Gerry Hemingway has been making a living as a composer and performer of solo and ensemble music since 1974. He has led a number of quartet & quintets since the mid 80’s including his current quintet with Ellery Eskelin, Oscar Noriega, Terrence McManus and Kermit Driscoll as well collaborative groups with Mark Helias & Ray Anderson (BassDrumBone) celebrating its 34th anniversary in 2011, w/Reggie Workman and Miya Masaoka on koto (Brew), Georg Graewe & Ernst Reijseger, recently celebrating its twentieth anniversary (GRH trio), WHO trio with Swiss pianist, Michel Wintsch and bassist, Baenz Oester, as well as numerous duo projects with Thomas Lehn, John Butcher, Ellery Eskelin, Marilyn Crispell, Terrence McManus and Jin Hi Kim. Mr. Hemingway is a Guggenheim fellow and has received numerous commissions for chamber and orchestral work including “Terrains”, a concerto for percussionist and orchestra commissioned by the Kansas City Symphony. He also been involved in songwriting documented in the CD “Songs” produced by Between the Lines as well as his collaboration with John Cale. He is well known for his eleven years in the Anthony Braxton Quartet and more recently his duo with Anthony “Old Dogs (2007)” released on Mode/Avant. His many collaborations with some of the world’s most outstanding improvisers and composers include Evan Parker, Cecil Taylor, Mark Dresser, Anthony Davis, George Lewis, Derek Bailey, Leo Smith, Oliver Lake, Kenny Wheeler, Frank Gratkowski, Michael Moore and many others. His rich musical history, collaborations, performances and recordings are all amply documented on his extensive website: http://www.gerryhemingway.com. He currently lives in Switzerland having joined the faculty of the Hochschule Luzern in 2009.
At a time when more musicians are trying to be heard than ever before, rare gems like Samuel Blaser seem paradoxically, to rise above it all. Since his 2007 debut as a leader, 7th Heaven (Between the Lines), Blaser has grown at an almost incomprehensible rate, from a straight-ahead hard bopper in his mid-twenties to an innovative free player and ever-searching composer and bandleader in his early thirties – one whose improvisational strength has received high praise from the media world over.
Born and raised in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, Blaser lived in New York City for many years before relocating to Berlin, where he currently resides. He began trombone lessons at the age of 9, and his early interests ranged from Swiss folk music to American R&B and jazz. He entered the local conservatory at 14 and graduated in 2002 after being awarded prizes in both the jazz and classical spheres, including the 2000 Benny Golson Prize. Participation in the heralded Vienna Art Orchestra and European Radio Big Band eventually led to a Fullbright Scholarship, facilitating studies in the United States at the SUNY Purchase College Conservatory of Music. A year later, Samuel won the J.J. Johnson Prize in 2006.
In his relatively short career, Blaser has worked with Swiss percussion legend Pierre Favre, pianist Hal Galper, drummer John Hollenbeck, saxophonist Michael Blake and François Houle’s 5+1 group; he has worked closely with Grammy Award winning producer Robert Sadin and most recently with Billy Mintz.
2015 will see Blaser touring with two trios: one with guitarist Marc Ducret featuring Danish drummer Peter Bruun and the other with French pianist Benoit Delbecq and American drummer Gerry Hemingway. As of November, Blaser is back on the road with his original quartet to promote his new album Spring Rain (Whirlwind Recordings) an homage to Jimmy Giuffre, with Russ Lossing on piano, Drew Gress on bass and drummer Gerald Cleaver.