Andrew Cyrille´s (b. 1939) career as a professional musician began in the early 1960s and he is considered one of the most versatile percussionists in modern jazz. Already during his studies (1960-1964, Juilliard and Hartnett School of Music), Cyrille played with numerous well-established jazz musicians, such as Coleman Hawkins, Illinois Jacquet and Mary Lou Williams, and with representatives of modern jazz, such as Bill Barron, Walt Dickerson, Kenny Dorham and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, as well as the Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji.
Cyrille is perhaps best known for his membership in the Cecil Taylor Unit that lasted for over a decade (1964-1975), during which he established his position as one of the leading percussionists in freely improvised jazz. Cyrille´s numerous recordings with Cecil Taylor include two legendary dates (Conquistador and Unit Structures) for Blue Note Records. He also played and recorded with many other leading modernists during this period, including several classic recordings with vibraphonist Walt Dickerson.
Since the 1970s, Cyrille has led or co-led various ensembles, including Maono (with David S. Ware, Ted Daniel et.al.), The Group (with Ahmed Abdullah, Marion Brown, Billy Bang and Fred Hopkins) and the percussion quartet Pieces of Time (with Kenny Clarke, Famoudou Don Moye and Milford Graves). He has released more than 30 recordings as a leader or co-leader ranging from solo recordings and a number of duo recordings to larger ensembles. Cyrille has also performed and recorded with Muhal Richard Abrams, Geri Allen, Billy Bang, Anthony Braxton, Charles Brackeen, Dave Burrell, John Carter, Marilyn Crispell, Oliver Lake, David Murray, Roswell Rudd, Archie Shepp, Horace Tapscott and many other leading names in contemporary jazz. Currently, he continues to record and perform with various duo, trio, quartet, quintet and big band formations. He also leads the Haitian Fascination ensemble (with Hamiet Bluiett, Alix "Tit" Pascal, Lisle Alkinsson and Frisner Augustin), playing music inspired by the musical tradition of Haiti, is a member of Trio 3 (with Oliver Lake and Reggie Workman), the CDE Trio (with Marty Ehrlich and Mark Dresser), the Roswell Rudd/Archie Shepp Group and a number of other ensembles and performs as a duo with saxophonist Anthony Braxton (Duo Palindrome 2002, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, Intakt), Greg Osby and others.
Cyrille has been involved in jazz education since the early 1970s and is currently a faculty member of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music operating as part of the New School University in New York City.
Greg Osby (b. 1960) originally comes from St. Louis and began his professional career in blues and rhythm´n´blues bands already in 1975. Osby moved to New York City in 1983 after studying at the Howard University and the Berklee College of Music between 1978 and 1983. He soon established a position as a strong new player on the notoriously difficult New York scene performing with a diverse group of leading jazz artists, including pianists Muhal Richard Abrams, Jaki Byard, Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill and McCoy Tyner, trumpeters Lester Bowie, Jon Faddis, Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Shaw, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and many others, as well as with many ethnic and new music ensembles in the New York area.
From the 1980s, Osby is, however, best known as a co-founder of the M-BASE collective, a Brooklyn-based artists´ cooperative, and for his collaboration with other key members of the M-BASE collective, such as saxophonists Steve Coleman and Gary Thomas, trombonist Robin Eubanks, pianist Geri Allen, drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith and vocalist Cassandra Wilson. Greg Osby joined Jack DeJohnette´s Special Edition touring ensemble in 1985 and entered into his first recording contract as a leader already in 1987 with the German JMT label.
After releasing three records under his own name for JMT, Osby began his tenure with Blue Note Records and has already released 14 highly acclaimed recordings for this legendary label. These recordings have ranged from basic jazz groups, such as the 2005 trio release with bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts (Channel Three) and the 1998 live quartet recording with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Atsushi Osadi and drummer Rodney Green (Banned in New York: LIVE!), to larger groups featuring strings (Symbols of Light (A Solution)) or DJs, rappers and beat poetry (Black Book and 3-D Lifestyles) and collaborations with other established (Friendly Fire with Joe Lovano and The Invisible Hand with Andrew Hill and Jim Hall) or emerging (Inner Circle with Jason Moran and Stefon Harris; Public and St. Louis Blues with Nicholas Payton) masters of modern jazz. In addition, Osby has recorded with Bob Belden, Uri Caine, Steve Coleman, Marc Copland, Jack DeJohnette, Herbie Hancock, Lonnie Plaxico, Sam Rivers, Michelle Rosewoman, Gary Thomas, Cassandra Wilson and numerous others.