BIO: Was raised in a small village in northwest Transylvania, in “the region where Bartok did his most extensive research and collecting of folk songs” and grew up listening to both traditional and classical music. He studied composition at the Bucharest Music Academy while simultaneously leading his own jazz groups, and notes that his approach to improvisation has been influenced by “the profound musical contributions of Romanian modern classical composers like Aurel Stroe, Anatol Vieru and of course Enesco”. Desire to get closer to the source of jazz brought him to the US, and since moving from Romania to New York in 1999 his ensembles have included many of New York’s finest players.
Pianist Lucian Ban has "ricocheted among orthodox post bop, free jazz, and inspired hybrids - including his inventive arrangements of the music of Romanian composer George Enesco" on his all star octet album Enesco Re-imagined (Sunnyside, 2009) co-lead with bassist John Hébert. In 2013, Ban’s quartet Elevation released their first album, the "blustery Mystery (Sunnyside), where the searing, post-Coltrane blowing of tenor saxophonist Abraham Burton and the charged rhythms of drummer Eric McPherson and bassist John Hebert cut against the pianist’s controlled, abstruse austerity". Ban also has a duo with American violist Mat Maneri, Transylvanian Concert (ECM, 2013) where "Ban’s playing feels moodier and more brooding against the mahogany grain of Maneri’s microtonal viola" (Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader). He has recorded 10 albums as a leader for labels such as Sunnyside, ECM, Jazzaway, etc. Lucian Ban has performed/recorded with among others: Abraham Burton , Nasheet Waits, Mat Maneri, Alex Harding, Barry Altschul, Gerald Cleaver, Bob Stewart, Badal Roy, Tony Malaby, Mark Helias, Sam Newsome, Ralph Alessi, Pheeroan AkLaff, Reggie Nicholson, Drew Gress, Brad Jones, John Hebert, Eric McPherson, among many others. His latest album “Songs from Afar” by ELEVATION Quartet released by Sunnyside Records Jan 2016 received the 5* review in DOWNBEAT Magazine.
BIO: A 2006 Grammy Nominee for “Best Alternative Album” MAT MANERI over the course of a twenty-five year career, Mat Maneri has defined the voice of the viola and violin in jazz and improvised music. Born in Brooklyn in 1969, Maneri has established an international reputation as one of the most original and compelling artists of his generation, praised for his high degree of individualism, a distinctive marriage of jazz and microtonal music, and his work with 20th century icons of improvised music.
As a young musician, Maneri was influenced by the sounds of his childhood home. His father, saxophonist and composer Joe Maneri, was on faculty at the New England Conservatory, and colleagues like Ran Blake and Gunther Schuller were frequent visitors. In 1990, Mat co-founded the legendary Joe Maneri Quartet with his father, drummer Randy Peterson and bassists Ed Schuller and John Lockwood. The quartet’s recordings for ECM Records, Hatology and Leo Records were widely acknowledged by critics and fellow musicians as among the most important developments in 20th century improvised music. Maneri’s 1999 solo debut on ECM Records marked his emergence as a musician with a singular, uncompromised voice. Pianist Matt Shipp called him “one of the five greatest improvisers on the planet”, reflecting a growing consensus of Maneri as a central figure in American creative music. Since then, the long list of musicians with whom he has worked includes icons such as Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley, Paul Motian and William Parker, as well as influential bandleaders such as Joe Morris, Vijay Iyer, Matthew Shipp, Marilyn Crispell, Joelle Leandre, Kris Davis, Tim Berne and Craig Taborn. Maneri’s recordings as a leader (trio, quartet and quintet) have been documented on Hatology, Aum Fidelity, Leo Records and Thirsty Ear.