SPOKE draws strength and integrity from the point where its members unite. The formative philosophy for Spoke lies in the union of musicians distinguished not merely by their virtuosity and musical experience, but by a unique emphasis on composition and group interplay. Through years of performing together, the ensemble has arrived at a deep level of anticipation and musical synergy on stage. To be present at one of their performances is to embark upon a truly captivating musical journey. And most of all, they impart and share the joy and fun woven integrally into their music and friendship.
In the last year alone, the members of SPOKE have performed at major festivals and venues on every continent except Antarctica, including such countries as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Ghana, India, Japan, Martinique, Morocco, Peru, Russia, Senegal, and Spain, along with such diverse artists as T.S. Monk, Dave Holland, the Mingus Big Band, Richard Bona, and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra just to name a few.
Critical Praise for SPOKE
* Spoke’s eponymous 2009 release was singled out for special praise from Paul Blair at Hot House Magazine, who called it “ONE OF THE MOST INVENTIVE RECORDS I’VE HEARD ALL YEAR.”
* New York City’s All About Jazz picked Spoke as a top-ten release in 2009, and said:
The thought that went into the set’s twelve pieces is literally mind-bending… freestanding, differentiated chapters in a series of detailed stories that are anything but traditional… its standards and targets are set far higher than the norm. – J. Hunter, All About Jazz [http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/review_print.php?id=32907]
Spoke Member Bios:
Andy Hunter is an exciting, bold musician deeply entrenched in the New York music scene. A highly experienced leader and in-demand side man, he performs around the world with high profile artists such as the Mingus Big Band/Dynasty, Richard Bona, Nnenna Freelon, T.S. Monk’s tentet, The Dave Holland Big Band, the 2-time Grammy winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra, and the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band. Hunter is very active in New York with bands ranging from the Birdland Big Band or the Bjorkestra to several popular Cuban groups, Colombian folkloric, salsa and funk bands. He is a prolific composer and highly awarded soloist, with credits such as first prize in the 2002 International Trombone Association Jazz Competition, the 2005 Antti Rissanen International Jazz Competition in Helsinki Finland and the ETW national jazz trombone competition in Washington D.C. in 2006. He was also a popular finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz competition of 2003. He has appeared on Saturday Night Live, and performed at most major music venues in New York. (www.hunterandy.com)
A new presence on the New York jazz scene, Dan Loomis has already become one the most in-demand bassists of his generation. Called “a forceful and creative bass player” (Cadence) “double-teaming you with style and substance” (All About Jazz), Dan has created a stir with both his powerful bass playing and his vision as a composer/bandleader. Dan has toured extensively through the US, Canada and Europe with his groups The Dan Loomis Quartet (DLQ), The Wee Trio, Spoke, and as a sideman with T.S. Monk, Joel Frahm, the Ernesto Cervni Quartet. (www.danloomismusic.com)
Justin Wood grew up in frozen Northern Maine, which might account for his warm sound and “spark-spewing solos that showcase the alto’s best qualities” [All About Jazz]. Living in New York City for the past decade, Justin has established a presence as a highly versatile and always unique voice on the saxophones and flute.
Outside of SPOKE, Justin has recorded and performs with several notable ensembles at venues ranging from Lincoln Center and the Jazz el Parque festival in Bogota, to le Poisson Rouge to many of New York’s small, vital neighborhood venues.
Danny Fischer left a huge gap in the music scene of his native Melbourne, Australia when he relocated to New York in 2004. A 2002 review called Danny “possibly the most in-demand jazz drummer in Melbourne, having worked with a long list of Australian and international musicians including Barney McAll, Gary Bartz, James Williams, George Colligan & Paul Bollenbeck…..” Since relocating to New York, he has been in demand as a sideman, having just recently returned from a tour of Australia with Kurt Rosenwinkel and Barney McAll and has performed at Radio City Music Hall alongside Patty LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight and Diana Ross.