. . .
New York based saxophonist/composer Seamus Blake is recognized as one of the finest exponents of contemporary jazz. His music is known for its sophistication, bold improvisations and “sheer swagger". John Scofield, who hired Seamus for his “Quiet Band,” called him "extraordinary, a total saxophonist". Throughout his 24 year career, Seamus has garnered critical praise for his masterful playing, his fine compositional skills and for his facility as a leader.
Seamus Blake was born December 1970 in England and raised in Vancouver, Canada. At age 21, while still a student at Boston's prestigious Berklee College, he was asked to record with legendary drummer Victor Lewis. After graduation, he moved to New York, where he rapidly established himself on the New York jazz scene. In February 2002, Seamus took first place in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition in Washington D. C.. As winner, he performed with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.
Since early 2015 Seamus has been recording and touring with Antonio Sanchez’s Migration Band (Seamus, Antonio, John Escreet, and Matt Brewer). In 2017 Seamus assembled a new band, The French Connection. The band (Seamus, Tony Tixier, Florent Nisse and Gautier Garrigue) recorded their first CD in Paris in November, 2017 and have toured in France and Spain. Superconductor is Seamus’ most ambitious project to date and was released in December 2015. The talent includes Nate Smith, Matt Garrison, Scott Kinsey, a 7 piece orchestral ensemble as well as special guest appearances by John Scofield and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. The album marks the debut of Seamus on EWI (electronic wind instrument).
As a leader/co-leader Seamus has released 16 albums, featured as a sideman on over 70 CDs, played on six of the Grammy nominated Mingus bands’ albums. In 2010 he was guest of honor at the International Saxophone Symposium in Washington. He plays on the 2015 Grammy nominated Camino by pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Some of the many other artists he has worked with include Dave Douglas, Eric Reed, Ethan Iverson, Chris Cheek, Matt Penman, Bill Stewart, Kevin Hays, David Kikoski and Alex Sipiagin.
. . .
BIG BAND RTV SLOVENIA
Tadej Tomšič, conductor
The Slovenian Radio and Television Big Band (Big Band RTV Slovenija) has existed continuously since 1945 and prides itself with being among the oldest orchestras of its kind worldwide. Its beginnings and first successes can largely be attributed to Bojan Adamič (1912 – 1995), a conductor and composer who already lead his own orchestra during World War II. Immediately after the war, in May 1945, he started reassembling the band, which soon made its first public appearance. As early as fall 1945 the orchestra was officially taken under the auspices of Radio Ljubljana. Adamič, remained conductor of the Radio Ljubljana Dance Orchestra (PORL) until the early 60s.
In 1961 the baton was taken over by young Jože Privšek (1937-1998), an extremely talented piano and vibraphone player, whose greatest skills later proved to be composing, arranging and orchestra leadership. Under Privšek, the Radio Ljubljana Dance Orchestra evolved into a top quality band which not only dominated the scene within ex-Yugoslavia, but received high recognition abroad. In 1978 the band was awarded the prize of the German “Deutsche Phono Akademie” for the best record, competing – and winning – against rivals such as James Last and Max Greger Orchestra. He created the conditions for the development of leading soloists, who represented the pillars of Slovenian jazz for several decades. The Dance Orchestra was eventually renamed into the Ljubljana Radio and Television Big Band, which in turn became the Slovenian Radio and Television Big Band after Slovenian independence in 1991.
After Privšek’s retirement in 1992 the orchestra was taken over by Lojze Krajnčan, together with Petar Ugrin, Milko Lazar, Emil Spruk, Tomaž Grintal and some others.The orchestra frequently hosted musicians from abroad, including some of the biggest jazz conductors (Peter Herbolzheimer, Mercer Ellington, Maria Schneider, Jerry van Rooyen, Carla Bley, Herb Pomeroy, Mathias Rüegg, Miljenko Prohaska, David Murray, George Lewis, Bill Holman, Michael Abene, Bob Mintzer, Lars Møller) and soloists (Clark Terry, Stjepko Gut, Johnny Griffin, Ack van Rooyen, Toots Thielemens, N.H.Ø. Pedersen, Jiggs Whigham, Jon Hendricks, Albert Mangelsdorf, Nancy Marano, Bobby Shew, Mario Gonzi, Duško Gojković,Boško Petrović, John Riley, Dennis Mackrel, Bojan Z, Eric Vloeimans, Peter Erskine, Ronnie Cuber, Mads Vinding..) of our time. Most of them were impressed by the musicians, the professionalism of the orchestra and by the remarkable level of orchestral jazz production in Slovenia. Today the band is rejuvenated – the average age of its members is just over 30. Most have studied at various jazz academies abroad and each of them masters their instrument with virtuoso skill.
In past few years band played with some of most famous worldwide music stars (performers and conductors): fourteen times Grammy award winner alto saxophonist, clarinetist and soprano saxophonist Paquito d’Rivera, few time Oscars and Grammy winning composer, pianist, arranger Michel Legrand, few time Grammy nomenees and winners singers Kurt Elling, Patty Austin and Diane Schuur, on of world most famous vocal groups New York Voices, famous American conductor and composer Michael Abene, saxophonist Ernie Watts and others. One of the last big concerts was in April 2015 with conductor and arranger Ryan Truesdell and his Grammy winning Gil Evans Project.