Alan Blackman’s Coastal Suite
featuring Donny McCaslin et al
Alan Blackman, piano & compositions
Max Murray, bass
Frank Russo, drums
Rogerio Boccato, percussion
Donny McCaslin, saxophone
This performance is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Chamber Music America.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Alan Blackman is a Baltimore based pianist and award-winning composer. He and his ensembles have performed at Blues Alley, the Kennedy Center, and many festivals and venues from San Francisco to New York. Recent performances have been with Donny McCaslin, Vardan Ovsepian, Ferenc Nemeth, Mike Pope, Warren Wolf, Tim Green, Alex Norris, and Sunna Gunnlaugs among others.
He was selected to be part of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center and has received grants from the Maryland State Arts Council in jazz composition, performance and world music as well as the Chamber Music of America’s prestigious New Jazz Works multi-year commission. Arrangements and performances of his music have been featured on NBC’s Parenthood, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and the new Hawaii Five-O, as well as Stephen King’s movie, 1408.
"Turning Point" featuring Donny McCaslin was released in 2011 on Top Floor Records and his latest recording "Alone Together: The 2 Piano Project" is now available as of January 2012!
Bassist Max Murray began making music at the age of four. The son of a professional musician, music was ever-present in his childhood home near Boston, MA. After experimenting with brass & woodwind instruments, the double bass found him at age 13. While in high school, he studied with Boston Symphony Orchestra bassist, Lawrence Wolfe.
At seventeen Max was accepted into the United States Navy Music Program, and upon high school graduation he enlisted in the Navy. After boot camp, he attended the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, VA, and graduated at the top of his class, and ahead of schedule. He then was forced to endure arduous tours of duty with Navy Bands in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Newport, RI. In 1985 Max won an appointment to the Premier United States Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, MD, where he remained until retiring from the Navy in 2000. During his twenty-plus years of service he performed a broad spectrum of music, including; top-40, rock 'n roll, R&B, plenty of marches, classical literature, show tunes, rap, country, salsa, big band & small group contemporary jazz.
Max is honored to have studied with, or participated in master classes with some of the finest bassists on the planet, including Paul Johnson, John Clayton, Rufus Reid, Glen Moore, Buster Williams, and Lynn Seaton.
In addition to the many wonderful regional musicians he collaborates with, Max is honored to have shared the stage with a diverse list of major artists, including Henry Mancini, Don Menza, Mose Allison, Jimmy Witherspoon, Lee Greenwood, Neil Sedaka, Louie Bellson, Gene Bertoncini, Dave Samuels, and Poncho Sanchez.
In 2003 he and longtime partner Frank Russo released their first collaboration with pianist Doug Bickel & John D'earth, "In My Mind's Eye." He also can be heard on recordings by Suede, Rob Vuono Orchestra, Tom Lagana Group, Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, The Fred Hughes Trio , Rob Levit, Pete BarenBregge/Frank Russo Group, The Vince Norman/Joe McCarthy Big Band. As a member of Afro Bop Alliance he received a Latin Grammy Award for the 2008 release, "Carribbean Jazz Project - Afro Bop Alliance."
His most recent release, “Turning Point," is with trio mates Alan Blackman & Frank Russo along with the brilliant saxophonist Donny McCaslin and rising vocal star Margret Grebowicz.
Max lives with his family near the Chesapeake Bay, and maintains a steady performing and recording schedule.
Frank Russo joyfully paints colorful soundscapes with his highly skilled, passionate, musical drumming. He's an in demand performer, recording artist and educator who currently resides in Maryland and teaches at Towson University. He is also an artist/educator for Bosphorus Cymbals, MD Drums and The Vic Firth Education Team. Raised in the NYC area, Frank was steeped in the rich musical heritage of the jazz legends at an early age and carriers on the legacy of a musical family.
An incredibly adaptable musician, a partial list of his performances testifies to his diverse talent. He has performed with Mundell Lowe, Dr Lonnie Smith, Hal Crook, Craig Handy, Keter Betts, Ethel Ennis, Greg Gisbert, Chuck Redd, Bill McHenry, John O'Gallagher, Dave Ballou, John D'earth, Denis DiBlasio, Ron McCurdy, The Coasters, Frankie Lane and many more. Highlights of his performances include the Detroit Jazz Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival, Stan Getz Jazz Festival, East Coast Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center and many others. Tours have included several trips to Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda. Frank completed a distinguished career with the prestigious Naval Academy Band where he performed in and led several dynamic ensembles. He was stationed in Annapolis, San Diego, Great Lakes, Monterey and Norfolk during his career.
