BRATTLEBORO -- The Vermont Jazz Center kicks off 2014 with a concert featuring guitarist Freddie Bryant’s Kaleidoscope Quartet on Saturday at 8 p.m. is 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.
Bryant specializes in 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 Kaleidoscope Quartet features Bryant on various guitars, 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 tour with them in Europe later this month.
Over the years he has toured in 50 countries and has collaborated with musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds. 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.
Bryant 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, Wynton Marsalis, Max Roach, Lonnie Smith, Steve Wilson, Kevin Hays, Randy Brecker, Salif Keita, Giora Feidman, Max Roach, Lonnie Smith, Badal Roy and many others. He is also on the first call list of many singers and Brazilian musicians because of his sensitive accompanying and knowledge of Brazilian guitar. His own groups include Kaleidoscope, Trio del Sol and Brooklyn Rainforest.
Bryant graduated from Amherst College with a bachelor’s in music and has a master’s 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 at Williams College.
The bassist is Patrice Blanchard; originally from Martinique, he now resides in Brooklyn. He 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 is Willard Dyson. Originally from the Bay Area, Dyson has kept busy since relocating to the New York area in 1986. Recording highlights include work with Hector Martignon, Michael Franks, Sam Newsome and Scott Whitfield, Gospel the Boys and Girls choir of Harlem and many others. Performance highlights include work with Joe Sample, Charlie Hunter, the New York Voices, Dakota Staton, Mark Murphy and Cassandra Wilson.
Kaleidoscope’s saxophonist, Tim Armacost, quickly established himself as a leader after arriving in New York 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 tours in Europe and Asia, and followed up with a second recording, "Brightly Dark." Armacost’s current release, "Rhythm and Transformation," features Ray Spiegel on tabla and Eddie Henderson on trumpet. Armacost also works with 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. He has collaborated with Jimmy Cobb, Kenny Barron, Ray Drummond, Roy Hargrove, Paquito D’Rivera, Don Friedman, Lonnie Plaxico, Randy Brecker, Valery Ponomarev, the Maria Schneider Orchestra and the David Murray Big Band.
This concert is made possible thanks to 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.
Tickets for the Kaleidoscope Quartet at VJC are $20 for general admission and $15 for students with I.D. (contact VJC about educational discounts). Tickets are available at In the Moment Record Store in Brattleboro, at www.vtjazz.org and can be reserved by calling the Vermont Jazz Center ticket line at 802-254-9088, ext. 1.