Tom Chess is a Multi-instrumentalist/Improviser/Composer. He plays Reeds, Western Flute, Arabic/Turkish Ney flute, Oud, and Guitar. He also has a history of using electronics /sampling/live-sampling/loops/fx. He has performed with Drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson' Decoding Society, Butch Morris's Sheng Skyscraper, recorded with Tenor players Dewey Redman, Pharoah Sanders, Morrocan Sintarist Hassan Hakmoun and Butch Morris. He has also led a guitar trio with Drummer Phil Haynes and bassist Drew Gress called Seven Times a Year. He has studied Middle/Near Eastern and West African musics, spending time in West Africa playing and performing. He has studied with Bassam Saba, Tidiani Bangoura, Abdul Aziz Tourè and Mohammad Camarra. He has also conducted workshops and master classes/lectures and performances in the NYC Public school system as well as New Jersey and Universities and institutions such as Asia Society NY, Johnson State College Vermont, Columbia University, SUNY Fredonia College, McDaniels College, Carrol Community College, Md, and Gettysburg College Pa. He currently lives in NYC where he performs with his different ensembles and works as a freelance musician. He has performed at Lincoln Center, The Turkish Embassy, The Pakastani Embassy, the Asian Society, The Natural History Museum, Himalayan Museum of Art among countless other venues in NYC and the United States. He has also performed in Africa, Canada, Holland, and Italy.
RAVI PADMANABHA is a percussionist, multi-instrumentalist, improviser/composer. His initial interest was in drum set which later led to a variety of world instruments. From an early age, Ravi was exposed to Indian Classical music. At age 18, he began his formal Tabla studies with Pandit Ananda Gopal, and later with Pandit Samar Saha of Calcutta. He then continued with Tabla Maestro Pandit Sharda Sahai. He worked for Trivini, an Indian Classical Music organization, which allowed him to meet and learn more about his rich musical heritage.
While living in Buffalo Ravi spent many years performing in a wide variety of musical styles, including jazz, world, and experimental music. He has helped form many groups, such as Hylozoa with Steve Baczkowski on winds, Tala Rasa with Ron Locurto on guitar, and Omkara with Naryan Padmanabha on santoor and Aneal Padmanabha on guitar. Ravi has performed at Buffalo's Drum Day and Maelstrom Percussion Ensembles Master Drummers Program.
In Indian Culture it is not uncommon for people to pursue such diverse fields as music and science. Besides music, Ravi has excelled in academics. He received a Doctorate of Dental Surgery, DDS in 1997 from the University at Buffalo Dental School.
"...I dig the way both of these musicians move together, their lines of notes flowing in a most mesmerizing way. Each solo by Tom, tells a story and takes us along with him to exotic places. Superb, at times sublime and always engaging."
-Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery, nyc