Anibal (Ah-Knee-Ball) Rojas is a saxophonist with indigenous roots in a modern world. His is the music of the immigrant, the sound of integration and assimilation, the blending of cultures, classes, and musical traditions.
Born in Chile, Rojas emigrated to the U.S. in his early teens. His parents, fleeing political persecution, rented him a saxophone and signed him up for music lessons to keep him out of trouble. To supplement the family’s income – his father’s modest doctoral student stipend – Rojas spent his summers as a migrant worker in Iowa’s cornfields. All the while, he was learning too – English and music. He scored a full music scholarship auditioning on a horn that was held together with rubber bands and four years later scored a degree in music performance from the University of Iowa.
A classically trained jazz lover, Rojas moved to the East Coast and found work with R&B and funk bands, who appreciated his screaming altissimo and big, colorful sound. He spent a few years touring with oldies R&B groups like Cuba Gooding and the Main Ingredient as well as with funk bands like Live Funk Nouveau, Skin Tight and the New York Horns. The gigs took him from across the country and halfway around the world, to Morocco where he played for the king.
Chris Fischer is a jazz-schooled pianist/multi-instrumentalist with traditional roots in a modern world as well. Growing up playing drums with his stride-pianist father and plectrum banjo playing mother, Chris was exposed to dixieland roots and harmonic structure for years before he heard his first rock album or fusion band. Later playing classical trumpet in churches professionally by age 12 and keyboards in rock and jazz settings by 15 it was apparent he would not settle on picking only one genre to specialize in. At the Hartt School's jazz program headed by the legendary alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, Chris would develop his love for post bop and Afro-Cuban styles. (The track "Idris" written in memory of his South African teacher and Jackie Mclean's pianist Hotep Idris Galeta) While at the school he once again allowed himself to be distracted by creating an electric jazz group that played original and cover music in the styles of the Brecker Brothers, Mike Stern, and the The Yellowjackets.
Once out of school and into the streets of New York City, Chris ended up immersed into the world of r&b and funk rather than chasing the "jazz artist dream" like he had anticipated. Always in awe of all the musical styles out in the world, he found himself playing deep groove music in the clubs and on stage with artists like Atlantic Starr, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bobby Brown and Stevie Wonder. Being born in Plainfield, NJ, ground zero for Parliament Funkadelic, Chris found that the music he did not necessarily hear in his home growing up rang true and familiar for him as it was certainly the music of the streets he grew up around. Eventually being employed as a church musician exposed him to traditional and contemporary Gospel which fused all these styles together. But all the while, Chris has been a jazz musician at heart.
Rojas and Fischer had known each other nearly all this time, playing together in each setting with many of the above mentioned artists and in varying styles. Finally deciding it was time to collaborate on a project where they could play and compose in one of their favorite settings, "Root Kinetic" was conceived and delivered at long last.
Guest Trombonist: Andy Hunter
Andy Hunter is an exciting, bold musician deeply entrenched in the New York music scene. An experienced leader and highly in-demand side man, he performs around the world with high profile artists such as the 2010 Grammy Award-winning Mingus Big Band/Dynasty, Richard Bona, Nnenna Freelon, T.S. Monk’s tentet, Dave Holland’s Big Band (a 2005 Grammy winner), the Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, and the 2010 Grammy Award-winning Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Hunter is very active in New York City with bands ranging from Snarky Puppy to the Birdland Big Band or the Bill Lee Natural Spiritual Orchestra to Ochun and other popular Cuban groups, Colombian folkloric, salsa and funk bands. He is a prolific composer and highly awarded soloist, with credits such as first prize in the 2002 International Trombone Association Jazz Competition, the 2005 Antti Rissanen International Jazz Competition in Helsinki Finland and the ETW National Jazz Trombone Competition in Washington D.C. in 2006. He was also a popular finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz competition of 2003.