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Mary Talusan

(b Anaheim, CA, Nov 15, 1970). American jazz percussionist and composer. Of Filipino heritage, Ibarra grew up in Houston, Texas. She received a music diploma from Mannes College and a BA from Goddard College. She studied drums with Buster Smith and Vernel Fournier and percussion with Milford Graves. She also played with William Parker and his big band, The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. In the 1990s, Ibarra became interested in Philippine musical traditions and took lessons on kulintang from master artist Danongan Kalanduyan. She joined the avant-garde free jazz quartet led by David S. Ware and became well known in the New York jazz scene. She collaborated on several albums with a number of respected musicians such as Assif Tsahar, Cooper-Moore, Charles Burnham, Chris Speed, Wadada Leo Smith, and Pauline Oliveros, notably on the album ...

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Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Osaka, Japan, July 16, 1964). Japanese double bass player. After first playing electric guitar he changed to electric bass guitar as a member of a high school band; he became interested in jazz through the influence of Jaco Pastorius. While studying composition at Osaka College of Music he performed jazz in local clubs. Following his graduation he moved to Tokyo and joined Motohiko Hino’s group, though he also performed and recorded with Masahiko Sato, Masami Nakagawa, Yosuke Yamashita, Terumasa Hino, and others. In January 1991 he settled in New York, where he accompanied such musicians as Abraham Burton, Hank Jones, Cyrus Chestnut, Don Friedman, Carmen Lundy, Eddie Daniels, Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz, Louis Hayes, and Michael Carvin, and recorded as a member of the cooperative Japanese quintet Inside Out (1992), a Japanese and American hard-bop group, the Jazz Networks, led by Roy Hargrove (1995...

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Nicholas Higgins

(b Trieste, Italy, May 4, 1971). saxophonist of Italian birth. Of South Asian descent, he grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and started playing alto saxophone at age 11. He studied briefly at North Texas State University and received his BM from the Berklee College of Music; he later earned a master’s degree in jazz composition from DePaul University in Chicago. After moving to New York in 1997, Mahanthappa played a crucial role in the pianist Vijay Iyer’s quartet in the 1990s and early 2000s and produced four unique projects with his own quartet. One of these, Mother Tongue (2005), used tonal transcriptions of phrases from Indian languages as melodic source material for his compositions; another, Codebook (2006), applied cryptographic methods to musical composition.

Mahanthappa’s subsequent music has featured other alto saxophonists. His project with Bunky Green (2010) featured the pianist Jason Moran, the bass player François Moutin, and the drummers Damion Reid and Jack DeJohnette. The Dakshina Ensemble, his project with the South Indian musician Kadri Gopalnath, combined jazz and South Indian classical-music ensembles. A two-saxophone project, Dual Identity, featured the alto saxophonist Steve Lehman as well as Reid, the bass player Matt Brewer, and the guitarist Liberty Ellman....

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Michael Baumgartner

(b Philadelphia, PA, March 25, 1931; d New York, NY, Nov 22, 2011). American jazz drummer and composer. He grew up in Providence, Rhode Island, where he began playing guitar and drums at the age of 12. During the Korean War he studied at the Navy School of Music in Washington before being stationed in Brooklyn from November 1953. After his discharge in September 1954 he moved to New York, entered the Manhattan School of Music and took private lessons on drums and timpani. In the mid- to late 1950s he accompanied various musicians, including Tony Scott, Stan Getz, Oscar Pettiford (in both his quintet and big band), Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. In 1956 Motian began collaborating with Bill Evans, appearing on the pianist’s first album. Subsequently he was the drummer in Evans’s first and second trios (1959–64). He continued his career as an experienced drummer of piano trios, first with Paul Bley’s group (...

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Megan E. Hill

(b Osaka, Japan, 1957). Jazz and blues pianist, singer, and composer of Japanese birth. She took piano lessons briefly as a child and was exposed to the blues while growing up in Osaka in the 1960s and 1970s. As a high school student, she formed the Yoko Blues Band with classmates. The band earned some success, winning first prize and a recording contract in a television-sponsored contest. In 1984 she moved to the United States to pursue a jazz and blues career in Chicago. Initially a singer, she studied piano with boogie, blues, and jazz pianist Erwin Helfer. In the early 1990s Noge established the Jazz Me Blues Band, which has played regularly in Chicago since its formation. In addition to Noge on piano and vocals, the ensemble has included Noge’s husband, Clark Dean, on soprano saxophone, saxophonist Jimmy Ellis, trombonist Bill McFarland, and bassist Tatsu Aoki. In addition to playing more conventional jazz and blues, Noge has made a name for herself through the unique compositions she has written for the group, which meld Japanese folk music styles with Chicago blues. Active in the broader Asian American community, she cofounded the Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival in ...

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Mark Lomanno

(b Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, March 26, 1979). Japanese pianist. Hiromi began piano studies at age five with a teacher who encouraged her to improvise and introduced her to the recordings Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, and Art Tatum. In her teenage years, she performed with the Czech National Symphony, and in Tokyo at the personal invitation of Chick Corea, with whom she has maintained an ongoing collaboration. After briefing studying law, she relocated to Boston in 1999 and enrolled in the Berklee College of Music. Richard Evans, her composition and arranging professor, shared a recording of hers with Ahmad Jamal, who, along with Evans, produced her debut CD, Brain (Telarc, 2003). Known for her masterful virtuosity (which invites comparisons to another mentor, Oscar Peterson), genre-crossing arrangements, and imaginative, highly energetic live performances, Hiromi constantly refines her orchestration of sonic possibilities—using keyboards with individually crafted sounds and the full range of all the instruments in her ensembles, such as in ...