RMS Ensemble

2013 Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Society Touring Ensemble

ESPERANZA SPALDING – Double Bass, Electric Bass and Lead Vocal
LEO GENOVESE – Piano, Rhodes and Keyboards
RICARDO VOGT– Electric Guitar and Backing Vocals
LYNDON ROCHELLE – Drums and Backing Vocals
CHRIS TURNER – Backing Vocal
TIA FULLER – Musical Director and Alto Saxophone
DANIEL BLAKE – Tenor and Soprano Saxophone
BRIAN LANDRUS – Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, & Tenor Saxophone
COREY KING – Trombone
LEALA CYR – Trumpet and Backing Vocals

LEO GENOVESE (Piano, Rhodes and Keyboards)

Leo Genovese was born in Venado Tuerto, Argentina in the 1970s, amid the psychedelic sound and language of his generation. After studying classical and contemporary music in his homeland, he moved to Boston to do the jazz thing.

He currently leads a band called The Chromatic Gauchos, a powerful avant-garde ensemble, and is a co-founder of the group The Sewer Ratz, a band that chases the non-playing music practice. These days, Leo tours with the Esperanza Spalding´s band.Long time cohort of Esperanza Spalding  has Leo globe-trotting playing all kinds of venues, from Carnegie Hall to under a tree at a side of a non-existent road.

Leo bakes bread, directs amateur films, owns cassettes, loves the sun and is currently teaching himself how to play the saxophone.

