Louis Sedell Hayes the leader of the "Cannonball Legacy Band" was born May 31, 1937, in Detroit Michigan. He was always surrounded by music, actually first starting with the piano, before his father gave him a set of drums at age 10. A cousin noticed his talent, took him under his wing and made sure that his approach to the instrument would serve him well. And well it did, for after developing his skills in the fertile musical ground of Detroit in the 1950’s with the likes of Yusef Lateef, Kenny Burrell, Doug Watkins and others, Louis found himself at the tender age of 18 in New York as a member of the great Horace Silver Quintet. His first recording with Horace, the classic Six Pieces of Silver would introduce him to the jazz world as a new force to be acknowledged. Louis continued to enhance his reputation with Horace from 1956 until 1959 when he joined Cannonball Adderley where he propelled the quintet to joyous musical heights and timeless recordings through 1965. He joined piano master Oscar Peterson from 1965-67 during which time he and bassist Sam Janes became known as the “Dynamic Duo”, recognized as the most powerful rhythm duo in jazz. Louis would rejoin Oscar in 1971 for a year.
Louis has played and recorded with jazz greats such as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, J J Johnson, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Wes Montgomery, Joe Henderson, Cedar Walton, George Benson as well as Ravi Shankar, and John Lee Hooker.
Recent engagements of note would include the Kennedy Center for the Arts, The JVC Jazz Festival, The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and the Chivas Jazz Festival in Brazil.
His current endeavor is a project entitled “Serenade for Horace” which is a tribute to his friend and mentor, Horace Silver, and his debut as a leader on Blue Note Records.
A saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, BOBBY WATSON grew up in Kansas City, Kan. He trained formally at the University of Miami, a school with a distinguished and well-respected jazz program. After graduating, he proceeded to earn his "doctorate" – on the bandstand – as musical director of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. The group, created in 1955 by late legendary drummer who died in 1990, showcased a rotating cast of players, many who, like Watson, would go on to have substantial careers as bandleaders in their own right. The Jazz Messengers – frequently referred to as the "University of Blakey" – served as the ultimate "postgraduate school" for ambitious young players.
In association with bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Victor Lewis, Watson launched the first edition of Horizon, an acoustic quintet modeled in many ways after the Jazz Messengers but one with its own distinct slightly more modern twist. Among the groups' other talented members were pianist Ed Simon, trumpeter TereIl Stafford and bassist Essiet Okon Essiet. Clearly, by all critical accounts, Horizon, which still performs together on special occasions, is now considered as one of the preeminent small groups of the mid-1980s to mid-1990s and even into the 2000s. The group recorded several highly acclaimed titles for the Blue Note and Columbia record labels including Post-Motown Bop (Blue Note) and Midwest Shuffle, Live! (Columbia); the latter is a compendium that captured the group in concert at a number of locations in 1993.
For more than three decades now Watson has contributed consistently intelligent, sensitive and well-thought out music to the modern-day jazz lexicon. All told, Watson, the immensely talented and now-seasoned veteran, has issued some 30 recordings as a leader and appeared on 100-plus other recordings, performing as either co-leader or in support of other like-minded musicians. Not simply a performer, the saxophonist has recorded more than 100 original compositions including the music for the soundtrack of A Bronx Tale, which marked Robert DeNiro's 1993 directorial debut. Numerous Watson compositions have become classics such as his "Time Will Tell," "In Case You Missed It" and "Wheel within a Wheel," each now oft-recorded titles that are interpreted by his fellow musicians both on the bandstand and on other recordings.
As in-demand as ever, the lyrical saxophonist balances his teaching responsibilities with engagements at major venues throughout the world including appearances at clubs, festivals, on campuses and at Performing Arts Centers.
Native Washingtonian, ALLYN JOHNSON, is a multi-talented musician, composer, arranger, and producer whose trademark sound gives brilliance and fortitude to the art of jazz improvisation. Allyn, a prodigy who began playing piano at the tender age of five, got his start playing piano for the youth choir in his uncle's church. There he honed his inner musical gift.
While a student at the University of the District of Columbia, Allyn was mentored by the late great jazz legend Calvin Jones, a venerable figure in the international jazz community. At UDC, Allyn was the first recipient of the Felix. E Grant Scholarship Award in jazz performance. He graduated magna cum laude from UDC in 1997 with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies. Now Allyn has served for more than six years as an adjunct professor of music and assistant director of the Jazz Studies program before succeeding Jones as the director in 2005.
