Due to unforeseen circumstances, McCoy Tyner will not appear this evening (Mon, April 17). Blue Note Jazz Club is now proud to present jazz trio Sherman Irby / Gerald Cannon / Francisco Mela honoring McCoy Tyner on this day.
Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Sherman began playing music at the age of 12, almost immediately recognizing that it was his life’s calling. During high school he had the opportunity to play and record with Gospel immortal James Cleveland. After completing high school in 1986, Sherman attended Clark Atlanta University, graduating with a B.A. in Music Education. After college, he joined Atlanta-based piano legend Johnny O’Neal’s quintet for a time before moving to New York City in 1994.
After moving to New York, Sherman quickly connected with the fertile and vital scene at Smalls Jazz Club, where he was a regular until 1997. It was while playing at Smalls that Sherman caught the attention of Blue Note Records, the label for which he recorded his first two albums, Full Circle and Big Mama’s Biscuits, released in 1996 and 1998 respectively.
Recognizing the shift in economics of the record industry, Sherman left Blue Note to form his own label, Black Warrior Records. Thus far, he has released Black Warrior, Faith, Organ Starter, Live at The Otto Club, and Andy Farber’s “This Could Be the Start of Something Big”.
Currently, Sherman is a member of the newly renamed Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. Since rejoining the orchestra in 2005, Sherman, along with most members of the orchestra, has arranged much of the vast library of music that they have performed over the last eight years. He has also been commissioned to compose new works, including “Twilight Sounds”, and his Dante-inspired ballet, “Inferno”.
Born in Racine, Wisconsin, Gerald’s initial inspiration was his father Benjamin, a guitarist, who bought him his first electric bass at the ripe young age of 10. He began playing bass in his father’s group ‘The Gospel Expressions' and he never looked back. Gerald attended The University of Wisconsin at La Crosse where he met jazz great Milt Hinton. This meeting not only changed Gerald’s major in college from physical education to music, it also changed the rest of his life.
After a short stint back home, Gerald returned to New York to work with Buddy Montgomery and Andy Bey. Good fortune followed when acclaimed trumpeter Roy Hargrove came to a club where Gerald was working. For the next seven years, Gerald performed as a member of Roy’s band at major jazz festivals all over the world, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Cape Town Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, and the Montreal Jazz Festival. He also was a part of the award winning Crisol tour where Gerald played with great Cuban musicians like master percussionist Jose Luis “Chanquito” Quintana, Miguel “Anga” Diaz, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Chucho Valdes and studied with excellent bassist Orlando “Cachahito” Lopez and pianist Ruben Gonzalez.
Gerald carries the knowledge passed on to him by legendary bassists Ray Brown, Sam Jones, Ron Carter and Buster Williams and continues the legacy by conducting master classes throughout the U.S. and Europe.
After leaving Roy Hargrove, Gerald held the bass chair for legendary drummer Elvin Jones until his passing in 2004. Gerald considers his time spent with Mr. Jones a profound period of spiritual and creative growth. Since then, Gerald has worked with jazz heavy-weights Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Pat Martino, Louis Hayes and The Cannonball Legacy, Ernestine Anderson, Carmen Lundy, Abbey Lincoln, Gary Bartz, Joe Lovano, Cyrus Chestnut, Larry Willis, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Steve Turre, Eric Reed, the Dexter Gordon Legacy Ensemble and many other all-star combinations, as well as with his own quartet. He continues to conduct Master Classes around the world and remains the Musical Director for the McCoy Tyner Trio.
Like the masters before him, Gerald Cannon has established a fearless, solid groove that distinguishes him as a principal figure in jazz. He will go down in history as a signature jazz bassist and composer of this century.
Francisco Mela is a favorite amongst jazz's elite instrumentalists, among them, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, JoAnne Brackeen, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, Bobby Watson and McCoy Tyner, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication, and life-affirming spirit as an extension of his incredible talents as a composer and drummer.
Francisco Mela was born in 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba. He moved to Boston in 2000 to pursue a degree at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music and, quickly thereafter, the faculty recognized that Mela had much to offer students and promptly hired him to teach at the school. Mela rapidly made a name for himself on the Boston scene, becoming the house drummer at the legendary Wally’s Café Jazz Club. It was at Wally’s that Mela began developing a concept for his own band, one that would feature the sounds of modern jazz with the traditional music he grew up with in Cuba.
Fellow Berklee faculty member and world-renown saxophonist, Joe Lovano, heard Mela and was immediately impressed, hiring him shortly after to play in his quartet. Since 2005, Mela has been an integral part of Joe Lovano’s quartet and his new group, “Us Five,” a two-drummer quintet. Their 2009 Blue Note Records recording, titled Folk Art, was considered by many critics to be Lovano’s most adventurous to date. In 2009, he was tapped by jazz legend McCoy Tyner to join his trio. Said Tyner of his new young drummer, “Mela is just a fantastic player. He has his own style and his own sound, which is what I look for in a drummer.”
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