The scope of keyboardist-composer-producer George Duke’s imprint on jazz and pop music over the past forty years is almost impossible to calculate. He has collaborated with some of the most prominent figures in the industry. A producer since the 1980s, he has crafted scores of fine recordings – many of them GRAMMY winners – for artists representing almost every corner of the contemporary American music landscape. “I’ve always considered myself a multi-stylistic artist,” says Duke. “I try to take people on a musical journey, whether it’s on an album or in a show. I think the style of music that you choose to play is really irrelevant, as long as you’re honest about what you’re trying to present – and Déjà Vu is an honest look back and forward at the same time.” George Duke on YouTube
Christian McBride is one of the top young jazz bassists on the scene. He was born on May 31, 1972 in Philadelphia. His father and uncle both played bass and this played a major influence on him. While in high school, he met Wynton Marsalis, who spread word of McBride to many musicians. He moved to New York and spent a year studying at the Julliard School of Music, while playing gigs around town, including Bobby Watson’s Horizon Quintet. He left Julliard to tour with Roy Hargrove’s first group. In 1990, he toured with Freddie Hubbard. In 1993, after working with Benny Green and Benny Golson, he joined high-profile guitarist Pat Methaney’s “Special Quartet”, whose group included drum master Billy Higgins and up-and-coming tenor sax wizard Joshua Redman. The next year, he recorded and toured with Redman, and was then signed by Verve records and recorded his first album as a band leader. His group included Hargrove and Redman. He has played on well over 100 recordings, with artists such as Ray Brown, Betty Carter, Chick Corea, Bruce Hornsby, Bob James, Chaka Kahn, Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, David Sanborn and Wayne Shorter. In addition, he is a recipient of a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts to compose an extended work for jazz quartet and gospel choir that will premiere at the Portland Performing Arts Center in Maine. He was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center to compose “Blues in Alphabet City,” a full-scale work premiered by Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, featuring McBride as a special guest. Furthermore, he taught at the Berklee School of Music giving master classes, became a visiting instructor for the California-based Henry Mancini Institute.
Grammy winner Luciana Souza is one of Jazz’s leading singers and interpreters. Hailing from São Paulo, Brazil, she grew up in a family of Bossa Nova innovators. Her work as a performer transcends traditional boundaries around musical styles, offering solid roots in jazz, sophisticated lineage in world music, and an enlightened approach to classical repertoire and new music. As a leader, Luciana Souza has eight acclaimed releases including her four Grammy nominated records “Brazilian Duos,” 2002, “North and South,” 2003, and “Duos II,” 2005, and “Tide,” 2009. Her debut recording for Universal/Verve (produced by her husband, Larry Klein), “The New Bossa Nova,” (2007) was met with critical acclaim (Billboard Latin Jazz Album of the Year) and on “Tide,” Luciana “continued her captivating journey as a uniquely talented vocalist who organically crosses genre borders. Her music soulfully reflects, wistfully regrets, romantically woos, joyfully celebrates… (Billboard).” Souza has performed and recorded with greats like Herbie Hancock (on his Grammy winning record, River – The Joni Letters), Paul Simon, Maria Schneider, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Hermeto Pascoal, and many others. Luciana Souza’s singing has been called “transcendental, “perfect, “and of “unparalleled beauty.” Entertainment Weekly said, “Her voice traces a landscape of emotion that knows no boundaries. Luciana Souza on YouTube
Singer/guitarist Raul Midón is a contemporary soul singer whose impassioned acoustic percussive guitar playing — a mix of jazz, rock, classical, and flamenco — has gotten him just as much attention as his silky, soulful tenor singing. Blind since birth, Midón was born in New Mexico, to an Argentine father and African American mother.Midón also uses his improvisational mouth horn technique, in which he creates a bebop “trumpet” solo entirely with his lips, earning himself a spontaneous burst of mid-song applause from the audience in the process. Midón funnels all that creativity and fiery passion into his third album, Synthesis, which he recorded in Los Angeles in June 2009 with legendary producer and bassist Larry Klein, who is noted for his work with such luminaries as Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, and Peter Gabriel. A genre-defying blend of soul, pop, jazz, folk, and Latin elements, Synthesis showcases Midón’s evolution as an artist as he sets some of his more biting insights about betrayal, fear, loss, and the American Dream to deceptively up-tempo swinging rhythms and deliriously catchy melodies. Now comes Synthesis, which Midón began working on last summer, demoing the songs at his home studio using a PC-based software program called Sonar, which makes Windows accessible to blind people. Synthesis will be released by Universal in fall 2009 in Europe and Japan and in Spring 2010 in the United States. Raul Midón on YouTube