Jean Toussaint (ts) Mark Kavuma (t) Ashley Henry (p) Daniel Casimir (b) Femi Koleoso (d)
Since saxophonist Jean Toussaint left Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, he hasn’t looked back. Nor has he spent a career trying to repeat the past. The experiences gained in that world-class hothouse have enabled him to push forward and embrace challenging and often high profile musical collaborations in many different jazz styles. Today he works out of London as a band leader/composer, and educator.
Born in the Caribbean, Toussaint studied at Berklee with peers Branford Marsalis, Greg Osby, Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts and others. He joined Blakey in 1982 and toured and recorded with him for four years with fellow band members Lonnie Plexico, Terence Blanchard, Mulgrew Miller and Donald Harrison. Based in New York with the Messengers, Toussaint regularly led the jam sessions at the famous Blue Note club.
Initially invited to teach at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Toussaint came to London in 1987 and still uses the city as his base. He has released 10 CDs as a Leader and guested on many more. Collaborations with musicians based in the UK have included Bheki Mseleku, Julian Joseph, Jason Rebello, Cleveland Watkiss, Steve Williamson, Orphy Robinson and others. Toussaint is also invited to join tours with US musicians visiting Europe: he has played with Wynton Marsalis, McCoy Tyner and the Gil Evans Orchestra. In the last couple of years, he has played North Sea Festival (Den Haag), The New Morning (Paris), Montreux Festival (Switzerland), Clermont Ferrand Festival (France), Cork Festival (Ireland) as well as many clubs and theatres. He still teaches at Guildhall, and also at Trinity and Birmingham Conservatory. Jean has played at Swanage several times in the past few years, most recently with his tribute to Art Blakey. In the tradition of his mentor, brings his latest group of brilliant young musicians to the Festival.