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Hailey Niswanger

Hailey Niswanger (pronounced “NICE-wonger”), currently attending the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston where she is studying jazz performance on a full scholarship, has an impressive list of accomplishments that reach far beyond the borders of her home in Portland, Oregon and well beyond her years. Born February 12, 1990 in Houston, Texas, she has shared the stage with DeeDee Bridgewater, George Duke, George Garzone, Red Holloway, Terell Stafford, Phil Woods, James Moody, Steve Nelson, Christian McBride, McCoy Tyner, Maceo Parker, Wynton Marsalis, Mark Whitfield and other jazz greats and leads her own quartet that has performed at the Portland Jazz Festival, Jimmy Mak’s Jazz Club, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival and other jazz venues around Portland. In September of 2009 Hailey was selected as the new alto saxophonist in the internationally acclaimed big band the Either/Orchestra, occupying the chair previously held by Miguel Zenon and Jaleel Shaw, among others.

Hailey’s June 2009 recording debut as a leader — the self-produced and self-released CD Confeddie — was promoted to both U.S. and Canadian press and radio, establishing her throughout North America. The album was reviewed in such leading jazz magazines as JazzTimes and Jazziz and inspired veteran jazz critic Nat Hentoff to profile her in The Wall Street Journal. It was programmed on more than 100 radio stations in North America and was on the CMJ (College Music Journal) Jazz Top-40 chart for 11 consecutive weeks, 4 in the top-10 and 3 in the top-5 including two weeks at its peak position of #4 and was the #1 jazz add during its add week. Confeddie also appeared on the JazzWeek Top-50 chart 3 times and was among the top 100 jazz CDs in the country for two months. Although she also plays soprano sax, clarinet and flute, Hailey showcases solely her alto sax skills on Confeddie which features a rhythm section composed of fellow Berklee students Michael Palma on piano, Greg Chaplin on bass and Mark Whitfield Jr. on drums. She has delivered an authoritative straight-ahead recording featuring a level of instrumental virtuosity that belies her age on arrangements of modern jazz classics by Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Dorham and Benny Golson. Hailey also penned the title track whose name is a combination of “confetti,” to convey the festive feeling that permeates the album, and the first name of legendary saxophonist Eddie Harris in whose style it was written.

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