Meet The Cast

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This is not our full cast but it is our honor to introduce you to some of the individuals who have explored our rich music history with us! Please get familiar with our esteemed cast. You will certainly have a more in depth understanding of what each person’s acknowledgments and contributions are to the conversation.

George Duke

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George Duke (January 12, 1946 – August 5, 2013), a Jazz-Funk-Fusion pioneer,  was an American musician, known as a keyboard pioneer, composer, singer and producer in both jazz and popular mainstream musical genres. He worked with numerous acclaimed artists as arranger, music director, writer and co-writer, record producer and as a professor of music. 

Duke’s songs have been used by a wide variety of contemporary musicians in a wide array of genres. These include: “I Love You More”, sampled by house music-act Daft Punk for their hit “Digital Love“; “Guilty”, sampled by electronica music artist Mylo in his song “Guilty of Love” on Destroy Rock & Roll. “For Love”, sampled by underground hip hop artist MF Doom on his track “I Hear Voices”; “Someday”, sampled by hip hop artist/producer Kanye West for Common in “Break My Heart” on his “Finding Forever” album; “You and Me”, sampled and used by soul/rhythm and blues influenced hip hop-producer 9th Wonder for his collaboration album with Kaze for the track “Spirit Of ’94” on the album Spirit Of ’94: Version 9.0; and “Reach for It”, sampled by Ice Cube in “True to the Game” on his Death Certificate album and Spice 1 in “In My Neighborhood” on his self-titled debut album, and sampled by W.C. & The Maad Circle (featuring Mack 10 & Ice Cube) in “West Up” on their “Curb Servin'” album. Madlib utilized Duke’s “My Soul” on the track “Mingus” from his “Madlib Medicine Show #8: Advanced Jazz” album.

Duke was nominated for a Grammy as Best Contemporary Jazz Performance for After Hours in 1999.[6] By popular vote, Duke was inducted into The SoulMusic Hall Of Fame at SoulMusic.com in December 2012.

Robert Glasper

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Grammy award winner, Robert Glasper is a jazz pianist with a knack for mellow, harmonically complex compositions that also reveal a subtle hip-hop influence. Inspired to play piano by his mother, a gospel pianist and vocalist, Glasper attended Houston’s High School for the Performing Arts. After graduation, he studied music at the New School University in Manhattan, where he found performance work with such luminaries as bassist Christian McBride, saxophonist Kenny Garrett, and others. After graduating college, Glasper worked with a variety of artists, including trumpeter Roy Hargrove, vocalist Carly Simon, and rapper Mos Def. The pianist released his debut album, Mood, on Fresh Sound New Talent in 2004. Canvas and In My Element followed in 2005 and 2007, respectively, on Blue Note Records. In 2009, Glasper released the forward-thinking album Double Booked, which featured a mix of modal post-bop and funky, ’80s Herbie Hancock-inspired numbers with two separate bands. The first of these was his trio with drummer Chris Dave and upright bassist Vicente Archer; they recorded five originals and a cover of Thelonious Monk‘s “Think of One.” These tracks were followed by five more originals by his electric band, dubbed the Robert Glasper Experiment, featuring Dave, electric bassist Derrick Hodge, and Casey Benjamin on saxes and vocoder.  In 2012, the Robert Glasper Experiment (with a slew of all-star guest vocalists) issued their first stand-alone album, Black Radio, for Blue Note, which sought to blur boundaries between jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and rock & roll; it entered the Billboard jazz charts at number one. Later in the year, Glasper and Blue Note released Black Radio Recovered: The Remix EP; 9th Wonder, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and Pete Rock were among those who participated. In 2013, the Robert Glasper Experiment (now including Hodge and Benjamin with drummer Mark Colenburg) returned with their equally star-studded sophomore album, Black Radio 2.  

