Beverly Houston is an International Recording & Performing Artist who received the San Antonio People’s Choice Award as Top R&B Artist. She has eight San Antonio Current Music Awards for Best Female Vocalist, and a large display of other awards and recognition plaques. The Jazz Market and San Antonio Fans selected Houston as 2013 Jazzy Fiesta Queen San Antonio. In June 2020, Houston performed for WellMed, an international live musical broadcast.
Houston delivers the National Anthem at NBA games, U.S. open swim championship and at other events. She opened the 2019 Fiesta San Antonio with her rendition of the National Anthem.
Houston performed around the country with national stars as Kirk Whalum, BB King, Bobby Bland, Etta James, ZZ Hill, John Lee Hooker, the Temptations, Chicago, the Coasters, Barbara Lynn, Philip Bailey of Earth Wind & Fire, Midnight Star, Commodores and others.
Houston travelled to Russia on a 19-day jazz tour. Houston and Russian-born pianist Valeri Grohovski performed at 9 major cities. She performed in Lithuania and made a stop-over in Prague, Czech Republic and Paris, France. Houston also performed in the Dominican Republic at the luxurious NOW Larimar Punta Cana Resort, and in Jamaica & Cancun; and in 2019 on the Carnival Cruiseline.
Houston co-hosted with Motion Picture Hollywood Star John Schneider in a television program, “Gimme the Mike,” a spin-off from American Idol. She sat as anchor DJ on radio and made appearances on numerous television shows around the word.
Under record label, HotLine Records, Houston produced several CD projects.
At the LaPrensa Foundation 11th Annual Salute to Outstanding Women in Action Awards Ball, Houston received the Entertainer of the Year Award. In 1999, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus presented her with the Outstanding Texan Award. In 2004, Houston was inducted into the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame; and later served on the Board of Directors. In 2008, Houston was nominated for Induction into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the 2012 Class in Blackbook Directory Yearbook along with others who made exceptional contributions to the community.
Chen Shasha is a member of Erhu Branch, Chinese Musicians Association, the China Nationalities Orchestra Society, and the Wuxi Nationalities Orchestra Society
She is a Graduate from Central Conservatory of Music, and has performed in multiple concerts worldwide, including: Erhu Concert initiated by Mr. Deng Jiandong (Erhu master) in 2013, Spring Festival Concert in Hamilton, New Zealand in 2016, and the opening Gala of San Antonio’s 300 Anniversary Celebration in 2018.
Her solo piece Spring in Meili was awarded the Magnolia Golden by Xinwu District in 2019, the Golden Award in Wuxi 5th, and the Qunfang Award in 2020.
“Vico is one of the best representatives of the Mexican jazz and as a bassist he is on top of the list” Antonio Malacara, La Jornada Newspaper.
Bassist and composer Vico Diaz – is accepted as one of the finest of his generation, has earned renown as a musician with a individual sound and a very unique way to create the most original contemporary Mexican Folk music. Vico has played as a headliner in concerts at major jazz festivals in different countries, in 2014 he released his acclaimed debut album “Salmon” set with Vico’s original compositions, the bassist also records and tours with the prestigious Tom Kessler Trio. Vico is also the leader of “Toktli” is a multicultural band that aims to rescue the Mexican folk music and bring in to the cities for recognition and valuation, adding his knowledge and love for jazz. Vico says “My approach to this band has been to create new traditional folk tunes with a sophisticated taste of jazz, stay lyrical and true, to balance freedom with written music”.
Born and raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, Vico began performing in public in 2000 at age of 17, playing with a famous Mexican rock band named Rostros Ocultos traveling around the country as well as giving concerts in the United States and appeared on television early on in 2004. He won a scholarship to attend the world-famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, playing during his first semester with musicians such as Egui Castrillo Orchestra and the Berklee Contemporary Symphony Orchestra. After he graduated he returned to Mexico City to become the first call bassist and played with the great Mexican alternative folk band “Ampersan&” with whom he has recorded two albums “La flor de la Biznaga” (2008) and “Autoreverse” (2013).
