The Generations Band is a dynamic, all-star group of jazz artists brought together by the International Center for the Arts (ICA) at San Francisco State University to act as both ambassadors and mentors for ICA’s unique Generations International Competition and Fellowship for Emerging Jazz Combos.
Each year, ICA will hold in international competition to find the most deserving young jazz combo, musicians with Bachelors degrees or more, who are poised to begin full-fledged jazz careers. The winning combo will come to San Francisco State for a one-year fellowship, including an intensive mentorship by the members of the Generations Ensemble.
The musicians in this star-studded band are saxophonists Eric Alexander and Andrew Speight, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianist Ronnie Mathews, percussionist Jimmy Cobb and bassist Ray Drummond. And as they gathered to plan and then judge this year’s inaugural Combo Competition, the Generations Ensemble quickly coalesced into a powerful working band, an aggregate of three generations of musical masters working together to send sparks flying with explosive, tradition-rich jazz.
The ensemble spans three influential generations of contemporary jazz, with Cobb’s career reaching back almost 60 years. But regardless of age, there are musicians whose playing reflects the emotional and stylistic roots of jazz, from the blues-soaked fundamentals of the musical form itself to the joys, struggles and triumphs of the music’s long evolution. These are musicians who have been integral to the sounds of Miles Davis, Dinah Washington, Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, McCoy Tyner, Ray Charles, Benny Carter, the Marsalis Family and many other others.