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EARTH AND SKY JAZZ Appearing Sun August 24th 2014 at 7:30pm


Tickets: $12
This veteran trio features top jazz veterans from this area; Mike Holstein on bass, Sonny Thornton on drums, and Richard Shulman on piano.  

"...what continually intrigues me with your contribution, is the inter-blending of the music of inner peace with the standard jazz repertoire.... That instrumental arrangement and the musicians involved are as pure, crystal clear an example of melodically-driven, creatively-innovative jazz expression as you'll find anywhere in the greater area. Everyone is an original painter in their own right. And when you put them together working on the same space the frescoes that spill forth are really quite astounding!"    -----Rick Dowdeswell,

Richard Shulman

Pianist/composer Richard Shulman has been exploring consciousness through Jazz in his recordings, performances and compositions since 1983. The intent behind his music is healing, connection, and the expression of beauty. Shulman has recorded 24 of his own albums, most of which are available on the label, RichHeart Music. Trained in the classical and jazz fields, he has developed a heartfelt language in these genres while splitting his output between jazz and music for meditation, healing and inspiration. Shulman has performed at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Art Park, the United Nations, the Kool Jazz Festival, The Amenia Peace Festival and a wide variety of other venues throughout North America and in Europe.
As a composer, Shulman has created over sixty pieces for jazz groups as well as songs and pieces for chamber ensembles, choir, and symphony orchestra. Commissions include a piece for the Amherst Saxophone Quartet, and "May Peace Prevail on Earth" for singers, symphony orchestra, three choirs, and jazz quartet, created for the World Peace Prayer Society.

After moving to New York City, Shulman played in the studio as a session musician with the great jazz rhythm section of Ron Carter and Grady Tate; performed with groups such as The Richard Reiter Swing Band, Providence and Crossing Point; and recorded and performed with the acts Mr. Spats (Steve Evans, June Bisantz, Steve Swallow and Bob Moses) and Bobby Previte(with Dave Hofstra, Tom Varner and Lenny Pickett). The Richard Shulman Group, a jazz quartet, played regularly in the New York area and recorded the albums A Simple Gift and Open Spaces, and Richard also released the solo jazz piano album Solo Flight.

A concert in 2008 with bassist Mike Holstein and drummer Sonny Thornton led Shulman to realize that this trio had the sympatico to become his regular group. 2009 brought the release of Sky Jazz, the Richard Shulman Trio's first CD.

Mike Holstein
Bassist/composer Mike Holstein has been playing music since early childhood. His first instruments were guitar, violin, piano and drums. It wasn't until he was attending Western Carolina University that he discovered the bass. His affinity for the instrument was immediately apparent. Within a few years he was performing regularly and became one of the most sought after bassists in the Southeast. From the beginning he was writing his own music. He joined the creative young jazz group, the Taken Back Quartet. This ensemble soon became a fixture on the thriving Asheville music scene. They played to a loyal almost cult-like following.

In 2001, the members of the quartet along with Sharon LaMotte formed the Jazz Composers Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation and documentation of original, instrumental jazz. The Forum became a mainstay of the local music fabric as Mike and the Taken Back Quartet accompanied guest composers in concert presentations. Mike's involvement grew with the forum whose activities now include workshops, presentations in grade schools and tours of venues throughout the region. He has presented his own music multiple times as leader and in the capacity of ?Composer-in-Residence?.

Since 2004, Mike has been a member of the band Cotangent, a New York based group led by pianist/composer Bill Gerhardt. He has played on two recordings with this band, ?Stained Glass? and ?Thrive?. He also appears on Tony Moreno?s ?Trio Music? (Art of Life Records). He has performed with Joe Locke, Ingrid Jensen, Randy Brecker, Frank Kimbrough, Kendra Shank, Ron Horton, Marc Mommaas and Tim Horner among others. A truly gifted musician, Mike is finding himself more in demand than ever as he performs in jazz clubs in New York, throughout the Carolinas and continues to be a force with the Jazz Composers Forum.

Sonny Thornton
One of the south's most creative, intuitive musicians, Sonny Thornton is a master drummer. Born in the District of Columbia, he was exposed to music at a very young age. Living in New York City while his mother furthered her education, Sonny heard the music at one of it's sources. After moving to New Orleans, he learned from the players and atmosphere in the Crescent City, widely acknowledged as the birthplace of jazz. While living there, he developed a friendship with Ed Blackwell, one of the most influential drummers of Twentieth Century. Ed's influence on Sonny's concept of music is undeniable. Thornton is extremely sensitive to the needs of the music and can be understated in his approach just as Blackwell was. Sonny's sense of freedom and his melodic style of soloing also sets him apart from most drummers performing today. Upon relocating to South Carolina, Sonny embarked on his long career of making music in the purist sense. He has performed with innumerable artists, both regionally and nationally known. Groups of most every format from organ trios to big bands to recent drum and keyboard duets with Bill Gerhardt have crossed Sonny's path. When you experience one of his performances, you will hear one of the world's truly gifted musicians, Sonny Thornton.