About the 360ᵒ Jazz Initiative Ensemble
The 360ᵒ Jazz Initiative is in an interactive ensemble comprising faculty and talented students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who collaborate with guest performers and composers through live performances, composer “call for scores” competitions, and through publishing recordings together. The aim of 360ᵒ Jazz Initiative is to promote compositional activity and performances that exhibit a deep awareness of the rich history of jazz while at the same time producing creative new works that demonstrate jazz as a living art form which looks towards the future of the music.
Between New York City and Montréal, French-Canadian trumpeter, composer, and producer RACHEL THERRIEN (trumpet/flugelhorn) boasts an enviable CV. She is considered one of the most promising jazz musicians today, playing a wide variety of musical styles and rhythms. Winner of the 2015 TD Grand Prize Jazz Award at the renowned Montreal International Jazz Festival, the 2016 Stingray Jazz Rising Star Award, and nominated as Best Jazz Producer at the IMA’s 2018 Award. She has shared stages with many world-class musicians in clubs, festivals, and on television throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.
Rachel has published five records: VENA (2020), Why Don’t You Try (2017), Pensamiento: Colombia (2016), Home Inspiration (2014) and On Track (2011) released Labels Bonsaï Music (FR), Multiple Chord Music (CA) & Truth Revolution Records (USA). She received stellar reviews from Le Devoir, La Presse, All About Jazz, New York Hot House, Downbeat Editor’s Pick and Latin Jazz Corner. For the last few years, she has toured as bandleader all over Canada, USA, Europe, Ukraine, Mexico and more, performing at the most prestigious jazz festivals and clubs. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in jazz performance from the University of Montreal, a degree in arts management, a music certificate from Instituto Supérior de Arte (Havana, Cuba), and was selected to participate in the Banff Center Jazz and Creative Music workshop held by Dave Douglas and Vijay Iyer in 2012.
Trombonist ROLAND BARBER, based in Nashville, TN, has performed in venues the world over, from Manhattan to Estonia, including Carnegie Hall, Birdland, the Blue Note, Lincoln Center, and Madison Square Garden. Roland has performed with both the veteran titans of the music and the young lions – including Stefon Harris, Clark Terry, Steve Turre, Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis and the New Orleans Jazz Ensemble. Roland is a sought-after educator, teaching a range of jazz and brass themed classes and lessons in his Nashville teaching studio. Roland has delivered clinics at both the International Trombone Association’s festivals and the Jazz Education Network’s conferences. He also regularly conducts teaching endeavors at various colleges and universities and serves as a board member, department chair and teacher with Nashville Notes, the region’s premier music education program for home-schooled students.
MICHAEL SHEKWOAGA ODE is a Nigerian American composer, drummer, bandleader, and educator born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He spent most of his developmental years in Durham, North Carolina. While he was a student at Jordan High School, he attended the UNC Summer Jazz Workshop where he met the Jazz Studies faculty and began to sub on gigs with the faculty while he was still in high school. He received a scholarship to study at Oberlin Conservatory under jazz legend and icon Billy Hart. Michael is a 2016 graduate of the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program, and was chosen as an Honorary Jazz Mentor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for the years 2016 and 2017. He has toured internationally with the Joey DeFrancesco trio and with the Theo Crocker Quartet, in addition to performing with Billy Hart, Nat Reeves, Wallace Roney Sr, Roy Hargrove, Tia Fuller, Les Mccan, Gary Bartz, Vince Davis, Mark Turner, Arturo Sandoval, Reginald Veal, Ethan Iverson, Ben Street, Keyon Harold, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dayna Stephens, and many others.
