Grammy-nominated musician and composer Art Lande is considered one of the premiere improvisational jazz pianists today. He began playing piano at age 4, studied at Williams College, and moved to San Francisco in 1969. Lande has mostly carved out his own singular path throughout his career, taking the innovations of Bill Evans several steps further. In 1973 he recorded with Jan Garbarek and Ted Curson, and in the mid-1970's started his own jazz school. In 1976 Lande formed the quartet Rubisa Patrol, which recorded two albums for ECM and one for 1750 Arch Records before disbanding in 1983. After teaching for three years in Switzerland, he relocated to Boulder, Colorado in 1987. Lande appears in many of the Who's Who in Jazz encyclopedias available today for his role in the development of chamber jazz. His latest albums include While She Sleeps (Blue Coast, 2008) and A Field Guide to Sleep (Albert's Bicycle Music, 2012).
Art Lande currently resides in Boulder, where he is an instructor in the department of jazz studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. www.artlande.com
Critically acclaimed singer, songwriter, and educator Jackie Allen is an American jazz vocalist. Influenced by jazz, folk, and pop artists, Allen is renowned for her transcendent interpretations of classic jazz ballads. Billboard Magazine describes her as “utterly distinctive and even innovative,” and John McDonough of Downbeat Magazine writes that Allen is "...a shimmering paradigm of stylish and sophisticated jazz singing."
Nationally, Allen has toured both coasts and in between, appearing in Los Angeles at Catalina’s, San Francisco at Yoshi’s, San Diego at Humphrey's, and New York City at The Blue Note and The Joseph Papp Public Theater. She was the featured artist with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Auditorium Theater for Ella Fitzgerald’s 95th Birthday Celebration. Allen’s extraordinary talent has taken her on multiple tours of Europe, Morocco, Brazil, China and Taiwan. She has performed international festivals in Paris, Stuttgart, the Hague, Edinburgh, Bologna, Beijing, Hong Kong, Thessaloniki, Sao Paulo and more. Regionally, Allen has appeared in Chicago, Denver, Louisville, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, Omaha and Minneapolis.
A respected jazz educator, Allen is currently on the faculty of Nebraska’s Doane College, and has held teaching positions at the University Nebraska-Lincoln, Ball State University (IN) Roosevelt University and Elmhurst College (both in IL) and at Chicago’s Old Town School Of Folk Music.
Born in Milwaukee, WI, Allen grew up in McFarland, a suburb of Madison. Her father Louis (Gene), was a Dixieland jazz tuba player, and she and her four siblings grew up surrounded by music, all of them playing brass instruments (Jackie chose French horn). Allen studied vocal performance and jazz at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
In the late 80s, Allen moved to Milwaukee and met pianist/organist Melvin Rhyne (Wes Montgomery); they worked together for four years before she moved to Chicago. There Allen began her recording career, making albums for labels including Lake Shore Jazz, Naxos Jazz, A440, Red Mark, and Blue Note Records. Not long after, Allen met “Chicago’s First Lady of Jazz,” pianist/vocalist Judy Roberts, beginning a long musical collaboration which resulted in two CDs: Santa Baby (2001) and Autumn Leaves (2002). In the 2000’s, Allen and her own combo recorded 3 critically acclaimed CDs for A440 and Blue Note, The Men In My Life (2003), Love Is Blue (2004) and Tangled (2006). She has served multiple terms on the Board of Governors and Jazz Nominating Committee for the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards). www.jackieallen.com
Singer and pianist Ellyn Rucker's great pianistic skills and sensuous voice are her strongest hallmarks as a jazz musician. She started playing piano when she was eight; a decade later she was studying music at Drake University, and began her professional career in 1979. Reviewing her Live From New Orleans performance for the All About Jazz website in 2005, critic Samuel Chell called Rucker "a revelation...[with] few if any peers."
Born and raised in Detroit, Rucker calls Denver her musical home. Though she is a fixture in Colorado, she toured Europe several times, performed at national and international music festivals, and appeared in scores of clubs across America. Rucker's bop- and Bill Evans-influenced piano playing can stand on its own, and her singing is top rank.
Her many recordings for the Capri label - Ellyn (1987), This Heart of Mine (1988), Nice Work! (1989), Thoughts of You (1992), and Now (2003) - showcase Rucker's powerful and poignant musical appeal.
Robert Johnson is an entertainer who is equally at home in every arena of performance. His voice can be heard on countless national commercials from United Artists Theaters, IBM and Toyota to Greyhound and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Johnson is also the voice of Mr. Squirrel on the PBS Saturday Morning Series, “The Big Green Rabbit.”
Since making his home in Denver, Colorado, Robert has been named Best Male Vocalist in the Denver Post Readers Poll, Best Jazz Vocalist by the Colorado Black Artists Association, was honored as Colorado’s Best Male Singer by the News and Radio Media, and Best Male Vocalist by the Colorado Songwriters Association. Currently Robert can be heard on his CD releases through his label, Jakarta Records Ltd. Those recordings include Richard The Third, Black Prince Road and Home For The Holidays. His latest release, All Blue, takes one back to the days of the "cool" with arrangement twists on classics from the Great American Songbook, sung with that smooth baritone as only Robert can!
Wendy Fopeano is a jazz vocalist based in Denver, Colorado. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Wendy started out as an instrumentalist, playing electric and acoustic bass, trumpet, guitar, and piano, before choosing voice as her main instrument. She is very interested in ethnic music, especially Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and Indian. She was chosen to study Indian classical vocal techniques and tabla in Mumbai, India during a residency in 1999, has studied Afro-Cuban percussion and is currently learning to play percussion used in Brazilian pagode music. Wendy has taught through The Harmony Project, which pairs artists with teachers in public schools to facilitate learning through the arts. She has composed children's songs about nature, geometry, and Colorado history to help kids learn these subjects in fun ways. From 2001 to 2011 she hosted her own jazz show on Denver's jazz89 KUVO, and interviewed many fine musicians, including Tom Harrell, Christian McBride, Jonathan Kreisberg, Stanley Clarke, and Chick Corea.
In his book, The Jazz Singers, famed jazz writer Scott Yanow writes that Fopeano's Raining on the Roses CD makes "one wonder why she is not nationally famous."