Ed Laub- Guitarist/Vocalist
Ed Laub is a renowned guitarist and vocalist whose style has been compared to a blend of Kenny Rankin, Chet Baker and James Taylor and a guitar style similar to his mentor Bucky Pizzarelli. Ed says, “ that’s not bad company to be associated with. They were amongst the artists to whom I listened to and was most influenced by.
Because of Ed’s talent as an accompanist and the fact that he is one of the more accomplished 7 String guitarists, he is sought after by many of the top guitarists in the NYC metropolitan area to back them up and adds a pianistic style that makes a duo sound more like a trio. Focusing mostly on the American Songbook genre Ed also loves to perform the great Brazilian classics using a nylon 7-string guitar.
Born in northern Bergen County, New Jersey in 1952, Ed grew up in a family of musicians and his one uncle was an accomplished organist/arranger who spent many years with Mitch Miller and the Fred Waring.
In ’66 Ed had the good fortune to study with a marvelous guitarist and banjoist, Bobby Domenic (Uncle to jazz legend, Bucky Pizzarelli) and ultimately a few years later in 1969, studying the 7 String guitar with Bucky. Ed graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in music and business and maintained a dual career in both his family business and as a musician in a variety of bands.
15 years ago Ed sold his business and became the steady partner to his teacher, hero and close friend, Bucky Pizzarelli. They now travel all over the metropolitan area and major cities in the US, playing in clubs, concert venues and jazz festivals. All About Jazz Magazine said, “Pizzarelli is the complete jazz musician and Laub complements him perfectly!”
Ed works primarily with other guitarists when not working with Bucky and can be seen around the area with the likes of Gene Bertoncini, Howard Alden, Paul Meyers, Martin Pizzarelli, Jack Wilkins, Russell Malone, Frank Vignola and pianists, Russ Kassoff, Bill O’Connell, Konrad Paszkudzki and Larry Fuller. Ed also had the privilege of several guest appearances with his idol, the late Kenny Rankin.
In February 2014 Ed was featured on a guitar trio album along with John Pizzarelli and leader, Bucky Pizzarelli. The CD, “Three For All”- The Bucky Pizzarelli Trio is released on Chesky Records.
In early March 2014 Ed released his debut CD (Soft Guitar) featuring his mentor and partner, Bucky Pizzarelli
Bill O’Connell Biography
After a 40-year long career that has seen him excel as a leader, soloist, arranger, musical director, and accompanist for some of the most celebrated names in jazz and Latin music, Bill O’Connell can lay claim to a track record of challenging and artistic-diverse triumphs that few of his peers can match. As a recording artist, his 13 dates as a leader have drawn universal critical acclaim while his talents as a pianist and arranger have been tapped by a diverse range of noted soloists to elevate their sessions. Today, as both a respected educator and leader of The Latin Jazz All-Stars, O’Connell’s professional life brims with new opportunities to express and fulfill his singular music vision.
Born in New York City on August 22, 1953, O’Connell studied classical piano at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. On his return to New York, the young pianist was drawn to the Latin jazz and salsa scene that was flowering in the city in the 1970s. He joined Cuban conga player and bandleader Mongo Santamaria’s Latin jazz group in 1977 as keyboardist, arranger and composer. His time with Santamaria resulted in the first of O’Connell’s many recordings on two LPs for the Vaya label.
Although he was well established as an in-demand keyboardist and arranger on the Latin music circuit, O’Connell didn’t forsake his interest in straight-ahead jazz, landing engagements with such hallowed improvisers as Sonny Rollins, Chet Baker, Gato Barbieri and Emily Remler. As a sideman, he recorded four albums with bassist Charles Fambrough and others with singers Jon Lucien, Janet Lawson and Nnenna Freelon. Other rewarding engagements included working with vocalists Kenny Rankin and Astrud Gilberto, The Fort Apache Band, and trombonist Papo Vázquez.
Shortly after recording his first album as a leader, Searching, in 1978 for the Inner City Records label, O’Connell began a long association in 1984 as keyboardist, arranger and music director for popular flautist Dave Valentín. He maintained a strong friendship and close working relationship with Valentín through the release of 15 albums, culminating in 2011 with the flute legend’s final recording, Pure Imagination, for HighNote Records.
O’Connell resumed his recording career as a leader in the late 1980s with Love for Sale (Pony Canyon) and Signature (Blue Moon Mesa), followed in 1993 by Lost Voices (CTI). In recent years, his output has accelerated, producing 10 releases. They include After the Dust Settled (Random Chance), a solo recital recorded in Moscow, a 2015 a duo session with saxophonist Steve Slagle, Power of Two (Panorama Records); Latin Jazz Fantasy (Random Chance), a 2004 an ambitious date that featured strings and horns; and two albums utilizing a unique trio formation, Triple Play (Savant, 2008) and Triple Play Plus Three (Zoho, 2011).
