Dayna Stephens, Bass
Primarily a saxophonist, Dayna Stephens was born in Brooklyn, New York August 1st, 1978, and was raised in the San Francisco bay area. He began playing the saxophone at age 13. He attended the prestigious Berkeley High School and took part in their jazz ensemble. Dayna was then accepted to Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA on a full scholarship. There, he studied with Hal Crook, Billy Pierce, George Garzone and Andy McGee among others. While in Boston, Dayna also had the opportunity to perform with Chick Corea and the Boston Pops for a PBS special.
After graduating from Berklee, Dayna was selected to be in the Thelonious Monk Institute of jazz program located at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard. He studied there for 2 years and while there, Dayna studied and played with, among others: Dave Holland, Kenny Barron, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, Lewis Nash, Mark Turner, Christian McBride, Carl Allen and Terence Blanchard who was the artistic director of the program. In the spring of 2003 the Monk group made a recording featuring Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, and Wayne Shorter. The recording Featured some of the best compositions and arrangements made by group throughout their 2 years spent together.
Since Graduating from the Monk Institute in 2003, Dayna has been performing and teaching actively. He plays regularly in San Francisco & New York City and has performed in recent times with Salvador & Carlos Santana, Kenny Barron, Roy Hargrove, OZOmatli, Patrice Rushen,Tom Harrell, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Jeff Parker, Freddie Hubbard, Steve Coleman, Oliver Lake, Eric Gravatt, Ndugu Chancler, Idris Muhammad, Bobby Short, and Josh Roseman. Dayna also plays upright bass and has performed with Stefon Harris, Marcus Belgrave, Sonny Fortune, Roy Hargrove and Natalie Douglas.
mark taylor, french horn
Mark Taylor is one of a handful of talented young performers carrying on the improvisational tradition pioneered by the great (french) hornist, Julius Watkins. Taylor's sound has been described as "rapturous" and "golden" (Coda Magazine); "as fluid and limpid as (the) flute, and as gnarly as (the) alto." (JazzTimes). His innovative style has won him recognition by such legendary artists as Max Roach, who said, "Mark Taylor is a virtuoso instrumentalist...there is no one dealing with the french horn or the music the way he is."
Mark has performed and recorded with an array of modern giants including: Max Roach, McCoy Tyner, Abdullah Ibrahim, Muhal Richard Abrams, Lester Bowie, and Basie bandleader Grover Mitchell. As a featured soloist with Henry Threadgill's Very Very Circus he toured throughout the United States, Europe and in Asia. As a member of George Schuller's post-modern big band, Orange Then Blue, Mark participated in a State Department tour of Turkey, Cyprus and Syria. As leader of his own groups he has performed at Jazz Festivals in Tampere, Finland and Ljubljana and Maribor, Slovenia and at a number of clubs in Germany, Austria, Canada and New York City, including Porgy and Bess, Cafe Unterfahrt, Birdland, the Zinc Bar and the Knitting Factory. As a composer, he has written for Max Roach, the Ebony Brass Quintet, pianist Larry Willis and is a member of the So What Brass Quintet. He has also been commissioned to compose for theatre and dance, placed two songs in the Dollface Productions independent feature film "The Girl" and recently completed the score for Camille Billops' documentary, "A String of Pearls".