360ᵒ JAZZ INITIATIVE BAND MEMBERS:
Described as “a true piano monster” (All About Jazz) and as “a bright star on the jazz horizon” (Musical Memoirs), STEPHEN ANDERSON is a critically acclaimed composer and pianist whose music has been published on nineteen compact discs through Summit, Albany, Nagel Heyer Records, and other labels. Many of Anderson’s recordings have appeared on the Grammy® Awards and Latin Grammy® Awards ballots representing Summit Records. For his work as composer, pianist, and band leader for the Dominican Jazz Project, his recordings have been praised as “vibrant, passionate music” (JAZZIZ) and “more sizzling than fried peppers and onions” (Jazz Weekly). Anderson’s composition, Un Cambio de Ritmo, was listed in All About Jazz’s top “Popular Songs: 2021,” and the Desde Lejos CD was listed on Root’s Music Report, “Top Jazz Album Chart 2021.” The Dominican Jazz Project was recognized in both Mark Sullivan’s “Best Releases of 2016” (All About Jazz) and Ken Frackling’s “2016 Best Latin/Brazilian Jazz Recordings” (Jazz Notes). Anderson’s recordings have received feature reviews in JAZZIZ, All Music Guide, All About Jazz, Jazz Weekly, Jazz Times, Jazz en Dominicana, Musical Memoirs, and Root’s Music Report. His work with the Dominican Jazz Project and Marimjazzia Latin jazz ensembles have led him to perform at multiple festivals in the Caribbean, as well as in Central and South America since 2014. Anderson was pianist with the Lynn Seaton Trio (2000-03), the North Texas One O’clock Lab Band (Lab 2000-01), was winner of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival piano competition (1997), and keyboardist for gold-recording country artist, Kevin Sharp (1996-97). He was a finalist for the 2021 American Prize in Composition in the Orchestra division for his symphonic work, Concerto for Puerto Rico, and his classical works have been performed internationally in Spain, Colombia, and Australia, and across the United States. Dr. Anderson is Professor of Composition and Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina and serves as Director of Jazz Studies. He holds D.M.A. (2005) and M.M. (2000) degrees from the University of North Texas, and the B.Mus. (1997) from Brigham Young University.
RAHSAAN BARBER has set out on a singular path of excellence in performance, composition, education, and entrepreneurship. In addition to working as an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies and Saxophone at the University of North Carolina, Rahsaan enjoys a performance career that encompasses an ever-expanding range of musical styles, including jazz, blues, funk, classical, fusion, soul, Latin, and world music. He has shared the stage with many celebrated artists including Christian McBride, Idina Menzel, Brian Blade, the Temptations, Delfeayo Marsalis, the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Chris Stapleton, Kristin Chenowith, Taj Mahal, Cyndi Lauper, Kirk Franklin, and Meghan Trainor. Rahsaan has performed on many of the world’s most prestigious musical stages including The Ryman, The Village Vanguard, Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Rahsaan joined the ranks of the nation’s rising jazz stars as both the leader of his own quintet and co-leader of the groundbreaking Nashville-based Latin-jazz septet El Movimiento. His recent double-disc recording, “Mosaic,” features a collection of original works released in April of 2021 featuring his twin brother, trombonist Roland Barber, and trumpeter Nathan Warner. Prior to the release of “Mosaic,” Barber received critical acclaim for “The Music In The Night” (2017) and “Everyday Magic,” (2011) both released on the saxophonist’s record label, Jazz Music City, which he founded to showcase his hometown’s diverse and impressive musical talent. In addition to his own jazz outfits, the saxophonist founded The Nashville Salsa Machine in 2016, a twelve-member ensemble featuring Music City’s most celebrated Latin-music performers. Barber remains an in-demand saxophonist for recording sessions and touring work, most recently completing a year-long tour with pop icon Kelly Clarkson and recordings as a featured soloist with pianist/composer Stephen Anderson’s Dominican Jazz Project and LA-based vocalist Staci Griesbach.
ALEX UPTON (alto saxophone) is a saxophonist, composer, and educator with a deeply rooted passion for jazz performance and pedagogy. Residing in the Research-Triangle area of North Carolina, Alex is a Kenan Music Scholar studying jazz saxophone at UNC Chapel-Hill. As a junior undergraduate student and competing against masters and doctoral students from some of the most highly regarded jazz programs in the United States, Alex was winner of the 2022 the North American Saxophone Alliance jazz saxophone competition. During his time at UNC, Alex has performed with the region’s most renowned jazz artists such as Rahsaan Barber, Stephen Anderson, Jim Ketch, and Ed Paolantonio. When not performing or composing, Alex enjoys dedicating his time to teaching and helping developing musicians find their voice.
