James Suggs is a professional trumpet player who now resides in St. Petersburg, FL. He grew up in Pennsylvania, started playing at age 9 and playing professionally at 15 while living in Ohio. At age 16, Suggs toured the US, Holland, Germany, and Switzerland with The Continental Singers. In 1998 James attended Youngstown State University in Ohio where he received his Bachelor’s degree in jazz performance. At this time he began performing on cruise ships, 6 contracts to be exact. He also was the featured soloist while on tour with the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra as well as recording with them. Later, he would also have the honor of playing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
Suggs spent 8 years living and performing in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While there, he toured with Argentinean bands around the world. In places such as Chile, Ecuador, Uruguay, Venezuela, Mexico, England, Portugal and Spain. He has performed with such jazz greats as Kenny Burrell, Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Mintzer, Sean Jones, Kevin Mohagany and Chuck Mangione to name a few.
James currently performs with various groups around the Tampa Bay area. He has his own jazz combos including a tribute to the great Louis Armstrong. Suggs and his quintet featuring Dave Stryker were featured this year at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.
A long-time student of the legendary bassist Ron Carter, Saadi Zain has been a freelance bassist in New York City for over twenty years on both double bass and electric bass. He has played for a multitude of artists across many musical genres, from jazz and classical music, to cabaret, Broadway, world and pop music. Saadi served as the bassist of the jazz big band “Supersound” led by master drummer Charli Persip for over twelve years. He also played with Wade Barnes’ “Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble” and his spin-off projects which included many NYC jazz luminaries. He has been a member of the Roy Meriwether trio and can be heard on two of his recordings. For over ten years, Saadi was also the bassist with Trudi Mann’s NYC open mic, where he met and played for numerous singers of all styles. He has also performed with various local and regional orchestras, including the Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, the PA Sinfonia, the Dicapo Opera orchestra and the New Amsterdam Symphony. Saadi has been involved in film and commercial work and can be heard in the film “The Savages” with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney. In 2009 Saadi was engaged by Ron Carter to play bass alongside Mr. Carter, who played piccolo bass, in a week-long engagement of his Nonet at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City. In 2010 he toured Europe with Jessye Norman as part of a quintet for her “Roots: My Life, My Song” project.
Saadi currently performs throughout the New York City area and has toured extensively in the US and abroad, including France, Italy, Spain, Poland, China and Taiwan. He can be seen performing around New York City in various venues (see “Performances” page) including regular appearances at the Birdland Jazz Club and 54 Below. and in the Broadway orchestras of “The Lion King” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” He has also performed in countless theatrical productions and national tours, including “Chicago” with John O’Hurley, “Wicked” with John Davidson, the revival of “West Side Story” and “Sweet Charity” with Molly Ringwald. He also played in the Broadway productions of “Motown the Musical,” “Mary Poppins” and the “Evita” revival with Ricky Martin.
Other artists with whom Saadi has performed include: Muhal Richard Abrams, Joshua Bell, Joe Cohn, Natalie Douglas, Al Grey, the Jimmy Heath big band, Buck Hill, Jennifer Holliday, Ronny Jordan, Sheila Jordan, Diana Krall, Linda Lavin, the Mingus Orchestra, Patrick Page, Houston Person and Aaron Weinstein. Saadi also has performed in the following notable venues: Carnegie Hall, The Blue Note Jazz Club (New York City and Milan, Italy), Avery Fisher Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola and Rose Hall (JALC), The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Filene Center at Wolf Trap, The Großes Festspielhaus (Salzburg), The Olympia Theater (Paris), BB King Blues Club and Grill, The Bohemian Caverns, The Lenox Lounge and the Algonquin Oak Room.
Musical ambassador and interpreter of America’s music, Wycliffe Gordon experiences an impressive career touring the world performing hard-swinging, straight-ahead jazz receiving great acclaim from audiences and critics alike. His unmatched modern mastery of the plunger mute and his exceptional technique and signature sound, has solidified Gordon a place in musical history known as one of the top trombonists of his generation. The Critics seem to agree. Wycliffe was named “Best in Trombone” by the Downbeat Critics Poll for 2012 and Jazz Journalists Association named him “Trombonist of the Year” again this year (2013) as well as previous years 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. He is a past recipient of the ASCAP Foundation Vanguard Award, among others.
In addition to an extremely successful solo career, Gordon tours regularly leading the Wycliffe Gordon Quartet, headlining at legendary jazz venues and performing arts centers throughout the world. Gordon is a former veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and has been a featured guest artist on Billy Taylor’s “Jazz at the Kennedy Center” Series. Gordonʼs extensive performance experience includes work with many of the most renowned jazz performers of the past and present. His “Jazz a la Carte” show, which debuted at the Apollo Theater, was named one of the “top five best moments in jazz” for the year 2011 by The Wall Street Journal.
