Bassist extraordinaire, composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator, Christian McBride, has been one of the most important and most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years. Sometimes hard to believe considering this man just entered his 40's.
Kurt Andersen is the author of the novels Heyday and Turn of the Century. Heyday was a New York Times bestseller that the Los Angeles Times called "a major work." The New York Times Book Review said there is "something moving, a stirring spirit, in the energy of its amazement."
Chuck Bergeron (jazz bass) is a lecturer in the Department of Studio Music & Jazz at the University of Miami Frost School of Music where he also is the faculty mentor for the Stamps Jazz Quintet. Bergeron teaches jazz history, conducts big bands and small jazz ensembles and is an active clinician at schools throughout the country.
Skippy Louis Lezama first started listening to jazz as a teenager growing up in his native Trinidad. Although not a very popular form of music on the radio then, there were several serious collectors of the music who were always willing to share and who could be found at the limited live performances of the few musicians engaged in that genre.
Moving to New York and living in Greenwich Village, literally a stone’s throw from the Village Gate and close to the Village Vanguard both in the West Village and Slugs in The East Village, where the best in the business would perform, he frequented these spots as well as the many others in the city. Being also a regular at the Fillmore East (East Village) Skippy got progressively more into Blues which saw a resurgence in the mid to late 60s and early 70s by many of the rock musicians who played at the Fillmore as well as the old masters who also played there.
Moving to San Francisco Bay area in the early 70s also provided him an opportunity to hear the best at the places like the Keystone Korner and the Fillmore West in the City as well as the different venues across the Bay in the smaller clubs in Oakland and Berkely.
Skippy finds great parallels between Steelpan and Calypso music and Jazz and Blues, which tell the story of a people from a historical socio-political context and which initially were the only “allowed” medium of expression for commentary on the problems within the society. Skippy, who moved to Miami in 1979 has only been a volunteer at WDNA since the mid 1990s He is also an avid collector of steelpan jazz and blues.
Since childhood, Michael Valentine has been steeped in music. His father and grandfather were musicians, arrangers, and teachers. In high school, he was one of the first to carry around a now iconic Sony Walkman, a pair of headphones always decorating his brow as he wondered the halls. Nights were spent recording radio shows for his fictional radio station, WHACK Radio. Those tapes are, unfortunately, lost to time!