Other titles in O’Connell’s discography include Black Sand (Random Chance, 2001), the prototype of what would become the pianists regular group, The Latin Jazz All-Stars; Rhapsody in Blue (Challenge, 2010); and three subsequent releases featuring The Latin Jazz All-Stars — Zócalo (Savant, 2013), Imagine (Savant, 2014), and Heart Beat (Savant, 2016), featuring Conrad Herwig on trombone, saxophonist Steve Slagle, bassist Luques Curtis, Richie Barshay on drums and percussionist Richie Flores. He is also involved as a keyboardist and arranger on Herwig’s Latin Side Of series, which put a Latin twist on the compositions of such jazz giants as Herbie Hancock and Joe
Leading jazz publications, including Downbeat, JAZZIZ, Jazz Times, and All About Jazz have long praised O’Connell’s artistry. Alex Henderson, writing for AllMusic.com, stated that “As a pianist he is known for a lyrical approach that owes something to Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock.” “The range of his artistic spectrum seems limitless,” declared George Carroll in his review of Latin Jazz Fantasy.
A four-time recipient of the “Jazz Writer of the Year” award from SESAC, the performing rights organization, and a member of the jazz faculty of Rutgers University, O’Connell’s illustrious career vividly demonstrates that he is a master of myriad music idioms and an endless range of sophisticated keyboard and arranging skills.
Martin Pizzarelli – Bass
Martin Pizzarelli is a renowned double bassist known for his work with his father, legendary guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, and brother, guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli. He grew up in Saddle River, NJ, where at a young age he became accustomed to weekly visits from Benny Goodman, Teddy Wilson, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry, Sonny Stitt and Ray Brown. Martin, along with his brother and Pianist Ray Kennedy, famously opened for Frank Sinatra’s world tour in 1993. Since then he has endured a remarkable tour schedule of roughly 200 dates per year throughout all corners of the globe. TV appearances include Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Blue Note Jazz Club, and work with the Boston Pops, New York Pops, San Diego Symphony, Dallas Symphony and New Jersey Symphony orchestras. Martin has also worked often with jazz pianist Monty Alexander and Daniel Jobim, the grandson of Antonio Carlos Jobim. In 2004, he released and recorded his own trio CD with Bucky Pizzarelli and Ray Kennedy, and has appeared as a sideman on over 30 albums
Harry Allen – Tenor Saxophone
Gene Lees writes, “Stan Getz was once asked his idea of the perfect tenor saxophone soloist. His answer was, ‘My technique, Al Cohn’s ideas, and Zoot’s time.’ The fulfillment of that ideal may well be embodied in thirty-year-old Harry Allen.”
Swing Bros. recording artist Harry Allen has over thirty recordings to his name. Three of Harry’s CDs have won Gold Disc Awards from Japan’s Swing Journal Magazine, and his CD Tenors Anyone? won both the Gold Disc Award and the New Star Award. His recordings have made the top ten list for favorite new releases in Swing Journal Magazine’s reader’s poll and Jazz Journal International’s critic’s poll for 1997, and Eu Nao Quero Dancar (I Won’t Dance), the third Gold Disc Award winner, was voted second for album of the year for 1998 by Swing Journal Magazine’s reader’s poll. The Harry Allen – Joe Cohn Quartet won the New York Nightlife Award for Outstanding Jazz Combo Performance of 2006 and was nominated for Best Jazz Combo by the Jazz Journalists Association for the same year.
Harry has performed at jazz festivals and clubs worldwide, frequently touring the United States, Europe and Asia. He has performed with Rosemary Clooney, Ray Brown, Hank Jones, Frank Wess, Flip Phillips, Scott Hamilton, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, John Pizzarelli, Bucky Pizzarelli, Gus Johnson, Jeff Hamilton, Terry Gibbs, Warren Vache, and has recorded with Tony Bennett, Johnny Mandel, Ray Brown, Tommy Flanagan, James Taylor, Sheryl Crow, Kenny Barron, Dave McKenna, Dori Caymmi, Larry Goldings, George Mraz, Jake Hanna, and Al Foster, among others.
Harry is featured on many of John Pizzarelli’s recordings including the soundtrack and an on-screen cameo in the feature film The Out of Towners starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn. He has also done a series of commercials for ESPN starring Robert Goulet.
Harry was born in Washington D.C. in 1966, and was raised in Los Angeles, CA and Burrillville, RI. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in music in 1988 from Rutgers University in New Jersey, and currently resides in New York City.