Sara Caswell & Dave Stryker

Sara Caswell

2018 Grammy Nominee Sara Caswell is fast becoming one of today’s foremost jazz violinists through her technical facility and gift for lyricism. Recognized as a “Rising Star” in the DownBeat Magazine Critics and Readers Polls every year since 2013, Sara’s artistry and unique sound lead Grammy-winning violinist Mark O’Connor to write: “What Sara creates with her instrument…is beautifully refined emotion that lifts the spirit.”

Sara has released three highly-acclaimed CDs: First Song and But Beautiful under her own name, and most recently Alive in the Singing Air in partnership with her sister, vocalist Rachel Caswell. She leads the Sara Caswell Quartet, co-leads the Caswell Sisters Quintet, and regularly performs with mandolinist Joseph Brent’s 9 Horses. In addition to touring for two years with bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society, Sara has toured with clarinetist David Krakauer’s The Big Picture, vocalist Roseanna Vitro’s quintet, Mark O’Connor’s American String Celebration, and violinist Darol Anger’s Four Generations of Jazz Violin. She has performed and/or recorded with such artists as Brad Mehldau, Fred Hersch, Fabian Almazan, Linda Oh, Laila Biali, Regina Carter, Jenny Scheinman, Alan Ferber, Ike Sturm, Nadje Noordhuis, Lynne Arriale, Charlie Byrd, Skitch Henderson, Gene Bertoncini, Kishi Bashi, and Bruce Springsteen. She is a member of the New York Pops Orchestra with whom she has been a featured soloist several times in Carnegie Hall, and was part of the house band for NBC’s weekly variety show “Maya & Marty” starring Maya Rudolph and Martin Short.

Currently on faculty at both the Berklee College of Music and Manhattan School of Music, Sara’s formidable teaching experience also includes the Mark O’Connor String Camps, the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops, the Indiana University String Academy, and a private studio. She has also given numerous jazz string improvisation workshops and masterclasses and is involved with JEN (Jazz Education Network), MENC (National Association of Music Education), and ASTA (American String Teachers Association).

Raised in a musical family, Sara began playing violin at age 5, studied with two legendary giants (Josef Gingold – classical, David Baker – jazz), made her orchestral debut at 15, earned degrees from Indiana University and Manhattan School of Music, and amassed over 100 awards in the jazz and classical competition worlds. Jazz educator, author, and critic Dr. Herb Wong said: “A gifted starbright talent of the first magnitude, Sara is a top tier member of the young generation of major voices.”

Dave Stryker

Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker fronting his own group (with 28 CDs as a leader to date), or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine and Jack McDuff, you know why Gary Giddins in the Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.” Hot House magazine awarded him Best Guitarist Fans Decision for 2017. He was recently voted once again as one of the top Jazz Guitarists in the 2017 Downbeat Critics and Readers Polls. His most recent CD “Strykin’ Ahead” reached #3 and stayed for 26 weeks on the JazzWeek Radio chart, and was picked as one of the top CDs of 2017 by Downbeat. Stryker grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, moved to New York City in 1980, and joined organist Jack McDuff’s group (1984-85). From 1986 to 1995, Stryker played with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. He has also performed with Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, Jimmy Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and many others. Dave is the Adjunct Professor of Jazz Guitar at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University.

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