Roy Ayers

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Once one of the most visible and winning jazz vibraphonists of the 1960s, then an R&B bandleader in the 1970s and ’80s, Roy Ayers‘ reputation s now that of one of the prophets of acid jazz, a man decades ahead of his time. A tune like 1972’s “Move to Groove” by the Roy Ayers Ubiquity has a crackling backbeat that serves as the prototype for the shuffling hip-hop groove that became, shall we say, ubiquitous on acid jazz records; and his relaxed 1976 song “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” has been frequently sampled. Yet Ayers‘ own playing has always been rooted in hard bop: crisp, lyrical, rhythmically resilient. Roy Ayer’s Ubiquity, an R&B-jazz-rock band influenced by electric Miles Davis and the Herbie Hancock Sextet at first, the Ubiquity gradually shed its jazz component in favor of R&B/funk and disco. Though Ayers‘ pop records were commercially successful, with several charted singles on the R&B charts for Polydor and Columbia, they became increasingly, perhaps correspondingly, devoid of musical interest.  In the 1980s, besides leading his bands and recording, Ayers collaborated with Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, formed Uno Melodic Records, and produced and/or co-wrote several recordings for various artists. As the merger of hip-hop and jazz took hold in the early ’90s, Ayers made a guest appearance on Guru‘s seminal Jazzmatazz album in 1993 and played at New York clubs with Guru and Donald Byrd

Ramsey Lewis

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Pianist and composer Ramsey Lewis has been a major figure in contemporary jazz since the late 1950s, playing music with a warm, open personality that’s allowed him to cross over to the pop and R&B charts. Lewis and his trio continued to record and tour steadily over the years, building a sizable audience among jazz fans, but their career received a serious boost in 1965, when they recorded a swinging version of Dobie Gray‘s hit “The In Crowd” at a gig in Washington, D.C. Chess released the track as a single, and it became a sizable pop hit, earning Lewis his first gold record, as well as a Grammy award for Best Jazz Performance. As Lewis‘ star rose, he returned to the pop charts in 1966 with versions of “Hang on Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water.” Meanwhile, Young and Holt left Lewis‘ trio to form their own group, Young-Holt Unlimited, and the pianist hired a new rhythm section, Cleveland Eaton on bass and Maurice White on drums. In 1970, White resigned to form his own group, and Morris Jennings signed on as the trio’s new percussionist. Lewis continued to record for Chess until 1972, when he moved to Columbia Records, and as his music developed a more contemporary groove, White‘s group, Earth, Wind & Fire (also on Columbia), was beginning to enjoy considerable success on the R&B charts. White produced Lewis‘ 1974 album Sun Goddess, in which he experimented with electronic keyboards for the first time, and several members of EWF played on the sessions; it became a major crossover hit and took Lewis to the upper ranks of the smooth jazz/fusion scene. Lewis would continue to record R&B-influenced material through the ’70s, but continued to explore his roots in more traditional jazz sounds as well as Latin rhythms.  In addition to his work as a performer, composer, educator, and disc jockey, Lewis has received five honorary doctorate degrees and  won the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Master Award in 2007.

Al Jarreau

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Al Jarreau’s unique vocal style is one of the world’s most precious treasures. His innovative musical expressions have made him one of the most exciting and critically-acclaimed performers of our time with seven Grammy® Awards, scores of international music awards and popular accolades worldwide.

Al’s career breakthrough came in 1977 when Warner Brothers Records released Look to the Rainbow , his live double album, which was culled from his first world tour from that same year, and earned the vocalist his first Grammy® for Best Jazz Vocal Performance.

His fourth album, All Fly Home, was released in 1978 to further accolades and a second Grammy for Best Jazz Vocalist. It was followed by a string of innovative and original offerings, including 1980’s This Time, and the million-selling Breakin’ Away, which brought him a broader audience and two more Grammy’s with awards for Best Male Pop Vocalist and Best Male Jazz Vocalist.

In 1983 Jarreau was released, followed closely the following year by High Crime. Both albums spawned a string of R&B and pop hits, and further cemented him as an international superstar. Al Jarreau- Live in London, recorded before a SRO crowd at Wembley Arena in 1985, continued to solidify Jarreau’s reputation as a world-class master of both studio and stage. Following the live album, Jarreau teamed with top producer Nile Rodgers for L Is For Lover, which brought some new styles and sounds to the singer’s repertoire.

