Saxophonist Ron Blake has been an integral part of the New York music scene, performing and recording worldwide, since 1992. The Virgin Islands native has released four recordings as a leader and has appeared on over 60 recordings as a sideman or special guest. Since his introduction to Jazz, Blake began performing in the Chicago area under the guidance of luminaries Von Freeman, Willie Pickens, and Wilbur Campbell. Blake began appearing behind Jazz greats with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra in the late 1980’s, including Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Nancy Wilson, and Cab Calloway. The list of Chicago musicians that contributed to his development is lengthy, but Blake credits his growth as a versatile musician to his primary teacher, Dr. Frederick L. Hemke, with whom he completed undergraduate studies in classical performance from Northwestern University in 1986.
Imbued with both groove and spirit from birth, Reuben Rogers combined the calypso and reggae rhythms of his native Virgin Islands with the gospel sounds of the church and the freedom and improvisation of jazz to create the unique chemistry that would make him one of the most distinctive and in-demand bassists in modern jazz. Rogers’ versatile mastery of both the acoustic and electric bass has led to opportunities on stages around the world alongside some of the music’s most renowned artists, including Charles Lloyd, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Tomasz Stanko, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Roberts, Nicholas Payton, Mulgrew Miller, Jackie McLean and Dianne Reeves, among many others.
Dion Parson is one of New York’s finest, Grammy Award Winning, drummers. Born June 11, 1967, St. Thomas USVI, Dion’s musical foundation ranges from classical, reggae, calypso, jazz, African, and pop music.
Dion’s first musical instrument was the trombone, but at the age of 15 he began playing drums and was awarded a grant from Virgin Islands Council on the Arts to study at Interlochen Music Academy in Michigan. Upon returning home, he was selected to be the VI representative in the McDonald’s All-American High School Band to play Drums. Dion later attended Rutgers University in New Jersey in 1985, where he studied percussion with Keith Copeland and William Moersch, receiving his B.M. in Music Education in 1990. In 1994, Dion began studying with master drummer Michael Carvin. A relationship he maintained for 18 years.
A versatile trumpeter and arranger, Rashawn Ross, was born on the island of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. Upon graduation from Charlotte Amalie High School in 1996, Rashawn attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating in 2000.
Jazz was the foundation of his musical career, a love that he inherited from his father who was a jazz enthusiast. Although jazz is a huge influence in his life, Rashawn has compiled a large résumé with artists in many different genres ranging from funk, jazz, rock, hip hop, r&b, soul, pop, latin, calypso, gospel and country. Rashawn enjoys the distinguished honor of being a member of the Dave Matthews Band. Named highest grossing touring band of the decade, they sold more tickets to their concerts than any other act in the world between 2000 and 2010. Dave Matthews Band also is the only band in history to have 6 consecutive albums debut at #1 on the billboard charts.
Victor Provost is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading voices on the unique, and often misunderstood, steel pan (or steel drum). Through appearances at concert halls, clubs, and stages throughout the world, he has been meticulously developing a reputation as a “dazzling” soloist, crafting an improvisational voice and style to be reckoned with. With a strong foundation in Bebop, a contemporary sensibility, and deep roots in Caribbean music, he works in countless genres and musical styles. The Washington D.C. City Paper’s “Jazz Percussionist of the Year” five years running, his freshmen release “Her Favorite Shade of Yellow” was named one of the top five albums of 2011, and the publications named him “Jazz Artist of the Year” in 2012.