There's a heavy blues and soul element in the jazz guitar stylings of Bob DeVos. Many of his formative years in Paterson, N.J. were spent performing with groups influenced by B.B. King, Otis Redding, James Brown, and other classic blues, rhythm & blue, and rock &roll performers. In the '80s, '90s, and into the new millennium, DeVos' guitar style could best be described as an artful blend of blues, classic rhythm & blues, and straight-ahead jazz. Since making his professional debut with Trudy Pitts, DeVos has accompanied all manner of jazz and blues organists including Richard "Groove" Holmes with saxophonist Sonny Stitt, Jimmy McGriff, and Charles Earland and has recorded or toured with a short who's-who of soul-jazz: saxophonists Hank Crawford, Stitt, David "Fathead" Newman, and vocalist Irene Reid, as well as organists McGriff, Holmes, Gene Ludwig, and Joey DeFrancesco.
Dave Stryker is an American jazz guitarist. He has 25 CDs as a leader to date, and has been a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and Kevin Mahogany, among others. Gary Giddins in the Village Voice calls him "one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years." He was recently voted one of the Top Guitarists in the 2013 Critics and Readers Poll of Down Beat, and previously was elected a Rising Star in the 2004-2007 Downbeat Critics Poll. Stryker moved to New York City in 1980, and joined organist Jack McDuff's group, travelling all over the U.S. for two years (1984-85). He currently leads his own group, The Dave Stryker Organ Trio, as well as his Blue to the Bone Band. He co-leads The Stryker / Slagle Band with saxophonist Steve Slagle.
Nat Adderly, Jr.
The scion of a famed jazz family, Nat Adderly, Jr. grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey, where he started playing piano as a child and had his first song, "I'm on My Way", recorded by his uncle Cannonball on the 1967 album Why Am I Treated So Bad! by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet when the young Nat Adderley was only 11 years old. It was at the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City that Adderley first met fellow student Luther Vandross, with whom he would later spend much of his musical career. While living in Houston, Texas, he was the music arranger for the 1981 album Never Too Much, which became Vandross's first hit with the title track, reaching number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and fourth on the dance charts. Today, Adderley has returned to his jazz roots, performing his own works, as well as tributes to both his father and uncle. He cites his influences as Chick Corea, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. In a 2009 interview with the Star-Ledger he said pianists "who are killing me" include Kenny Barron, Herbie Hancock, Cedar Walton and Joe Zawinul.
The Hendrick Meurken Samba Jazz Quartet
Virtuoso instrumentalist and composer Hendrik Meurkens began his career in Germany playing vibes. His career has taken him from Brazil to Germany, then throughout the European continent where he became a pivotal force on the studio and jazz scene, performing, composing, recording, and touring extensively with his own ensembles as well as with visiting legends Harry Sweets Edison and Buddy Tate. In 1989, he returned to Brazil to record his first album as a leader, Samba Importado. In 1992, he signed with the Concord label, which resulted in six recordings that established him as the first major new voice on the harmonica since Toots Thielemans. His 24 CDs have received rave reviews and strong airplay, and established his immediately recognizable style of Brazilian Jazz. Critics and the jazz listening public alike have recognized Meurkens' incredible talent, listing him repeatedly in the Downbeat and Jazziz Polls. Meurkens has worked with Ray Brown, Paquito D'Rivera, Oscar Castro-Neves, Herb Ellis, Herbie Mann, James Moody, and Charlie Byrd, to name a few.
Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes
Pianists and West Orange residents Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes have had plenty of time to perfect their duo piano performance. The husband-and-wife team have put together a wide-ranging set list. Their arrangement of fusion keyboardist Lyle Mays' "Chorinho" is a brilliant opener, crackling with its infectious Brazilian rhythm. The soft emotional setting of "My Man's Gone Now" proves haunting; the quiet interpretation of Gerry Mulligan's tender ballad "Little Glory" suggests parents watching a sleeping infant; their rendition of Wayne Shorter's "Ana Maria" shimmers with a subtle energy; and Rosnes' "The Saros Cycle" sounds as if it were written for film, suggesting a journey. Although some writers and musicians dismiss two piano meetings as a mere gimmick, this session proves that two pianists who are in sync with one another's thoughts can produce timeless music. No time should be wasted in scheduling a follow-up.