New York Standards Quartet

The New York Standards Quartet (NYSQ) have developed a near telepathic relationship playing together in a variety of settings since their formation in 2006. Conceptually, the NYSQ strives to develop its own language within the tradition of performing standard jazz repertoire.

“a group devoted to radical reinvention of famous pop songs and Broadway show tunes. Plenty of contemporary jazz artists do that, but few more divertingly than this vivacious foursome, who delightedly cherish the originals while brusquely deconstructing their harmonies and tweaking their melodies, sometimes only slipping in the original theme on the way out of the piece. This is a collective class act.” -- Guardian UK

David Berkman is a singular voice among the top pianists in the New York jazz scene, whose playing embraces and reflects his substantial knowledge of the jazz tradition, and displays his unique modern sensibility.

He is an award-winning composer/bandleader, a recording artist whose seven records as a leader have appeared on numerous “best records of the year” critic’s lists, and a renowned educator and jazz clinician who has taught at camps, universities, and conservatories around the world.

He has performed with countless major jazz figures, including: Sonny Stitt, Brian Blade, Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, Lenny White, Bill Stewart, Hank Crawford, Dave Douglas, Tom Harrell, Cecil McBee, and the Vanguard Orchestra.

David Berkman is an associate professor at Queens College in New York, and is a visiting professor at the Prince Claus Conservatory in Groningen, The Netherlands.

After a life of travel and discovery on three continents, Tim Armacost has established himself as one of the most popular saxists on the New York scene today. Armacost was born in Los Angeles, but came of age as a musician in Tokyo, New Delhi, and Amsterdam, where he burnished his reputation as an upcoming talent, with a big tenor sound and an impeccable rhythmic sense.

He has, and continues to tour regularly around the world both as a sideman and a leader. He has worked with a phenomenal number of jazz greats, including Al Foster, Jimmy Cobb, Kenny Barron, Tom Harrell, Billy Hart, Victor Lewis, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Peter Erksine, Ray Drummond, Roy Hargrove, Don Friedman, and Randy Brecker.

Armacost has recorded eight critically acclaimed records as a leader and has composed for Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

He is a widely respected teacher and teaches regularly at the Jamey Aebersold and Stanford Summer Jazz Workshops, at Queens College in New York City, and as a clinician at universities throughout the U.S., Japan, and Europe.

Bassist Ugonna Okegwo has performed with jazz legends as diverse as Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Pharoah Sanders and Joseph Jarman.

Born in London to a German mother and Nigerian father, Okegwo was raised in Germany, where he studied with expatriate bassist Jay Oliver, and pianist Walter Norris. While working with Mingus alum Lou Blackburn, Okegwo met and played with trumpeter Joe Newman, drummer Oliver Jackson, and bassist Major Holley, who encouraged him to move to New York.

Once in New York he began playing with saxophone legends Big Nick Nicholas, Junior Cook, and James Spaulding. In 1992, a call from Jon Hendricks led to steady work, including a trip to the White House to perform for the President.

During this same period, he joined forces with pianist Jacky Terrason and drummer Leon Parker, developing one of the most creative and explosive group sounds of the nineties.

He has worked with Kenny Barron, JoAnne Brackeen, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Junior Cook, Lou Donaldson, Tom Harrell, Roy Hargrove, Jon Hendricks, Joseph Jarman, Geoff Keezer, Brad Mehldau, Charles McPherson, Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, Joshua Redman, Dizzy Reece, Wallace Roney, Kurt Rosenwinkel, David Sanchez, Pharoah Sanders, Marlena Shaw, James Spaulding, Grady Tate, Jacky Terrasson, Charles Tolliver, and Steve Wilson.

Gene Jackson is one of the most well-known and best-loved drummers of his generation. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, he began touring with Kevin Eubanks in his 20s, while still living in Boston.

After moving to New York in 1987, Jackson’s career blossomed. He worked with Herbie Hancock from 1991 to 2000 in a variety of bands that included Dave Holland, Wayne Shorter, and Craig Handy. Around this time, Jackson was also the drummer with Dave Holland’s Band.

Since then, Jackson has worked with Branford Marsalis, Gary Thomas, Robin Eubanks, The Mingus Big Band, Charles Tolliver, Christian McBride, Michelle Rosewoman, Clark Terry, Elvis Costello, Alex Sipiagin, Dave Kikoski, Seamus Blake, and countless others.