Frank is a Summit Records Recording Artist whose recordings have gained national recognition and praise from Downbeat, Jazztimes and Modern Drummer along with others. He is featured on "Point of Grace" with PF Flyer, "No Turning Back" with Fred Hughes, "Gabrielle's Hand" with Bob Boguslaw and The acclaimed Shook Russo Quartets "Featuring Greg Gisbert" all on Summit Records. As a sought after studio ace he has played on countless sessions, crossing all genres, including PBS Documentaries, "Quiet Now" with John Toomey, "In My Mind's Eye" with Max Murray & Doug Bickel, Kenny Carr's "Turn the Page" featuring brilliant saxophonist Donny McCaslin, "Uncertain Paths" with Rob Levit and many more.
Frank is also a member of the Bob Butta Trio, The Fred Hughes Band, Rob Levit Trio, Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet, Bob Boguslaw's The Way, and Mozart to Motown with Stefan Scaggiari, PF Flyer and The Shook Russo Quartet. His most recent release on Summit Records "A Thousand Eyes" is with the superb saxophonist Pete BarenBregge.
Frank is proud to exclusively perform on maple drums designed by Keith Larsen (Maryland Drum Company), Bosphorus Cymbals and Vic Firth Products.
So much for McCaslin’s "traditional" credentials, which provide the anchor for his much-admired work in more adventurous realms. Chief among these is the pianoless quartet Lan Xang (which evolved from an experimental partnership with fellow New York saxist David Binney) and the quintet led by the widely lionized trumpeter Dave Douglas, who added McCaslin to his band in 2005. Reviewing the Douglas Quintet in Jazz Times, Josef Woodard wrote of McCaslin: “He’s a versatile player who moves easily between inside and outside musical zones . . . . [T]here’s a fluidity and grace to his playing even when he’s pushing at envelopes.”
Thanks to the high profile of the Dave Douglas Quintet, McCaslin in the last two years has achieved wider praise for the incisive twists and purposeful turns of his emotionally charged solos. But those qualities – along with his sometimes startling virtuosity, and his distinctive voice as a composer – had actually been on display for much of the previous decade, during which McCaslin proved himself a valued sideman on recordings by Danilo Perez, Luciana Souza, and performances with Tom Harrell, Brian Blade, John Pattitucci, The Mingus Band, and Pat Metheny. . Meanwhile, the previous albums under his own name have shown him subtly incorporating elements of Latin American music within adventurous jazz frameworks.
In 2006, McCaslin received a Doris Duke grant for new jazz composition from Chamber Music America; In Pursuit comprises the results of that work.
As a longtime member of the “Orquestra Jazz Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo”, Brazilian percussionist Rogério Boccato has played with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, João Bosco, Joe Zawinul, among many others.
Recently relocated from Sao Paulo to New York, Rogerio is featured on percussion on Kenny Garrett’s Grammy-nominated album "Beyond The Wall" and on John Patitucci's release "Remembrance", alongside Joe Lovano and Brian Blade, also nominated for a Grammy.
He has been playing in projects led by Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Edward Simon, David Binney, Mike Holober, and played also with Ben Allison, Dave Stryker, Steve Davis, Paul Bollenback, and with top-ranking Brazilian artists, such as Toninho Horta, Dori Caymmi, Moacir Santos, Vinicius Cantuária. He is part of the ÁguaMarinha Trio, with Arismar do Espirito Santo and Vinicius Dorin.
Rogério Boccato has been a faculty member of the Percussion department of The Hartt School (University of Hartford) teaching Brazilian Percussion and Ritmica, and recently joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music in NYC, Purchase College (SUNY Purchase) and Montclair State University.
He has been presenting clinics on Brazilian music, focusing on traditional Brazilian rhythms and styles applied to the drum set and to Jazz combo, which have been enthusiastically received at universities around the United States, Mexico and Portugal.