A Short March into the Future features 12 musicians playing music without amplification. The music is elegiac and contrapuntal and has its roots in rhythm and blues and electronic music.
The ensemble includes two tubas, three saxophones, (doubling clarinets) two trumpets (doubling flugelhorns), accordion, piano, six-string banjo, upright bass, mallets, drums and percussion. The fourteen pieces vary in length from one to seven minutes.
This program is dedicated to Hal Willner.
Steven Bernstein: trumpet and flugelhorn
Ravi Best: trumpet and flugelhorn
Ron Blake: baritone and soprano saxophones
Jasper Dutz: alto and soprano saxophones, clarinet and bass clarinet
Vitor Gonçalves: accordion and piano
John Hadfield: drums and percussion
Tyler McDiarmid: six string banjo
Valerie Naranjo: mallets and percussion
Rebecca Patterson: trombone and tuba
Lenny Pickett: tenor saxophone and E-flat and alto clarinets
Marcus Rojas: tuba and euphonium
Ricardo Rodriguez: bass
Photo by Mary Ellen Mathews
Born and raised in Berkeley, California, Steven Bernstein
formed a lifelong musical partnership in sixth grade with saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum, Moving to New York in 1979 and mentored by lead trumpeter Jimmie Maxwell of the Benny Goodman Orchestra, Bernstein has distinguished himself as both a renegade musical thinker and sought-after master of the trade, loved by players, producers and listeners alike. Navigating the intersections of countless musical forms in a way that is irreducibly his own, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader Bernstein is a specialist on the rare slide trumpet. He’s arranged music for films, had his compositions choreographed, and arranged for project after inspired, out-of-left-field project hatched by the late, great Hal Willner. He has collaborated closely with greats on the order of Levon Helm, Roswell Rudd, Henry Butler, Lou Reed, and Bernie Worrell. Bernstein is releasing his four volume Community Music series starting in September 2021. There is also forthcoming new music with Sexmob, his innovative quartet, in collaboration with producer Scott Harding. Bernstein directs the Town Hall Ensemble, and is an Artistic Director of the revitalized Creative Music Studio in Woodstock (founded by Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso and Ornette Coleman in 1971). https://www.stevenbernstein.net/
Ravi Best is a New York City-based jazz and commercial trumpet player who has performed domestically and internationally for over two decades, most recently performing and touring with Steven Van Zandt and his band Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul. Ravi also spent two years touring with funk legends, Kool & The Gang, and he has also toured with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Count Basie Orchestra, Sam Rivers Rivbea Orchestra, David Murray’s Big Band and Octet, and Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy. Ravi has performed in countless Broadway shows, including the Diana, (the new show about Princess Diana), and Ain’t Too Proud, (based on the life and times of the Temptations). He can be heard on many recordings; with Kenny Garrett’s Pushing The World Away, Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul’s Soulfire Live, Summer of Sorcery, David Byrne & St. Vincent’s Love This Giant, David Murray Octet’s Octet Plays Trane, Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy’s The Odyssey of Funk & Popular Music, Sam River’s Rivbea Orchestra’s Culmination, Ani DiFranco’s Evlolve, So Much Shouting, So Much Laughter, and Mya’s Moodring, and the Broadway cast recordings of Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert, 42nd Street, Baby It’s You, and Ain’t Too Proud.
Since moving to New York in 1992, St. Thomas, USVI native Ron Blake, has appeared on over 60 recordings as a guest or sideman with artists including Roy Hargrove, Art Farmer, & Christian McBride. His debut release was co-led by Dion Parson XXI CB (1999), followed by a solo release (2000). A member of NBC’s SNL Band since 2005, Blake has won three Emmys (SNL Band) and two Grammys (Christian McBride Big Band) He’s toured with Roy Hargrove, Roy Haynes, Art Farmer, Christian McBride, Yerba Buena, and Spirit Music Jamia. Blake’s tradition-honed eclecticism started at age 10 when he began playing the alto saxophone. He loved playing Caribbean music and listening to his father’s Jazz LPs. He looked forward to perusing older sibling’s LPs when visiting from college and seeing live music in his community. Completing high school at Interlochen Arts Academy, Blake graduated from Northwestern University in 1996. He performed in the first VI Jazz Festival (1987) with luminaries including Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson, Jimmy Hamilton, & Gary Bartz. Inspired, Blake returned to Chicago shortly thereafter to pursue his music dreams. He currently teaches at the Juilliard School and continues to create.
