The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra spends over a third of the year on tour performing a vast repertoire, from rare historic compositions to Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works. Meet all of its 15 members.
Artistic Director, Trumpet
Wynton Marsalis is the Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12. He entered The Juilliard School at age 17 and, shortly thereafter, joined the legendary Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Marsalis made his recording debut as a leader in 1982, and has since recorded more than 70 jazz and classical albums which have garnered him nine GRAMMY® Awards. He is only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMY®s in the same year, in both 1983 and 1984. Marsalis' rich body of compositions includes Sweet Release; Jazz: Six Syncopated Movements; Jump Start and Jazz; Citi Movement/Griot New York; At the Octoroon Balls; In This House, On This Morning; and Big Train. Other works include the 1999 ballet Them Twos, a collaboration with the New York City Ballet, as well as three symphonies that have been performed by orchestras around the world. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz artist to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio Blood on the Fields. Recent recordings on the Blue Note label include Two Men with the Blues, featuring Willie Nelson (2008), He and She (2009), and Here We Go Again featuring Willie Nelson and Norah Jones (2011).
Ryan Kisor, Trumpet
Ryan Kisor was born on April 12, 1973 in Sioux City, Iowa, and began playing trumpet at age four. In 1990, he won first prize at the Thelonious Monk Institute’s first annual Louis Armstrong Trumpet Competition. Kisor enrolled in Manhattan School of Music in 1991, where he studied with trumpeter Lew Soloff. He has performed and/or recorded with the Mingus Big Band, the Gil Evans Orchestra, Horace Silver, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, the Philip Morris Jazz All-Stars, and others. As well as being an active sideman, Kisor has recorded numerous albums as a leader, including Battle Cry, The Usual Suspects, Point of Arrival, Kisor, Power Source, Kisor II, The Dream, The Sidewinder, Awakening, Donna Lee, This is Ryan, Conception Cool and Hot, and 2010’s Live at Smalls. He has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 1994.
Marcus Printup, Trumpet
Born and raised in Conyers, Georgia, Marcus Printup's first musical experiences were hearing the fiery gospel music his parents sang in church. While attending the University of North Florida on a music scholarship, he won the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Trumpet competition. In 1991, Printup’s life changed when he met his mentor, the great pianist Marcus Roberts, who introduced him to Wynton Marsalis, leading to Printup’s induction into the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1993. Printup has recorded with Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Eric Reed, Madeline Peyroux, Ted Nash, Cyrus Chestnut, Wycliffe Gordon, and Roberts, among others. His records as a leader include Song for the Beautiful Woman, Unveiled, Hub Songs, Nocturnal Traces, The New Boogaloo, Peace in the Abstract, Bird of Paradise, London Lullaby, Ballads All Night, and A Time for Love. Printup’s most recent album, Homage, was released in 2011 on the SteepleChase label. He made his screen debut in the 1999 movie Playing by Heart and recorded on the film’s soundtrack. August 22nd has been declared “Marcus Printup Day” in his hometown of Conyers, Georgia.
Kenny Rampton, Trumpet
In addition to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, which he joined in 2010, Kenny Rampton also performs as the leader of his own sextet and with the Mingus Big Band, The Mingus Orchestra, The Mingus Dynasty, George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, and The Manhattan Jazz Orchestra (under the direction of Dave Matthews). In 2010, Rampton performed with The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra for the Edinburgh International Festival, and was the featured soloist on the Miles Davis/Gil Evans classic version of Porgy and Bess. He has toured the world with The Ray Charles Orchestra, in 1990; the legendary jazz drummer Panama Francis; The Savoy Sultans; and soon thereafter, The Jimmy McGriff Quartet, with whom he played for 10 years. As a sideman, Rampton has performed with Mingus Epitaph (under the direction of Gunther Schuller), Bebo Valdez’ Latin Jazz All-Stars, Maria Schneider, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Charles Earland, Dr. John, Lionel Hampton, Jon Hendricks, Illinois Jacquet, Geoff Keezer, Christian McBride, and a host of others. Most recently, he was hired to be the trumpet voice for Sesame Street. Some of his Broadway credits include Finian’s Rainbow, The Wiz, Chicago: The Musical, In The Heights, Hair, Young Frankenstein, and The Producers.