JEF LEE JOHNSON (Former Electric Guitar and Backing Vocals) R.I.P.Jef Lee Johnson is a true American original and a true American gift to the musical world. While he may not be a household name, the Philadelphia-based guitarist-singer-songwriter is known as a musician’s musician. Over the past 25 years, he has built an impressive track record as a ubiquitous studio session man, producer and solo artist. Since first appearing on Twinkling of an Eye, the 1985 album by violinist and fellow Philly native John Blake, Jef has recorded with a vast array of artists, including Jeff Beck, Roberta Flack, George Duke, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, Teddy Pendergrass and Mariah Carey to Stanley Clarke, McCoy Tyner, Pieces of a Dream, James Carter and Jamaaladeen Tacuma. He had a brief stint during the ‘80s as a member of Paul Schaffer’s World’s Most Dangerous Band on Late Night with David Letterman, and was a member of drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society in the ‘90s.The product of a musical family, Jef’s earliest influences included Herb Albert, Eric Dolphy and the Vanilla Fudge, reflecting his eclectic musical sensibilities. As a teenager, he discovered jazz fusion and Chicago blues and became committed to pursuing the guitar. Initially playing in local garage bands with friends, he ultimately graduated to the ranks of accomplished studio musician, routinely doing sessions in New York and touring throughout the U.S. and abroad.Jef’s debut as a leader, Blue, came in 1996. He followed with Communism (1998) and The Singularity (2000). Other notable recordings as a leader include Hype Factory (2001), the two-disc Things Are Things (2003) and Thisness (2007). He recently released his eleventh album, Longing Belonging Ongoing, a two-disc, 30-song set that showcases his vocal abilities with a few instrumental tunes thrown in for good measure. Released under the moniker “aka Rainbow Crow,” the album covers a cross section of musical influences and styles ranging from Jimi Hendrix to the Grateful Dead – all of it delievered with a comination of flawless guitar work and an engaging and passionate vocal style. Recorded in Jef’s home studio, the somgs include the sultry “Gods Gone By,” the Hendrix-esque “Silicone or Saline” and “The Moon Keeps Telling Me Things,” the funk-driven “What’s in a Name,” the jazz-fusion of “Imposter” and the groovy pop sound of “The Gift.”
LYNDON ROCHELLE (Drums and Backing Vocals)Gifted with a soulful groove that would make anyone get up and dance, Lyndon Rochelle has been enlisted by many of today’s most unique artists. Hailing from Los Angeles, California, Lyndon started as a young child on the pots and pans. By age five, he was holding down the drum chair at his grandmother’s church every Sunday morning.Lyndon is an alumnus of the Berklee college of Music in Boston, MA. During his time at Berklee he developed his sound by studying the greats. While in Boston he met and befriended the 2011 GRAMMY®  Award winner for Best New Artist, Esperanza Spalding. As a result, Lyndon has performed all over the world, including such notable events as the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony for President Barack Obama, the opening slot for Prince’s Welcome to America tour and several European tours with Esperanza Spalding.Since returning to Los Angeles, Lyndon has lent has talents to such artist as James Torme, The RZA, Andy Allo (guitarist/vocalist for Prince), Erick Darrius (#1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Charts) and a host of others ranging from jazz to hip-hop and beyond.Lyndon believes in giving back to the music community through education. He teaches privately and through his local church. In addition, he was hand picked to teach and mentor at the Swarnabhoomi Academy Of Music in Chennai, India, during the spring of 2011.Lyndon loves the drums! But more importantly, he loves people. His passion for both music and life are on full display every time he sits down to play.
CHRIS TURNER (Backing vocals)This classically trained crooner deftly combines streams of jazz, hip-hop, funk, and soul in his music. He’s as comfortable with falsetto and scatting as he is with laying down smooth and creative phrasings. Growing up in Oakland, California, Chris knew at the age of four that he wanted to be a singer just like his father. He recently graduated from the New School University for Jazz and Contemporary Music. There he met his future bandmates with whom he would eventually form ERIMAJ, a band in which Chris serves as the lead vocalist. The New York Times describes the band as “properly new, part of something larger and still unnamed.”He currently tours with Bilal Oliver, and has previously toured with Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Brown, Bow Wow, Soulja Boy, and Sean Kingston. Chris recently was interviewed and performed live on BET’s 106 & Park as the latest Music Matters artist to watch. His first single, “Liquid Love,” has caused a stir on the Internet and radio programs such as BBC Radio with Gilles Peterson. Chris had the privilege of helping Esperanza Spalding finish her latest album by providing background vocals. He is currently working on his first full-length release, “LOVEchild” and touring internationally.
TIA FULLER (Saxophone & Musical Director)Jazz musicians are blessed with the desire and the ability to play a genre that has a history as rich as its sound. All the greats, past and present, know that it’s not enough to simply play the notes. One has to live the music and feel it with every breath. When Mack Avenue recording artist Tia Fuller picks up her sax to play, the two become one and something amazing happens as the notes and reverberations of her musical elixir fill the room. Suddenly, everything in the universe feels right, and it’s easy to see and hear why this artist and teacher, who has a Bachelor of Arts degree (magna cum laude) in music from Spelman College in Atlanta, and a Master’s degree (summa cum laude) in Jazz Pedagogy and Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, was selected to be a member of the all-female band touring with R&B star Beyoncé. As part of the I AM..Sasha Fierce and Beyoncé Experience World Tour promoting the superstar’s CDs, Tia has played in various venues throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. She is a featured soloist on the Beyoncé Experience DVD (“Me, Myself and I”) and also appeared on number of national television shows, such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today Show, Good Morning America, BET Awards, American Music Awards and Total Request Live.An accomplished performer in her own right, Tia has recorded three CDs with her quartet. The first, Pillar of Strength (2005/Wambui), received praise as being “an exhilarating work that introduced her as a leader who strives for perfection” (Terrell Holmes, All About Jazz). Her sophomore