He continued to top the stateside charts in 1987 and became a weekly guest in America’s living rooms singing the Grammy® nominated theme song for the hit television series Moonlighting.

With hardly time to take a breath, he launched into the recording of the Heart’s Horizon album, which contained the #2 R&B smash “So Good” and earned him another GRAMMY® nomination, this time for Best R&B Album. After touring the globe for nearly two years, he returned to the studio – this time with Narada Michael Walden – to fashion the sound that would launch him into his third decade of music-making. The result was 1992’s Heaven and Earth for which he received his fifth GRAMMY® for Best R&B Vocal Performance. With this, he became one the rare artists to have won GRAMMY’S® in the three categories of jazz, pop, and R&B.

In 1994, Tenderness was released. On this Marcus Miller-produced gem, Jarreau is joined by an all-star cast (David Sanborn, Kathleen Battle, Joe Sample, Steve Gadd, to name a few) to bring us a host of familiar contemporary compositions and to revisit a few Jarreau classics.

1996 brought some exciting career challenges. While on a break from touring, Jarreau accepted a three-month stint on Broadway playing the role of Teen Angel in the hit musical Grease! Other recent credits include guest star appearances on New York Undercover, Touched By An Angel and a national McDonald’s commercial with R&B sensation, Vesta Williams.

In 1999, for the first time, Al Jarreau teamed up with symphony orchestras throughout the U.S. and Europe performing his most popular hits as never heard before as well as some favorites from Broadway and the Classics, which received outstanding review. Al continues to perform symphony shows on a regular basis.

Called “the voice of versatility” by the Chicago Tribune and “one of the world’s greatest natural resources” by the Detroit News, Jarreau added a new chapter to his twenty-five-year recording career with Tomorrow Today (2001), his GRP Records debut. Al Jarreau received his own Star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame”, in March 2001, commemorating his status as one of the best singers of his generation. After more than 30-years Al Jarreau is undoubtedly one of the greatest performers and innovative vocalists the music world has ever known. Time Magazine called him ‘the greatest jazz singer alive’.

Marcus Miller

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Marcus Miller is an American jazz composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, best known as a bass guitarist. Throughout his career, Miller worked with trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Herbie Hancock, singer Luther Vandross, and saxophonist David Sanborn, as well as maintaining a successful solo career. He has played bass on over 500 recordings including those of Luther Vandross, Grover Washington Jr., Roberta Flack, Carly Simon, McCoy Tyner, Bryan Ferry and Billy Idol. He won the “Most Valuable Player” award, (awarded by NARAS to recognize studio musicians) three years in a row and was subsequently awarded “player emeritus” status and retired from eligibility. In the nineties, Miller began to make his own records, putting a band together to take advantage of touring opportunities. Miller’s proficiency on his main instrument, the bass guitar, is well-regarded. Not only has Miller been involved in the continuing development of the technique known as “slapping“, particularly his “thumb” technique, but his fretless bass technique has also served as an inspiration to many, and he has taken the fretless bass into musical contexts and genres previously unexplored. The influences of some of the previous generation of electric bass players, such as Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke, and Jaco Pastorius, are audible in Miller’s playing. Early in his career, Miller was accused of being simply imitative of Pastorius, but has since more fully integrated the latter’s methodology into his own sound. By 13, Marcus was proficient on clarinet, piano and bass guitar, and already writing songs. Two years later he was working regularly in New York City, eventually playing bass and writing music for jazz flutist Bobbi Humphrey and keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith. Miller soon became a first call session musician, appearing on over 500 albums by such artists as Michael Jackson, Herbie Hancock, Mariah Carey, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Frank Sinatra, George Benson, Dr. John, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Grover Washington, Jr., Donald Fagen, Bill Withers, Chaka Khan, LL Cool J and Flavio Sala. As a composer, Miller wrote all but two of the songs on Tutu for Miles Davis, including its title track – a piece that defined Davis’s career in the late 1980s. He also composed “Chicago Song” for David Sanborn and co-wrote “‘Til My Baby Comes Home“, “It’s Over Now“, “For You to Love“, and “Power of Love” for Luther Vandross. Miller also wrote “Da Butt, which was featured in Spike Lee‘s School Daze. Miller has won numerous Grammy Awards as a producer for Miles Davis, Luther Vandross, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chaka Khan and Wayne Shorter. He won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1992, for Luther Vandross’ “Power of Love” and in 2001 he won for Best Contemporary Jazz Album for his seventh solo instrumental album, M2.

