique style of music blends hip-hop, funk, jazz, electro, and rock with a touch of Middle Eastern flavor. On stage, Hadag Nddash engulfs its audience in upbeat rhythm, swinging sounds, and funky lyrics, leaving the listeners entranced and swaying along with the groove. As the refrain from its famous song "Lazuz" goes, "Hadag Nahash invites you to move, move, move."
Italian drummer Roberto Giaquinto leads a trio with Chrisian Li on piano and Jared Henderson on bass. Giaquinto started his studies at Berklee in 2009 and has since performed at the Blue Note, the Detroit Jazz Festival, and the Panama Jazz Festival.
The trio will primarily be performing original compositions from members of the group.
Watch Giaquinto and Li perform together at the Toronto Jazz Festival in the video below:
Albino Mbie was born in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, a country in southern Africa known for its rich musical and cultural heritage. Fueled by the resourcefulness and determination that have always characterized Mozambicans, he built his first guitar at age 16 from scrap wood, strings made out of electrical cords, and a five-liter can of oil.
Drawn to the sounds of neighborhood street musicians in Maputo, Mbie began to play in a number of local bands and wanted to combine styles, incorporating diverse elements in his music. For his talents to grow, he knew he needed experience new places, cultures, and sounds.
While studying music education and performance at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique, he heard about Berklee and soon afterward became one of the first students to receive a full scholarship to Berklee through the African Scholars program in 2009.
At Berklee, he was exposed to a variety of influences but wanted to go deeper into the roots of jazz and expand his knowledge of music. He auditioned and was selected to participate in the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI), which is directed by Danilo Pérez and has a roster of teachers that includes Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, and Terri Lyne Carrington. BGJI fosters a musician's artistic vision, and has helped Mbie find his own unique voice in the art form.
Mbie still felt the absence of his Mozambican traditions in his music. With the help of his mentors, Richard Bona and Lionel Loueke—two of the most prominent African musicians in the United States—he began to bridge that gap.
Today, Mbie's music succeeds in combining many disparate parts into an organic whole. It incorporates his musical experiences from Mozambique, the U.S., and many other places around the world, combining rhythmic patterns and musical concepts to create a unique "Moz-jazz" sound.
His original composition "Mozambique Dance" was released by Jazz Revelation Records, a student-run record label at Berklee, in 2011. He recorded another original, "Awusiwana," for the Berklee 2012 Summer in the City disc. His debut album, also called Mozambique Dance, will be released soon.
Mbie is an active musician, and has performed in several countries, including Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Italy, the U.S., and Mexico. He has also produced and recorded various projects in Mozambique and in the United States. He graduated from Berklee in 2012 with a dual degree in performance and music production and engineering, and a minor in acoustics.
Berklee alumna and Austria native jazz singer Veronika Anna Morscher has returned to Boston to record her first EP of original music and to perform with her friends from Berklee.
Veronika Anna Morscher grew up in Lauterach, Austria, where she began to take saxophone, piano, and voice lessons around the age of 13. She attended various workshops and entered jazz competitions throughout Europe. After graduating from high school, she moved to Boston to pursue a degree in professional music at Berklee College of Music. Upon graduating from Berklee, she moved back to Vienna to start her master’s degree in vocal performance at the Konservatorium Wien.
Growing up as a classical pianist, Caili O'Doherty was exposed to a variety of musical styles before discovering her love for jazz at age eleven. She has received an ASCAP Foundation Young Jazz Composer Award as well as two Downbeat Student Music Awards for jazz piano performance and composition, and was selected for the Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop band led by Terri Lyne Carrington. In 2010, She was one of five female jazz pianists invited to participate in the inaugural Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Emerging Artists Workshop held at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.
O'Doherty has performed with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute at the Toronto Jazz Festival and at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, opening for French pianist Martial Solal. She has studied with Dr. Billy Taylor, Danilo Perez, Joanne Brackeen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Hal Crook, and Greg Osby.
Led by guitarist and composer Asher Kurtz, Oblio combines modern jazz, world music, indie-folk, and rock. Kurtz's compositions are focused on melodies and grooves, and always allow for the improvisational freedom to take the music wherever it needs to go. Oblio's unique sound and adventurous spirit provide the listener with an exciting and new performance every time.
Watch Oblio perform "You Are the Sunrise" in the music video below:
Pianist Marat Gabbasov was born in Troitsk in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia. He started to play piano at the age of 7. When he was 12, Gabbasov participated in his first jazz competition and became one of the winners.
During his studies in Moscow, Marat took part in various jazz festivals and competitions. He became one of the winners in the competitions in Moscow, Sochi, Rostov-na-Donu, Doneck, Ukraine; Yalta, Ukraine; and Aktobe, Kazakhstan. In 2009, Gabbasov won the grand prize in the sixth "Piano in Jazz" competition in Moscow. That same year, he visited the U.S. for the first time and had the opportunity to perform in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas for an audience of several thousand people. From 2009-2010, Gabbasov was a member of the jazz ensemble "Green Wave," led by the famous Russian saxophonist Alexandr Oseichuk. Recently, Gabbasov has graduated from the Gnesins Russian Academy of music and now studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Born in Portland, Oregon, Grant Richards has been around music since he was very young. He began playing piano and composing at age 8 and by the time he entered college, he had won four awards from DownBeat magazine and recorded his first album as a leader. In 2009, Richards enrolled in Berklee College of Music, where he received the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship, a distinction awarded each year to one music student in recognition of his or her outstanding talent. In his short career, Richards has performed with many renowned artists including Esperanza Spalding, Chuck Israels, Terri Lyne Carrington, Dave Liebman, Ben Wolfe, Damian Erskine, Greg Hopkins, John Lockwood, and Filo Machado. Now, at age 22, he is a formidable pianist, composer, and teacher in his own right, remaining active in the Boston music scene by performing and recording as a leader and sideman.