Since its formation in 1977 on the Lower East Side of New York City, the String Trio of New York has been delighting, inspiring and thrilling audiences around the world with its singular acoustic improvisations and compositions for violin, guitar and bass. Initially conceived as a composer/performer’s collective, the Trio has grown in scope and now features a repertoire of over sixty stylistically diverse works made up of originals by the members, works commissioned from composers such as Muhal Richard Abrams, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Wadada Leo Smith, Mark Helias, Bobby Previte, Marty Ehrlich, and Anthony Davis, and arrangements of classics by Ellington, Mingus, Monk, Parker, Coltrane, Powell, Shorter and others.
For over two decades, the Trio has been one of the most active touring ensembles of its kind and has performed hundreds of concerts throughout North America, Europe, East Asia, India, the Middle East, and North Africa. Their international jazz festival appearances include Berlin, Paris, Zurich, Vancouver, Toronto, Leipzig, Cracow, Victoria, Edmonton, Lovere, Tampere, Leverkusen, Warsaw and others. Hailed by critics worldwide, the Philadelphia Inquirer said that the Trio "...is solidly prepared, but offers the excitement of improvisation projected through unshakable musicianship." JazzTimes raved, "No individual or ensemble has done more to demystify chamber jazz, and to realize its potential for warmth, sensuousness and beauty...than the String Trio of New York." The New York Times observed that the Trio “...played jazz that was rhythmically alive, stylistically varied and consistently inventive as anything this listener has heard recently.”
In the United States, the Trio has performed at the Mellon, Ravinia and Newport Jazz Festivals as well as Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Walker Arts Center, The Smithsonian Institution, The Kennedy Center, Houston's Da Camera Society, Stanford Lively Arts, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, San Francisco's Herbst Theatre, The Wexner Center at Ohio St., The University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Wolf Trap and many others. The ensemble has been featured on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition and most recently on Public Radio International's Concerts from the Library of Congress. The String Trio of New York’s remarkable music has contributed immeasurably to the chamber jazz idiom and has won an enthusiastic and increasingly expanding audience.
The String Trio of New York has released sixteen critically acclaimed recordings for the Arabesque, Black Saint, Stash, Music & Arts, Accord Accort, Omnitone, Barking Hoop and Westwind labels. In 2005, the Trio recorded their 16th album – Frozen Ropes (Barking Hoop). The CD, featuring saxophonist/ composer Oliver Lake, was released to great critical acclaim. Partial funding for the recording was provided by the Cary Trust Foundation. In 2003, the 15th CD by the String Trio of New York was released by Brooklyn-based Omnitone Records. The CD, titled Gut Reaction, was recorded live during a three-night engagement at the Manhattan club The Jazz Standard in May, 2001. The CD features exhilarating full-length performances of new extended works by James Emery and John Lindberg, as well as composer/trumpeter Dave Douglas's In So Many Worlds, commissioned by the Trio in 1999 with funding from Chamber Music America.
Recent seasons have brought highly regarded collaborations and tours, both in the USA and Europe, with saxophonist Joe Lovano, pianist/composer Anthony Davis, saxophonist/composer Oliver Lake, saxophonist/composer Carlos Malta. and the Bang On A Can All-Stars.
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The year 2001 brought violinist Rob Thomas into the group. The Trio has featured some of the finest violinists in jazz, contemporary and improvised music and Thomas is no exception. He follows violinist Diane Monroe, who performed with the group from 1997 to 2000. The first violinist to perform with the group was Billy Bang (1977-'85), followed by Charles Burnham (1986-'90) and Regina Carter (1991-'96).
In the 2003-04 season, the Trio presented a highly successful residency at SUNY Uister (Stone Ridge, NY) and in the village of Warwick, NY. Chamber Music America’s Residency Partnership Program provided primary funding for this large-scale event, which totaled 23 events over a 9 month period.
The Trio brings together three of the most dynamic, creative and unique individuals in jazz and contemporary music:
James Emery has performed his works in over 25 countries worldwide. His celebrated recordings have been described as "innovative and imaginative" and "utterly distinctive" by the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD. A Guggenheim fellow, he has been described as "one of the world's finest guitarists" by allaboutjazz.com.
John Lindberg, has toured worldwide as a leader and released twenty-five albums featuring his compositions. Downbeat Magazine recently noted "One of bassist Lindberg's most enduring distinctions is that he demonstrates how much having fun could--probably should--be central to modern jazz dynamics".
Rob Thomas is increasingly regarded as one of the most impressive jazz violinists currently working. His breadth of ideas, stunning technique and total command of the jazz vocabulary inspire all who hear him. His recent work includes projects with Andy Summers, Lee Konitz, the Jazz Passengers and the Mahavishnu Project.Thoroughly committed to education and outreach programs, the String Trio of New York has developed the innovative and unique Human Residency, a series of seminars and lecture/ demonstrations linking music to the arts and humanities, ever widening their circle of devoted fans. This far-reaching project has been presented by Stanford Lively Arts, Da Camera of Houston, Ohio U., Wallace Comm. College Selma, Buena Vista College, Babson College, Eastern Michigan U., Ferris St. U. and others. The Trio also offers a full range of music topics, including lecture/demonstrations, workshops and master classes. Along with their formidable performances and recordings, the String Trio of New York continues to break new ground with these educational endeavors.