“The spirit of serious jazz tenor saxophone endures in JD Allen.” –JAZZTIMES
JD has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, in The Atlantic, in The New York Times (on the blues) and hailed by one of JDs first champions, jazz critic Ben Ratliff as, “a tenor saxophonist with an enigmatic, elegant and hard-driving style,” JD Allen is one of
the most thoughtful jazz saxophonists on the scene today. Winner of Downbeat, JazzTimes & NPR polls in categories including NPR’s Best Jazz of the Year, Tenor
Saxophonist of the Year, Composer of the Year and Rising Star of the Year and JJA WINNER Short Form Jazz News Documentary, Mario Lathan, for VICTORY! – The Making of JD Allen’s Victory in 2012. “For roughly a decade, the tenor saxophonist J. D. Allen has accomplished what is now a rarity in jazz: He has held together a trio without reshuffling its personnel — deepening a collective language and sharpening his voice as an improviser” (The New York Times). The Detroit natives apprenticeship has largely been in New York, where he has performed, recorded, and toured with legends running the gamut from Betty Carter and Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris to contemporaries Meshell Ndegeocello. Since making a strong impression in his early years in New York and serving an invaluable tenure with Betty Carter, JD has come a long way - now fully possessed of his own sound. JD has appeared on WNYC’S Leonard Lopate Show, NPR's Jazz Perspectives, WNYC's Soundcheck, WKCR's Musician's Show and festivals and venues worldwide including headlining at New York’s Village Vanguard, Newport, Saratoga and Summerstage/Charlie Parker Jazz Festivals, among others. At the request of saxophone colossus, Sonny Rollins and filmmaker Dick Fontaine, JD was invited to open up ceremonies for the screening of the lauded, “Sonny Rollins – Beyond The Notes” at The 2013 Woodstock Film Festival to great acclaim. JD also appeared in Fontaine’s documentary on Betty Carter some 20 years ago. JD Allen performs regularly with his own trio and quartet, featuring
guitarist Liberty Ellman.
Aleta Brown is a dancer, singer, educator, writer, and producer based out of New York. As an artist, Aleta is inspired to create new opportunities for artists to share the experiences they have with race every day. As an educator, Aleta's creativity is a crux of each lesson and a mechanism for opening up space for students to express their experiences with racism and bias.
Aleta is originally from Rochester, NY but spent six years in the Dominican Republic as a child. Aleta has studied at Hamilton College, University of Oxford, and received a graduate degree from SUNY Purchase in Entrepreneurship in the Arts. Aleta is currently working towards an MS in TESOL at CCNY and teaches ESL at a middle school in the south Bronx.
Jacob Duncan was inspired to play jazz on the alto saxophone at age ten after repeated listens of Sonny Rollins’ Live at the Village Vanguard. While playing on Ohio River steamboats and in nightclubs as a teenager, Duncan encountered jazz’ true identity—the revolutionary Black music of the United States and the complex narrative of noble rebellion in solidarity with Black lives. Immediately, the improvisatory and conversational nature of jazz afforded him continual opportunities for composition and arrangement in real time, serving as the basis and discipline for through-composed works for small and large ensembles. A songwriter and bandleader, he has released critically-acclaimed jazz albums The Busker and It’s Alright to Dream, as well as two albums with his avant-pop group Liberation Prophecy. Additionally, he has collaborated as arranger and improvisor with multiple well-known pop, jazz, and classical artists such as, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Norah Jones, Rachel Grimes, JD Allen, and John Goldsby. Previously, his compositions for a large ensemble have been exhibited by Louisville’s Orchestra Enigmatic, and he has brought his anti-racist full orchestral interventionist works to the Louisville Orchestra.