Kris Berg & the Metroplexity Big Band
The Metroplexity Big Band was formed in 2010 as a studio-recording project to solve my need for a creative outlet. As a popular composer and arranger for groups all over the world, I needed a vehicle for the music that I was writing for myself. Following a long conversation with my friend, Jeff Clayton, convinced me it was time get off my posterior and make it happen! Calling friends and colleagues was the first step. Fortunately for me, these cats happen to be part of one of the hottest music scenes anywhere. The Metroplexity Big Band was born. I think back to our first recording session and am amazed that this whole thing didn’t implode as fast as it got started! That session was quite an adventure with all sorts of mishaps, but we persevered, changed recording venues and things were soon off and running. Six years later and the best part is - this band has become family.
Metroplexity hits the studio as I write new material, so our first CD came out in 2012. Released on the Summit/MAMA Records label, “This Time/Last Year” immediately garnered much critical praise, appeared in the Top 20 on radio and was considered for Grammy nominations in four categories, including best large ensemble performance. That recording proudly features guests Wayne Bergeron, Chris Vadala, Clay Jenkins and Delfeayo Marsalis.
Our follow up CD, “Time Management” was released on Summit/MAMA Records in 2014 and, again, was an immediate critical and popular success. The CD won 2 golden Global Music Awards, one for best large ensemble performance and a second for best original composition, “Time Management.” We were also thrilled to be considered for 5 Grammy Award nominations. Again Wayne and Clay joined us as guest artists, along with guitarist Andy Timmons, baritone saxophonist Denis DiBlasio, and a very special appearance by alto sax great Phil Woods. Phil loved the final product, stating “This CD is bold and as full of surprises as a hip piñata!” CD number three, “Perspective”, is currently in progress and is sure to have plenty of surprises!
The Metroplexity Big Band performs live several times a year at festivals and conventions throughout the Western and Central parts of the United States. The band was a featured group at the Jazz Educators Network (JEN) Conference in Atlanta, Georgia and we comprise the faculty every summer for the Texas All-Star Jazz Camp near Dallas.
I know you will enjoy this amazing group. Many of our musicians have played with other great bands, including Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Doc Severinsen, and Bill Holman. It’s a joy to bring our music to Wyoming and we are most honored to be part of the 50th anniversary of the Kinser Jazz Festival! KrisBergJazz.com
NEW YORK VOICES
This critically acclaimed vocal group has refined their musical story to a high art. They are known for their close knit voicings, inspired arrangements and unparalleled vocal blend. Their chameleon-
like musicianship allows them to move seamlessly from setting to setting, be it orchestral/big band to the intimate trio lineup. With deep interests rooted in jazz, Brazilian, R & B, classical, and pop, their music mixes traditional sensibilities with more than a dash of the unexpected. They are first call from great arrangers and conductors like Don Sebesky, Michael Abene, Keith Lockhart, and Rob Fisher who all know and admire the complexity of what they do and want something out of the ordinary, something extraordinary. Like the great jazz vocal groups that have come before — Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Singers Unlimited, and The Manhattan Transfer — they are firmly a part of that legacy and are dedicated to passing it on to generations to come.
NYV has traveled the globe with their elegant music, amazing audiences the world over with their impeccable voices and stunning arrangements. “Live, they’re just as impressive to witness,” says Mathew Lurrie of Time Out Chicago. “We dare say there may be no better way to understand the wit and wink of jazz harmony than via these Voices.”
Along with their extensive concert performances and recording schedules, NYV also works in the field of education, giving workshops and clinics to high school and college music students throughout the world. In 2009, they opened the New York Voices-Bowling Green State University Vocal Jazz Camp. It is a wildly successful venture that admits students from all over the world at different ages and stages in their musical lives. NYV have cultivated a philosophy of teaching over their storied career and have designed a roster of electives that students choose from while also participating in one of four jazz choirs directed by one of the New York Voices and the all camp piece directed by Greg Jasperse. It is a six-day summer intensive that is instructive while also being personal and nurture based.
Individually, the four members are involved in a variety of projects including solo performances and recordings, teaching, writing and arranging. To learn more about NYV or the individual members, please visit NewYorkVoices.com.
Terell Stafford and the Ben Markley Trio
Terell Stafford, acclaimed trumpet player based in New York, has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford is recognized as an incredibly gifted and versatile player, he combines a deep love of melody with his own brand of spirited and adventurous lyricism. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.
Stafford first picked up the trumpet at age thirteen, initially studying classical music. While pursuing a music education degree at the University of Maryland, Stafford played with the school’s jazz band. In 1988, Stafford had the good fortune to meet and receive advice from Wynton Marsalis who suggested that he study with Dr. William Fielder at Rutgers University. Later, Marsalis gave Stafford the opportunities to perform in his group Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and teach at Jazz at Lincoln Center and Juilliard. Marsalis supports Stafford’s current role as Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia and continues to offer his guidance and support.
Since the mid-1990’s, Stafford has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, Jimmy Heath Quintet and Big Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band. Stafford can be heard performing on over 130 albums. Stafford with the Hamilton-Clayton Jazz Orchestra, performed on Diana Krall’s GRAMMY nominated From this Moment On (2006).
Stafford was a member of the GRAMMY nominated Bobby Watson’s Tailor Made Big Band for their album Tailor Made. Stafford is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and they were awarded a GRAMMY in 2009 for Best Large Ensemble, Live at the Village Vanguard.
Stafford is the Director of Jazz Studies and Chair of Instrumental Studies at Temple University, founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet, and Managing and Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia (JOP). Stafford is renowned in the jazz world as an educator, performer and leader along with countless award nominations, accolades and associated acts.TerellStafford.com