Andrew Oliver, piano
London-based pianist and composer Andrew Oliver performs and composes music across many genre boundaries but with a focus on contemporary jazz. Originally from Portland, Oregon, he studied in New Orleans before returning to Portland in 2005 thanks to Hurricane Katrina. A London resident since 2013, he continues to be involved in a wide range of interesting musical projects internationally. Since 2009, he has toured Canada and the U.S. yearly with the Canadian-American collective band Tunnel Six. Andrew was the co-founder and former executive director of the Portland Jazz Composers’ Ensemble, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in Oregon which commissions and performs new works by local jazz composers for 12-piece ensemble and works to encourage the creation and dissemination of jazz and creative music in the region.
Kane Mathis, kora and vocals
At 16 years old, after hearing many African records from all over the continent, Kane felt a strong interest in pursuing West African music and did so by incorporating the styles into his solo acoustic guitar playing. Just before the first year of his education at the Lawrence University Conservatory, Kane procured a 21-string West African harp from an American kora player, David Gilden. After his first year at Lawrence, Kane had the opportunity to travel to the birthplace of Kora, The Gambia, to study with the Jobarteh family, one of the country’s most famous musical families. There, in the same compound that had produced three generations of the Gambia’s most famous musicians, Kane would start his new musical education. Surprisingly, the father of the compound, Malamini Jobarteh, oversaw Kane’s education himself. This study resulted in diplomas and certificates of recognition from Malamini Jobarteh, The Gambian minister of culture, and the President of the Gambia. Subsequent trips have found Kane headlining concerts organized by the American ambassador to The Gambia, performing with his Gambian trio on national television, and performing at the first annual Gambian heritage festival. Kane’s Oud study began with Mutlu Torun of the I.T.U. conservatory in Istanbul and continued with 5 and a half years of courses with Oud virtuoso Münir Nurttin Beken. Since completing his study Kane has been sought after as a soloist and accompanist internationally on both instruments. As a composer Kane is generating new works for both instruments as well as experimental work for electronic fixed media for film and modern dance. Kane is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
Chad McCullough, trumpet
Chicago-based Trumpeter/composer Chad McCullough… called “a thoughtful improvisor with technique to spare” by Allaboutjazz.com, Chad’s various albums have received wide critical-acclaim. His stable of collaborators is a diverse collection of unique musicians and speaks to the depth of his palette. As a composer, he has scored for film, written for various brass ensembles, dancers, and string quartets and quintets- in both classical and jazz idioms. He is also in high demand as an educator, and frequently speaks about jazz music and the trumpet to students of all ages, giving clinics at high schools and colleges throughout the country. He has been involved with mentoring projects run by the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the radio station KPLU, and has done educational outreach in several nationally-recognized high school music programs. Chad holds a M.M. from the University of Washington, and a B.M. from the University of Idaho, where he was a Lionel Hampton Scholar, and was the first student to graduate with a jazz emphasis on his degree. He has played and arranged for the Disneyland College Band, played both piano and trumpet in the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and in 2009 he attended the jazz workshop at the Banff Centre in Canada. As a trumpet player who constantly obsesses over sound, Chad proudly endorses Facet Mutes, and Hub Van Laar trumpets.
Brady Millard-Kish, acoustic and electric bass
Brady Millard-Kish grew up in Michigan, where he studied with Peter Dominguez and earned a B.A. in classical music at Michigan State University. A graduate fellowship then took him south to the world-renowned University of New Orleans jazz studies program, where he studied under greats like Ellis Marsalis and Harold Battiste. During the five years he spent in New Orleans as a full-time musician, Brady was a founding member of the critically acclaimed jazz ensemble “Quintology.” He also performed and recorded with members of Soul Asylum, G. Love and Special Sauce, Blind Melon, and Galactic, among others. Now a resident of Seattle, Brady also performs with The Sahel Band and offers private bass instruction (www.seattlebass.com).
Mark DiFlorio, drums and percussion
In 1986 Uncle Dennis gave Mark his first drum set. In 1993 Mark moved to New Orleans seeking to tap into the source of jazz. By 1999 he had toured Austria and Italy, graduated with a M.M. in Jazz Performance from the University of New Orleans and had recorded the “Best new Jazz Album in New Orleans, 1999″. Playing on the scene in New Orleans with great bands such as Astral Project, Quintology, The New Orleans Klezmer Allstars, James Singleton and Ed Petersen shaped Mark’s person and his performing. In 2002 Mark left The Big Easy to wander through the forests and search for something or nothing. After a short and difficult time in Brooklyn, New York and then a few months at Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh’s Buddhist monastery in Thenac, France, he went back to New Orleans in the beginning of 2005 and back to music. Hurricane Katrina flooded Mark out of that magical city and he washed up on the west coast in Portland, Oregon. Portland and the people were kind, helpful and gracious. Mark was performing all over the city with great local musicians as well as a small contingency of displaced New Orleanians. In 2007 he had the great opportunity to be part of The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program, sponsored by The U.S. State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Mark toured 5 countries in Africa as a cultural ambassador of the U.S.A.. After meeting Lilla, his wife, Mark moved to Seattle where he now performs, has a very successful teaching studio, Red Sparkle Drum Studio, and is raising his family. Mark DiFlorio is endorsed by Bosphorus Cymbals.