Multi-reedist and composer Jasper Dütz
was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and is currently based in NYC. He began playing music at the age of seven after receiving his father’s $20 yard-sale purchased clarinet. Coming from an artistic family, he was exposed to the music of Charles Ives, Eric Dolphy, and Charles Mingus very early on. He began playing jazz in middle school after trying the baritone saxophone in the school concert band. He currently co-leads Harlem-Based jazz ensemble “Three Hunters Trio” as well as his own quartet and is a full-time member of the grammy-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Arturo O’Farrill. He has recorded or performed with artists such as Nels Cline, Jon Batiste, and Ron Carter. http://www.jasperdutz.com/
Vitor Gonçalves is a pianist, accordionist, composer and arranger from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After an illustrious career as an in-demand musician in Brazil, playing with such icons as Hermeto Pascoal, Maria Bethânia, Itiberê Zwarg, he made the move to New York City in 2012. Since then he has played in projects with Anat Cohen, Vinícius Cantuária, Anthony Wilson, Cyro Baptista, Yotam Silberstein and many others, in venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall, JALC, Jazz Santard, Newport Jazz, Jazz à Vienne, Umbria Jazz, Montreaux Jazz, Northsea Jazz Festival and Cotton Club Tokyo. In 2017 he released his debut album on Sunnyside Records, “Vitor Gonçalves Quartet”, featuring Dan Weiss, Thomas Morgan and Todd Neufeld, which recived 4.5 stars at Downbeat magazine. Other groups he co-leads are “SanfoNYa Brasileira”, an accordion/bass/drums trio, and “Regional de NY”, a traditional choro group. In 2019 he became an official Grammy nominee, for Best Latin Jazz Album with Sorte!: Music of John Finburry, and he recorded in Triple Helix by Anat Cohen Tentet, nominated Best Large Jazz Ensemble.
’s dedication to music has taken him from his native Missouri to concert halls and clubs across the world. Some of his most recent compositions are featured in his duo project with Lenny Pickett Heard By Others
as well as the group Believers
with Brad Shepik and Sam Minaie. In 2019 he composed and performed in Apologue 2047,
a multimedia performance art piece directed by Zhang Yimou which explored themes of the relationships of humans and technology. John’s ability to cross genres has allowed him to appear with Kinan Azmeh’s City Band, Nguyên Lê’s STREAMS Quartet, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Silk Road Ensemble. He has collaborated on more than 100 recordings as a guest artist, including the Grammy Award winner Songs of Joy and Peace
by Yo-Yo Ma and Friends, and the Grammy-nominated Fun Home
. Modern Drummer
featured him in an article stating, “Hadfield delivers a fluid groove, strong yet never intrusive, punctuated by adroitly chosen accents. His skillful sound-weaving choices create the illusion of a seamless multi-percussion section.” www.jhadfield.com
Tyler McDiarmid is a NYC-based session guitarist and member of the chamber-pop band, San Fermin (Sony Masterworks). He has been a member of the NYU Steinhardt jazz studies adjunct faculty since 2003 where he teaches guitar as well as recording techniques courses. Additionally, Tyler is a grammy-nominated recording engineer working with artists such as John Scofield, Gregory Porter, Fred Hersch, and Dave Douglas. He is also a music mixer for NBC’s Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Valerie Naranjo has been dedicated to the bridging of musical traditions for most of her life. She has been the percussionist in the SNL Band for 26 years, and has performed with such artists as Airto, Glen Velez, David Byrne, Zakir Hussein, Philip Glass, and The Paul Winter Consort. In 1988 Ghanaian Chief Karbo lifted the ban on women gyil (African marimba) players so that Valerie could participate in their Kobine Festival, for which she won first prize in 1996. Valerie was Drum! Magazine‘s “World Music Percussionist of the Year” 2005 & 2008, and “Mallet Player of the Year” 2012. Performances on 6 continents include The Edinburgh Festival; The Grahamstown Festival (South Africa); FESTIBO (Ivory Coast); Young Indians (New Delhi); and the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Valerie teaches West African percussion, song, and dance at New York University, and is a member of NYU’s Global Institute for Advanced Studies. She published, with gyil maestro Kakraba Lobi, the CDs and written series “West African Music for the Marimba Soloist”, and “Joro” 8 pieces for gyil and orchestra, and has recorded 10 CDs under her own name. Valerie was recently inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame.
