This exciting debut project from guitarist Baron Tymas grabs from a hundred bags to concoct its brand of jazz. The result: rich and modern compositions, animated by potent improvisation, poignant lyricism and the blues.
Baron’s cohorts include Stephen Riley (saxophonist, Steeplechase Records), Nate Smith (drummer with Dave Holland and Chris Potter), Damon Brown, John V. Brown, Mitch Butler, James “Saxsmo” Gates, Carl Lester El, II, Ed Paolantonio, Thomas Taylor and Jody Boyd. These outstanding artists are further proof of the unique and beautiful music coming out of the southeastern U.S. Here, the feel of the ensemble is everything, and cats are actually listening to each other. Their burning solos are a bonus.
All performances were captured without overdubs, save “Dimples,” a multi-layered original samba for acoustic guitar and shekere. The other nine tracks, four of which are originals, explore hard bop, latin jazz, polymeter and extended form. The recordings come out of several short sessions—on stage in Richmond, Virginia, at Jody Boyd’s Richmond studio and at NC Central University, where Tymas is a music professor. The music exemplifies genuine spontanaeity, great playing and a lot of heart.
An electric and acoustic guitarist of tremendous skill, emotion and versatility, Baron Tymas makes fiery, yet beautiful original jazz music, drawing inspiration from bebop, funk, rock, blues, classical, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Spanish, Indian, gypsy, reggae and west African traditions. The melodies are striking, yet thoughtful, the harmonies deceptively modern, and the rhythms grooving, but unpredictable.
Currently, Baron leads the Baron Tymas trio, with bassist Damon Brown and drummer Thomas Taylor.
Tymas is an assistant professor of music at North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC. At NCCU, he is head of the guitar program and Assistant Director of Jazz Studies. He is a dynamic and passionate performer, composer and educator, who plays regularly in the southeast and occasionally throughout the U.S. and abroad. During the summers, he also teaches at National Guitar Workshop's New Milford, Connecticut and McLean, Virginia campuses.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Tymas performed throughout the mid-Atlantic region, especially with the award-winning reggae band Black Sheep and the powerful jazz fusion group Cross Currents. Black Sheep toured extensively, performing many times alongside great artists such as Third World, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse and the Wailers. Black Sheep was a very unique, high-energy group that featured singer Isa Abdullah, saxophonist Dontez Harris, bassist Moata Kenyatta, percussionist Abasi Johnson and a revolving door of drummers, notably Sean Rickman, Bruce Royal and Barry Sherard. The band's 1990 release, Learn from Each Other, was named "Best Reggae Recording " by the Washington Area Music Association.
Cross Currents included Baron, guitar synthesist Charles Wright, bassist Avon Lucas and drummer Sean Peck. The group held a two-year house gig at a popular nightspot in Washington's Adams Morgan area from 1993 through 1995. The Adams Morgan gig was a frequent forum for late-night cutting sessions with hot musicians travelling through the D.C. area with national acts. By then, Baron had finished graduate school, having earned a masters degree in music from Howard University in 1992. Around that time, Baron even acted a bit, appearing in the Washington production of George C. Wolfe’s Spunk, for which he also composed and performed music.
During the course of his studies, Baron has been privileged to study with many great teachers, including Geri Allen, Arthur Dawkins, Calvin Jones, Mick Goodrick, Bob Sinicrope, Bill Harris, John Baboian, Pat Martino, Jimmy Bruno, Frank Bahus and Reppard Stone.
Between 1995 and 2002, Tymas performed extensively with the Virginia-based group F.R.E.N.S., whose cd, The First Time (Lifegroove Records, 1997) received significant airplay. F.R.E.N.S. has played hundreds of club, festival and private dates in the Eastern U.S. and Europe. The group has been privileged to host many great guests performing or sitting in with the band (such as Chaka Khan, Will Kennedy, Pieces of a Dream, Rene Marie, Desiree Roots, James Gates and Skip Gailes). Band members include vocalist/percussionist Rudy Faulkner, keyboardist Lance Dickerson, bassist Carl Lester El II and, at various times since the group's inception, drummers Ira "Nate" Smith, Carter Beauford, Ronny Cokes and Luther "Junnie" Collins. Baron still relishes the rare chance to play with this powerhouse group.
While playing with F.R.E.N.S., Tymas kept extremely busy, teaching at the University of Richmond, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Virginia Union University and Virginia Commonwealth University. He also maintained a full roster of private students in the Richmond area. At that time, Baron also developed a close musical friendship with the powerful Virginia-based saxophonist James Gates, Jr., on whose CD, Come on Over to My House, he contributes lead and rhythm guitar tracks. Baron also took great inspiration from playing with other notable Virginia jazz artists, such as Rene Marie, Desiree Roots, Kevin Teasley, T. Howard Curtis, Skip Gailes, Bob Halahan, Clarence Seay, Russell Wilson, Weldon Hill, Jamael Nance and others.
In 2000 and 2001, Baron served on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Jazz Society. He has served on advisory panels of other arts organizations, such as the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Durham Arts Council.
Baron joined the NCCU faculty in 2001. At NCCU, he teaches jazz and guitar courses and is a member of the Faculty Jazz Combo, an outstanding group that also includes saxophonists Ira Wiggins, Brian Horton and Arnold George, trumpeter Jay Meachum, trombonist Robert Trowers, pianist Ed Paolantonio, bassist Damon Brown and drummer Thomas Taylor.
In 2004, trombonist Mitch Butler invited Baron to join Nebulous. Other bandmembers include saxophonist Stephen Riley, bassist Damon Brown and drummer Thomas Taylor. 2004 also marked Baron's first season on the faculty of National Guitar Workshop.