Growing up in Mexico, Vico says “We didn’t really have any real good jazz scene that we could look up to; I learned jazz mostly from the records. I met the great bassist Agustin Bernal who pushed me and taught me, and then I although I clearly became a professional jazz musician here in Mexico there was something else that was important to my musical development: this rich sense of lyricism in older Mexican music. Most of that music is vocal with traditional instruments from Europe but developed in Mexico and with the influence of African rhythms”.
Vico’s discography as a leader includes: Salmon (Fall 2013) with Klaas Blaijon, Blair Latham, Roberto Verastegui, Toktli (Fall 2014) Fogumi(2009) with Tom Kessler and Giovanni Figueroa. As a sideman, Vico has recorded over 15 albums such as “Lidinum”of Tom Kessler with international great Octet aside the Chilean drummer Gabriel Puentes, Argentinian pianist Nicolas Santella, Cuban trumpeter Alex Guardiola, U.S trombonist Brian Allen and New Zealander saxophonist Blair Latham.
Vico is a multi-cultural jazz musician, among whose ancestors goes from Ray Brown, Thelonius Monk to Ron Carter, through Los Vega , Chuchumbe and the Mariachi Vargas, the best singers, improvisers and players of “ El Son ”(traditional Mexican Music originally from Veracruz and Jalisco,Mexico).
Tomoko Sonoda was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Kumamoto City at the age of twenty-six. Her father was a classical music critic and mother a teacher, and at the age of four, she began her classical piano studies. Sonoda started her journey into jazz piano at Waseda University and worked for five years as a music instructor at a local mission college in Kumamoto city. In 1999, she formed her own 10-piece band and provided many song arrangements up until 2005. As a pianist, she has performed continuously at <street ART-PREX Kumamoto Jazz open>, a big jazz festival in Kumamoto City. She currently works as a jazz piano teacher at a local vocational school and performs throughout Japan with various artists.
Suzy Eises is a saxophonist, composer, and educator who hails from the diamond mining town of Oranjemund. She has opened for popular international acts Mi Casa and Joss Stone and has shared the stage with musicians such as Jimmy Dludlu, Ringo Madlingozi and Hugh Masekela.
Suzy attended a one-year course at the London College of Creative Media in England and attended two years of college studying music at Brigham Young University-Idaho in the United States of America. Suzy has obtained a Higher National Certificate of Merit in Music Performance from the London College of Creative Media and an Advanced Music Diploma of Distinction from Shaw Academy, UK.
Suzy’s most prominent performances include performing at the 2019 Durban Jazz Festival in South Africa, performing a Global Fusion concert in Dubai, January 2020 and performing at the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Namibian Annual Music Awards. Suzy also performed at Windhoek’s annual jazz festivals in 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Suzy has worked with and collaborated with popular disc jockey DJ Maphorisa on her album. She has appeared in a music video for a collaboration song with Gazza which appears regularly on international television channel, Trace Africa TV and has reached more than 500 000 YouTube views. She is also a favourite performer for the President and First Lady of Namibia. Suzy has appeared on the BBC News television and social media networks sharing her story and showcasing her work.
Suzy regularly performs at corporate and public events all over Namibia. In Feb 2018, Suzy represented Namibia and performed at the International Music Festival organized by the Musical Bridges Around the World (MBAW) organisation in San Antonio, Texas, USA. Suzy has also represented Namibia at the Africa Day celebrations in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 25 May 2018 and at Le Wine Chambre in Johannesburg, South Africa in August 2018. Her debut self-titled album was released November, 2017. This earned her six nominations at the 2018 Namibian Annual Music Awards, and she went on to receive the coveted Best Album of the Year and Best Newcomer Awards. In 2019, Suzy studied Jazz at the London College of Creative Media and recorded a piece of music with BAFTA award-winning, Oscar- nominated composer George Fenton at the famous Abbey Road Studios in London where Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran and the legendary Beatles have recorded – in May she became the first Namibian musician to record at the legendary studios. Suzy leads her own band and teaches saxophone privately.
Park graduated from New School University and graduate school of New York University. He worked with a lot of the legends in Jazz, such as Jim Snidero, Raggie Workman, Junior Mance, George Garzone and more. He was a musical director and performer for New York Town Hall Concert, UN Headquarter Concert, Yool Sung, Jeong International Music Festival and 14th and 15th Korea-US cultural festival. Currently, he serves as a dean of the musical department of Honam Theological University and Seminary.
Grammy-nominated saxophonist Shlomi Cohen, born in Tel Aviv, Israel, has had a multicultural musical education, based in part on his surroundings both in Tel Aviv and New York City, and also from his Moroccan and Yemeni heritage.
This mix of styles in his sound has made him a much sought-after saxophonist.
Shlomi is based in New York City and regularly collaborates with various musical projects around the city and beyond.
Prasanna is the world’s leading performer of Indian Carnatic music on the guitar, besides being an internationally acclaimed Jazz and Rock guitarist and Composer. He has recorded 16 albums as a leader and over 60 albums as a collaborator. An acclaimed film composer, Prasanna has composed the music for the Academy Award winning film ‘Smile Pinki’, Indian National Award-winning film ‘Vazhakku Enn 18/9’ and many others. An entrepreneurial visionary, Prasanna co-founded the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India, India’s first college of Contemporary music and was the President of the College for 5 years. He has performed with luminaries such as Joe Lovano, A.R. Rahman, Jordan Rudess, Illayaraja, Esperanza Spalding, Vijay Iyer and others. A highly respected educator, Prasanna has taught such accomplished musicians as Dweezil Zappa, Dave Fiuczynski, Gustavo Assis Brasil etc and has mentored a number of young talented prodigies around the world.
Matthieu was born in Brussels in 1979. After a few years in San Francisco, his family settled in Montreal 1989. After two years at McGill University, Matthieu put his jazz studies on hold for a year, in order to join and tour with La Chango Family across Canada and throughout Europe. He completed his Bachelor degree in Jazz Trombone at the University of Montreal. Since then he has been very much in demand as a freelancer, in the studios, tv shows and concerts. He is a regular guest musician on TV Shows The Voice, Belle et Bum, Le Choc des Générations to name a few. His collaborations have included artists such as: Cee Lo Green, Pink Martini, Angelik Kidjo, Bonobo, Chris Botti, Colin James, Fred Pellerin, Serge Fiori, Claude Dubois, Michel Fugain, Marc Hervieux, Daniel Lavoie, Brigitte Boisjoli and many more. He is also a member of Gregory Charles’s band and part of Papagroove.
Born in Mexico City and currently based out of New York City, Magos Herrera is a dazzling jazz singer-songwriter, producer, and educator. Magos is regarded as one of the most expressive, beautiful voices and most active vocalists in the contemporary Latin American jazz scene. She is best known for her eloquent vocal improvisation and her singular bold style, which embraces elements of contemporary jazz with Latin American melodies and rhythms singing in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, in a style that elegantly blends and surpasses language boundaries. She has recorded six solo albums, has worked on joint collaborations for two more albums with producer Javier Limón in addition to having participated as a guest artist of several recordings and albums. An accomplished artist, Magos has performed in a variety of leading international cultural venues such as Lincoln Center in NYC, Kennedy Center in DC, Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Union Chapel in London, Duc des Lombardes in Paris, Kamani Auditorium in Delhi, Palau de la Musica in Valencia, and has been part of the line-up of some of the most memorable jazz festivals around the world including Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, Festival Internacional Cervantino, to mention a few. Throughout her career, Magos has garnered important awards and recognitions, including a Grammy short-list nomination in the Best Jazz Vocal Album category for her album Distancia (2009), and is the only female artist to have received the Berklee College of Music’s Master of Latin Music Award. She is well known for championing women’s causes and currently serves as spokesperson for UN Women, and has contributed to important campaigns including UNITE to end violence against women and He For She, as a promoter of gender equality. She serves as an artistic advisor of the “National Sawdust”.
