Ralph Peterson Legacy featuring:

Zaccai Curtis, Luques Curtis, Jeremy Pelt, Wayne Escoffery, Tia Fuller, Jerome Jennings & Reinaldo De Jesus Parker guest Kris Allen

Zaccai Curtis

Zaccai Curtis moved to New York City in 2005 where he’s connected with and regularly performed with artists such as: Lakecia Benjamin, Christian Scott, Donald Harrison, Cindy Blackman Santana, Eddie Palmieri, Brian Lynch, the Mambo Legends, Abraham Burton, Ralph Peterson, Ray Vega, and Avery Sharpe among others.

Currently Zaccai is a professor of music at the University of Hartford: Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division and University of Rhode Island. Besides being an educator Zaccai authored two books “Art of the Guajeo” and “Theory of the Common Voicing” which are meant to aid students in their Jazz and Latin Jazz education. Zaccai composes and arranges for his own quartet and trio as well as for artists such as Little Johnny Rivero, Steve Kroon, Sonido Solar and more. In 2003 he was chosen as a winner of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s competition and each year consecutively through 2006. Zaccai and his quartet were selected by the U.S. State Department to be in the American Music Abroad (Jazz Ambassadors) program two times in 2006. They performed in Bangladesh, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mumbai, Sri Lanka and Maldives. In 2007 Zaccai Curtis was awarded the ‘Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Artist Fellowship’ for ‘original composition.’ In 2017 Curtis became a Chamber Music America: “New Jazz Works” grant recipient. In 2020 Zaccai was voted as the Rising Star in the Critics Poll for Downbeat Magazine. Most recently, Curtis has been invited to be the special guest director for 2023 CMEA Southern Regional High School Jazz Band.

When Zaccai is not busy being a sideman, he performs his own music with his group ‘Zaccai Curtis Quartet’ and ‘Sonido Solar’ and after five successful releases; He plans on releasing his next recording “Cubop Lives” in 2023.

Luques Curtis

Luques Curtis was born 1983 in Hartford, CT. After having formal training on piano and percussion, he found himself wanting to play the bass. Luques studied at the Greater Hartford Academy of Performing Arts, Artist Collective, and Guakia with Dave Santoro, Volcan Orham, Nat Reeves, Paul Brown, and others. While attending high school, he was also very fortunate to study the Afro-Caribbean genre with bass greats Andy Gonzalez and Joe Santiago. With his talent and hard work he earned a full scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College Of Music in Boston. There he studied with John Lockwood and Ron Mahdi. While in Boston he was also able to work with great musicians such as Gary Burton, Ralph Peterson, Donald Harrison, Christian Scott, and Francisco Mela.

Now living in the New York area, Mr. Curtis has been performing worldwide with Eddie Palmieri, Stefon Harris, Ralph Peterson, Christian Scott, Sean Jones, Orrin Evans, Christian Sands, and others. He is the recent recipient of the 2016 Down Beat Rising Star Bassist on the Critics Poll and also received the Ralph Bunche Fellowship to complete his Masters Degree at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. He co-owns a record label called Truth Revolution Records along side his brother, Zaccai. They have five releases under “Curtis Brothers” with the most recent being “Algorithm”. Luques was also part of Brian Lynch’s Grammy winning CD “Simpatico” and his Grammy nominated “Madera Latino” as well as Christian Scott’s Grammy nominated CD “Rewind That”. He also produced Grammy nominated “Entre Colegas” by Andy Gonzalez. You can hear him on Eddie Palmieri’s “Sabiduria” and “Mi Luz Mayor”; Gary Burton “Next Generations”; Dave Valentin “Come Fly With Me”; Sean Jones’ “Im*Pro*Vise”,”Roots”,”Kaleidoscope”,and “The Search Within”; Orrin Evans’ CD “Faith In Action”. As a sideman, Luques Curtis has participated in over 100 recordings.

Jeremy Pelt

Jeremy Pelt has become one of the preeminent young trumpeters within the world of jazz. Forging a bond with the Mingus Big Band very early on, as his career progressed, Pelt built upon these relationships and many others which eventually lead to collaborations with some of the genre’s greatest masters. These projects include performances and recordings with Cliff Barbaro, Keter Betts, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Ravi Coltrane, Frank Foster, Winard Harper, Jimmy Heath, Vincent Herring, John Hicks, Charli Persip, Ralph Peterson, Lonnie Plaxico, Bobby Short, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, Nancy Wilson and The Skatalites, to name a few.