After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Rebecca Patterson
moved to New York City and has become an active member of the cities’ rich musical community. Look for her subbing on Broadway or somewhere around the city with her dynamic big band with co-leader Ron Wilkins that features some of her original compositions and arrangements. You can also hear her playing/compositions on Ron’s new album “Trombocalist”. She has had the opportunity to perform with a diverse range of ensembles on Tenor and Bass Trombones and Tuba including performances with: The Count Basie Orchestra, Christian McBride’s Big Band, Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, The Mingus Band, Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Chris Potter, Kansas, and Marcos Valle. She recently stepped in the video game music realm as a part of the music in the hit game Red Dead Redemption 2, and as a member of Charlie Rosen’s 8-bit Big Band. Rebecca is also an active educator. RebeccaPattersonMusic.com
Autodidact Lenny Pickett began his career playing saxophone and clarinet in bars and on the street. He toured through the ’70s with the legendary r&b group Tower Of Power and worked in the ’80s as a saxophonist and an arranger for David Bowie, The Talking Heads, and Laurie Anderson, among others. He is currently musical director for NBC’s Saturday Night Live, where he has been playing the saxophone solos since 1985 and bandleader since 1995. He has composed music for experimental dance and theater, including collaborations with choreographers Steven Petronio, Charles Moulton, Bebe Miller, Yoshiko Chuma, James Sewell and the opera “Welfare”, with filmmaker Fred Wiseman and poet David Slavitt. He contributed compositions for Alan Ginsberg’s recording “The Lion For Real” and William Burroughs’ “Dead City Radio”, both produced by Hal Willner. His concert music has been performed by the Kronos Quartet, the New Century Saxophone Quartet, the New York Composers Orchestra, and others.
In 2019 he released “Bad Dreams” – music from his 1988 recording for Bebe Miller’s dance, “Thick Sleep”, as a vinyl-only release. In 2012 he recorded an album of his music with The UMO Jazz Orchestra in Finland. The 1986 recording of his music, “Lenny Pickett with the Borneo Horns”, was described by Downbeat magazine as “a brilliantly creative use of acoustic instruments.” He has been teaching in the Jazz Studies Program at New York University since 2004. lennypickettmusic.com
Bassist Ricardo Rodriguez
is part of the jazz scene in NYC, which embraces the entire scope of contemporary music. Besides being an in-demand jazz bassist, he can be found playing jazz, contemporary music, Afro-Caribbean, or folkloric latin music. He studied classical bass and composition at the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico. In addition to his work with Joe Locke and Force of Four, Ignacio Berroa Quartet, Claudia Acun~a, Magos Herrera, The Wayne Escoffery Quintet, The Rodriguez’s Brothers, David Sanchez Quartet, Miguel Zenon Quartet, The Kenny Werner/David Sanchez Quartet and his own Quintet also he has played with Branford Marsalis, Donny McCaslin trio, The 90 Miles Project with Stefon Harris, David Sanchez and Christian Scott, Wayne Escoffery Quintet, Manuel Valera Group, Michele Rosewoman, and Billy Drummond among others. https://www.rickyrodriguezbass.com
Marcus Rojas is a native of Brooklyn NY. Considered one of “the best all-around tuba players in the world” (Harvey Pekar, Jazziz); among the diverse groups in which he has played are the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York City Opera, American Symphony, American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York Pops, Radio City Music Hall, Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Jazz at Lincoln Center, ensembles led by Gil Evans, George Russell, Jim Hall, Lionel Hampton, Dave Douglas, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Wayne Shorter, David Byrne, P.D.Q. Bach and over a dozen Broadway Shows. He has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Today Show, Saturday Night Live and The Grammys. Marcus has played on over five hundred recordings, from his own groups, Spanish Fly and Musette Explosion, to Reggae stars Sly and Robbie and the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed or recorded with Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Paul Simon, Yo Yo Ma, Stevie Wonder, Dawn Upshaw, Queen Latifah, John Zorn, Dr. John, Harry Connick Jr. Luciano Pavarotti, Baaba Maal, Aretha Franklin, They Might be Giants, The Who, St. Vincent, Barbara Cook, Andrea Bocelli, Bette Midler, and Sting, among many others. He has recorded for every major film, television, and record company in the United States as well as commercial jingles and film scores.