Few musicians have the history and experience as tenor saxophone great Ralph Moore. He has been a heavy-weight in the jazz world for decades. His early influences such as John Coltrane can be heard in his tenor sax tone and styling.
Born in London, Moore’s life has always been culturally rich. Moving to the U.S. in 1970’s, Moore became a dedicated musician as a teenager. After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Moore began the life of a jazz musician. He later received the Lenny Johnson Memorial Award for outstanding musicianship.
Moore has played and recorded music with an amazing list of musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Horace Silver, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Brown, Roy Haynes, J.J. Johnson, Cedar Walton, Bobby Hutcherson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Hargrove, Oscar Peterson, Kenny Baron to name a few. His passion and life-long study of the tenor sax can be felt in his music.
Notably, Moore spent fifteen years playing tenor saxophone in the The Tonight Show Orchestra with Jay Leno. During that time, Moore collaborated with many musicians, jazz quartets and quintets. One in particular, aptly named “Escape from New York,” featured some of his Tonight Show band members, drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith and bassist Bob Hurst.
Moore has released several albums for the Landmark (now 32 Jazz), Criss Cross, Concord, Reservoir and Savoy labels. He can also be heard playing sideman on many other great jazz albums. Ralph Moore has a solid, straight-ahead and inspiring style that puts him out front where he belongs.
Xavier Davis is one of the most accomplished Jazz pianists worldwide. As a bandleader, he has released two critically acclaimed albums – ‘Dance of Life’ and ‘The Innocence of Youth’. In addition, his talent has been featured on more than 50 albums. Xavier is also part of the Christian McBride Big Band and was featured on Christian’s album ‘The Good Feeling’, which won a GRAMMY award in 2012. Davis has even performed and recorded with many other world-famous Jazz artists like the legendary Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Regina Carter, Stefon Harris, Abbey Lincoln, and Jeremy Pelt among others.
In 2005, Xavier became the first person to receive the prestigious “New Works Grant” twice from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He has also worked with the Boy’s Choir of Harlem as their Musical Director and is proud to be an Associate Professor of Jazz Piano at Michigan State University
Rodney Whitaker is an internationally renowned bassist and Mack Avenue recording artist who currently holds the titles of Professor of Jazz Bass and Director of Jazz Studies at Michigan State University. He rose to fame by completing a seven-year tenure as bassist with Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Since then he has toured the world over the last twenty-five years, collaborating and performing with legendary jazz artists such as Eric Reed, Cedar Walton, and even Tommy Flanagan.
Whitaker was nominated for the Juno Award for his work on “Let Me Tell You About My Day,” produced by Alma Records in 2006. Never one to forget his Detroit roots, Rodney Whitaker is one of the hardest working bass players on the scene; with recordings done with great musicians such as Roy Hargrove, Pat Methany and Wynton Marsalis. He has even been featured on more than 100+ recordings — from film to CD.
Sean Dobbins has become one of the most active sidemen on the local jazz for good reason. Known for his facile, limber, inventive, and playful style, Dobbins adds this to his happy persona and zest for life to create a truly distinctive performance.