DARK BLUE / Alex Harding and Lucien Ban
Support jazz artists. Support jazz music. Support the movement. Just Jazz Records thanks you for your purchase of DARK BLUE by Alex Harding and Lucien Ban. Partial track listing; 1) Dark Blue 2) Tough Love 3) Charka 4) Black Sea 5) Monkey See 6) Not That Kind Of Blues
LUCIAN BAN was raised in a small village in northwest Transylvania, in “the region where Bartok did his most extensive research and collecting of folk songs" and grew up listening to both traditional and classical music. He studied composition at the Bucharest Music Academy while simultaneously leading his own jazz groups, and notes that his approach to improvisation has been influenced by “the profound musical contributions of Romanian modern classical composers like Aurel Stroe, Anatol Vieru and of course Enesco". Desire to get closer to the source of jazz brought him to the US, and since moving from Romania to New York in 1999 has been leading several projects creating music that reinvents the jazz idiom and collaborating with some of today’s most celebrated jazz musicians. His compositions are performed and recorded by other musicians and ensembles and he has released 15 albums under his name for labels such as ECM, Sunnyside, Clean Feed, CIMP, Jazzaway, all the while maintaining a worldwide touring schedule.
In 2013 ECM records releases Transylvanian Concert, a live album of self-penned ballads, blues, hymns and abstract improvisations with american violist MAT MANERI that is met with critical acclaim spanning constant touring eversince. His second album with powerhouse quartet ELEVATION, Songs from Afar (Sunnyside 2016), featuring Abraham Burton, John Hebert, Eric McPherson and special guests Mat Maneri and Transylvanian traditional singer Gavril Tarmure won the 2016 DOWNBEAT BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR Award receiving the coveted 5* review.
In 2017 Clean Feed Records releases to rave reviews Sounding Tears featuring Mat Maneri and legendary Evan Parker, one of the pivotal figures of European jazz experimentalism of the last 50 years. His Enesco Re-Imagined (Sunnyside 2010) album dedicated to reinterpreting the music of early XX century classical genius George Enesco and featuring some of NYC most celebrated musicians like Tony Malaby, Gerald Cleaver, Ralph Alessi and tabla legend Badal Roy wins multiple BEST ALBUM OF YEAR from Jazz Journalists Association and performs major venues and festivals on both sides of the Atlantic.
Early 2019 sees the release of Free Fall (Sunnyside), his duo with Amsterdam based clarinetist Alex Simu, a tribute to jazz icon Jimmy Giuffre and his groundbreaking trio with Paul Bley and Steve Swallow and the debut of OEDIPE REDUX a radical new take on George Enescu magnum opera Oedipe conceived with Mat Maneri for an all star octet featuring Theo Bleckmann, Jen Shyu, Ralph Alessi, Tom Rainey, John Hebert and French bass clarinet virtuoso Louis Sclavis.
Alex Harding was born on April 5, 1967 in Detroit, Michigan. At the age of six, Alex knew what he wanted to do in his lifetime: to be a musician. He started to pursue his dream. Alex started on Drums & a few years later after hearing Grover Washington Jr on the radio playing Mr. Magic Alex switched to the tenor sax. Mr. Harding took band classes in elementary, middle school & high school, entering musical competitions and shows. He chose to attend Northwestern High School so he could study music under the direction of Mr. Ernest Rogers, a renowned musician & teacher. It was during high school that Alex decided to make the baritone sax and bass clarinet his main instruments.
Alex Harding studied music in his early years with Yusef Lateef, Beans Bows and Herbie Williams, and played with Wynton Marsalis and Donald Byrd while still in high school. Alex went on to win music scholarships to the University of Massachusetts and the Aspen School of Music. Alex’s first European engagement in 1990 was in Porgy and Bess. A year later, he went to Mexico to the Arts and Music Festival with percussionist Francisco Mora.
After settling in New York in 1993, and a stint touring with Phatoms, a Haitian group, Alex joined Julius Hemphill’s Saxophone Sextet. He also began performing with Muhal Richard Abrams, Craig Harris, Lester Bowie, Frank Lacey, Oliver Lake and David Murray’s Big Band.
In 1996, Alex joined Hamiet Bluiett’s Baritone Group and appeared with the Mingus Big Band, Jayne Cortez Firespitters and Lester Bowie’s Hip-Hop Philharmonic. He also recorded with Greg Osby, Frank Lowe, David Lee Roth and Rodney Whittaker. The following year, Alex recorded At Doctor King’s Table with the Julius Hemphill Sextet, a CD with Hamiet Bluiett’s Baritone Group, and he made his debut with the Sun Ra Arkestra under Marshall Allen’s leadership. In 1998, Alex was part of the Sun Ra All-Star Project that premiered at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival. More recently Alex has performed with the Roy Hargrove Big Band and with Aretha Franklin.
In the October ’97 issue of Jazz Times, the review of Hamiet Bluiett’s Baritone Band said that Alex Harding: “…attacked the music with steamroller momentum and uncommon ferocity…it was sheer fireworks."
Alex Harding has recorded several CD's for CIMP label and since 2008 he has performed on Broadway and toured with the (3) Tony Award winning show FELA !!!!
A powerful and innovative saxophonist, Alex Harding has a unique and contemporary baritone sound. The sincerity of his musical _expression and the dynamism of his performance reaches out and touch the human spirit and soul.
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