AMC Online | Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with Grammy-Award Winner Wayne Escoffery and Obie-Award Winner Matt Ray

Join us for a live conversation about International Jazz Day, which honors the unifying power of music, with Brooklyn-based Obie-award winning pianist and songwriter Matt Ray, and Grammy-award winning saxophonist and educator Wayne Escoffery, who played for a decade with the Tom Harrell quintet. Tune in on April 11 at 7:00 p.m. MSK to ask your questions live.

This event is part of AMC’s celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, a music festival held every April to honor one of America’s earliest and iconic art forms. 

About the musicians:

Matt Ray is a Brooklyn-based pianist, composer, arranger, singer, songwriter, and music director. His arrangements have been called “wizardly” (Time Out NY) and “ingenious” (NY Times), and his piano playing referred to as “classic, well-oiled swing” (NY Times) and “to cry for” (Ebony). For his work on Taylor Mac’s show A 24-Decade History of Popular Music he and Mac shared the 2017 Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired By American History. Notable live performances include Carnegie Hall with Kat Edmonson, the Hollywood Bowl with reggae legend Burning Spear, the Théâtre de Chaillot with Justin Vivian Bond, and touring the Caribbean and Central America as a US Department of State Jazz Ambassador. His show Matt Ray Plays Hoagy Carmichael featuring Kat Edmonson premiered at Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series in 2018. Other work includes music directing Queen Esther’s The Billie Holiday Project at the Apollo Theater’s Music Café (2012), music directing Taylor Mac’s Obie award winning play The Lily’s Revenge at the HERE Arts Center (2009), and co-writing songs for and performing in Bridget Everett’s one-hour Comedy Central special Gynecological Wonder (2015) as well as Everett’s hit show Rock Bottom (2014). Matt has done musical arrangements for a large number of TV shows and films including Nurse Jackie (2014), Blue Night (2018), and the Oscar nominated Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018).

Wayne Escoffery is a 2014 & 2021 Downbeat Critics Poll Winner for both the Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, and a Grammy Award winning musician. He is considered one of the Jazz world’s most talented saxophonists and in-demand sidemen. Originally from London, England Wayne grew up in New Haven, Connecticut and as a high-school student and an undergraduate at The Hartt School, Escoffery studied under the mentorship of Saxophone legend and Mingus alumnus Jackie McLean. Escoffery was among the second class of students at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at The New England Conservatory which is where he received a master’s degree in Music. In 2006 he secured one of the most coveted gigs in jazz: a frontline position in Tom Harrell’s working quintet. For over a decade, Escoffery was mostly associated with trumpet master having toured the globe with him, recording seven CDs with The Tom Harrell Quintet and co-producing four of those releases. Escoffery has also been a member of The Mingus Dynasty, Big Band and Orchestra since 2000 and has made several recordings with the group including the Grammy Award winning “Live at The Jazz Standard.” Over the years he has recorded and performed internationally with a who’s who in Jazz including Ron Carter, Ben Riley, Abdulah Ibrahim, Eric Reed, Carl Allen, Al Foster, Billy Hart, Eddie Henderson, Rufus Reid, Wallace Roney, Randy Brecker and Herbie Hancock just to name a few. Escoffery leads his own band which tours internationally and has made several highly acclaimed studio recordings with the group. His current working quartet features pianist David Kikoski, bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Mark Whitfield Jr. The band’s latest album The Humble Warrior on the Smoke Sessions Records label has gotten rave reviews and received 4 stars in the June, 2020 issue of Downbeat Magazine. In the fall of 2016 Wayne Escoffery was appointed Lecturer of Jazz Improvisation and director of Jazz Ensembles at the Yale School of Music as a part of Yale University’s Jazz Initiative, the first of its kind for the University.




This event will be livestreamed on the American Center in Moscow’s YouTube channel, VK group, and Telegram channel.

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