Billy Cobham

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Generally acclaimed as fusion’s greatest drummer, Billy Cobham‘s explosive technique powered some of the genre’s most important early recordings — including groundbreaking efforts by Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra — before he became an accomplished bandleader in his own right. At his best, Cobham harnessed his amazing dexterity into thundering, high-octane hybrids of jazz complexity and rock & roll aggression. He was capable of subtler, funkier grooves on the one hand, and awe-inspiring solo improvisations on the other; in fact, his technical virtuosity was such that his flash could sometimes overwhelm his music. After debuting as a leader with the classic Spectrum in 1973, Cobham spent most of fusion’s glory days recording for Atlantic; briefer stints on CBS, Elektra, and GRP followed, and by the mid-’80s, Cobham was de-emphasizing his own bands in favor of session and sideman work. Even so, he continued to record for various small labels with some regularity.

Foreign Exchange

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Representative of how the Internet can aid in creating music, the Foreign Exchange started when Little Brother rapper Phonte heard a beat on Okayplayer.com by Dutch producer Nicolay and asked if he could lay some vocals over it. Nicolay agreed, and the song “Light It Up” appeared shortly after as the B-side to Little Brother’s 2002 single “Whatever You Say.” Relying mainly on instant messaging and email, the duo continued to work together, with Nicolay sending beats to Phonte, who would add vocals and send them back until they had enough tracks together to form an album. Not once during the entire process of making their debut, Connected, which came out in 2004, did the members of the Foreign Exchange speak over the phone or in person. Due in part to an increasing production load, Nicolay moved to the States, and Leave It All Behind, the second FE album — more R&B-oriented than the debut — was recorded. Released in 2008 and featuring a handful of stunning videos, its lead single, “Daykeeper,” was nominated for a 2010 Grammy in the category of Best Urban/Alternative Performance (and lost to India.Arie’s “Pearls”). 

Larry Rosen

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Larry Rosen, musician, producer, executive producer, and music industry entrepreneur. Mr. Rosen is the producer/executive producer of over 350 albums, of which 80 have been nominated for GRAMMY Awards, winning 33 GRAMMYS, as well as numerous award winning film/video productions and television specials.

In 1978, Grusin/Rosen Productions signed a long-term development deal with Arista Records president Clive Davis. It was a prolific collaboration, with albums from Dave Valentin, Angela Bofill, Bernard Wright, and Tom Browne–whose hit single “Funkin’ For Jamaica” reached number one on Billboard’s R&B and Jazz charts–forming the basis of a breakout catalog.

Arista/GRP outperformed commercial expectations and redefined the boutique American jazz label. Rosen used the opportunity to advance the state of the art, engineering- and co-producing the Dave Grusin album Mountain Dance–the first- digitally recorded non-classical album–in 1979.

Their obligations to Davis fulfilled, Grusin and Rosen established GRP Records, Inc., in 1982 as the Arista contract expired. Under their dual proprietorship, Rosen’s personal enthusiasm for digital recording was translated into a corporate mission. Their pioneering “all digital” approach–releasing their entire catalog on Compact Disc–helped launch the format in the United States.

