The SMS TRIO represents the sounds of vocalist SAALIK ZIYAD, bassist MARLENE ROSENBERG, and guitarist SCOTT HESSE. A native Chicagoan, SAALIK ZIYAD, began singing with the Chicago Children's Choir, eventually performing with many musical greats including Charlie Haden, Amina Claudine Myers, and Willie Pickens, as well as with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. While working on his Bachelor's Degree in Vocal Performance at Northern Illinois University (NIU), Saalik was lead jazz vocalist with the NIU Jazz Ensemble, including tours with Hammiet Blueitt, Steve Turré and Rufus Reid. Saalik has performed worldwide--from the Sons D’hiver Jazz Festival in Paris, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, the Made in Chicago Jazz Festival in Poznan, Poland, to the Viva Rock Vegas Show in Las Vegas. Saalik, a former student and then teacher of the AACM School of Music, has been an artist in residence for the Jazz Institute of Chicago in CPS and has conducted multiple clinics with the Polyrhythms Organization.

Bassist MARLENE ROSENBERG has played professionally throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Japan, performing with innumerable jazz luminaries, such as Kenny Barron, Joe Henderson, Stan Getz, Roy Hargrove, Marian McPartland, Cedar Walton, and Kevin Mahogany. Marlene plays regularly with the Willie Pickens trio and her own ensemble MRQ. Her second CD, “ Pieces Of...” featuring Cedar Walton and Javon Jackson, was #24 on the Jazz charts, and her CD Bassprint received 4 stars from DownBeat Magazine. John Clayton, bassist, composer, and arranger, describes Marlene as  “One of Jazz, Bass, and Music world’s treasures! There is a great bass tone, great swing, and lovely fire in everything that Marlene does.” In addition to her performances, she continues to mentor high school students and teach at Roosevelt and Northwestern Universities.

Known for his harmonic and rhythmic inventiveness, composer, educator, and guitarist SCOTT HESSE is equally at home in straight-ahead or avant-garde settings.  Since moving to Chicago ten years ago, Scott has played at every major jazz venue in the area.  As a leader, Scott has recorded four CDs, and appears on a host of others. Currently, he is involved in a number of projects including Dee Alexander's Evolution Ensemble, the Marlene Rosenberg Quartet (MRQ), the Stafford James String Ensemble, Vincent Davis' Percussion Plus, and the Victor Garcia Organ Group. Scott is also preparing new music for his next recording with his trio. Scott holds a BA in Cultural Studies from Empire State College in New York and a Master's Degree in Jazz Composition from DePaul University in Chicago.