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The Amigos Band (formerly The Tres Amigos) is a quintessential American folk band with a sound and style all their own. They have appeared in recent performances with Pete Seeger, David Amram, New Orleans' Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and bluegrass legend Tony Rice. They recently gave a sold-out performance at New York City's Lincoln Center and completed a successful residency at the famed Lower East Side club, The Living Room. The Amigos were chosen to appear in the premier showcase at the 2012 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) conference and are featured on the first American Folk Art Museum album.
Careening back and forth between three-part harmony-singing and bursts of instrumental improvisation, The Amigos deliver daring takes on American standards and original songs that already sound like classics—all tightly arranged to suit the group's unique mix of alto saxophone, accordion, acoustic guitar, and hollerin' voices.
Avid students of American culture, The Amigos travel the country in search of unique sounds and collaborations. They revel in genre-crossing, messy history of American music and believe in the importance of keeping these stories and songs alive and accessible to all people.
Vocalist/accordionist Sam Reider is to The Amigos what the green chile is to the tamale. Raised in the musical hotbed of San Francisco, Sam was recognized early on for his talent on the piano. As a teenager he appeared on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz on National Public Radio and performed with artists like David Grisman (Grateful Dead) and John Handy (Charles Mingus). A prolific songwriter and student of American music, Sam studied at Columbia University where he received the highest awards for his comparative research on Woody Guthrie and Ira Gershwin.
A former resident of Oaxaca, Mexico and an alumnus of the Juilliard School, vocalist, saxophonist & percussionist Eddie Ray Barbash is the virtuosic fuel of The Amigos machine. Eddie Ray has performed at major festivals around the world like New Orleans Jazz Fest and the Umbria Jazz Festival with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Marc O'Connor, and Chico Hamilton. In addition to his work with The Amigos, he is a member of Columbia Artist Jonathan Batiste's Stay Human Band with whom he has appeared everywhere from the Grammy's to the Kennedy Center.
Hailing from the rolling hills of North Carolina, vocalist & guitarist Justin Poindexter is the descendant of a long line of southern storytellers. His songs and guitar pickin' have been featured in award-winning films and albums, and in hundreds of venues from Georgia road-houses to Lincoln Center in New York City. Justin is the recipient of numerous grants for his music research and composition, and is the artistic director of the Music Academy of the American South Festival at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
"David Amram is one of the most versatile and skilled musicians America has ever produced ..."
- Washington Post Sept 1995
"David Amram ... a musical catalyst and leader on a par with Leonard Bernstein, Pete Seeger and Dizzy Gillespie ..."
- Minneapolis Star Tribune
David Amram has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber music works, written many scores for Broadway theater and film, including the classic scores for the films "Splendor in The Grass" and "The Manchurian Candidate;" two operas, including the groundbreaking Holocaust opera "The Final Ingredient;" and the score for the landmark 1959 documentary "Pull My Daisy," narrated by novelist Jack Kerouac. He is also the author of three books, "Vibrations," an autobiography, "Offbeat: Collaborating With Kerouac," a memoir, and "Upbeat: Nine Lives of a Musical Cat" published in the fall of 2007 by Paradigm Publishers.
A pioneer player of jazz French horn, he is also a virtuoso on piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, as well as an inventive, funny improvisational lyricist. He has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, who chose him as The New York Philharmonic's first composer-in-residence in 1966, Langston Hughes, Dizzy Gillespie, Dustin Hoffman, Willie Nelson, Thelonious Monk, Odetta, Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, E. G. Marshall, and Tito Puente. One of Amram's most recent works "Giants of the Night" is a flute concerto dedicated to the memory Charlie Parker, Jack Kerouac and Dizzy Gillespie, three American artists Amram knew and worked with. It was commissioned and premiered by Sir James Galway.
He is also currently working with author Frank McCourt on a new setting of the Mass, "Missa Manhattan," His two most recent orchestral works are "Symphonic Variations on a Song by Woody Guthrie." commissioned by the Guthrie Foundation, premiered Sept. 29 2007 , and Three Songs: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra premiered in January of 2009. He was the Democratic National Convention's composer-in-residence in August of 2008 in Denver.
Today, as he has for over fifty years, Amram continues to compose music while traveling the world as a conductor, soloist, bandleader, visiting scholar, and narrator in five languages. His fusion of classical, jazz and ethnic musics has allowed him to work with such artists as Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Willie Nelson, Langston Hughes, Charles Mingus, Pepper Adams, Leonard Bernstein, Sir James Galway, Tito Puente, Mary Lou Williams, Joseph Papp, Arthur Miller, Miles Davis, Arturo Sandoval, Stan Getz, Pete Seeger, Elia Kazan, Odetta, Lord Buckley, Dustin Hoffman, Steve Allen, Machito, Earl "Fatha" Hines, Allen Ginsberg, Nina Simone, Gregory Corso, Bob Dylan, Steve Goodman, Hunter Thompson, Johnny Depp and Jack Kerouac. He is the receipient of numerous awards and honorary doctorates.