Featured Performer: Tarus Mateen

Tarus Mateen will be performing with the Jazz and Freedom Quartet on Saturday, January 14th, 2017 from 9:10 – 10:00 pm at Tropicalia.

Bio taken from: http://www.tarusmateen.com/


Tommy Hilfiger. Monica. Betty Carter. Common. Terence Blanchard. Outkast. Goodie Mob. Korn. Bernard Purdie. The Roots. Sly and Robbie. Jason Moran. Speech. Ice Cube. Milt Jackson. George Benson. Joe Clausell. Marc Cary. Sean “Puffy” Combs. Christina Aguilera.

What reads like the front-row seating arrangement at a previous year’s Grammy award show is actually a partial membership list of a very elite group. Members of this group have received international acclaim for their contributions to popular culture and music. They have transformed the way we envision, appreciate, play, and hear music. All superstars in their own right, each member of this group sought the light of Tarus Mateen so that they could shine their brightest.

Tarus’s creative genius and mastery of acoustic bass, electric bass, rhythm guitar, and piano make him one of the most sought-after musician/producers in hip-hop, house, blues, rock, reggae, soul, and straight ahead jazz. He is quite possibly the only musician to receive critical acclaim in all these musical genres at once. Since 1996, there has not been a Top 10 jazz album that didn’t feature Tarus Mateen. This is a phenomenal feat for any artist, certainly for one of only 48 years in age.

Tarus began his journey as a professional musician with his two older brothers Roy (drums) and Radji (sax) who toured Jamaica with their group, opening for Freddie Mc Gregregor, as well as Judy Mowatt, formally with the Itrees backup for Bob Marley. By the time Tarus was a teenager, he was a studio musician for some of California’s early rappers and had toured nationally with his brothers.

In 1985 Tarus moved to Atlanta, Georgia to attend Morehouse College, majoring in Music. Setting the local club circuit on fire, Tarus sharpened his skills on both the upright and electric bass. While playing in Savannah, Georgia, Art Blakey encouraged Tarus to move to New York and join his band at the recommendation of front liners Javon Jackson and Philip Harper.

Upon arriving in New York in 1988, Tarus landed a new artist’s dream gig – a one and a half-year stint with legendary jazz master Betty Carter, with whom he recorded a Grammy nominated CD. Touring in Europe and Asia with Ms. Carter afforded him an incredible experience, as well as life long lessons. The cumbersome size of the upright bass made it impossible to keep one on hand for part of the tour. So, at each stop on the tour, Tarus met a new bass. Ms. Carter responded, “It’s not the bass, dear, it’s the bassist.” At this instant, he recommitted himself to artistic mastery.

It is this early commitment to mastering his craft to which Tarus remains true. Known in the jazz world as a genius on bass, his first instrument was actually the piano. A consummate artist, Tarus isn’t afraid to explore any musical genre. His repertoire says it all. Two of hip hop’s shining southern stars, groups Outkast and Goodie Mob, can credit their critical acclaim, and platinum commercial success with Tarus’s contributions to their albums. He is consistently requested for performances and studio sessions with R&B and hip hop artists including Q-Tip, Lauryn Hill, Ghostface, Ice Cube and The Roots. Tarus was the bassist of choice for Lauryn Hill in 2002 to jumpstart her studio performances.

Tarus has also made his mark on film with trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard on the scores for Sugar Hill, and for the Spike Lee film Malcolm X, as well as the Grammy nominated Malcolm X Jazz Suite. Tarus’s original score for the upcoming documentary film, King George: a King Runs for President, about George Weah an international soccer star, is gaining pre-screening momentum in Hollywood. As well as having featured music on RFK Goes to South Africa a documentary about Robert F. Kennedy fighting Apartied.

Playing as part of a new generation of jazz crusaders, with award winning artists such as Jason Moran, Nasheet Waits, Marc Cary and Roy Hargrove, Tarus is the world’s bestbassist. There’s no doubt that blowing up the music world would keep even the most talented musician busy.

