Cassandra Wilson’s WebSite
She began playing piano at six, guitar by the age of twelve and was working as a vocalist by the mid-70s, singing a wide variety of material. After moving to New York City in the early 80s, Cassandra met saxophonist Steve Coleman and became one of the founding members of the M-Base Collective. She signed with Blue Note Records in 1992 and released a landmark album titled “Blue Light ‘Til Dawn” which would pave the way for a new generation of jazz singers seeking an approach and repertoire that challenged the supremacy of the American Standard songbook.
Wilson has continued interpreting in fresh and creative ways jazz, vintage blues, country and folk music up until the present day. Her awards include: two Grammys, the Django D’Or, The Edison Music Award, and a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail. She also performed one of the leading roles in Wynton Marsalis’ “Blood on the Fields,” the first jazz work to receive a Pulitzer Prize.
In 2015, Cassandra Wilson joined forces with the prestigious label, Legacy, a subsidiary of Sony Music. Her latest project, Coming Forth By Day, was released on the 100th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s birth- April 7, 2015.
LONNIE PLAXICO (Bassist, Composer, Producer)
Lonnie Plaxico’s WebSite
The middle child in a family of musicians, Chicago-born Lonnie Plaxico inherited a gift for music that was discovered and nurtured early. By the age of twelve he had taught himself to play the electric bass, and he was soon venturing into Chicago’s music scene, renowned for its mix of jazz, funk and blues. It was not long before the young musician made his first recording, featuring his family’s band. At the age of just fourteen, having already performed alongside several prominent Chicago jazz figures, Lonnie Plaxico turned professional, playing the electric and acoustic bass with equal facility.
In 1980 Plaxico moved to New York and soon began to appear with such artists as Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon and Wynton Marsalis. His first extended tenure was with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers: between1983 and 1986, lonnie performed on twelve of Blakey’s albums, including the Grammy Award-winning, New York Scene. In 1986 he joined Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition, continuing with that group until 1993. Presently, Plaxico is the musical director and featured bassist for Cassandra Wilson; their critically acclaimed and award-winning collaboration has now spanned over 20 years.
Plaxico’s recording and performance catalog is equally impressive for its caliber, depth and diversity. He has appeared with such luminaries as Sonny Sitt, Junior Cook, David Murray, Alice Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Sample, Abbey Lincoln, and Dizzy Gillespie. Just as noteworthy are his performances with younger artists — among them Steve Coleman, Rachelle Farrell and Dianne Reeves. Lonnie has also recorded with Lonnie Liston Smith, Ravi Coltrane and Barbara Dennerlein, as well as his Grammy-winning collaborations with Art Blakey and Cassandra Wilson. He has also recorded five critically acclaimed albums as leader, and has just finished a tour with the legendary Buddy Guy.
MARVIN SEWELL (Guitarist, Composer)
Marvin Sewell’s WebSite
Marvin Sewell was born and raised in Chicago. He learned how to play the guitar by hanging out with many Chicago basement bands. At that time, Marvin was exposed to a variety of styles of music such as: Blues, Gospel, and Soul. Rock, and Fusion. At the same time, he played in a Catholic church in a guitar band playing acoustic guitar. A few years later he became interested in Jazz. In high school, he started playing with the Malcolm X Community College Big Band. From there he started playing with many famous local Chicago musicians such as Von Freeman, Ramsey Lewis, Billy Branch, Jody Christian, Big Time Sarah, and Barbara La Shore, He attended Roosevelt University in Chicago where he studied Composition.
Marvin moved to New York in 1990. His very first tour in New York was with an Algerian Pop music band. Since in New York, Marvin has played with various bands of different styles of music, ranging from acoustic to electric music. In 1992, Marvin made his first major Jazz band when he began working with Jack Dejohnette’s Special Edition. At that same time, he was playing with Jazz cellist Diedre Murray and Jazz Bassist Fred Hopkins. The following year he recorded albums with Jack Dejohnette, Diedre Murray, and Gary Thomas. That same year he played in Hannibal Peterson’s composition African Portraits, an opera in which he played blues slide guitar in collaboration with the St. Louis Symphony, New Music Symphony, and the Westchester Symphony Orchestra. Marvin has performed and recorded with David Sandborn, Marcus Miller, Jorge Sylvester, Greg Osby, Joe Lovano, George Benson, Sekou Sanidiata, Peter Herborn, and a host of many other esteemed musicians.
In 1995, he began playing with Cassandra Wilson with whom he played a variety of string instruments for six years. On Cassandra Wilson’s CD, Traveling Miles, Marvin co wrote the song, Right Here, Right Now with Cassandra, and was the music director of her band for over a year. In the summer of 2001, Marvin went on tour with Sekou Sandiata along with Ani Difranco. While out on tour, Marvin got a chance to share the stage with Ani Difranco.
In 2002 Marvin did a tour of eastern Africa with the Newsome, Sewell, and Harris Trio. The group performed in Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Mauritius. Today, Marvin spends most of his time writing music for his own band, The Marvin Sewell Group. He has performed all over New York City and is preparing to put out his debut recording under his own name.
MALIK WASHINGTON (Drummer)
Malik Washington’s WebSite
Malik Washington was born in Boston, Massachusetts to two musician parents who started him on his path to music. He began playing drums at the age of three and since has built a reputation as a fresh new sound on drums. Malik’s credentials include performances with ABC’s Dancing with the Stars road trip, Olu Dara, Marcus Belgrave, Larry Ridley, Akil Desaan, the Newyorican Poetry Slam All-Stars, Soul Squad and Frank Lacy. Malik has studied with Dennis Davis, Mark Johnson, Kenwood Dennard, Warren Smith, Bob Stewart, et al. As a clinician he has appeared at and has been featured in the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, the New England Jazz Alliance symposia on musical instruction in the public schools and as a guest of the African-American Jazz Caucus. Malik is currently a freelance artist in New York and can be heard on the most recent recording of the Harlem Art Ensemble entitled “Harlem Homecoming.”