A native of Los Angeles, Billy Childs grew up immersed in jazz, classical, and popular music influences and has become one of the most distinctly American composers since Aaron Copland, melding that musical heritage in a powerful symbiosis of style, range, and dynamism. Already an in-demand performer on the LA jazz scene by the time he graduated USC, Childs got his first tour and recording break with Freddie Hubbard and soon began working with J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, and Wynton Marsalis. Across his career, he has earned 15 Grammy nominations and won five, most recently for 2017’s Rebirth.
Bassist and composer Rufus Reid has been a renaissance figure in the arts since becoming an active presence in the jazz world in the 1970s. His 1974 book The Evolving Bassist has remained the industry standard for double bass methodology, and he has recorded on over 500 albums, including 25 under his own name. His 2022 disc, Celebration, features music for jazz trio and string quartet. A former Guggenheim Fellow in composition, he has written for strings, chamber ensembles, solo bass, jazz ensembles of varying sizes and symphony orchestras.
Regularly lauded as a musician’s musician and a leading saxophonist and composer by the likes of NPR and JazzTimes, Steve Wilson has added a distinctive sound to more than 100 recordings by the likes of Chick Corea, Maria Schneider, George Duke, Dianne Reeves, Bill Bruford, and many others. His cutting-edge quartet Wilsonian’s Grain has been featured on NPR live from the Kennedy Center and the Village Vanguard in New York City, and Wilson is a touring member of the Grammy-winning Maria Schneider Orchestra and Christian McBride Big Band as well as Inside Straight and quartets with Billy Childs and Buster Williams.
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