Pelt frequently performs alongside such notable ensembles as the Roy Hargrove Big Band, The Village Vanguard Orchestra and the Duke Ellington Big Band, and is a member of the Lewis Nash Septet and The Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band featuring Louis Hayes. As a leader, Pelt has recorded ten albums and has toured globally with his various ensembles, appearing at many major jazz festivals and concert venues.

Pelt’s recordings and performances have earned him critical acclaim, both nationally and internationally. He has been featured in the Wall Street Journal by legendary jazz writer and producer, Nat Hentoff, and was voted Rising Star on the trumpet, five years in a row by Downbeat Magazine and the Jazz Journalist Association. Pelt is currently touring throughout the United States and Europe in support of his latest release, “Soundtrack”.

Wayne Escoffery

2014 Downbeat Critics Poll Winner and Grammy Award winning tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery is one of the Jazz world’s most talented rising stars and in-demand sidemen. In 2006 he secured one of the most coveted gigs in jazz: a frontline position in Tom Harrell’s working quintet. For over a decade Escoffery was mostly associated with trumpet master having toured the globe with the trumpeter, recorded seven CDs with The Tom Harrell Quintet and co-produced four of those releases. He has also been a member of The Mingus Dynasty, Big Band and Orchestra since 2000 and has made several recordings with the group. Over the years he has recorded and performed internationally with the who’s who in Jazz including Ron Carter, Ben Riley, Abdulah Ibrahim, Eric Reed, Carl Allen, Al Foster, Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, Rufus Reid, Wallace Roney and Herbie Hancock just to name a few. Escoffery leads his own groups which tour internationally and has made several highly acclaimed studio recordings with said groups. His current working quartet features pianist David Kikoski, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Ralph Peterson and has a released three albums, the latest of which is The Humble Warrior on the Smoke Sessions Records label. Escoffery is also a founding member of a collaborative group called Black Art Jazz Collective which is comprised of fellow rising star musicians of his generation and is dedicated to celebrating the origins of Jazz and African American Icons through originally composed music.

In addition to performing, Escoffery is dedicated to music education and presents lectures and masterclasses on Jazz music. He is currently the saxophone instructor for The New Jersey Performing Arts Wells fargo Jazz for Teens program, and currently teaches private online and in person lessons for all instruments. In the fall of 2016 Wayne Escoffery was appointed Lecturer of Jazz Improvisation and ensemble coach at the Yale School of Music as a part of Yale Universitiy’s Jazz Initiative, the first of its kind for the University. The vast array of contributions Wayne Escoffery has made to the Jazz world in such a short time leads seasoned industry professionals like Niel Tesser to write “ Pay special attention to tenor man Wayne Escoffery whose rapid development – from album to album (and seemingly solo to solo) – has given us a jazz hero for the coming decade.

Tia Fuller

When Grammy-nominated Mack Avenue recording artist, composer, and bandleader Tia Fuller picks up her saxophone, something amazing happens. Blending technical brilliance, melodic creativity, and the performing precision drawn from both her academic and stage experience, Fuller is a force to be reckoned with in the worlds of jazz, pop, R&B, and more. Currently, Fuller balances the worlds of performance and education, fulfilling a demanding schedule as both a busy touring and recording artist and a full-time professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Fuller’s resume makes her uniquely qualified for these roles. The Denver, Colorado native graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, and summa cum laude with a Master’s degree in Jazz Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Already established as a leading jazz musician, Fuller was selected to be a member of the all-female band touring with Grammy-winning pop star Beyoncé. Performing as part of the I AM … Sasha Fierce and Beyoncé Experience World Tour on stages across the globe, Fuller also became a featured soloist on the Beyoncé Experience DVD (Me, Myself and I), I AM Yours I DVD (Wynn Theatre) and also appeared on number of major television shows, including Today Show, Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, BET Awards, American Music Awards, Grammy Awards and as a featured soloist with Beyoncé for President Obama at the White House.

An accomplished solo artist in her own right, Fuller has recorded five full-length projects with her quartet. Her most recent album, Diamond Cut, received a Grammy nomination in the Best Instrumental Jazz category; produced by three-time Grammy Award winner Terri Lyne Carrington, the album also features two superb rhythm sections, both of which contain some of jazz world’s brightest luminaries – bassist Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, then bassist James Genus and drummer Bill Stewart. Adding texture and harmonic support of several compositions are guitarist Adam Rogers and organist Sam Yahel. Additionally, Carrington contributes to two tracks with percussion.

