Freddie Bryant and the Kaleidoscope Quartet

Guitarist Freddie Bryant's Kaleidoscope Quartet to feature the sounds of jazz from around the world at the VJC in a tribute to VJC founder, Attila Zoller

The Vermont Jazz Center kicks off 2014 with a concert featuring guitarist Freddie Bryant's Kaleidoscope Quartet a band that features disparate grooves from around the world unified by Bryant's simple truth that he is indeed an authentic global citizen. This show will be a tribute to VJC founder, the great guitarist, Attila Zoller.

Bryant is touring with the same core group he used on his acclaimed 2011 recording Live Grooves...Epic Tales. Together they traveled on a state department tour and performed in Papua New Guinea, Singapore, India, Burma, Cuba, Mexico, Senegal, Malawi, Tanzania, Madagascar, Ethiopia and other exotic destinations. If this band sounds tight, maybe it's because they've thoroughly internalized the music, know each others moves and have learned to read each others minds. The resultant music is beautiful and evokes the distant lands they've visited. Bryant's specializes in writing compositions that testify to both the smallness of the world and the gigantic breadth of its culture; furthermore he is a remarkable guitarist whose staggering technique allows him to play virtually anything he hears.

"...the thing that impresses me most about [Freddie's] playing is his unique and very broad harmonic sense which coupled with a very musical mind gives his guitar playing and compositions a personalized sound..." -- Kenny Burrell

The Kaleidoscope Quartet features Freddie Bryant on various guitars (on the recording he played Fender Stratocaster, nylon-stringed classical, steel-stringed folk and 12 string acoutic) plus his core rhythm section of Patrice Blanchard on electric bass and Willard Dyson on drums. This trio will be augmented by tenor saxophonist, Tim Armacost who will be touring with them in Europe later this month.

Bryant has been called "one of the most gifted and versatile guitarists on the scene today" by jazz author Bill Milkowski. Legendary guitarist Kenny Burrell wrote: "Freddie Bryant is a brilliant young guitarist and composer." Over the years he has toured in 50 countries and has had the opportunity of collaborating with musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds including those from India, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and Cuba. He has performed at the Kennedy Center with the Billy Taylor Trio and appeared on NPR. He is a versatile musician skilled both in jazz and classical music. Freddie is currently in demand in the New York jazz scene where he works and records with Ben Riley's groups. He has also performed and/or recorded with the Mingus Orchestra, Tom Harrell, D.D. Jackson, Brad Mehldau, Chris Potter, Rosanna Vitro, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sheila Jordan, Joshua Redman, Wnynton Marsalis, Max Roach, Lonnie Smith, Steve Wilson, Kevin Hays, Randy Brecker, Salif Keita, Giora Feidman, Max Roach, Lonnie Smith, Badal Roy and many others. Freddie is also on the first call list of many singers and Brazilian musicians because of his sensitive accompanying and knowledge of Brazilian guitar, and, as such has toured with pianist/singer Eliane Elias. His own groups include Kaleidoscope, Trio del Sol and Brooklyn Rainforest.

A dedicated life-long student and now an accomplished educator, Freddie Bryant graduated from Amherst College with a BA in music and has a Masters in classical guitar from the Yale School of Music. In 2004 he was chosen as a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College where he was later awarded an honorary doctorate. He currently is on the faculty at the Berklee College of Music and the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen, Holland. He was previously a professor in the Africana Studies and Music departments at Williams College.

The bassist for the Kaleidoscope Quartet is Patrice Blanchard; originally from Martinique, he now resides in Brooklyn. Patrice has made a name for himself by playing progressive rock, funk jazz and world music. His discography includes recordings with David Fiuczynski, Andy Milne, Bob Belden, Jerome Sabbagh and other forward-thinking artists. The drummer of the group is Willard Dyson. Originally from the Bay Area, Dyson has kept very busy since relocating to the New York area in 1986. A sample of his recordings include work with Hector Martignon, Michael Franks, Sam Newsome and Scott Whitfield, Gospel the Boys and Girls choir of Harlem and many others. A sample his performance highlights includes work with Joe Sample, Charlie Hunter, the New York Voices, Dakota Staton, Mark Murphy and Cassandra Wilson. He has toured the world and played festivals with Freddie Bryant and others.

Kaleidoscope's saxophonist, Tim Armacost quickly established himself as a leader after arriving in NYC in 1993 with the release of two highly acclaimed recordings. His hard hitting third release, "The Wishing Well," features Bruce Barth, Ray Drummond, and Billy Hart. The group has completed six successful tours in Europe and Asia, and followed up with a second recording, "Brightly Dark." Armacost's current release, "Rhythm and Transformation," features Ray Spiegel playing Tabla, and Eddie Henderson on trumpet.

Armacost also works with the cooperative group Hornz in the Hood with fellow saxophonists Craig Handy and Ravi Coltrane, Ray Drummond's "Excursion Band," and leads the Brooklyn Big Band with Craig Bailey. Armacost has performed and/or recorded with Al Foster, Jimmy Cobb, Kenny Barron, Tom Harrell, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Peter Erskine, Ray Drummond, Roy Hargrove, Paquito D'Rivera, Claudio Roditi, Bruce Barth, Dave Kikoski, Don Friedman, Lonnie Plaxico, Robin Eubanks, Charlie Shoemake, Pete Christlieb, Randy Brecker, Akira Tana, Valery Ponomarev, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, and the David Murray Big Band. He has toured throughout East and West Europe, Japan, India, Australia, China and the United States.

Jazz Blogger, Jason Koransky ( has written: "Guitarist Freddie Bryant is a rhythmic and melodic sponge. Put him in any musical situation, be it classical, jazz, funk, Senegalese, etc., and he'll tend to become one with the music." This quote sums up Bryant's passion to express diversity in his music while maintaining a unified group sound. He easily jumps into each style, assimilating rhythmical concepts with authenticity and internalizing complex forms as if he were from the native culture. But Freddie is well aware of the pitfalls of mixing too many spices into the pot; he is clear with his boundaries and knows how to distinguish tonal and rhythmical elements and keep them matched with their disparate forms when necessary. He honors the origin of each style and uses the elements of each effectively without watering them down. Simply put, he formed the group Kaleidoscope to investigate and perform the music the loves.

The VJC audience is fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to Freddie Bryant's Kaleidoscope Quartet on Saturday, January 18th at 8:00 PM. This concert is made possible thanks to generous financial support from Mark Anagnostopulos and Janet Zinter, as well as ongoing support of the Vermont Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, The Hampton Inn of Brattleboro and VPR and WFCR.

Saturday, January 18th
8:00 PM
Vermont Jazz Center
General Admission $20.00, Students $15.00
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