Allyn hopes to continue Jones' rich legacy of service, musicianship and academic excellence. Allyn is one of the nation's most sought-after musicians in the jazz community. He is revered by musical giants as well as the "young lions" of his generation. He was chosen for the highly competitive Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in 2001 and returned to teach in the program in 2002. As a composer-arranger, he has a growing library of works for ensembles of varying sizes and instrumentation.
In 2005, Allyn started an ensemble combining Gospel, Jazz and Classical music called “Divine Order.” He also has a group called Sonic Sanctuary which may be heard as his trio or small ensemble which ranges from acoustic straight-ahead jazz to jazz fusion and funk. No matter what configuration Allyn may be heard in, you can best believe it will be just "good music for the soul."
Baltimore-based trumpet player THELJON ALLEN is making waves on the jazz scene. I became a trumpet player because of Clifford Brown. I heard him on the radio and thought it was the slickest ever. Joy Spring was the tune I later found out. I played violin when I was 3 or 4 years old. When I started playing trumpet my whole view of music changed by listening to more jazz and having a wider variety of music to check out. The trumpet is pretty difficult at times but any instrument can be, it’s all about how you look at it. If you put the time in the easier it gets. It’s a very physical instrument you have to play it daily to keep up.
I would say the two biggest impacts on my musical life are Gary Thomas, a saxophonist/ flutist and composer, his approach to music is genius and has given me a whole new approach to music. The other is Doobie Powell, a God send of a musician whose music has inspired me greatly. Keyon Harrold is probably my favorite trumpet player out now, I’ve known him since 1998 and has been incredible since then.
PAUL CARR, a Houston native and 1985 Howard University graduate, has dedicated his professional career to mastering the saxophone and the art of Jazz. He carries on the Texas tenor tradition espoused by great heroes such as the late Houstonians Arnett Cobb and Don Wilkerson who served as his early idols and mentors. He grew up in inner-city Houston, Texas and was a member of the Kashmere High School Stage Band, whose director, the late Conrad Johnson, is the subject of a documentary, Thunder Soul, produced by actor, Jamie Foxx. Though never having had private music lessons, Paul has received several outstanding musician awards at high school and college jazz festivals.
In 2010, Paul re-established the East Coast Jazz Festival as the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, and serves as its Executive and Artistic Director. The festival enjoys over 2,000 attendees that travel from states across the U.S. and beyond. Held every President’s Day weekend in Rockville, MD, the festival incorporates a strong educational component, with a high school band competition and free master classes for students as well as an entertainment component with performances by NEA Jazz Masters, such as Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, and Roy Haynes, just to name of few.
When you think of an ambassador for jazz music today, you have got to include Paul Carr in that grouping, as his work touches all fronts including jazz education, performance and presentation.
MICHAEL BOWIEis an internationally recognized musician, performing on both the electric and contrabass. With roots in the Washington D.C. jazz and gospel community, he was a recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts Award in Jazz Studies and trained with Betty Carter and Keter Betts. Soon after, Michael signed with Verve Records as an original member of “The Harper Brothers”. He went on to perform, record and tour with Abdulla Ibrahim, Michel Pettruciani, including the Grammy Award winning “Look What I Got” with Betty Carter. Michael has expanded his musical interests and performance to include a wide variety of musical forms from jazz to symphony to rock.
As a musical director he has worked with many artists worldwide including Patti Labelle, James Ingram, Jeff Majors, Abbey Lincoln, Angie Stone, Isaac Hayes, Gil Scott-Heron. He has shared his talents in the recording studio and on the stage with Sarah Vaughn, Joe Williams, Manhattan Transfer, Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, Della Reese, and Michel Camilo and Ricky Skaggs.
He has appeared on countless television shows such as BET, Austin City Limits, Charlie Rose, Radio One, as well as having performed at major venues and festivals such as Carnegie Hall, the Newport Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Montreux, and most major festivals world-wide.
As a composer his works can be heard in television, radio and the industrial markets. Michael is a certified teacher in Washington, D.C.'s Public School System and is currently the musical director of the Blues Alley Youth Orchestra.