JUAN ÁLAMO (marimba, bongos, congas) is an is an internationally renowned performer, composer, and educator. As a concert artist and clinician, Álamo has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. He has played and or recorded with renown artists like Dave Samuels, Michael Spiro, Tito Puente, Branford Marsalis, Keiko Abe, Snarky Puppy, among others. He has published five marimba recordings—Remembrance (2007), Marimjazzia (2014), Pursuing Freedom (2016) and Ruta Panoramica (2019) and Ensoñación (2021). His compositions for solo marimba are published by C. Alan Publication and Musicon Publications. Álamo is also the author of the marimba method “Four Mallet Music for the Modern Marimba Player,” and co-author of the jazz vibes book “Milt Jackson: Transcribed Solos of the Master”. Álamo is a performing artist and clinician for Yamaha, Meinl Percussion, and Encore Mallets Inc.
Guitarist, composer and educator BARON TYMAS has released three CDs as a leader. His 2017 release, Montréal, is a collection of original compositions dedicated to life in that beautiful city. His two previous CDs are Insight at Midnight (2009) and Blues for the Tribe (2007). At North Carolina Central University, Baron teaches courses in arranging, composition, and guitar. His NCCU jazz combos have earned national recognition in the U.S, both through live performances and recordings. Baron serves at artist in residence in Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has given many clinics, workshops and lectures throughout the U.S. and internationally.
JASON FOUREMAN (bass) is in demand as a performer, clinician, and educator. Born in Durham, NC he received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2000. In 2005, he was awarded a teaching assistantship at the University of Louisville where he taught and completed his master’s degree in Jazz Studies. Currently, Foureman is on faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State and has been the bassist for the North Carolina Jazz Repertoire Orchestra (NCJRO) since 2007. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Foureman has performed with Cedar Walton, Eric Alexander, Jim Snidero, Jamey Aebersold, Kenny Werner, Terri Lyne Carrington, Joel Frahm, Slide Hampton, Dave Leibman, John Pizzarelli, Renee Marie, Branford Marsalis, Gary Smyulen, Conrad Herwig, Brian Lynch, Joe Magnerelli as well as many others. He resides in Chapel Hill with his wife, Megan, their two daughters and son.
CHRISTOPHER LAW (bass) is a performer and composer with a passion for jazz music. After growing up playing, writing, and teaching music in Huntersville, North Carolina, he was awarded a music scholarship and is pursuing the Bachelor of Music degree at the University of North Carolina. Christopher currently lives in Chapel Hill and studies jazz bass with Jason Foureman. He enjoys spending his time performing locally in the Triangle area, composing original music, and educating others in the art of improvisation.
DAN DAVIS (drum set) completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education and Percussion at Carolina University and a Master of Music degree in jazz studies at North Carolina Central University (summa cum laude). He studied drum set with David Via, Keith Copeland, and Thomas Taylor and percussion with Massie Johnson (UNC School of the Arts), and Harold Jones and Mark Ford (ECU). Dan moved to the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill triangle area in 1990 and began a long association with many of the finest musicians in the region where he is an active performer, educator, and clinician. From 2002-2005, Dan was a band director at the Durham School of the Arts in Durham, N.C., receiving the Claus Nobel Educator of Distinction award in 2005. He is currently an adjunct professor of jazz drum set and combos at UNC Chapel Hill and has also taught jazz history, improvisation, drum set, and combos at East Carolina University and UNC-Pembroke. He has served on the faculty at the Durham Jazz Workshop, a non-profit organization dedicated to the performance, history, and appreciation of jazz.
