For over twenty-five years, the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music has been at the forefront of innovative music education. Our alumni have gone on to make their mark in the music world by achieving notable artistic and commercial success in a staggeringly diverse range of styles and genres, from our shared roots in jazz, to rock, soul, r&b, afrobeat, electronic music, folk, jam bands, and all points beyond.
The third annual New School Jazz Alumni Concert celebrates the richness and diversity of our musical community with an evening of exciting performances featuring three generations of Jazz alumni, at one of New York City's hottest music venues, the Highline Ballroom.
Born in Philadelphia, Bilal Oliver is a schooled musician and dynamic live performer whose artistry draws from jazz, soul, and hip-hop. With fans that include Eryka Badu, Janelle Monae, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammed, and featured spots with, among others, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Diddy, and Common, Bilal made his major label debut with 2001’s First Born Second. The cd sold over 300,000 copies and announced that Bilal was an artist to watch. Bilal’s sophomore recording Love For Sale leaked to the internet before its official release and would enjoy over half a million downloads. 2010 saw Air Tight’s Revenge, which yielded the Grammy nominated “Little Ones.” His newest release is 2013's Love Surreal.
Gilad Hekselman has been developing a reputation as one of the most promising guitarists in New York since his arrival in 2004. In only a few years this native Israeli has shared the stage with some of the greatest artists in the New York jazz scene including Chris Potter, Mark Turner, John Scofield, Anat Cohen, Ari Hoenig, Esperanza Spalding, Sam Yahel, Jeff Ballard, Gretchen Parlato, Avishai Cohen, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Tigran Hamasyan, Aaron Parks and Greg Hutchinson. Born in Israel in 1983, Gilad studied classical piano from age six and began studying guitar at the age of 9. From age 12 to 14 he performed regularly with the band of a weekly children's television show.
The Amigos Band, with alum Eddie Barbash (sax), is a collective dedicated to performing and creating American music through the traditions of collaboration and improvisation. Built on the belief that all strains of American music are branches of the same tree, they return to their roots and bring together every form from bluegrass to jazz, with intricate vocal harmony and a style all their own. The Amigos Band has appeared in recent performances with Pete Seeger, David Amram, New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Nellie McKay. They recently gave sold-out performances at New York City’s Lincoln Center and their semi-regular "The Amigos Band Presents" series at New York's Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola has appeared in previews and critics picks in the New Yorker magazine and the Village Voice. In 2013 the Amigos were chosen to serve as American cultural ambassadors for the American Music Abroad program by the U.S. Department of State.
The Amigos will be joined by Jazz alum and frequent collaborator, the stunningly talented singer Brianna Thomas.
“She is one of the most fantastic young jazz singers I have heard in a very long time.” — Kathleen Battle -
“…She may well be the best young straight-ahead jazz singer of her generation.” – Will Friedwald, The Wall Street Journal