release, Healing Space (2007/Mack Avenue), is an offering of “melodic medicine” that the wide-eyed optimist sincerely hopes will serve as a healing agent for those who indulge in it. Tia released her third CD, Decisive Steps, in January 2010 on the Mack Avenue label. Her quartet was recently featured at the Oris Watches/Time Tourneau building for WBGO’s  jazz festival. Tia can also be seen performing regularly with a number of bands, including the Ralph Peterson Septet, the T.S. Monk Septet, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, the Rufus Reid Septet, the Sean Jones Quintet, the Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra, and Wycliff Gordan Septet.The dynamic saxophonist has been featured in Jazz Improv, Rocky Mountain News, The Philadelphia Tribune, The Star Ledger, Downbeat and many other print and online publications. In addition to receiving numerous awards and marks of distinction, Tia was honored to be the keynote speaker at the Jazz Institute of New Jersey’s 2003 graduation ceremony, where she presented her “Journey to Success” speech. In January 2008, she had the privilege of participating in a press conference with pianist and composer Danilo Perez and the Governor of the Republic of Panama, Carlos A. Villarino.
DANIEL BLAKE (Tenor and Soprano Sax)Dan Blake has established himself as a positive force in many areas of music. His versatility and ecclectic interests have brought him to the forefront of many different creative communities. As saxophonist, he has performed and toured internationally with artists such as Esperanza Spalding, Anthony Braxton, Kenny Werner, Danilo Perez, Lukas Ligeti, Peter Evans, Ricardo Gallo, and many others. In January 2010, he joined GRAMMY® -nominated artist Julian Lage and has been touring internationally as a composer and saxophonist with this group. Most recently, the band was featured at Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, and Newport Jazz Festival.Dan was a featured soloist for Anthony Braxton’s “Trillium E” opera cycle, recorded in March 2010 and performed in June 2011. His compositions have garnered recognition by ASCAP and the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and have been featured by such notable new music ensembles as Cygnus Ensemble, The Kenners, Duo Diorama, and Redfish Bluefish Ensemble. Most recently, he premiered his work First Beginnings for recorder and interactive 8-channel electronics at the Electronic Music Foundation’s annual symposium in New York City. His latest recording, The Aquarian Suite, was released in the fall of 2011 for Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records.Dan is currently a Ph.D. candidate in composition at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and serves as adjunct lecturer in music history at The Conservatory of Music at Brooklyn College. He received the 2010 Baisley Powell Elebash Fund for an ongoing research project examining New York City’s improvised music scene.
BRIAN LANDRUS (Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, & Tenor Saxophone)Born on September 14, 1978, Landrus grew up in Reno, Nevada, and discovered the saxophone at 12. An excitable kid with a wild streak, he fell in love with the horn, a passion stoked by his middle school band teacher Frank Perry, who gave him recordings by Charlie Parker, Stan Getz and Don Menza. “I just fell in love with it,” Landrus says. “I knew that’s what I’m going to do with my life. I practiced hours and hours every day, playing along with those recordings.” His discipline quickly paid off, and before he reached high school Landrus was subbing regularly when his saxophone teacher couldn’t make his weekly jazz gig. Featuring veteran musicians working in the casino show bands, the band included the town’s top players, most of whom were three or four times his age. “I’d go and get my ass handed to me,” Landrus says. “But it was great. I was learning what I needed to know, and they helped me tremendously. They encouraged me like crazy. By the time I was in high school I started writing music and put my own quartet together. I was 16 when I played my first big show gig with the Coasters and the Drifters, and I got in with those old soul and R&B acts.” After earning a BA in music from the University of Nevada Reno, he launched his own nonet and spent several years working in a wide range of settings. The influence of his Reno show band mentors led Landrus to add an array of instruments to his arsenal, and he can answer the call on more than a dozen wind instruments. His musical curiosity eventually brought him to NEC, where he earned two master degrees in three years (in jazz composition and jazz performance). Awarded the Gunther Schuller Medal by the NEC faculty, he emerged from the prestigious program having turned professors and mentors like trombonist/arranger Brookmeyer, pianist Mike Cain, and Boston saxophone legends George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi into friends and peers. He credits Brookmeyer with encouraging the decision to make the bari his main saxophone. “I fought it for a while,” Landrus says. “I auditioned for NEC on tenor and bari. Bob said, ‘You have a voice on the baritone that I haven’t heard. I was Gerry Mulligan’s bandleader for so many years. Trust me, you need to run with this.’” He moved to New York City two weeks after graduating in 2007 and he’s been busy playing with a glittering cross section of the New York scene, including Billy Hart, Frank Kimbrough, Donny McCaslin, Steve Wilson, Jay Anderson, Lewis Nash, Scott Robinson, Ryan Truesdell, Dave Pietro, Herb Robertson, Greg Gisbert, Steve Swell, Jason Palmer, Ayn Inserto Orchestra, Rudy Royston, Frank Carlberg, Maria Scneider, Rufus Reid, Alan Ferber and many others. He’s currently touring with Esperanza Spalding and has earned a place in the DownBeat Critics Poll in the Rising Star Bari category in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He’s recorded seven CDs featuring various bands and is on faculty at the 92Y School Of Music and the Lagond Music School. Standing six foot seven, Landrus is known as Big B by his friends. His imposing size probably has something to do with his affinity for low register instruments. “These low big instruments fit me. I love the low frequencies.”