Tarus performs and records most regularly with pianist. , Jason Moran He also worked with vibraphonist Stefon Harris, as well as the New Directions band, which includes, Greg Osby and Mark Shim. In 2000, along with drummer Nasheet Waits, he appeared on two stellar piano trio albums: Marc Cary’s Trillium and Jason Moran’s Facing Left.

Tarus is due to release his first and long awaited artistic statment “Arising Saints”The Art of Solo, in May as well as his production on Brittany Tanner’s new CD.Riding on a grammy nomination, this year looks promising to say the least. Stay on board and enjoy the rise.

Featured Performer: MBOWIE and Blast!

Michael Bowie and BLAST! will perform on Saturday, January 14th at 4:30 – 5:20 pm at Tropicalia as part of the Jazz and Freedom Festival.


From Michael Bowie:

I am

in love with music;



a doer

not a follower

an educator

serious… and silly at the same time

complicated ….but easy going

a believer in truth

not fond of politicians

Washington DC to the bone!

4ever hopeful for a DC sports championship…

making music 4 U


Featured Performer: Sarah Hughes

Photo cred to Diriki Rice

Sarah Hughes will be playing with the Jazz and Freedom Quartet on Saturday, January 14th from 9:10 – 10:00 PM at Tropicalia.

Sarah Hughes Bio

Taken from: http://www.sarahmariehughes.com/bio/

Sarah Hughes is an alto saxophonist, composer, improviser, educator, and art adventurer hailing from Maryland. She obtained her MM in Jazz Saxophone at the New England Conservatory in May of 2015 and currently freelances in and around Maryland, DC, Virginia, and New York.


Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Maryland in 2008. While there she studied privately with world-renowned classical saxophonist Dale Underwood. After graduating Sarah taught beginning band and strings in Prince George’s county schools for five years and also maintained two private studios in Maryland and Virginia. During that time she performed in and around DC and New York City with ensembles including the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and the Brad Linde Ensemble, a Washington D.C.-based collective dedicated to exploring and expanding the styles of jazz that emerged in the 1950s including bebop, cool jazz, third stream, and free jazz. As part of these ensembles, Sarah shared the stage with jazz greats such as Lee Konitz, Ted Brown, Freddie Redd, Matt Wilson, and Michael Formanek.


While at the New England Conservatory, Sarah studied privately with Jerry Bergonzi, Ran Blake, Donny McCaslin, and Anthony Coleman, all of whom impacted Sarah’s unique approach to improvisation and music-making. Sarah performed on Coleman’s latest album, “You” and has performed with Coleman in concerts at the New England Conservatory as well as Roulette and The Stone in New York. Sarah studied composition in classes with Ken Schaphorst and also Ben Schwendener, with whom she has performed several duo concerts in Boston.


In September of 2015 Sarah toured Sweden as part of Amy K. Bormet’s “Ephemera” and performed in Sweden’s first Women in Jazz festival. She also recently taught an improvisation workshop, “Improvisation for Everyone: Games and Storytelling” for beginning, intermediate, and advanced instrumentalists in the 2016 Judith Lapple Summer Woodwind Camp in Fairfax, Virginia. Most recently, she went on tour with an improvising trio “Lead Bubbles”, playing venues in New York, Montreal, and Toronto. Sarah hopes her music and teaching will continue to introduce her to new people, places, and art.

Featured Performer: Allen Jones

Allen Jones will be performing with the Jazz and Freedom Quartet at 9:10 – 10:00 PM on Saturday, January 14th at Tropicalia.

Allen Jones is a well-known and much loved drummer from Washington, D.C. A former student of the highly-acclaimed Duke Ellington Center for the Arts, he has make himself indispensable to many different groups and genres within the District.

Featured Performer: Jazz and Freedom Quartet

The Jazz and Freedom Quartet consists of musicians who are performing for social justice: within our schools, our communities, and our lives. This year’s ensemble is made up of Tarus Mateen, Bass, Sarah Hughes, Alto sax, Allen Jones, drums, and Shannon Gunn, trombone. Art Blakey’s “Free for All” album will be a starting point, with Tarus leading a journey that will never be forgotten.