Vincent Gardner, Trombone
Vincent Gardner was born in Chicago in 1972 and was raised in Hampton, Virginia. After singing and playing piano, violin, saxophone, and French horn at an early age, he decided on the trombone at age 12. He attended Florida A&M University and the University of North Florida, and caught the ear of Mercer Ellington, who hired Gardner for his first professional job. He moved to Brooklyn, New York after graduating from college, completed a world tour with Lauryn Hill in 2000, and then joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Gardner has served as Instructor at The Juilliard School, as Visiting Instructor at Florida State University and Michigan State University, and as Adjunct Instructor at The New School. He has contributed many arrangements for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and other ensembles. In 2009 he was commissioned by Jazz at Lincoln Center to write The Jesse B. Semple Suite, a 60-minute suite inspired by the short stories of Langston Hughes. Gardner is featured on a number of notable recordings and has recorded five albums for SteepleChase Records as a leader. He has performed with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, Harry Connick, Jr., The Saturday Night Live Band, Chaka Khan, A Tribe Called Quest, and many others.
Chris Crenshaw, Trombone
Born in Thomson, Georgia on December 20, 1982, Chris Crenshaw has been driven by and surrounded by music since birth. He started playing piano at the age of three, and his teachers and fellow students quickly noticed his aptitude for the instrument. This love for piano led to his first gig with Echoes of Joy, his father Casper’s group. Crenshaw picked up the trombone at 11, and hasn’t put it down since. He graduated from Thomson High School in 2001 and received his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Performance from Valdosta State University (VSU) in 2005, with honors throughout his education, including Most Outstanding Student in the VSU Music Department and College of Arts. Crenshaw received his Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from The Juilliard School in 2007. His teachers include Dr. Douglas Farwell and Wycliffe Gordon, and he has worked with Gerard Wilson, Wynton Marsalis, Marcus Printup, Vincent Gardner, Jiggs Whigham, Carl Allen, Victor Goines, Marc Cary, Walter Blanding, Wessell Anderson, Cassandra Wilson, Eric Reed, and many more. In 2006, Crenshaw joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. With the JLCO, he has written and performed the piece Bearden (The Block), and he appears on fellow orchestra member Marcus Printup’s album Ballads All Night.
Elliot Mason, Trombone
Born in England in 1977, Elliot Mason began trumpet lessons at age four with his father. At age seven, he switched his focus from the trumpet to the trombone. At 11 years old, he was performing in various venues and concentrating on jazz and improvisation. By 16, Mason left England to join his brother, Brad Mason, at the Berklee College of Music on a full tuition scholarship. After graduating, he moved to New York City. He has won the following awards: Daily Telegraph Young Jazz Soloist (under 25) Award, the prestigious Frank Rosolino Award, the International Trombone Association 's Under 29 Jazz Trombone competition, and the Slide Hampton Award in recognition of outstanding performance abilities from Berklee. In 2008, Mason joined Northwestern University's faculty as the jazz trombone instructor, and he continues to be an integral part of the Jazz Studies program. Mason has performed with Count Basie Orchestra, the Mingus Big Band, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau. A member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 2006, Mason also continues to co-lead the Mason Brothers Quintet with his brother. Their debut album, Two Sides, One Story, was released on Archival Records in 2012.
Sherman Irby, Alto Saxophone
Born and raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Sherman Irby found his calling to music at age 12. In high school, he played and recorded with gospel immortal James Cleveland. Graduating from Clark Atlanta University with a B.A. in Music Education, Irby joined Johnny O’Neal’s Atlanta-based quintet in 1991. In 1994, he moved to New York City, then recorded his first two albums, Full Circle (1996) and Big Mama’s Biscuits (1998), on Blue Note. Irby toured the U.S. and the Caribbean with the Boys Choir of Harlem in 1995, and was previously a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra from 1995 to 1997. During that tenure, he also recorded and toured with Marcus Roberts and Roy Hargrove, and was part of Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead Program. Following a four year stint with Hargrove, Irby focused on his own group, in addition to being a member of Elvin Jones’ ensemble and Papo Vazquez’s Pirates Troubadours. Since 2003, Irby has been the regional director for JazzMasters Workshop, mentoring young children, and a board member for the CubaNOLA Collective. After leaving Blue Note, Irby formed Black Warrior Records and has released Black Warrior, Faith, Organ Starter and Live at the Otto Club under the new label.
