William Eaton, Anthony Mazzella, Fitzhugh Jenkins
Each member of this group is an established guitarist, performer, composer, producer, and recording artist, with three Grammy nominations to their individual credits. In collaboration they strive to listen, with a delicate sensitivity, to what each other is playing, allowing a unified sound to emerge that leads to the unfolding of each musical moment. This instrumental combination is a first. Imagine three 18-string instruments simultaneously resonating in harmony, rhythmic syncopation, and melodic counterpoint, using elements of jazz, classical, East Indian, ambient, funk, rock and their own finger-style innovations. Better yet, attend one of their upcoming concerts and experience this new combination for yourself.
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William Eaton - Acknowledged as one of the world’s great designers and builders of unique stringed instruments, Eaton began playing the ukulele and guitar at age seven. As an apprentice to John Roberts, he built his first guitar in 1971 and co-founded the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix in 1975. Throughout the years Eaton has always had one instrument or another under construction at the R-V School where he continues to teach and serve as the School’s Director. He's created hybrid instruments like the koto-harp guitar, 26-string guitar and the 31 stringed, O'ele'n Strings and the lyraharp guitar. According to John Diliberto, the noted radio host of the nationally syndicated Echoes program, “they all look like lost artifacts of a highly evolved alien culture. Eaton deploys his instruments in an exotic world chamber fusion that draws its rhythms from the Middle East and Africa, its melodies from India and Appalachia and its atmosphere right out of the desert southwest where Eaton lives.” An innovative artist, Eaton has composed for and performed with the Amadeus Trio, Nouveau West Chamber Orchestra, the Nebraska Chamber Orchestra and with his own group the William Eaton Ensemble. His recording career includes six collaborations with Native American Flute icon R. Carlos Nakai, for Canyon Records, including two Grammy Nominated albums: Ancestral Voices and most recently, In A Distant Place with Nakai, Will Clipman and Tibetan Flutist Nawang Khechog. Eaton has also won a NAMMY award for best instrumental album, Red Wind, a trio with Nakai and Clipman. Separately, Eaton has released five recordings on the Canyon label, including the recently released double CD set: Sparks and Embers (William Eaton Ensemble with Claudia Tulip, Allen Ames, Will Clipman and Mary Redhouse) which entered at number 4 in the World Top 100 radio chart. Sparks and Embers was engineered and recorded by the legendary Jack Miller. Other recordings include: Wisdom Tree that features bassist extraordinaire Edgar Meyer; and Where Rivers Meet, which earned the ensemble a Billboard Critic’s Choice award.
Fitzhugh Jenkins is renowned in Sedona as one of the most well rounded guitarists. Growing up in Hawaii, Fitzhugh played guitar in Don Ho’s band and also performed as a soloist. He then lived in Los Angeles for 10 years working as a studio musician. While in Los Angeles, Fitzhugh performed for the United States Olympic team during the 1984 Summer Games. He was then chosen to study in France under renowned fingerstyle guitarist Pierre Bensusan. Following his studies with Pierre, he toured and recorded extensively with the Shah of Iran’s private court of musicians, dancers and singers from 1980 to 1988. He has performed on the Grammy nominated Narada CD entitled “Passion Music for Guitar” and played with Ann Owens on a country top 40 hit. Country music is in Fitzhugh’s blood as his grandfather was responsible for starting the Grand Ol Opry and his mother is Grand Ol Opry legend Little Annie Pickard. Fitzhugh has opened for renowned artists such as Alex DeGrassi and Tuck and Patti. His main influences are that of Pat Metheny, Egberto Gismonti and Pierre Bensusan. In 1996 Fitzhugh recorded his swansong, a solo classical guitar CD of original music called “Journey Into Yavapai”(1996). This CD captures the essence of this brilliant musician with an elegance that puts him in a class of the classical guitar masters. He then recorded a CD called “Mango Man” which is about his experiences in Hawaii. This CD features local Sedona musicians Eddy Baratinni on drums and Troy Perkins on Bass guitar. Fitzhugh performs live regularly around Sedona with his band called Bedouin Café which consists of James Jenkins (his 16 year old son) on saxophone, Eddy Baratinni on drums, and Zirque Bonner on Bass. This group also recorded a CD titled “Bedouin Café” (2003) that is available in Sedona. Fitzhugh also appears on countless Sedona musician’s recordings including those of international recording/performing artist Ralph Illenberger. To watch Fitzhugh play is to experience a true artist’s embodiment as his music saturates the soul and sensitizes the being.
Anthony Mazzella is recognized internationally as one of the most innovative guitar masters on stage and on record today. BILLBOARD magazine describes him as "the new generation of guitar hero" and GUITAR ONE magazine voted him "one of the top ten guitarists in the country". Anthony has released four CD's, toured extensively nationally and internationally, contributed tracks on compilation CD's, made guest appearances on major artists releases, receives airplay on national radio and television, and has an independent film soundtrack to his credit. Anthony began his career as a private music teacher and concert guitarist in his hometown New York City. He quickly built up a strong following which landed him spots in most every live music club in Manhattan. He then landed a headlining spot at the BLUE NOTE NYC just one year after street performing in front of it and has since gone on to perform on stages all over the world. He has opened for many headlining artists such as; James Brown, Tower of Power, The Commodores etc. and continues to unite with friends and fans by extensive touring. His original music is composed with a fusion of world influences consisting of jazz, flamenco, rhythm & blues, rock, folk, classical, celtic, middle-eastern, electric counterpoint and acoustic fingerstyle. Anthony also plays a one-of-a-kind Ten String Guitar that he designed and was built by his father. The guitar is a combined 4 string bass and 6 string guitar made of African zebrawood and ebony. On this unique instrument, Anthony displays his abilities in fingering bass lines and chords with his left hand while simultaneously playing melodies on the fretboard with his right. This is what is considered to be the highest level of technical guitar mastery. Mazzella began studying music on the violin at age five. He then proceeded to learn the rudiments of piano until falling in love with the guitar at age thirteen. Throughout his adolescence he studied with several private guitar teachers and progressed on to study classical guitar and music in college. Anthony attributes the greater part of his education to ear training. His musical influences are many, but none more profound than the music and techniques of the guitar masters such as; Michael Hedges, Tuck Andres, Pat Metheny, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen, William Ackerman, Charlie Christian, Carlos Montoya, Andres Segovia and countless others. Anthony is also one of the few chosen understudies of world-renowned guitar master Stanley Jordan. Now Anthony continues his studies by exploring the music from cultures all over the world and collaborating with the musicians indigenous to those regions. Mazzella's debut CD “THE BIRTH” (1997) is a collection of original solo electric fingerstyle compositions. He then recorded a jazz/rock fusion CD with a trio called “OUSIA” (2000). Anthony's third CD “BRIO” (2001) is a collaboration with instrumental music veteran Chris Spheeris and was awarded "Top Acoustic Instrumental Recording of the Year". Anthony's fourth CD, “UNITY” (2004) consists of all new original material. Recording engineer extraordinaire Russell Bond (Michael Hedges, William Ackerman, Alex DeGrassi, George Winston) recorded Anthony's main guitar tracks for this CD. To make the CD a bigger production, Anthony hired the talented engineering team of Michael Wallace and Baraka (Sting, No Doubt) to mix in the drums & percussion, bass, keys, mandolin, native American flute and cello. The outcome is a beautiful unity between acoustic fingerstyle guitar and elements of rock, celtic, and flamenco music. Anthony is always performing to support all of his recording efforts and to, in his words, "give life to music and music to life."