Roni Ben-Hur BIO:
Jazz guitarist Roni Ben-Hur has earned a sterling reputation as a musician and educator, renowned for his golden tone, improvisational brilliance, compositional lyricism and ability to charm peers, students and listeners alike. Eminent jazz critic Gary Giddins wrote in the Village Voice: “A limber and inventive guitarist, Ben-Hur keeps the flame alive and pure, burning in every note… He’s a guitarist who knows the changes and his own mind.” Roni – born in Israel in 1962 but a longtime American citizen, based in the New York City area – has recorded a dozen-plus albums as leader or co-leader, with The New York Times praising his “crisp, fluid style” and Time Out New York calling him “a formidable and consummately lyrical guitarist.” He has developed a rare facility in both straight-ahead jazz and samba/bossa-nova styles, underscored by his work with masters in each field, from bebop piano sage Barry Harris to beloved Brazilian vocalist Leny Andrade.
Alexia Bomtempo BIO:
Born to an American mother and a concert-promoter Brazilian father, Bomtempo was raised in the beach culture of Rio de Janeiro, while traveling to America frequently over the years. She grew up listening to Brazilian popular music and Bossa Nova, as well as rock, folk and jazz. Since relocating back to New York City, the Brazilian-American singer-songwriter Bomtempo has fully embraced, challenged, and redefined the Northern half of her American artistic roots. Equally comfortable wandering amidst hazy memory-inducing soundscapes as she is in delivering flowing melodies influenced by her beachside upbringing in Rio de Janeiro, Alexia is an artist of of multiple worlds. Her sound is individual and confidently feminine, navigating genres ranging from classic American song to exploratory Tropicália. In 2008, she began touring throughout Brazil, Europe, Japan and the U.S in support of her debut release Astrolábio (EMI Brazil).
Her 2012 English language tribute to Caetano Veloso, I Just Happen to Be Here (Biscoito Fino) was called “an ingeniously produced, lucidly performed, and hauntingly beautiful collection…” (Village Voice). BlackBook Magazine called her 2017 album Chasing Storms and Stars “a deeply poignant meditation on lost love, broken dreams and the soul-searching confusion that comes with revisiting those memories.”
As described by the Washington Post, the “top-shelf Brazilian jazz musician” is currently working with Grammy Award nominated pianist Orrin Evans on a Brazilian inspired jazz ensemble featuring acclaimed modern jazz musicians Clarence Penn (drums), Luques Curtis (bass) and Leandro Pellegrino (guitar). Entitled Terreno Comum, the quintet has appeared at this year’s DC Jazz Festival and Exit Zero Jazz Festival.