This is the second album from Jeff Antoniuk with the Jazz Update band. Antoniuk is a highly traveled and solid figure on the greater Washington D.C. jazz scene. His quartet also includes Pianist Wade Beach, Bassist Tom Baldwin and Drummer Tony Martucci.
Brotherhood is beautifully balanced in its themes and musical styles. It includes five originals by Antoniuk and two by bassist Baldwin, along with fresh takes on four jazz staples. It might be called progressive straight ahead jazz or 21st century hard bop and was mixed and mastered to a bright and cohesive finish by Kent Heckman of Red Rock Studio in Pennsylvania. DJ’s across the US are already praising the new album, released in May 2010.
The group’s 2006 CD Here Today brimmed with Antoniuk originals and luscious covers of Ellington, Monk and Golson, and rapidly climbed the jazz charts in the U.S. and Canada. Reviewing a live Here Today concert, Annapolis critic Michael Macey reported, “Antoniuk and his cohorts displayed a finesse that was thrilling to listen to and exciting to watch.” Heralding the same release, Michael Joyce of The Washington Post testified that Antoniuk had “impressive skills as a composer.”
The Jazz Update includes some of the most noteworthy jazz musicians on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. and they share an expansive jazz repertoire. The ensemble has been commissioned by several Washington D.C. cultural institutions to develop programs delving deeply into the canons of Coltrane, Monk and other treasures. Packed concerts at the Smithsonian and The Kennedy Center have shown them to be adept at live performance.
Pianist Wade Beach is widely respected for his harmonic sophistication and superb technique without stylistic limitations. When he earned a master’s degree in piano performance from the University of Maryland, playing jazz was strictly verboten. (So was the rock and roll he played six nights a week to finance his education.) He became a protégé of Sir Roland Hanna, then toured the globe many times with the Airmen of Note. He is an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University.
Bassist Tom Baldwin has backed modern jazz greats James Moody, George Garzone and Eric Alexander. The tasteful and articulate bassist teaches at University of Maryland. For the past five years, he and his band mates have been core jazz camp faculty of the Maryland Summer Jazz Festival.
Drummer Tony Martucci has played and recorded with giants from almost every period of jazz, including Mose Allison, Joe Henderson and Sonny Stitt. He teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University. Wrote Music Monthly, “Martucci’s drum set magic is rich in detail and ambience...” Jazz Times said Martucci “is an exciting yet sensitive player with chops, taste...”
Bandleader Jeff Antoniuk has performed with Canadian saxophonist PJ Perry and pianist/composer/bandleader/Senator Tommy Banks, big band leader Rob McConnell and pop icon David Foster. His band mates in Western Canada are guitarist Jim Head, bassist John Taylor and pianist Chris Andrews. He has also worked with Juneau Award winners multi-instrumentalist Brad Turner and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen. In the states, he has performed and recorded with diverse hit makers Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Bobby McFerrin and Freddie Hubbard. Najee, Marcus Miller and Wayman Tisdale have embraced his skills as an arranger and performer.
A transplanted Canadian from a Ukrainian family, Antoniuk spent formative years in Benin City, Nigeria. He attended college in Edmonton Alberta and went on to the University of North Texas, where he received a master’s degree in jazz performance and West African ethnomusicology. Subsequent tours to Asia and Siberia helped sow the seeds for a unique musical perspective reflected in this newly minted offering of jazz without borders.
A master teaching artist for the Washington Performing Arts Society (WPAS), Antoniuk also directs inDepth Jazz Clinics & Concerts for semi-pro musicians. He is the artistic director of Maryland Summer Jazz; a top rated jazz camp with public concerts held the last two weeks of July in Rockville, Maryland.