Christian Sands trio with marcus strickland

Saturday, September 29, 8:30-9:30PM

Wagner Stage at the midway

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CHRISTIAN SANDS’ auspicious career began in his New Haven, Connecticut home when he began playing piano at four years old, composed his first piece of music at five, started music classes at eight, and became a "professional" at ten. By the time he was officially old enough, Sands was well prepared to attend such prestigious schools as the Neighborhood Music School and the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, and he later received both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Manhattan School of Music.

A key moment came while Sands was in high school, when he attended the Jazz in July summer workshop at the University of Massachusetts. It was there that he met and began his mentorship with Dr. Billy Taylor. “I was 13 or 14 and I studied with Dr. Taylor,” says Sands. “After the first week, he asked me to stay a second. I went on to take private lessons with him and then master classes. He became my music grandfather. I went to his house in the Bronx and we’d talk about different music such as his piano heroes like Art Tatum, and then bands I was listening to, including The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, John Legend…and he was hip to all this.”

With his debut recording, Reach, five-time Grammy Award nominee Sands is stretching into exciting, progressive territory as he breaks new ground, traversing from the straight-ahead zone into fresh-sounding music influenced by styles ranging from Afro-Cuban rhythms to hip-hop beats to dirty blues with an edge.

Miami born saxophonist MARCUS STRICKLAND is a major contributor to contemporary jazz. Strickland has seven releases as a leader: Triumph of the Heavy, Vol 1 & 2 (2011), Idiosyncrasies (2009), Open Reel Deck (2007), & Twi-Life (2006) on his own music label Strick Muzik (launched in 2006); Of Song (2009) on Criss Cross Records; Brotherhood (2002) & At Last (2001) on Fresh Sound Records. In addition to his own trio and quartet, Strickland has played with Dave DouglasJeff 'Tain' Watts, and also had a five-year stint with the drummer Roy Haynes. Strickland has been on two Grammy-nominated recordings (including Fountain of Youth- Roy Haynes & Keystone). Marcus' twin brother E.J. Strickland is a drummer, and is a member of Marcus' quartet and leads his own quintet as well.

The musicians are: CHRISTIAN SANDS (piano); ERIC WHEELER (bass); TERREON GULLY (drums); MARCUS STRICKLAND (saxophone).