Cuban-American pianist Antonio Madruga is a Florida native who was recently awarded, for the second consecutive year, the prestigious Ella Fitzgerald Award for outstanding soloist at the 2012 “Essentially Ellington” competition at Lincoln Center. He has been a member of the Grammy Jazz Ensemble, and performed with Grammy-Award winner Esperanza Spalding during Grammy Week 2011 and with Terri Lynn-Carrington in 2012.
He is a five-time recipient of Downbeat Magazine’s Awards in both classical and jazz piano. In 2010, he was invited by First Lady Michelle Obama to perform at the White House with Wynton Marsalis and Paquito D'Rivera. Mrs. Obama also requested that he be a featured guest in her photo shoot in Harper’s Bazaar Magazine article entitled, “America’s Got Talent.” He has also appeared as soloist, or with his trio, at Sweet Rhythm’s (NYC), the Panama Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, The 92nd Street Y, Princeton University, The Kennedy Center, the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival, Tanglewood, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and has performed with Paquito D’Rivera, Marian McPartland, Danilo Perez, Ira Sullivan, Bill Charlap, Antonio Hart, Bobby Watson, and Lisa Henry.
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Russell Hall comes to New York from South Florida. He started playing the electric bass in eighth grade then switched to the double bass when he started high school His talent has been recognized by the Gold Coast Jazz Society, the Florida Youth Orchestra and in the Essentially Ellington Jazz Band Competition, receiving awards for Outstanding Bass Performance and Outstanding Rhythm Section. He recently started a fund to aid less fortunate future young musicians receive lessons and purchase instruments.
By the time he graduated from the Brubeck Fellowship Program, Chad Lefkowitz Brown had won a total of 15 DownBeat awards, including Best Jazz Soloist, and had performed at Carnegie Hall, the GRAMMY Awards, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and many other prestigious venues in North America and Europe. Chad has performed with Dave Brubeck, McCoy Tyner, Christian McBride, and Josh Groban, and has performed at notable venues such as the Staples Center, the North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Blue Note. Chad is also the Musical Director and saxophonist for Alice Tan Ridley from America’s Got Talent and Devyn Rush from American Idol. "Chad is an exceptionally talented musician. His contribution to the jazz world will be a pleasure to watch in the coming years." (Donny Mccaslin)
Jake Goldbas has made a name for himself as an in-demand percussionist, educator, and composer around the world. Growing up in the Hartford, CT jazz scene gave him incredible opportunities at a young age to perform with jazz greats such as Kurt Elling, Jon Hendricks, Jimmy Greene, Dave Brubeck, and Nat Reeves. Jake has preformed multiple times at the prestigious Kennedy Center in Washington DC. He has also had the privilege to perform at Carnegie Hall and various prestigious jazz clubs and concert halls in New York, France, Switzerland and Russia. Most recently in the summer of 2011 Jake preformed at the Umbria Jazz festival in Italy with singer Allan Harris.
In addition to keeping a busy touring schedule, Jake has been on numerous recordings in the past year that have received critical acclaim. He was on the Grammy nominated “KENYA Revisited Live!!” album with Bobby Sanabria. Jake's work on Dana Lauren's "It's You Or No One" along side an all star team of Christian Mcbride, Joel Frahm, Manuel Valera, and Luques Curtis got rave reviews from music publications across the nation.