GRP Records was recognized as Billboard Magazine’s #1 Contemporary Jazz label for five consecutive years while its artists were nominated for over 80 Grammy Awards, winning 33. GRP’s artist roster grew to include many notable artists including Chick Corea, Lee Ritenour, Diana Krall, Diane Schuur, Patti Austin, Dr. John, Dave Grusin, Spyro Gyra, The Rippingtons, David Benoit, Tom Scott, Gary Burton, B.B. King, Ramsey Lewis, Sergio Salvatore, Dave Valentin, Arturo Sandoval, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Larry Carlton, Yellowjackets, Don Grusin, Kevin Eubanks and the GRP All-Star Big Band. By 1990, Rosen and Grusin sold GRP Records to the Universal Music Group with Rosen remaining as President & CEO of the label. As part of the larger merged company, Rosen launched the CD reissue series for Impulse, Chess, and Decca Records, and helped shape Universal’s international business development. GRP was recognized on October 17, 1992 by Billboard Magazine with an extensive feature commemorating its 10th Anniversary.

Snarky Puppy

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Snarky Puppy is a Brooklyn, New York-based instrumental fusion band led by Grammy Award-winning bassist, composer and producer Michael League. Formed in Denton, Texas in 2004, the band features a collective of nearly 40 musicians, referred to as “The Fam” on their recordings and tours. The musicians perform on a variety of instruments including guitars, pianos, keyboards, woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings. Many of the current and former band members were once students at the University of North Texas.

The band’s lineup is often in flux as members routinely perform with other artists such as Erykah Badu, Marcus Miller, Justin Timberlake, Kirk Franklin, Ari Hoenig, Roy Hargrove, Snoop Dogg and others. Currently the core touring unit is Michael League, Robert “Sput” Searight, Nate Werth, Shaun Martin, Cory Henry, Justin Stanton, Bill Laurance, Bob Lanzetti, Mike Maher and Chris Bullock. Besides performing in a traditional setting, Snarky Puppy is committed to music education. While touring, the band has held over 100 clinics, workshops, and masterclasses in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. The band’s  album, We Like It Here, was performed and recorded live in October 2013 at the artistic compound Kytopia in the city of Utrecht. It was released in February 2014, debuting at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Charts. On January 26, 2014, Snarky Puppy, along with Lalah Hathaway, won a Grammy Award in the Best R&B Performance category for their rendition of the Brenda Russell song “Something” from Family Dinner – Volume 1.

Pete Rock

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Pete Rock, is an American record producer, DJ and rapper. He rose to prominence in the early 1990s as one half of the critically acclaimed group Pete Rock & CL Smooth. After the duo went their separate ways, Rock continued with a solo career that has garnered him worldwide respect, though little in the way of mainstream success.[2] Along with groups such as Stetsasonic, A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots and Gang Starr, Rock played a major role in the merging of elements from jazz into hip hop music (also known as jazz rap). He is widely recognized as one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time, and is often mentioned alongside DJ Premier, the RZA, and J Dilla as one of the mainstays of 1990s East Coast hip hop production.

Jazzy Jeff

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DJ Jazzy Jeff  is an American hip hop and R&B disc jockey, record producer, turntablist and actor who is best known for his early career with Will Smith as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. As a duo, they had several gold and platinum-selling albums and singles in the late 1980s and early 1990s, earning them the first rap Grammy Award ever presented for hip hop in 1989 for Parents Just Don’t Understand. His fusion of jazz funk music and hip hop instrumentals on their early albums are legendary. DJ Jazzy Jeff along with DJ Cash Money is credited with making the transform scratch famous.

After DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince broke up, Townes went on to become a prominent R&B, soul, and neo soul record producer, establishing the A Touch of Jazz production company in his native Philadelphia. Among the artists that Jazzy Jeff has helped develop are Jill Scott and Musiq.