JEFF GALINDO (Trombone)Born in San Francisco, California, Jeff Galindo attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts, on scholarship after high school. He also studied with Hal Crook, Jerry Bergonzi, and George Garzone with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and began his career by freelancing in the Boston area. His experience includes tours of Europe with Phil Woods and Japan with Makoto Ozone, and tours with the Artie Shaw Orchestra. Jeff has performed with such notables as Chick Corea, Clark Terry, Joe Lovano, Buddy DeFranco, Slide Hampton, and Johnny Griffin. He has also performed with Gunther Schuller, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Bergonzi, Bobby Shew, The Boston Pops Orchestra, and Sam Butera among many others. In Boston, Jeff performs regularly with the Greg Hopkins Big Band and Nonet, his double quartet with George Garzone, and the Galindo/Phaneuf Sextet (with whom he released Locking Horns in 1998 and won Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” for a jazz group in 1999). He is currently one of the top freelance trombonists in the Boston área and has recently worked with The Vanguard Orchestra, Lew Soloff, Branford Marsalis, Angelique Kidjo, Jack DeJohnette, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Robin McKelle and many others.Jeff is an Assistant Professor at Berklee, where he teaches both trombone and jazz improvisation. He also has an extensive private teaching schedule. Jeff is in high demand as a guest artist and clinician at high schools and universities in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
COREY KING (Trombone)Since moving to New York in 2004 to study jazz performance at the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music, Corey King has focused on being adaptable in many musical environments without sacrificing his musical integrity. He is highly respected by his peers for his creativity and compositions which are heavily influenced by many musical and non-musical sources. King is a graduate of the Grammy Award winning High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), which has produced some immense talent over the years: Jason Moran, Robert Glasper and Beyonce Knowles.Along with leading his own band, he co-leads ERIMAJ, a drummer-led band founded by producer Jamire Williams. Since his arrival in New York, Corey has performed  and/or recorded with notable artist such as Dave Binney, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Jason Moran, Chris Dave, Stokley of Mint Condition, Esperanza Spalding, Mos Def, Gil-Scott Heron, Pharoahe Monch, Phonte (Little Brother), Talib Kweli, Nicholas Payton, Jose James, Bilal, Wyclef Jean, Mary J. Blige, Ledisi, Hercules and Love Affair, Mark Ronson, Maria Daulne (Zap Mama), Lauren Hill and Ludacris, with whom he performed with on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Late Show with David Letterman and Saturday Night Live.
IGMAR THOMAS (Trumpet)Musician, bandleader, composer and arranger Igmar Thomas knew he wanted to play the trumpet at a young age.He dedicated himself to mastering the trumpet throughout his high school years while learning more and more about jazz. This dedication paid off in his final year of high school when he was offered a full scholarship after sitting in with jazz legend Al Grey at Hampton’s Jazz festival by Lionel Hampton himself. Later Thomas was granted another full scholarship after performing one unaccompanied song at his walk-in audition for the prestigious Berklee College of Music, which granted him a bachelor’s degree in Professional Music in 2006.After Thomas’ time at Berklee, he formed his group, “Igmar Thomas & The Cypher” and continued to build musical connections to peers and legends alike, such as Esperanza Spalding and Lionel Hampton. In addition to his work with The Cypher, Thomas is the conductor of the Revive Da Live Big Band, which Complex Magazine refers to as “a 19-piece jazz army.” The Cypher plays hip-hop-inflected music with a strong jazz foundation and has featured a range of artists including Talib Kweli, Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove, and DJ Premier. From naming his band “The Cypher”, to orchestrating classic hip-hop songs & samples for live instrumentation, to performing with emcees (whom he calls the “mainstream hornmen of today”), it’s clear that hip-hop, for him, is not separate from jazz, but the vibrant result of the natural evolution of improvised Black American music.It is no surprise, then, Thomas’ gift has taken him to hallowed musical venues like Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, and The House of Blues. He has appeared in musical performances at major events like the NBA All Star Game Weekend and George Wein’s Care Fusion Jazz Festival. He has also appeared on television programs including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno with the Tedeschi Trucks Band, a Comedy Central show with Zach Galifianakis, and countless music videos that have aired on MTV, BET and more.Thomas has appeared as a featured guest with performers including J. Cole, Marc Cary, The Roy Hargrove & The Mingus Big Bands’, and a host of other celebrated artists and groups. He has worked and/or recorded with Wyclef Jean, John Legend, James Moody, Clark Terry, Jim Jones, The Roots, Pete Rock, Macy Gray and many more. Thomas has shared the stage and spent studio time with the likes of Patti Labelle, Mos Def, Terence Howard, and Iggy Pop. He has also performed as an opening act to various artists such as Chick Corea, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Destiny’s Child and The Wu-tang Clan, just to name a few. Thomas is one of the most active and celebrated members of the New York music community, as is evidenced by the long list of musicians he continues to collaborate with in live and recorded performances across multiple genres around the globe.
LEALA CYR (Trumpet and Backing Vocals)Leala Cyr is a fresh new voice in jazz. Raised in the small town of Pulaski, Wisconsin, Leala was introduced to a wonderful school music program at a young age. Beginning her concentration on the trumpet, she quickly advanced and began to take music more seriously. Upon entering the jazz band at her high school, Leala also became the group’s vocalist and eventually was featured as a trumpet and vocal soloist at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Competition at the Lincoln Center in New York. Leala then moved on to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she studied music and began her professional career singing and playing in the local Salute to Sinatra big band. After two years of study, Leala was voted Best Jazz Vocalist in the college division by Down Beat’s student music awards in 2005. Soon after, Leala was granted the World Tour Scholarship from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.Upon moving to Boston, Leala began performing professionally in the area and was also featured in Berklee’s Singer’s Showcase. She currently performs professionally around the globe. Her recent projects include being a member of Best New Artist GRAMMY® -winner Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society (an affiliation that has led to appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) and a duo with Brazilian guitarist Ricardo Vogt. Leala has also shared the stage with Milton Nascimento, Terri Lyne Carrington, Guinga, Greg Hopkins, John Lockwood, Mark Walker, Chuck Loeb, Peabo Bryson, Oleta Adams, John Secada, Nando Michelin and Byron Stripling.