Nationally touring, Grammy award winning trumpeter, Curtis Taylor, leads a talented, first-rate quartet, with pianist Hugo Suarez, bassist Ben Shepherd, and drummer Gene Coye. Curtis Taylor is a trumpet stand-out who has worked with notable jazz artists like pianist Cyrus Chesnut, saxophonist James Carter, and vocalist Gregory Porter. Taylor’s recent CD recording, “Snapshot”, is a powerhouse display of Curtis’ virtuosity, and lyrical, melodic style that shows his unique blend of soulfulness, harmonic sensibilities, and rhythm that melt together for an unforgettable sound, directly connecting with the soul of the listener. Taylor states, “when played honestly, music is the ultimate conveyer of truth and beauty”. Growing up in Bedford, Ohio, Curtis started the trumpet at the age of 10, and went from the school’s band to it’s jazz ensemble in 2 years. His band director, Steve Nichols, introduced him to live jazz concerts, and Taylor was especially inspired by trumpeters, Jon Faddis, and Steve Enos, choosing to pursue a career in music. Curtis received his Bachelor’s degree in jazz studies at Western Michigan University, studying with musicians Derrick Gardner, Wess Anderson, and Rodney Whitaker, and received his Masters’ degree at Rutgers University under Professor William Fielder, studying with jazz notables like Wynton Marsalis, Terrence Blanchard, Sean Jones, and Terrell Stafford. Taylor has performed and recorded with jazz artists like Patrice Rushen, Billy Childs, Gary Novak, Bob Sheppard, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Ed Motta, Rodney Whittaker, gospel luminaries, Karen Clark-Sheard, and Kierra Sheard and the Singletons. Curtis has performed with pianist Cyrus Chesnut and his group at The Kennedy Center, has recorded for NPR’s Jazz-Set, appeared at the Spoleto Jazz Festival, and played at Dizzy’s Club in NYC. Taylor has toured internationally with saxophonist James Carter and his quintet, and recorded with 2-time Grammy award winning producer, Kamau Kenyatta on Grammy award winning Gregory Porter’s Best Vocal Album of 2014, “Liquid Spirit”. Producer Kenyatta states, “ Curtis Taylor graced the recording session with elegant solos, precise ensemble playing, and musicianship that was impeccable”. Curtis Taylor plays with unfettered velocity, and his music has a deep and thoughtful soulfulness, and, his ensemble plays with an unstoppable, percolating rhythm. As well as performing, Curtis currently teaches at Cal State University San Marcos, teaches master classes, and presents music workshops at Universities, schools, and libraries. Taylor has recorded 2 music videos, Curtis Taylor #Hashtagged Live, and #Paperchase.
24 year old composer, arranger, and pianist Hugo Suarez of San Diego, is an in-demand talent who performs regularly with the Gas Lamp Quarter Big Band, the Gilbert Castellanos Quartet, vocalists Leonard Patton, Allison Adams Tucker, drummer Matt Smith and others. Hugo co-founded the jazz ensemble Abstract, and has performed at the Tijuana Jazz and Blues Festival. Suarez plays a wide range of styles from Latin and Jazz, to Hip-Hop and Groove oriented music that is setting the standard for the next generation. Hugo is associated with San Diego’s Bodhi Tree Concert events, performing intentional acts of kindness.
Bassist Ben Shepherd has a lengthy background of playing in many genres of rock music styles, most notably, a 30 year member of the band Soundgarden. Ben plays a finger style on the bass, like that of bassists Hiro Yamamoto, Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag, Mike Watt, and jazz giant, Charles Mingus. Shepherd approaches the bass like that of a horn section, playing a split between the rhythm and the lead, to give him freedom to play a song within a song. Ben has performed with jazz musicians like Danny Janklow, Josh Nelson, Jonathan Pinson, and others. Self taught drumming great, Gene Coye, from the Chicago area, was mentored by the great drummer, Terry Bank. Gene performed as a teenager in choirs and jazz ensembles, from Chicago to L.A., even touring as a high school student. Coye received his Bachelors degree in Jazz Performance at Cal Institute of the Arts under the guidance of drumming great, Joe LaBarbera(Bill Evans drummer), and has toured the world with Carlos Santana’s band, his son, Salvador Santana’s band, the Los Lonely Boys, Robert Randolph and the Family band, Ozomatli, Larry Carlton, and James Torme(son of Mel Torme). Gene Coye, one of the most sought after drummers in the L.A. area, performs regularly with numerous high profile artists, and currently teaches drum performance at Cal State University Northridge.