Kit Eakle - violin
"Jazz violinist Kit Eakle delivers ..." Andrew Gilbert
The leader of DjangoSphere, Kit Eakle is known as one of the most original improvising violinists on the West Coast. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay area where he studied violin with Detlev Ohlshausen. He attended the University of California at Davis where he studied art, but also took a course with the great composer, John Cage. After moving to Canada he toured British Columbia with Blackfish Sound and Roadside Attraction - 2 legendary Canadian rock bands.
Kit is equally at home both in Northern California, and Vancouver, British Columbia. In the SF Bay area he has been a a member of the 'Hot Club of Marin,' the rock-a-billy band 'The Sons of Emperor Norton,' Jerry Garcia bands' guitarist Peter Harris' 'Obscura,' his own 'FiddleJazz,' which performs "A Brief History of Jazz Violin" a survey of the role of the violin in jazz from its beginnings to the present, and 'The Eakle Brothers' with his flute playing brother, Matt Eakle, a regular member of the David Grisman Quintet. He has also shared a stage with Dan Hicks, Martín Fierro, Joe Craven, Mads Tolling, David LaFlame and Paul Mehling.
In Vancouver, British Columbia, where he played and taught music for many years, he has appeared with groups as diverse as vintage country rock band Blue Northern, Cam Malloy's Gang, and Michael Dunn's pioneering Gjypsy Jazz group 'Mystery Pacific,' and with such outstanding Vancouver musicians as Gary Comeau, Miles Black, and Hugh Fraser; Michael Creber, Rene Worst, and Marc Atkinson; Chris Sigerson, Blaine Dunaway, and Elmer Gill.
Kit graduated from the Vancouver Community College music program where he studied violin with Gwen Thompson, and jazz improvisation with guitarist Bruce Clausen and the late Elmer Gill, a veteran of the Lionel Hampton band.
As well as being a performer, Kit Eakle has developed a high profile in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he has established a new concert series uniquely featuring many of the finest jazz violinists in the world called Point Richmond Jazz (http://prjazz.org), and is listed on the faculty of the California Jazz Conservatory — teaching a course in the history of Jazz violin.
Howard Alden, 7 String Guitar
"He may be the best of his generation," writes Owen Cordle in JazzTimes. George Kanzler of the Newark Star Ledger proclaims that he is "the most impressive and creative member of a new generation of jazz guitarists." And Chip Deffaa of the New York Post observed that he is "...one of the very finest young guitarists working today."
Born in Newport Beach, California, in 1958, Howard Alden began playing at age ten, inspired by guitarists Barney Kessel, Charlie Christian, Django Reinhardt and George Van Eps. Soon he was working professionally around Los Angeles. In 1979, Alden went east, for a summer in Atlantic City with Red Norvo, and continued to perform with him frequently for several years.Upon moving to New York City in 1982, Alden's skills, both as soloist and accompanist, were quickly recognized and sought-out for appearances and recordings with such artists as Ruby Braff, Joe Williams, Warren Vaché, Woody Herman, Benny Carter, Flip Phillips, Mel Powell, Bud Freeman, Kenny Davern, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie and George Van Eps, as well as notable contemporaries Scott Hamilton and Ken Peplowski.
Howard Alden has been a Concord Jazz recording artist since the late '80s where his prolific recorded output has captured an artist of consistently astonishing virtuosity and originality. One of the many highlights in Howard Alden's fruitful association with Concord Jazz came in 1991 when Alden recorded with one of his all-time heroes, seven-string guitar master George Van Eps on the album 'Thirteen Strings.' As a result, Alden has been playing the seven-string guitar since 1992, imparting a greater range and harmonic richness to Alden's already colorful tonal palette, as evidenced on three follow-up albums with Van Eps.
Howard Alden can be heard on the soundtrack to the 1999 Woody Allen movie "Sweet and Lowdown", starring Sean Penn, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as a legendary jazz guitarist in the '30s. Howard not only played all the guitar solos, but also coached Mr. Penn on playing the guitar for his role in the film.
The London Observer had this to say about Alden, "If there is such a thing as a complete jazz guitarist, then Alden is it." In 2004 Howard was the guitarist (and musical director) chosen for an all-star line-up commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival, touring 50 cities of the United States in addition to their appearance at the Newport Festival.
Howard Alden was voted "Best Emerging Talent-Guitar" in the first annual JazzTimes critics' poll, 1990, and "Talent Deserving Wider Recognition" in the 1996, 1992, 1993 and 1995 Downbeat critics' poll. In February of 2009, Howard was recognized as a “Modern Maestro”, one of DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE’S 75 Great Guitarists of all time!
Other musicians who have explored the DjangoSphere:
John Stetch — piano
Miles Black — piano
Chris Sigerson — piano
Jonathan Alford — piano
Mark Holzinger — guitar
Paul Pigat — guitar
Michael Dunn — guitar
Jeff Massanari — guitar
Marc Atkinson — guitar
Doug Cox — dobro
James Meger — bass
Ruth Davies — bass
Alex Baum — bass
Don Bennett — bass
Craig Scott — drums
Jack Dorsey — drums
Rory Judge — drums
DjangoSphere with Mark Holzinger