Jerome Jennings

Jerome Jennings is a drummer, activist, bandleader, sideman, and Emmy Award-winning composer. His debut recording ‘The Beast’ is a reflection of the everyday joys and traumas of black life in the U.S. It was named one of the top three Jazz releases by NPR, received a four-star rating in Downbeat Magazine, and was nominated for the prestigious French ‘Grand Prix du Disque’ award for Album of the Year in 2016. Jerome’s sophomore recording, ‘Solidarity’, released November 2019, was recognized by NPR as best music that spoke truth to power of 2019.

To date, Jerome has performed, toured, and recorded with legendary musicians like Sonny Rollins, Hank Jones, Gerald Wilson, Christian McBride, Ron Carter, George Cables, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Wynton Marsalis (J@LC), The Count Basie Orchestra, Philip Bailey, Henry Butler, and countless others. He has also made recordings and shared the stage with contemporary musicians Sean Jones, Camille Thurman, Jazzmeia Horn, Tadataka Unno, Christian Sands, Charenee Wade, and Bokani Dyer, to name a few. He has composed music for and is the musical director for Maurice Chestnut’s dance production Beat’s Rhymes and Tap Shoes.

In the summer of 2007, Jerome earned a Masters of Music from the prestigious Juilliard School in Manhattan, NY. In 2014, he passed Jazz At Lincoln Centers Swing University 301 history course, the most comprehensive study of jazz from a non-performance perspective available.” Jazz At Lincoln Center has Jerome Jennings on file as an accredited jazz scholar. Jerome was the Resident Director of The Juilliard Jazz Orchestra from fall 2017 to 2021. While on faculty at Juilliard, he designed a class entitled The Juilliard Jazz Community Project. Jerome is a professor of graduate jazz history at Montclair State University.

Jerome has participated on several panels, including Chamber Music America: Music, Language, and Revolution; Lincoln Center: Freedom’s State of Mind; Winter Jazz Festival: Jazz & Gender: A Discussion Of Community, Culture & Participatory Allies. Fall 2020, Jerome co-curated with Naomi Extra, a series of panels, performances, and discussions at The National Jazz Museum in Harlem entitled ‘Jazz in The Era of Black Lives Matter.’ He has also designed and taught several courses for Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Swing University.

Currently, Jerome is keeping busy teaching, conducting clinics, and educational youth outreach nationally and internationally. He is one of the most successful in Black American music education. Jerome has been an artist-in-residence and has lectured at dozens of Universities and Academy, nationally and internationally, including UNC Greensboro, John Hopkins Peabody Institute, Rutgers University, The Juilliard School, Jazz Music Institute JMI (Brisbane, AU), Sydney Conservatory of Music, Xavier College (Melbourne, AU), The Ohio StateUniversity, Aspen Colorado, Brigham Young University, University Of Ghana -Legon School Of Performing Arts, Rockport Jazz Workshop, and the Universidad Sergio Arboleda (Bogota Colombia) and The National Taiwan University of The Arts.

Reinaldo De Jesus Parker

I love playing percussion, drums and keyboards but also, I love putting the sounds I make with those instruments in a DAW and making the speakers blast out cool music.

I have been playing music since I was a little kid in Puerto Rico. I played with many puertorrican artist and musicians.

To make a long story short…

My brothers from the reggae band Cultura Profética introduced me to the trombonist William Cepeda and he put me on a plane with his band Afro-rican Jazz to tour the world. It was incredible!

Then I found myself in Boston. A band called Entrain hired me and through gigging with them I connected with my brothers from the band Dispatch. I did a bunch of tours and recordings with them.

My brother Miguel Zenon, who I went to high school with back in PR, called me to go to West Africa for a month. By now I’m a 100% all into the music business for life.

I moved to New York City and shortly after that, I found myself at a recording studio with Ms. Lauryn Hill. She put me on a plane to go and tour Europe for three weeks. It was awesome! But before that, Ralph Irizarry called me and I was like WHAT? WHO? Ralph Irizarry?. That is one of the highlights of my life I was super excited to play with his band Timbalaye.

Then I decided to call my brothers Zaccai and Luques Curtis and Richie Barshay and we got on a plane in 2006 to tour Southeast Asia. What can I say it was an unbelievable experience.

It was so cool that we did it again but as a trio with the Curtis brothers. It was an unforgettable experience.

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