We’re hard at work putting together a stellar lineup for the 7th Annual Manchester CT Jazz Festival. But for now, check out some of the amazing artists from pervious years!
Karrin Allyson, 5-‐time Grammy nominated jazz vocalist, pianist, and songwriter is widely recognized as one of the most gifted voices of her generation. With fifteen albums under her belt, she has built a mastery of The Great American Songbook, blues, pop, be-bop, Brazilian, and French chansons, to name a few.
Born in Great Bend, Kansas, Allyson now lives in New York City. Since moving to New York, Allyson’s band has consisted of such players as Bruce Barth, Ed Howard, James Williams, Adam Cruz, Steve Wilson, Miro Sprague, Jerome Jennings, and Jeff Johnson.
Boasting a warm, finely burnished tone and a robust melodic and harmonic imagination, tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander has been exploring new musical worlds from the outset. He started out on piano as a six-year-old, took up clarinet at nine, switched to alto sax when he was 12, and converted to tenor when jazz became his obsession during his one year at the University of Indiana, Bloomington (1986-87).
At William Paterson College in New Jersey he advanced his studies under the tutelage of Harold Mabern, Joe Lovano, Rufus Reid, and others. “The people I listened to in college are still the cats that are influencing me today,” says Alexander. “Monk, Dizzy, Sonny Stitt, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson–the legacy left by Bird and all the bebop pioneers, that language and that feel, that’s the bread and butter of everything I do.”
John Patitucci was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1959 and began playing the electric bass at age ten. He began performing and composing at age 12, at age 15 began to play the acoustic bass, and then started the piano at age 16. He quickly moved from playing soul and rock to blues, jazz and classical music. His eclectic tastes caused him to explore all types of music as a player and a composer.
As a performer, John has played throughout the world with his own band and with jazz luminaries Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Pat Metheny, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker, McCoy Tyner, Nancy Wilson, Randy Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Hubert Laws, Hank Jones, Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, Kenny Werner and scores of others.
It was once written in the New York Times by jazz columnist Peter Watrous, “If Abraham Burton were to be drawn in a caricature, there would be flames coming out of his horn…” Approaching three decades as a prominent figure on the jazz scene, world-renowned saxophonist and educator Abraham Burton’s passionate sound can still ignite a room filled with patrons.
In recent years, Abraham’s interest has broadened to teaching and sharing his musical knowledge and experience with future generations. In 2013 Abraham was awarded the prestigious Ralph Bunche Fellowship at Rutgers University where he received his Masters Degree in Music. Abraham also has joined the faculty at both the Jackie McLean institute of Jazz (University of Hartford) and Rutgers University where his classes are in high demand.
Johnathan Blake, one of the most accomplished drummers of his generation, has also proven himself a complete and endlessly versatile musician. Blake’s gift for composition and band leading reflects years of live and studio experience across the aesthetic spectrum. Heralded by NPR Music as “the ultimate modernist,” he has collaborated with Pharoah Sanders, Ravi Coltrane, Tom Harrell, Hans Glawischnig, Avishai Cohen, Donny McCaslin, Linda May Han Oh, Jaleel Shaw, Chris Potter, Maria Schneider, Alex Sipiagin, Kris Davis and countless other distinctive voices.
DownBeat once wrote, “It’s a testament to Blake’s abilities that he makes his presence felt in any context.” A frequent presence on Blue Note records over the past several years, Blake has contributed his strong, limber pulse and airy precision to multiple leader releases from Blue Note artists including Dr. Lonnie Smith’s Breathe (2021), All in My Mind (2018) and Evolution (2016) and Kenny Barron’s Concentric Circles (2018), the latter whose trio Blake has been a vital member for nearly 15 years.