Andrae Murchison Quintet featuring Kevin Bales and Jaron McCarr
Andrae Murchison – Bio
Born and raised in the soulful roots of Savannah, Georgia., Andrae Murchison grew up surrounded by traditional gospel music at home and in church. He first experienced playing music at The United House of Prayer as a drummer alongside his grandfathers lead vocals. The UHOP brass bands introduced him to the trombone around the age of nine. The power of the music touched his soul and was the beginning to his musical journey as a trombonist and composer.
Murchison moved on to study music fundamentals, trombone, and baritone in the school band from Hugh Johnson. He first experienced playing jazz while performing with the Savannah High School Blue Light Jazz Band under the direction of Michael Hutchinson, and sitting in with his mentor Teddy Adams, and local all-stars Doug Carn, Delbert Felix, and Eric Vaughn. While attending the Savannah Arts Academy, Murchison became seriously interested in jazz after being selected for the Georgia All-State Jazz Band in 1999. After graduating high school, he took the initiative to study under the finest musicians and
institutions in the business. His most influential mentors are Curtis Fuller, Slide Hampton, Ron Westray, Robin Eubanks, Donald Byrd, Wendell Logan, and Steve Turre. He went on to recieve a Bachelor’s Degree in Jazz Studies from Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Masters Degree in Arts from Aaron Copeland School of Music at Queens College. Since his arrival to New York City, he has performed with Roy Hargrove, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Count Basie Orchestra, Abdullah Ibrahim, The Skatalites, Gregory Porter, Monty Alexander, Ravi Coltrane and many more. Murchison tours the world as a successful sideman and also leads his own ensemble called “Murch Church”. In addition to performing, Murchison has served as a jazz clinician and low brass specialist at numerous institutions and communities around the world.
Murchison’s schooling continues at “The university of streets”, which has granted him the opportunity to work and study alongside Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Harry Connick Jr., Kim Burrell, Jay-Z, Mary J. Blidge, Common, Dennis Edwards and The Temptations, Four Tops, Brian McKnight, Ledisi, and many others. He has also performed at The Montreuax Jazz Festival, Joy of Jazz Festival, WOMAD, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Jamaica Jazz Festival, Tokyo Jazz Festival, The Letterman Show, and numerous festivals, concert halls, and venues worldwide.
AM’s role as a sideman prepares him for the pursuit of his own musical and spiritual vision. So far, he has recorded and produced three albums as a leader. His compositions document his journey, and is a honest testimony about where he comes from. Murch’s music is a mixture of southern blues, gospel, soul, jazz, reggae, and funk. As Murch steps further into the rhythm of his ministry. He strives to bring the soul of the church to the streets, preserve his southern roots, and be a positive voice of love, healing, and freedom in the world.
Kevin Bales – Musician, Teacher, Performer
By some measures, Kevin Bales was a latecomer to jazz, already 17 when he encountered the sounds and structures and became captivated by the freedom and corresponding challenges of the music. But if late to the party, he wasted no time in immersing himself in the celebration, declaring total commitment to what would be his life’s work and backing his announcement by resigning his job and designated career in computer programming. Kevin could commit to jazz with a reasonable degree of expectation. He was already an accomplished pianist, with classical chops refined since the age of 10. So accomplished he was invited to audition for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, then under the direction of its most storied conductor Robert Shaw, at age 16.
Kevin’s initial career move was to the University of North Florida and a budding if little-known jazz program. There he met and performed with, and went on to record and tour with, a number of monumental artists who had settled into that burgeoning North Florida jazz scene. Giants like Wynton Marsalis, Louie Bellson, Eddie Daniels, James Moody, Ben Tucker, Ira Sullivan, Sam Rivers, and Nat Adderley. He counts among his mentors bassist Ben Tucker, multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan, guitar legends Nathen Page and Jack Petersen, and the fiercely individual saxophonist Bunky Green. His meeting with Bunky Green led to five years of tours. His encounter with guitarist Nathen Page blossomed into 15 years of spot tours and four albums. And his work with trumpeter extraordinaire Marcus Printup has become a lifetime association that has included recordings on Blue Note/Capital records. Ten years touring and recording with vocal iconoclast Rene Marie culminated in the a Grammy Nominated album.
Few artists have the patience for teaching – as are few teachers accomplished players. But Kevin has amassed a reputation for his prowess in both professions. While still a senior at North Florida he was drafted into a full teaching load, and continued to be an integral part of the school’s jazz program for upwards of a decade. Today, Kevin manages his own jazz program, overseeing an ambitious schedule of ambitious jazz students.
Kevin has amassed a long list of awards and a reputation as one of the finest jazz pianists performing anywhere. In 1994, less than a decade into jazz, he won the American Pianist Association’s Jazz Piano Competition. In addition to nearly every important jazz venue in the South, he has performed in some of the most acclaimed clubs and festivals in America and around the world: the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, The Bakery in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center jazz series, the Toronto and Edinburgh jazz festivals, and the Moscow Center for the Performing Arts.
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Jaron McCarr – Bio
A native of Savannah, GA, Jaron McCarr began studying music at an early age, starting on piano before switching to trombone in the 5th grade. It was in high school as a member of the Savannah Arts Academy Skyelite Jazz Band under the direction of Michael Hutchinson that he developed a love and passion for music. Jaron would go on to obtain degrees in Jazz Studies from Valdosta State University (BM) and Northern Illinois University (MM). At NIU, he was named a Graduate Assistant where he not only taught classes and coached student combos, but also performed with the NIU Rosebud Jazztet all over the country, most notably at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York. Jaron has been fortunate to have performed with many local and national jazz acts including Teddy Adams, The Savannah Jazz Orchestra, Russell Gunn, David Gibson, Vincent Gardner, and The Chicago Jazz Orchestra to name a few.