Ted Nash, Alto and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet
Ted Nash was born in Los Angeles into a musical family—his father, Dick Nash, and uncle, Ted Nash, are both well-known jazz and studio musicians. Nash exploded onto the jazz scene at the early age of eighteen, moved to New York, and released his first album, Conception (Concord Jazz). He is one of the co-leaders of the Jazz Composers Collective, and is constantly pushing the envelope in the world of “traditional jazz.” His group, Odeon, has often been cited as a creative focus of jazz. Many of Nash’s recordings have received critical acclaim, appearing on the “best-of” lists in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, and Newsday. His albums The Mancini Project and Sidewalk Meeting have been placed on several “best-of-decade” lists. Nash’s composition Portrait in Seven Shades was recorded and released by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2010, the first release by the Orchestra featuring original music by a band member other than bandleader Wynton Marsalis. His most recent album, The Creep, came out in 2012 on Plastic Sax Records.
Walter Blanding, Jr.
Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet
Born August 14, 1971 in Cleveland, Ohio to a musical family, Walter Blanding, Jr. began playing the saxophone at age six. In 1981, he moved with his family to New York City; by age 16, he was performing regularly with his parents at the Village Gate. Blanding attended LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (the inspiration for the TV series Fame) and continued his studies at the New School for Social Research, receiving his B.F.A. in May 2005. His 1991 debut release, Tough Young Tenors, was acclaimed as one of the best jazz albums of the year, and his artistry began to impress listeners and critics alike. Since that time, in addition to joining the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 1998, he has performed, toured and/or recorded with his own groups and with such renowned artists as the Cab Calloway Orchestra, Roy Hargrove, Hilton Ruiz, Count Basie Orchestra, Illinois Jacquet Big Band, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Roberts, Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Isaac Hayes, and many others. Blanding lived in Israel for 4 years, where he had a major impact on the music scene, touring the country with his own ensemble and with invited U.S. artists, such as Louis Hayes, Eric Reed, Vanessa Rubin, and others. He also taught music in several Israeli schools and even opened his own private school in Tel Aviv. During this period, Newsweek International described him in a feature article as "Jazz Ambassador to Israel."
Victor Goines, Tenor and Soprano Saxophones,
Bb Clarinet, Bass Clarinet
Victor Goines is a native of New Orleans. He has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Wynton Marsalis Septet since 1993, touring throughout the world and recording over twenty-one releases, including Marsalis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning recording Blood on the Fields, and the soundtracks for Ken Burns’ acclaimed documentaries, including JAZZ (1999) and The War (2007). As a leader, Goines has eight recordings, most recently 2007’s Love Dance (CrissCross) and 2012’s Twilight (Rosemary Joseph). A gifted composer, Goines has more than 50 original works to his credit. In 2000, he was commissioned by Juilliard’s Dance Division to compose a musical work in celebration of their 50th Anniversary. In 2008, Performance Music at the University of Scranton commissioned him to compose two separate pieces for their choir and concert band. Additional commissions have come from Jazz at Lincoln Center. Goines has recorded and/or performed with many noted jazz and popular artists including Ahmad Jamal, Ruth Brown, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie, Lenny Kravitz, Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Willie Nelson, Marcus Roberts, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and a host of others. Currently, he is Director of Jazz Studies/Professor of Music at Northwestern University. Prior to that appointment he was, for seven years, the artistic director of the jazz program at The Juilliard School, and a faculty member teaching saxophone and clarinet. He has also served on the faculties of Florida A&M University, the University of New Orleans, Loyola University in New Orleans, and Xavier University. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from Loyola University in New Orleans in 1984, and a Master of Music degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond in 1990.