Featured Performer: Shannon Gunn

Photo Credit Tom Williams

Shannon Gunn will be performing with the Jazz and Freedom Quartet on Saturday, January 14th, from 9:10 – 10:00 pm.

Shannon Gunn Bio

Shannon Gunn, recently named D.C.’s best trombonist in the Washington City Paper’s Jazzies Award for 2015, is an active jazz trombonist in the DC metro area. Additionally, her “Firebird Organ Trio” was recently named “Best Small Ensemble” by the Washington City Paper 2016 Jazzies awards. You can find her on Monday nights with the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra as well as playing around town with her own all-female big band, “Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes” and her organ trio, “Firebird.” With the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, she’s had the privilege of playing with notable artists such as Oliver Lake, Cheryl Bailey, Yotam Silverstein, Wycliffe Gordon, Elliott Hughes, Erika Dohi, and for Miho Hazama. Additionally, as lead trombone player at Michigan State University, she was able to play with Billy Taylor, Rodney Whitaker, and Marian McPartland. She earned her Masters of Music in Jazz Studies from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and also attended James Madison University and Michigan State University for her music studies. She also produces “The JazzCast,” a podcast dedicated to curated listening sessions with jazz musicians. In addition to the ensembles listed above, Shannon Gunn has performed with the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Reunion Music Society, American Festival Pops Orchestra, Manassas Chorale, and at various venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Takoma Park Jazz Festival, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Center for the Arts in Fairfax, Westminster Jazz Night, Atlas Performing Arts Center, the Washington Women in Jazz Festival, and has subbed in with the DIVA! Jazz Orchestra for Maurice Hines’ “Tappin Thru’ Life.” She resides in Bristow, VA with her husband, Timothy, and her dog, Faith.


Featured Performer: REformanceArtists


imagePhoto credit Darwyn Dave

REformanceArtists is a new collective dedicated to promoting jazz within the DC business community.

Aaron Myers

Aaron Myers is a native Texan who began playing the piano at the age of 3. A veteran of the United States Army, where he also Played, Sang, Directed & Composed music; Aaron went on to Navarro College, majoring in Theatre and Business, where he was the musical director with the College Gospel Choir.

In 2005, Aaron relocated to Los Angeles, CA where he performed his comedy at many of the comedy clubs in Hollywood (The Laugh Factory, Ha Ha Cafe, The Comedy Store, Ice House). Musically he was the featured talent at the Fashion TV’s 10 year Anniversary Party, and as a studio musician he composed/recorded the soundtrack for the film, “A Song and a Prayer”. Not forgetting his roots, he worked as the musician for the Youth Department at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

Aaron served as a field organizer for 9 months during the 2008 presidential campaign, working for the Obama/Biden Ticket. In December of the same year Aaron moved to Washington, DC to oversee the closing of the Global Family Program, acting as the last paid National Director.

While in DC, Aaron grew deep musical roots performing at major events in the nation’s capital such as: 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, National Legal Aid & Defender Association 100th Anniversary, Rehearsing/Directing/Performing 100 Voice Choir at the World AIDS Conference, Various events at the French & Swiss Embassies, teaching music classes for the DC Summer Program, Teaching Master Jazz Performance Classes with students from Canada & France, performing at the Library of Congress and a featured artist for the Capital Jazz Festival for 3 concurrent years.

In May of 2013, Aaron Myers released the Video “What’s a Man to Do” from his Debut Jazz/Neo Soul Album “Leo Rising” (released nationwide July 4th 2013) to critical acclaim. In July of 2013, Aaron Myers co-starred in the docu-musical, “My Civil War” for the Capital Fringe Festival, and starred in the play “God is not Through with me Yet” in August of 2014. On Septemeber 3rd Aaron sold out Blues Alley in Washington DC. His sophomore album “The Lions Den” is scheduled for release in 2015 followed by a tour.

Currently, Aaron Myers is the Minister of Music at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ.