Jazz 

Twins Rahsaan and Roland Barber, saxophonist and trombonist, respectively, are committed to continuing the legacy of jazz through their efforts as composers, performers, bandleaders and educators. Though still in their early 20s, The Barber Brothers have learned their craft both in the classroom and in informal sessions, shoulder-to-shoulder with such veterans as Al Grey and Stanley Turrentine. The Barber Brothers come from a musical family: sharing the name of one of jazz history's most unique and exciting practitioners, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, is no coincidence. Reaping the benefits of a multigenerational household, they were exposed at an early age to a myriad of African American music. These included the gospel of a CME church founded five generations earlier by their family, Beale Street blues, jazz old and new, and popular musicians ranging from Bill Withers to Prince. In addition, their grandmother's constant piano-practicing gave the brothers an appreciation of classical music. The Barber Brothers are also accomplished solo performers. In 2000, Roland won the International Trombone Association's Frank Rosolino Competition, and Rahsaan was one of four Americans selected to participate in the 2003 World Saxophone Competition held at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Currently, The Barber Brothers are completing graduate study at Manhattan School of Music while in the midst of their fourth year as leaders of The Barber Brothers Jazz Quintet.

Since joining the Grammy Award-winning Bela Fleck and the Flecktones in 1997, saxophonist/composer Jeff Coffin has enjoyed a multitude of success both with the Flecktones and with his solo endeavors. In addition to his heavy touring schedule with the Flecktones and his own group, the Mu'tet, the versatile Coffin is a highly in-demand session player, and he has appeared on nearly 100 recordings. Coffin also continues to teach privately as well as teach clinics at schools around the country, passing along his belief that it's all about education. Even when Coffin dips into his "two-horns-at-once" bag, the technique emerges as a natural outgrowth of his musings. Each step along his musical journey has been deliberate, with the intention of experiencing the growth, propulsion and movement in his music, just as he has in life. Coffin has had the opportunity to perform with some of music's finest, including the Dave Matthews Band, Medeski, Martin & Wood, Branford Marsalis, Charlie Hunter, The Wailers, Galactic, Van Morrison, Widespread Panic, Don Henley and Garth Brooks. Coffin was the recipient of the Nashville Music Award for Best Jazz Recording for his solo record Commonality in 2000.

Acoustic violin/guitar-based trio The Gypsy Hombres blend traditional jazz with European, South American and classical music to create a sound unlike any other group. The Hombres' repertoire embraces a wide variety of composers and styles, from Brahms and Chopin, to George Gershwin, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, to international folk songs, all while retaining the gypsy spirit. They're also accomplished composers. The Nashville Chamber Orchestra commissioned its composer-in-residence, Conni Ellisor, to write a piece incorporating some of the Hombres' original songs, melodies and riffs. The result was "Nuage de la Nuit," a 27-minute tribute to the legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt featuring the Gypsy Hombres. The performance was taped by National Public Radio and is scheduled to be broadcast in the near future. The Hombres have played the governor's mansion, the movie set of The Green Mile and the Belle Meade Jazz on the Lawn Series. Some of their live shows have included special guest artists, including Chet Atkins, Alan Jackson, Tim O'Brien, Mandy Barnett and the great French gypsy stylist Romane.

In addition to being a gifted jazz trumpeter, the multitalented Rod McGaha is a composer, vocalist, lyricist and producer. McGaha was born and raised in Chicago, where his jazz-loving father would constantly play Miles Davis and Louis Armstrong records. By the fourth grade, McGaha was learning both the guitar and the trumpet, eventually gravitating to trumpet full-time and looking to Parliament-Funkadelic, James Brown and Kool & the Gang for inspiration. McGaha toured with Gene Chandler before attending Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and then DePaul University on scholarship. During this time, fellow trumpeter Clark Terry (Duke Ellington/Count Basie) caught a performance by McGaha and took him under his wing. McGaha went on to land numerous gigs and toured the world as a sideman for Kenny Rogers, BeBe and CeCe Winans, The O'Jays, Take 6, Lou Rawls and Max Roach. Rod has earned impressive awards such as The Maynard Ferguson Award from the Notre Dame Collegiate Jazz Festival, The Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for Outstanding Jazz Trumpeter, The Oak Lawn Jazz Festival All-Star Award, and the Outstanding Jazz Trumpet Soloist Award from the National Association of Jazz Educators. McGaha's Preacherman (1999) rose to No. 12 on the Gavin Jazz Report, while The Trumpet Sounds (2003) earned him a Dove nomination.

Perhaps Annie Sellick's best quality as a singer is her ability to make people happy. Her jazz journey began auspiciously when she sat in with guitarist Roland Gresham's group at a club near the college she attended. After her performances, the crowd rose to their feet cheering, and it was clear she had found her calling. After working with the trio for four years, she moved back to her hometown of Nashville and honed her skills at the Nashville Jazz Workshop. After just a few years, she won a devoted following, became a mainstay at the major jazz venues, was profiled in every major Nashville paper, and gave a celebrated sold-out performance backed by the Nashville Symphony. Her career in jazz has taken her through three recordings on her own label. Stardust on My Sleeve (2000), a striking debut, was on the Nashville Tower Records weekly Top 10 seller list for a year. It remained in the store-wide Top 25 for several weeks, keeping pace with international releases by top-selling artists. No Greater Thrill (2003), her second release, features world-renowned jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, along with Nashville's Pat Bergeson and Jim White. Her third album, recorded live in L.A. and slated for a 2004 release, is as free-spirited and full of attitude as Annie is.

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