Welcome to the Jazzismo page

Jazzismo is a Latin jazz group led by trombonist/composer Rick Davies and has existed in its current incarnation since March of 2002. Started by Davies in New York City in the late 1990s, the original group included such Latin music stalwarts as pianist Arturo O’Farrill and bassist Harvie Swartz. When Davies relocated to the Burlington/Plattsburgh area to assume a faculty position at Plattsburgh State University of New York, he reorganized the group using some of the finest musicians in Vermont, Montreal, and Northern New York State.

Currently the group consists of Rick Davies on trombone, Alex Stewart on saxophone, Tom Cleary on piano, John Rivers on bass, Jeff Salisbury on drums, and Steve Ferraris on Latin percussion duties.

Jazzismo performs both original compositions and Afro-Cuban and Latin jazz standards. Much of the material comes from Jazzismo’s first album "Salsa Strut" that was released in 2001 and their latest CD "Siempre Salsa", which was released in 2006. A number of selections from these two CDs have been international hits in countries such as Italy, Japan, and Colombia.

Since starting up in the Burlington/Plattsburgh area, Jazzismo has played a number of venues including two appearances at the Plattsburgh State University Jazz Festival and numerous appearances at clubs such as Red Square in Burlington and McDonough’s in Plattsburgh. It has also accompanied various well-know musicians including Harvie S and Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros.

The group opened for violinist and Fania All-Star violinist Alfredo De La Fe and his orchestra at The Flynn Center for the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. They have played at Red Square during the Festival with various guest artists including an appearance by trombonist Ray Anderson.

In July for the tenth year in a row, they will be artists-in-residence at the FlynnArts Summer Latin jazz camp sponsored by the Flynn Center and perform a concert in the Flynn Space featuring the camp's guest artist.  Featured artists have include trumpeter Ray Vega, Grammy-winning pianist Arturo O'Farrill, percussionist Zach O'Farrill, and trumpeter Adam O'Farrill as .

Alex Stewart 

A saxophonist and woodwind player, Alex Stewart has toured Europe and North America with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra (accompanying guest artists such as Dizzy Gillespie and Dee Dee Bridgewater) and has appeared at major jazz festivals in Nice, Montreal, Biarritz, Saratoga, New York (JVC) and the North Sea. He has performed on recordings by Bill Warfield, Dave Stryker, Anne Hampton Callaway and Peter Herborn that have featured Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Wynton Marsalis and many other renowned jazz musicians. He has also appeared on network television (Bravo, BBC, BET, Fox, etc.) with Manhattan Transfer, Nnenna Freelon and Lionel Hampton. In 1999, along with members of the Funk Filharmonik, he accompanied Ray Charles in Sweden. More recently, he performed in Mexico with the Latin Jazz group, Rick Davies and Jazzismo. Currently he directs the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Big Band and performs with Jazzismo as well as other jazz groups. 

Before joining UVM's music department in 1999, Dr. Stewart served as Director of Jazz Studies at Long Island University's C.W. Post Campus. He earned a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music and received a Ph.D. in music with a concentration in ethnomusicology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His book, Making the Scene: Contemporary New York City Big Band Jazz was published in 2007 by University of California Press. He has also performed and written about Latin, popular and "world" music genres. His articles and entries appear in Popular Music, Ethnomusicology, Yearbook of Traditional Music, Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Annual Review of Jazz Studies, and Jazz Perspectives. During 2006-7, he was a Fulbright Scholar researching Afro-Mexican music and culture in Oaxaca, Mexico.  

 Tom Cleary 

As a pianist Tom Cleary has performed with artists including Lester Bowie, Bill Frisell, Mike Gordon, James Harvey, Ellen Powell, Clark Terry, Ray Vega, Ernie Watts, and Ike Willis. Currently he performs regularly with the Latin jazz group Rick Davies and Jazzismo and appears on their latest CD Siempre Salsa. His work as an arranger can be heard on Hey Sadie, the new album by Amber deLaurentis (now available on iTunes). 

Tom has studied with teachers including Yusef Lateef, Archie Shepp, Barry Harris, and Harold Danko. As a composer he has been commissioned by groups including Social Band and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (for whom he composed New Seasons, Alter'd Sky, a song cycle for voices and jazz quartet). He teaches piano lessons in his private studio and in the music department at UVM, where he was also recently music director for The Threepenny Opera. 

John Rivers 

John Rivers is an active free-lance bassist throughout the region and is closely connected to local professionals in Music and Music Education. John is currently teaching applied Jazz bass at the University of Vermont, Johnson State College, as well as running a private teaching studio through Advance Music in Burlington, Vermont. 

John is the bassist in the sextet “Garuda” featuring James Harvey. John also performs with “Jazzismo,” Juliet McVicker Trio, James Harvey Two. He graduated from the University of Miami in 1991 where he studied with Don Coffman, Vince Maggio and Ron Miller. John has shared the stage and traveled to various parts of the globe with artists including Arturo Sandoval, Othello Molineaux, Ira Sullivan, Karl Berger, Kim Pensyl and Phillip Hamilton. 

John is a well-prepared, versatile musician who values great music of many styles and cultures. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences with his students. 

Jeff Salisbury 

Jeff Salisbury has played for Albert King and Cold Blood, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Linda Tillery and many other artists in rhythm and blues and jazz. He is an original faculty member of Kosa International Percussion workshops and has served as president of the Vermont Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. He has appeared in Modern Drummer and Downbeat magazines and his articles have been published by Modern Drummer Publications and the Percussive Arts Society. Four articles by Jeff appear on the website of PAS under the heading hot licks at www.pas.org4. His most recent article, entitled "Parallel-a-diddles Horizontal Motion Studies" can be found in the August, 2006 edition of Percussive Notes. 

He has been involved as an artistic advisor for the Discover Jazz Festival, a faculty member for the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts Summer Jazz Camps and was commissioned by the Flynn to compose and perform original percussion quartet music in 2003. He has appeared on many recordings, jingles, workshops and clinics. Jeff has studied with George Marsh, Bob Moses and Pete Magadini. He endorses DW drums and hardware and is a member of the Vic Firth Education Team. 

Steve Ferraris 

A graduate of Dartmouth College, Steve Ferraris is a free-lance percussionist who is comfortable performing and recording in a wide variety of musical situations. He has appeared with big bands (Sun Ra Arkestra, Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, the Burlington Discover Jazz Fesival Big Band with Paquito D'Rivera), Latin Jazz groups (Rick Davies and Jazzismo, Zabap), Jazz/funk super-group Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe and trios (Dr Gam-acoustic Reggae). Steve has also appeared as a solo percussion performer playing congas, timbales, bongos and African djembe. 

Recent recording credits include Habib Koite's 2007 release Afriki, Rick Davies and Jazzismo 2006 Siempre Salsa and Phish bassist Mike Gordon's first CD as a leader in 2008. He has toured the US and Europe as a sideman and with his own Rootsystem Drummers. Steve is also very active as a teacher of percussive arts. He has taught percussion at the Latin Jazz Immersion summer camp with Ray Vega and Alex Stewart and presented percussion clinics at the Urbino Jazz Festival Music School in Italy, the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College and is a frequent artist in residence at schools throughout New England


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