Mark deClive Lowe

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“an underground phenom…” – Okayplayer

“(the) avant-garde soulful Pianist/DJ/Producer delivers his lifetime of journeys to different musical ports in a concise package, seamlessly… transporting not just in genre but in emotion and spirit.” – Huffington Post

Anchored by the duality of his Japanese and New Zealander parentage and ignited by a love of playing since the age of four, it is no wonder this multi-national phenom has seen his explosive natural gifts blaze across the globe from NZ to the US, UK, Europe, Asia, Cuba and South Africa. MARK de CLIVE-LOWE (MdCL) is one of the most innovative producers and live performers you will find anywhere. Whether you call him artist, producer, composer, pianist, performer or remixer, titles are impartial to the marvel of Mark de Clive-Lowe (MdCL). Many try to classify this impressively fertile music journey, yet to identify with only one label belies the heavy scope of the ride. The piano set the course, the keyboard is the vehicle, and with the drum machine as the fuel, the relentless skill of MdCL is underscored by a rare sonic sensibility. He’s an accomplished musician, originally sowing his oats in jazz, before taking the music far beyond.

A devastating live performer, the MdCL experience is marked by impromptu studio production created on stage from scratch, using drum machines, keyboards and effects. The end result: live remixes birthed on stage for each and every gig. With bold chops like this, to call him “prolific” is an understatement, having contributed to over 250 releases and being a first-call collaborator for a wide range of artists including Jill Scott, Jody Watley, Leon Ware (Marvin Gaye/Michael Jackson/Maxwell), Masters At Work, Sandra St. Victor (The Family Stand/Chaka Khan) and DJ Spinna amongst a slew of others.

 

KING

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Twist and turn it, interpret and churn it as much as your heart desires–the soul-serving R&B trio, KING, is comprised of three ultra-talented ladies. Twin sisters, Paris and Amber Strother, and their strongest limb, Anita Bias, started catching listeners’ attention in 2011, after the group’s three-song EP, The Story, caught a viral, internet crush and caught the attention of a list of industry heavyweights like Prince and Questlove of The Roots. Soon afterwards, the ladies of KING would find themselves assisting Grammy-nominated acts, Bilal, and The Foreign Exchange on the songs, “Right At the Core,” and “All of the Kisses,” respectively. Their creamy and cooing voices had become contagious and well-used. Continuing the legacy of groundbreaking female groups like The Supremes and En Vogue, this fresh, Los Angeles-based outfit has since extended its gift to the Fela Kuti tribute album Red Hot + Fela, with an angelic rendition of “Go Slow.” KING’s approach to its official unveiling has been a very methodical and classy one. As they prepare for the release of their debut album, tentatively titled, The Story, their mystique and popularity continues to climb.  On stage, it will climb even higher. – Eric Tullis

 

Bilal

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Bilal Oliver may never record a conventional, vocal jazz album, but the Philadelphia native’s voice, with its cross-genre charm, has catapulted him from Soulquarian charter member to a masterful caretaker of jazz and all of its offshoots.

His 2001 debut LP, 1st Born Second, introduced him as a rare, R&B breed, whose hip-hop roots were rich enough for him to incorporate the production styles of both Dr. Dre (“Fast Lane”) and the late James “J. Dilla” Yancey (“Reminisce”).  The album’s first single, “Soul Sista”, however, showed off Bilal’s many vocal textures and set the precedent for Bilal’s career as a novel balladeer who’s remained in a league of his own over the last 15 years. It’s all evidence that rock’s gutsy exhibitionism, R&B’s tenderness, and jazz’s intricate measures are in the right hands and blaring out of the right soul.

Incognito

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Incognito is a British band,as well as one of the members of the United Kingdom’s acid jazz movement. Their debut album, Jazz Funk, was released in 1981, with 15 more albums following, the last of which, Amplified Soul,  released in June 2014.

Founded by Paul “Tubbs” Williams & Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick in 1979. Those who were around in the late 1970s will remember Light of the World, where Incognito sprung from. Light of the World was a substantially-sized group and as such, certain members wanted to go in different directions. The more commercially-minded members went off and formed Beggar & Co, whilst those wanting to groom a more Jazz-Funk oriented sound formed Incognito.