RAMUNĖ MARCINKEVIČIŪTĖ is a Lithuanian jazz vocalist who is currently a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Double majoring in Economics and Media and Journalism, Ramunė was a recipient of the 2022 Fred and Gail Fearing Jazz Studies Award while continuing to pursue her musical career and other professional aspirations at UNC. She recorded with songwriter Chris Stamey and released her first single, “I Don’t Think of You,” in July 2020. Ramunė is the vocalist and author of the lyrics of the piece, “Adversities,” found on the recording. Written in Lithuanian, Ramunė explains the meaning behind the lyrics at follows:
“I left looking for new happiness, but I left my heart with you.” The lyrics, like the harmony and melody to the song, were born out of a deep homesickness I experienced when moving to the United States. Even though the song is in Lithuanian, it is a reflection on loss. Loss of normality, loss of home, and loss of love.
EMMA GONZALEZ is a vocalist currently residing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Emma is a first-year student at the University of North Carolina and has always had a great passion for singing. She discovered her love of jazz music as a freshman in high school and since then has been named a National YoungArts Foundation Finalist in Jazz Voice and an Outstanding Vocalist for the Essentially Ellington Competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center. In her free time, Emma enjoys learning piano, spending time with her family, and fostering cats from the SPCA of Wake County.
NICK SENGSTAKEN is a jazz saxophonist and composer currently residing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A 2020 graduate of UNC in the Department of Music, Nick has studied and performed with renowned jazz educators including Jim Ketch, Stephen Anderson, David Garcia, Ed Paolantonio, and Aaron Hill. While studying music at UNC as an undergraduate student, Nick also served as the Undergraduate Chief of Staff for UNC Student Government, and he currently works on the Operational Excellence team in the Office of the Provost at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nick is the composer of the music for the piece, “Adversities,” found on the recording.
Ramunė Marcinkevičiūtė – voice (disc 1, track 3)
Emma Gonzalez – voice (disc 2, track 4)
Rachel Therrien – trumpet
Alex Upton – alto sax (disc 1, tracks 1 and 3 | disc 2 tracks 1 and 5)
Rahsaan Barber – alto, tenor, baritone
Roland Barber – trombone (disc 1, track 4 | disc 2, track 2)
Juan Álamo – marimba, percussion
Baron Tymas – guitar
Stephen Anderson – piano
Jason Foureman – bass
Christopher Law – bass (disc 1, track 4)
Dan Davis – drums
Michael Shekwoaga Ode – drums (disc 1, tracks 2 and 4)
The Jazz Studies faculty and students at UNC wholeheartedly thank the late Thomas F. Steward for his generous gift that sustains the day-to-day operations of the Jazz Studies area at the University of North Carolina. We also thank Jamey Aebersold for sponsoring the Jamey Aebersold Visiting Artist Series which brings guest artists to campus each semester to perform with the students and faculty, and Dr. Jesse White for his generous contributions in honor of Jim Ketch which have provided support for the purchase of instruments that are used in the UNC Jazz Band and Jazz Combos. We thank Fred and Gail Fearing, Jim and Jo Ann Harllee, Jeff Chandler, the Kyser family, and other anonymous donors for their generous support of UNC Jazz Studies which have supported student awards, scholarships, and the Carolina Jazz Festival. We thank Ioana Costant and Gretchen Elise Gosnell of International Student and Scholar Services at UNC Global who helped to make Rachel Therrien’s visit for the 2022 Carolina Jazz Festival and appearance on the 360ᵒ Jazz Initiative recording possible. We are grateful for our colleagues on the Department of Music staff who tirelessly support UNC Jazz Studies—Jesse Moorefield, Jay Harper, Catherine Zachery, El Fisseha, Max Mitler, Angeline Warren, and Elliott Chandler. Finally, thanks to each of our families for being so supportive of the long hours and constant music making process.
Recorded by Ian Victor Schreier at Sonark Media Studios
Hillsborough, NC, USA February 21-24, 2022
Stephen Raets, studio owner/assisting engineer and Eli Webb assisting
Mixed and mastered by Phil Bulla, Platinum Productions
Cover and CD tray photography by Dr. Brooks de Wetter-Smith
360ᵒ Jazz Initiative group photos by Madison Anderson
Individual artist photos by various photographers