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Sylvia Cuenca / Essiet Essiet Quartet
Drum/bass-led jazz quartet comes back to Bird & Beckett
Drummer Sylvia Cuenca and bassist Essiet Okon Essiet join forces with Andrew Speight, alto saxophone, and Matt Clark, piano.
Born and raised in San Jose, Sylvia Cuenca was hired in her teenage years by the late great guitarist Eddie Duran, for her first professional gig at Pearl’s Jazz Joint, when Pearl’s was an after-hours basement club in the Great Eastern Restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown. She headed for New York at age 21, where she established a notable career that has included four years in the Joe Henderson Quartet and eleven years in trumpeter Clark Terry’s band, along with countless engagements with the likes of Eddie Henderson, Billy Taylor, Helen Merrill, George Cables, Jon Faddis and other such jazz luminaries.
Essiet Okon Essiet came of age in Portland; he worked in Europe in the early 1980s with Famoudou Don Moye and in 1983 moved to New York City, playing with Abdullah Ibrahim and Art Blakey in the early years (he was with Blakey and the Jazz Messengers for the five years prior to Blakey’s passing) and subsequently with George Adams, Kenny Barron, Kurt Elling, Benny Golson, Freddie Hubbard, Victor Jones, Cedar Walton and Bobby Watson, to name just a few.
Sylvia and Essiet first performed at Bird & Beckett in 2012, in a sextet celebrating Eddie Duran’s 80th birthday, with trumpeter Al Molina and saxophonist Mad Duran. We’ve been pleased to welcome both Sylvia and Essiet back many times since, when family and touring bring them west.
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