Elemotho is the only Namibian musician to win the RFI-France 24 Discoveries Awards 2012, among a list of more than 500 African, Indian and Pacific artists. This hard working artist has taken his new sound of the Kalahari everywhere from Accra, Addis Ababa, Dakar, Antananarivo, Khartoum, Cotonou to name some of the cities Elemotho has crazed with his powerful and poetic presence. In 2013, his song !Kgalanamib was chosen as the theme song for Namibia’s Adventure Tourism Summit. The year 2014 found Elemotho headlining Charlie Guillet Stage at WOMAD UK, making a crowd of more than 12,000 people jive to his tunes. In 2015, Elemotho was a Headliner to the Cape Town World Music Festival, as well as represented Namibia during the 25 Independence Celebrations in London, UK. In 2016 this artist headlined the South Africa’s Kgalagadi Jazz Festival. Elemotho also embarked into a two months Tour across Germany with his long-time collaborator Samuel Batola under the “Afro-acoustic Experience”, where they, performing at Festivals such as Ke Nako Afrika Festival in Berlin and Osnabrueck Afrika Festival. Furthermore, 2016 found Elemotho forming part of a Theatre Project between Germany and Namibia (The Oshi-Deutsch), as musical composer and arranger. In May 2016, two songs of Elemotho (La vida and Neo) where used by Hollywood in the Netflix series “Frankie and Grace” Season 2. In September 2016, Elemotho became a musical Ambassador for Save the Rhino Trust Namibia, composing and recording a song for them, as part of the Stand Together campaign. Later in the year, he was awarded with the “Namibian Tourism Personality of the Year” by the Tourism Industry in Namibia, for the work done in and outside the country. Early in 2017 Elemotho was recognised by the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMA’s) with an award of “Life-time Achievement”. In March, Elemotho’s First Single “Black Man” video received the award of Best Music Video in the Namibia Film and Theatre Awards. In May 2017, Elemotho launched his fourth album “Beautiful World” distributed worldwide by the record company ARC Music (U.K). The Album has been sounding worldwide in Radio stations, having been aired already globally from France, U.K, Spain, Germany, Holland, Austria, Belgium, USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hong-Kong to Australia, and many more. Elemotho has already presented the Album in Spain (Rototom Sunsplash Festival), Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia. In December 2017, “Beautiful World” was selected as TOP 10 under the Wiriko and “Africa no es un pais” selection for best African Albums 2017 (Spain). The album scooped the award at the U.K One World Music as Best World-Global Fusion Music Album for 2017. In May 2018, Elemotho headlined WOMAD Caceres (Spain) as well as the well-known Afro-Pfingsten World Music Festival in Winterhur, Switzerland.
Beginning studying piano at five and classical trumpet at eight, Huang later earned prizes in an assortment of competitions. In National Taipei University of the Arts, Huang received the education of classical music and developed an interest in Jazz in the meantime. Formerly a lead trumpet player in a good many jazz orchestras in Taiwan, Huang is now a professional trumpet player, composer and arranger for brass session as well as the music director to Musicworkers Studio.
Benito is a much admired Tenerife-born composer and timple player thanks to his work on promoting and reinstating the traditional musical instrument known as the timple. His musical work has been acclaimed internationally, leading him to perform with the Tenerife Symphonic Orchestra, the Classical Orchestra of La Laguna and the Symphonic Orchestra of Córdoba. Some of his achievements include encouraging the use of the timple in symphonic, rock and jazz pieces.
Brandon Guerra is a multi-instrumentalist from San Antonio, Texas, who holds a degree in Jazz Performance from Texas State University.
Since beginning his musical studies via piano at age six and drumset at age ten, Brandon has become an active drumset artist and educator, performing and recording with various groups in south Texas, The United States, and abroad. Brandon is currently the house drummer at the popular new jazz club, Jazz TX, located in the historic Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, TX. He can be found playing every week with a variety of musicians in the south Texas area, usually playing over 250 performances a year. Brandon has also recently been composing original music for dance companies around south Texas including: ARCOS Dance, Blipswitch, Ballet Conservatory of South Texas, and McBride Dance.
Brandon proudly endorses Vic Firth drumsticks and Canopus drums.
Arturo found his way to music at the age of 14 thanks to the formation of the Municipal Band of San Pedro Garza García. He received an Honorable Mention in the basic cycle at the Higher School of Music and Dance of the City of Monterrey, and finished his Bachelor of Jazz at the Higher School of Music of the INBA Mexico City.