Gordonʼs recordings are a model of consistency and inspiration, and his musical expertise has been captured on numerous recordings, including sixteen solo CDs and seven co-leader CDs. His most recent releases, “Hello Pops, A Tribute to Louis Armstrong” and “Dreams of New Orleans” continue to receive rave reviews and both albums pay homage to Wycliffe’s musical hero. Cross Cross Jazz recently released “The Intimate Ellington: Ballads and Blues” which showcases Wycliffe’s vast knowledge of Ellington and Strayhorn techniques. Wycliffe Gordon is also a gifted composer and arranger. He is commissioned frequently by renowned jazz groups and organizations, and has an extensive songbook of original compositions that span the various timbres of jazz 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 one of Americaʼs most persuasive and committed music educators, and currently serves on the faculty of the Jazz Arts Program at Manhattan School of Music. His songbook “This Rhythm On My Mind with accompanying CD was recently released and “Sing It First”— Wycliffe’s own unique approach to playing the instrument, was released in 2011. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in 2006 from the University of Scranton, for his tireless dedication to the field. His work with young musicians and audiences from elementary schools to universities all over the world is extensive, and includes master classes, clinics, workshops, children’s concerts and lectures — powerful evidence of his unique ability to relate musically to people of all ages.
Wycliffe Gordon is a Yamaha Performing Artist and has his own line of Wycliffe Gordon Pro Signature Mouthpieces by Pickett Brass. When playing the trumpet, Wycliffe performs on the Wycliffe Gordon Signature Hybrid by Chasons Music. For additional information visit www.wycliffegordon.com or contact Brumfield & Associates, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pianist MARK MARKHAM is widely recognized around the world as one of the great artists of his generation. With an extraordinary technique combined with an unerring sense of style from the Baroque to jazz, his communicative powers to touch an audience have no boundaries. His playing has been described as “brilliant”, “exquisitely sensitive”, and “in full service to the music”.
Born in Pensacola, Florida, Mr. Markham made his debut in 1980 as soloist with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra and in the same year was invited by the renowned Boris Goldovsky to coach opera at the Oglebay Institute, hence the beginning of a multi-faceted career. His teachers at the time, Robert and Trudie Sherwood, were supportive of all his musical endeavors from solo repertoire, vocal accompanying, and chamber music to Broadway and jazz. During the next 10 years as a student at the Peabody Conservatory, where he received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in piano performance, this same support for the diversity of his musical gifts came from Ann Schein, a pupil of the great Arthur Rubinstein. While under her tutelage he won several competitions including the First Prize and the Contemporary Music Prize at the 1988 Frinna Awerbuch International Piano Competition in New York City. He has given solo recitals at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; the New York Public Library; the Baltimore Museum of Art; and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. In 1987 Mr. Markham was appointed pianist of the Contemporary Music Forum of Washington, DC. During five seasons he gave numerous premiere performances at the Corcoran Gallery with this ensemble. This work led to other premieres throughout the US by composers Shulamit Ran, Larence Smith, and Richard Danielpour. Mr. Markham has also performed with the Brentano, Mozarteum, Glinka, and Castagnieri quartets and the Baltimore Woodwind Quintet, as well as with Edgar Meyer, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, and Ira Coleman. While a student at the conservatory Mr. Markham toured with soprano Phyllis Bryn-Julson. This collaboration resulted in critically acclaimed recordings of works by Messiaen, Carter, Dallapiccola, Schuller, and Wuorinen. In addition, he has toured the US, Europe, and Asia with countertenor Derek Lee Ragin.
Since 1995 Mr. Markham has been the recital partner of Jessye Norman, giving over 200 performances in over 25 countries, including recitals in Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, La Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, London’s Royal Festival Hall, the Musikverein in Vienna, the Salzburg Festival, Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo, Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus in Greece, and at the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize presentation to President Jimmy Carter in Oslo. This year he will perform with Ms. Norman in London, Paris, Lyon, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ghent, Zurich, Oman, Beirut and Baden-Baden.
Much appreciated by the public for his improvisational skills, Mr. Markham performed at the Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany, where he collaborated with Sir Peter Ustinov for a live television broadcast throughout the country. His gift for jazz has been recognized in the Sacred Ellington, a program created by Ms. Norman in which he serves as pianist and musical director and which has toured Europe and the Middle East. Most recently, his recording with Jessye Norman of “Roots: My Life, My Song” was nominated for a Grammy.
In 1990 Mr. Markham was invited to join the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory, where he served for ten years as vocal coach and professor of vocal repertoire and accompanying. A former faculty member of Morgan State University, the Britten-Pears School in England, and the Norfolk Chamber Festival of Yale University, he has presented master classes for pianists and singers throughout the US, Europe, and Asia and has been a guest lecturer for the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Johns Hopkins University. Mr. Markham currently resides in New York City.