Joe Temperley, Baritone and Soprano Saxophones,
Joe Temperley was born in Scotland in 1929 and first achieved prominence in the United Kingdom as a member of Humphrey Lyttelton’s band from 1958 to 1965. He then came to New York City, where he performed and/or recorded with Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Joe Henderson, Duke Pearson, the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra, the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Clark Terry, among many others. In 1974, he toured and recorded with The Duke Ellington Orchestra as a replacement for Harry Carney. Temperley played in the Broadway show Sophisticated Ladies in the 1980s, and his film soundtrack credits include Cotton Club, Biloxi Blues, Brighton Beach Memoirs, When Harry Met Sally, and Tune In Tomorrow, composed by Wynton Marsalis. He is a mentor and a co-founder of the FIFE Youth Jazz Orchestra program in Scotland, which now enrolls 70 young musicians, ages 7 to 17, playing in three full-size bands. He has released several albums as a leader, including Nightingale (1991), Sunbeam and Thundercloud, with pianist Dave McKenna (1996), With Every Breath (1998), and Double Duke (1999). He released Portraits (2006) on Hep Records and Cocktails for Two (2007) on Sackville. His most recent release is The Sinatra Songbook (2008). He is an original member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and serves on the faculty of The Juilliard Institute for Jazz Studies and Manhattan School of Music. Temperley was named in Downbeat magazine’s 2007 Critics’ Poll for Rising Star Baritone Saxophone, and was the Featured Artist in the 2009 Edinburgh Jazz Festival, performing with the Edinburgh Jazz Orchestra.
Dan Nimmer, Piano
Dan Nimmer was born in 1982 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. With prodigious technique and an innate sense of swing, his playing often recalls that of his own heroes Oscar Peterson, Wynton Kelly, Erroll Garner, and Art Tatum. Nimmer first studied classical piano and eventually grew interested in jazz. He began playing gigs with renowned saxophonist and mentor Berkley Fudge. Nimmer studied music at Northern Illinois University and became one of Chicago's busiest piano players. A year after moving to New York City, he became a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and the Wynton Marsalis Quintet. Nimmer has worked with Norah Jones, Willie Nelson, Dianne Reeves, George Benson, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Tom Jones, Benny Golson, Lewis Nash, Peter Washington, Ed Thigpen, Wes "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Fareed Haque, and many more. He has appeared on numerous television shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, The View, The Kennedy Center Honors, Live from Abbey Road, and PBS’ Live from Lincoln Center. Nimmer has released four of his own albums on the Venus label (Japan).
Carlos Henriquez, Bass
Carlos Henriquez was born in 1979 in the Bronx, New York. He began studying music at a young age, and played guitar through junior high school, taking up the bass while enrolled in The Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program. Henriquez entered LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts, where he was involved with the LaGuardia Concert Jazz Ensemble, which went on to win first place in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition in 1996. In 1998, shortly after graduating from LaGuardia, Henriquez joined the Wynton Marsalis Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, touring the world and being featured on over 25 records. He has performed with artists including Chucho Valdes, Paco De Lucia, Tito Puente, the Marsalis Family, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, Marc Anthony, and many others. Henriquez has been a member of the music faculty at Northwestern University School of Music since 2008, and was music director for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s cultural exchange with the Cuban Institute of Music with Chucho Valdes in 2010.
Ali Jackson, Drums
Ali Jackson developed his talent on drums at an early age. In 1993, he graduated from Cass Tech High School in Detroit. He was the recipient of Michigan’s prestigious Artserv “Emerging Artist” award in 1998, and was selected as the soloist for the “Beacons Of Jazz” concert honoring legend Max Roach at The New School. After earning an undergraduate degree in music composition at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, he studied under legendary jazz drummers Elvin Jones and Max Roach. Jackson has participated in Young Audiences, a program that educates New York City youth about jazz. He has performed and recorded with artists including Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Harry Connick, Jr., KRS-1, Marcus Roberts, Joshua Redman, Vinx, Seito Kinen Orchestra conductor Seiji Ozawa, Diana Krall, and the New York City Ballet. Most recently, his production skills can be heard on George Benson’s GRP release Irreplaceable. Jackson is also featured on the Wynton Marsalis Quartet’s The Magic Hour (Blue Note, 2004), and on Marsalis’ 2007 album From the Plantation to the Penitentiary. He collaborated with jazz greats Cyrus Chestnut, Reginald Veal and James Carter on Gold Sounds (Brown Brothers, 2005), a project that transformed the alternative rock band Pavement’s songs into unique virtuosic interpretations, with the attitude of the church and the juke joint. He has been a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra since 2005. Jackson currently performs with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Horns in the Hood, and leads his own Ali Jackson Quartet. He also hosted Jammin’ with Jackson, a series for young musicians at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. He is also the voice of “Duck Ellington,” a character in the Penguin book and music series Baby Loves Jazz, released in 2006.