Kenny Garrett is a jazz saxophonist. He was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1960. His father was a tenor saxophonist. Kenny's career took off when he joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1978, then led by Duke's son, Mercer Ellington. Three years later he played in the Mel Lewis Orchestra (playing the music of Thad Jones) and also the Dannie Richmond Quartet (focusing on Charles Mingus's music). In 1984 he earned a shot at his first album as a band leader, "Introducing Kenny Garrett". From there, his career has exploded into 11 albums (as a leader) and numerous grammy nominations.
As a virtuoso bassist, versatile composer, and acclaimed bandleader, Marc Johnson has been a major innovator on the jazz scene for the past two decades. Born in Nebraska in 1953, Johnson took up bass at the age of 16, having already studied piano and cello. While completing his formal education in the celebrated music program at the University of North Texas, at age 19, Johnson began performing professionally with the Fort Worth Symphony. In 1977, he was on the road with the Woody Herman Band.
Branford Marsalis (born August 26, 1960, Beaux Bridge, Louisiana) is an American jazz saxophonist. Branford studied with Alvin Batiste at Baton Rouge's Southern University in 1978, completing his studies at Berklee School of Music, between '79 & '81. He began his professional career in the early 1980s playing with Art Blakey's big band (playing baritone), Clark Terry's band, and Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1969, James Carter began playing saxophone at age 11, first recorded with a Detroit student ensemble in 1986 and, by 1991, had recorded with legendary trumpeter Lester Bowie on The Organizer and contributed to the 1991 collection The Tough Young Tenors. Mastering a family of reed instruments, from sopranino to contrabass saxophones to contrabass and bass clarinets, James Carter mesmerized the jazz world after arriving in New York City in 1988 to play under the auspices of Lester Bowie.
Terri Lyne Carrington (born in Medford, Massachusetts in 1965) is a world-renowned drummer, composer, producer and clinician. At seven, she was given her first set of drums, which had belonged to her grandfather, Matt Carrington. He had played with Fats Waller and Chu Berry. After studying privately for three years, she played her first major performance at the Wichita Jazz Festival with Clark Terry. At age 11 she received a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music. At 12 years old she was profiled on the PBS kids' biography program Rebop.
Brian Blade (born 1970 in Shreveport, Louisiana) is an American jazz drummer and composer. Brian made his first appearances as a sideman with pianist Brad Mehldau, Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett, and continued to work as a sideman with other musicians commonly known as "young lions." As a leader, he has released three albums - Fellowship, Perceptual, and most recently, Season of Changes, his Verve Music Group debut. Season of Changes has received rave reviews and continues to grow in popularity.
Billy Cobham, born May 16, 1944 in Panama, is one of the world's most influential drummers, best known for his jazz fusion in the 1970s, with John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, where he pioneered a powerful style of drumming with jazz, rock and funk influences. He is the first drummer to unseat Buddy Rich in the Down Beat music polls. Cobham has played and recorded with hundreds of top musicians, including Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Larry Coryell, and Horace Silver; and is famous for his explosive, fast, spectacular playing.