Prime 88 Pianists | The Velvet Note

Prime 88 Pianists

About Louis Heriveaux:

Born in Queens, New York, only 25 minutes away from Harlem, which was once known as America’s Jazz Mecca, one might suspect that Louis would have gotten his early beginnings in Jazz, as a youngster, dipping and dodging in and out of Jazz clubs in the Big Apple. However, the road Heriveaux traveled is a journey more intriguing to read about.

Louis recalls hearing Jazz as a child. “I would hear music on television shows such as Charlie Brown and Mr. Rogers and tell my parents I wanted to play music that sounds like that. Unfortunately there was no outlet for this music in the area where we lived. Since my earliest exposure was primarily classical music, for me, Jazz still remained just beyond my reach.”

The summer after his junior year of high school, Louis was selected to attend The Governors Honors Program. The top 10% of students in every academic field attended a prestigious university for six weeks of intense studies. It was here that Louis received his initial exposure to Jazz. “I was exposed to charts and improvisation, the mechanics of the music and how a pianist could make their own choices about what to play – from chord voicings to musical lines. In spite of the fact that I was pretty good in classical, I never planned to be a musician for a living. My plans were to become a pharmacist, but instead I fell in love with Jazz. When I returned home I practiced and studied on my own.” That same year he made first chair in Jazz All State. With these honors now under his belt, Louis began honing his skills.

After graduating from Griffin High School, Louis settled in Atlanta, Georgia. Louis began playing Jazz on Atlanta’s Jazz scene, at age 17. Heads began to turn and fellow musicians and club owners began to take notice of his early signs of professionalism and confidence at the piano.

Today, Louis holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in jazz performance, and is one of the most sought after pianists in the area.  To listen to his autobiography aired on National Public Radio, click here:


About Kevin Bales:

By some measures, Kevin Bales was a latecomer to jazz, already 17 when he encountered the sounds and structures and became captivated by the freedom and corresponding challenges of the music. But if late to the party, he wasted no time in immersing himself in the celebration, declaring total commitment to what would be his life’s work and backing his announcement by resigning his job and designated career in computer programming.

Kevin could commit to jazz with a reasonable degree of expectation. He was already an accomplished pianist, with classical chops refined since the age of 10. So accomplished he was invited to audition for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, then under the direction of its most storied conductor Robert Shaw, at age 16.

Kevin’s initial career move was to the University of North Florida and a budding if little-known jazz program. There he met and performed with, and went on to record and tour with, a number of monumental artists who had settled into that burgeoning North Florida jazz scene. Giants like Wynton Marsalis, Louie Bellson, Eddie Daniels, James Moody, Ben Tucker, Ira Sullivan, Sam Rivers, and Nat Adderley. He counts among his mentors bassist Ben Tucker, multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan, guitar legends Nathen Page and Jack Petersen, and the fiercely individual saxophonist Bunky Green. His meeting with Bunky Green led to five years of tours. His encounter with guitarist Nathen Page blossomed into 15 years of spot tours and four albums. And his work with trumpeter extraordinaire Marcus Printup has become a lifetime association that has included recordings on Blue Note/Capital records.

Few artists have the patience for teaching – as are few teachers accomplished players. But Kevin has amassed a reputation for his prowess in both professions. While still a senior at North Florida he was drafted into a full teaching load, and continued to be an integral part of the school’s jazz program for upwards of a decade. Today, Kevin manages his own jazz program, overseeing an ambitious schedule of ambitious jazz students.

Far from burdensome, Kevin finds teaching exhilarating. “I love working with students,” he says, “and it helps me in my own playing, because you have to analyze and understand what you’re playing in order to explain it.”
Kevin has amassed a long list of awards and a reputation as one of the finest jazz pianists performing anywhere. In 1994, less than a decade into jazz, he won the American Pianist Association’s Jazz Piano Competition. In addition to nearly every important jazz venue in the South, he has performed in some of the most acclaimed clubs and festivals in America and around the world: the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, The Bakery in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center jazz series, the Toronto and Edinburgh jazz festivals, and the Moscow Center for the Performing Arts.

His list of recordings is similarly extensive, including his own first album, The First Day, released in 2006, and recent titles with Motema recording artist Rene Marie, with whom he also currently tours. Their most recent album, Voice of My Beautiful Country, on the Motema Label is currently in the top 10 on the jazz charts.


About Tyrone Jackson:

The name Tyrone Jackson is quickly becoming synonymous with the quintessential jazz piano player.  His boundless creativity coupled with subtle
accompaniments, has Tyrone poised for national recognition.

Born in the New Orleans’ cradle of jazz, Jackson embodies the spirit of the Crescent City. The blends of jazz, funk and afro-carribean melodies are ever present in his work.  But of course, musicians are never solely influenced by
themselves. Jackson’s teachers are a virtual Who’s Who of great jazz piano players ranging from Ellis Marsalis, Kevin Bales to gospel legend Moses Hogan.

In addition to his composition skills, the jazz wonder is most known for his compelling solos. Jackson’s improvisational skills allow him to become a part of the song whether he softly highlights ballads or tears through fast-paced standards.

Jackson has performed with Earl Klugh, Melba Moore, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Vincent Gardner, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Wes Anderson, Greg Dawson, Jennifer Holliday, Karen Briggs, Clay Jenkins, Russell Gunn, David Sanchez, Damaris Carbough, Russell Malone,
Marcus Miller along with opening for Esperanza Spaulding,
Gerald Albright, Spyro Gyra and the Crusaders, and Chaka Kahn.
He also toured Italy and Austria with the UNO Jazz Band;
toured Brazil with Michael Ward ; Opened for. Toured Thule,Greenland and performed with FutureMan (Roy Wooton) in Mableton, Ga.

His latest CD “Another Voyage” is his second solo release and first CD with label Hot Shoe Records. His songs are currently played with much acclaim to worldwide audiences on XM 70 Satellite radio. Jackson was also
featured in Jazziz Magazine and selected articles in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Currently Tyrone Jackson is a professor at Kennesaw State University
where is the artist in residence and teaches a myriad of classes
including: Jazz Improvisation II & III, Applied Jazz Piano, Group Jazz Piano.

Musical Education: University of New Orleans (Undergrad) Studied
privately under Ellis Marsalis (renowned father of Wynton and Branford Marsalis) and Mary Ann Bulla (classical); Jackson received his Master Of Music Degree from Georgia State University (Kevin Bales–teacher)

Music Philosophy: “We must remember that playing music
is an extension of ourselves. Every experience that we’ve
had, and will have, will eventually trickle into what we play
and how we play.”

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