Their song “Need to Know” is the theme song for progressive radio and television news program Democracy Now!.

Liv Warfield

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Liv Warfield is an American singer, native to Peoria, IL, whose career can be traced back to her college years in Portland, Oregon. She holds the title as “Portland’s Most Soulful Singer”. In 2006, Warfield self-released her first album “Embrace Me” – a collection of strong ballads.  After sending in an audition tape, she was selected as the newest member of Prince‘s, the New Power Generation. She’s featured on his album Lotusflow3r and has since credited Prince as her musical mentor. The Unexpected was released early 2014 with Prince as its Executive Producer, who also wrote the single under the same name for the album. VH1 Soul featured Warfield as their first artist in the campaign You Oughta Know in early 2014.

Pharoahe Monch

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Pharoahe Monch is a rapper from Queens, New York City. He is known for his complex lyrics, complex delivery, and internal and multisyllabic rhyme schemes. Monch released three albums as part of the rap duo Organized Konfusion with partner Prince Poetry. After making several guest appearances on albums like the best-selling Rawkus compilation Soundbombing II, Monch’s much-hyped debut, Internal Affairs was released in 1999. The first single of the album, “Simon Says”, became a hit single on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also featured in the 2000 cinematic releases Charlie’s Angels and Boiler Room. Pharoahe Monch is acclaimed for his complex rapping technique – Allmusic says he has, “a reputation as one of underground hip hop‘s pre-eminent lyricists, crafting intricate and intelligent raps.” Kool Moe Dee ranks him at 26 in his best MCs of all time list, from his book, There’s a God on the Mic. His vocal delivery is inspired by Jazz music and musicians such as John Coltrane.

Meghan Stabile 

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Meghan Stabile is one of the greatest visionaries and music trailblazers of our generation. An alumnus of Berklee College of Music, Stabile began producing a series of live concerts under the pseudonym of Revive Da Live (now known as Revive Music), marrying the essence of improvisation and the authentic expression of both jazz and hip-hop music in completely new ways. In 2010, Stabile’s local-grown vision of live music exploded world-wide when she introduced first time collaborations between Roy Ayers and Pete Rock featuring the Robert Glasper Experiment, a concert that premiered in NYC, then a few months later in Paris, France as a part of the Jazz a la Villette Festival. This concert went on both to educate audiences about the authentic union of collaborative genres, and enabled Stabile to produce more major collaborations, premiering Mos Def and the Robert Glasper Experiment for their first performance in South Africa at the Capetown Jazz Festival. Ms. Stabile is also responsible for countless other first premiers, and is the founder of NYC’s first jazz drummer festival, Generations of the BEAT. In addition to this, in 2010, Stabile started a new website (Revive-Music.com) fully dedicated to the new generation of young musicians that currently resides as one of the leading online platforms promoting the new wave of jazz music to the the masses. 


Stabile currently resides as the President and CEO of Revive Music Group, and was recently hand-picked and signed as an executive producer for Blue Note Records by president Don Was. Additionally, Stabile continues her role as Creative & Brand Consultant to a number of music labels and organizations, working to help grow the NYC jazz scene by fostering the business with annual concert productions in partnership with the Winter Jazz Festival, Summerstage, Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, Blue Note Jazz Festival and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

 

Miguel Atwood Ferguson

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It seems like everywhere you turn lately, if you’re hearing strings, you’re hearing Miguel Atwood-Ferguson at work. The acclaimed viola player and string arranger has an exquisite mind for melding his rich tones with any genre, and folks like Flying Lotus, Sonnymoon, The Gaslamp Killer, Spree Wilson, Thundercat, and so many others all seem to agree. Soon to release two albums with his Quartetto Fantastico and his own solo debut, if you don’t yet know his work, you soon will. For AOC Fest MAF presents the Carolina JazzSoul tribute and gives homage to North Carolina jazz/soul giants: John Coltrane, Nina Simone, Thelonious Monk and Roberta Flack.

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