Among the masters with whom he has studied are: Jesús Delgado, Francisco Téllez, Tobías Delius, Bob Hoit, Robert Dick, Paul Cheneour, and Ole Mathisen – among others. He has been a member of various ensembles such as La Banda Municipal de Monterrey (1980), Ensamble Barroco by Jesús Delgado (1981), Ensamble Jazz Pop by Enrique Valadez, Brass Explosión Big Band (1985), Four Winds 4th. Mexican Jazz Quartet (1986), Monterrey Jazz 4 (1990), Amaretto (1991), Big Band Monterrey (2000), Duet Ávila Liceaga (Guitar and Flute)(2002), Los Diez Pianos (2005), 4th of Saxophones Monterrey 400, Saxophone Quartet Kumi Tachi, Arturo Ávila Jazz Quartet (2006), 40 West Jazz Quartet (2007), and Arturo Ávila and Piedra de las Iguanas (2008).
In 2020, UFIM awarded Arturo the Santa Cecilia Medal for the Best Solo Instrumentalist. He has recorded for innumerable national and foreign groups and artists, and was recently invited to represent the State of Nuevo León in the 1st National Jazz Festival in Mexico City.
He is currently Director of the Municipal Orchestra of Santa Catarina, La Danzonera Sierra Madre, Quarteto de Saxofones Nimbus and Monterrey Dixieland Jazz Band.
Arturo has also taught in the past at Escuela Superior de Música y Danza (Monterrey NL) as assistant to Maestro Jesús Delgado, Universidad de Montémorelos, FORMUS Educational and Musical Training AC, ECFA (Christian School of Artistic Training), Birdland (Academy of Music), Instituto Americano, Mike Percussion (Academy), Leal Isida (Academy), as well as private classes for saxophone, flute, jazz and improvisation.
Arturo Ávila has also produced four major musical productions throughout his career: Arriving, My Favorite Pieces Vol. 1, Brown Eyes, and Arturo Ávila and Piedra de las Iguanas (live DVD).
Anke is a saxophonist, flutist, composer, music instructor/bandcoach. With percussionist Tom Nicholas, she formed the Jazzquartette Black & White Cooperation, composing most of the pieces. This jazz band made its mark in the jazz scene. Their 3 CDs consist exclusively of original compositions. Schimpf also has been a part of the following bands: “Art of Jazztainment” (Jazz/Soul/Pop/Cover), “Rhein Main Jazz Orchestra” (Big Band), saxophone quartet “Saxsofort”, the “Sister City Jazz Ensemble” in San Antonio, TX, “Jazz & the Cities” in Sister City Graz, Austria, and leader of “Outline”, a local jazz initiative of Darmstadt.
In 2004, she co founded music production company Christine Musics GbR. Anke also works as a teacher for saxophone and flute, as well as coaching band and delivering masterclass workshops. She has also had the opportunity to be a jury member on the Darmstadt Music Awards from 2016 to 2019.
Aaron is a pianist, composer, educator, and radio personality based in San Antonio, Texas. Prado received a Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance at the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music in 2014. Prior, Prado attended Columbia University for undergraduate study and New York University for a Master’s Degree. From 2003-2009, Prado was Music Director at Trinity University’s jazz radio station – KRTU 91.7FM – where he is currently the host of “Aaron Prado Presents” – heard Sundays 2:00-4:00 p.m. In 2011, Prado debuted his “San Antonio Jazz Suite” – a large-scale composition scored for big band, string quartet, and narration that tells the story of San Antonio. In 2015, Prado published a book of transcriptions of solo recordings by jazz pianist Bill Evans (published by Hal Leonard). In 2018, Prado received a grant from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio to compose “The Hero’s Journey” – the piece premiered at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico. In 2019, Prado released two albums: a sextet album “Live at Jazz, TX” and a trio album of original music called “And Now…” Prado teaches and is President of the Faculty Senate at Northwest Vista College.
The piece “Sister Cities” was commissioned by Musical Bridges Around the World and premiered in February 2018 during the International Music Festival. Featuring musicians from Sister Cities across the globe, the piece celebrates the spirit of collaboration, cultural exchange, and dialogue championed by the Sister Cities organization. Utilizing elements common to countless cultures, including chant, the pentatonic scale, juxtaposition of triple and duple meters, and counterpoint, the piece features the musicians layering individual statements as well as unison exclamations. Collective improvisation represents exchange of ideas, and the perpetually ascending harmony of the climax suggests the heights to which we aspire as an international community. My deepest gratitude to the musicians for bringing this piece to life on the stage and now virtually as an affirmation of the power of music to strengthen connections in the face of incredible suffering, upheaval, and turmoil.