Metta Quintet is the official resident ensemble of JazzReach Performing Arts & Education Association, Inc.
Since premiering its pilot program in 1997, JazzReach is one of our nation's leading arts-education organizations. Its highly acclaimed programs have served over 80,000 young people and have been presented by some of America's most prestigious performing arts venues.
In addition to fulfilling the organization's endeavors in arts education, Metta Quintet is dedicated exclusively to commissioning, recording and performing all new works.
A highly creative unit comprised of some of today's fastest emerging jazz artists, Metta Quintet aims to establish itself in the vanguard of contemporary music ensembles as a unique, dynamic voice committed to exploring exciting new artistic territory and the infinite boundaries of the live jazz experience.
H. BENJAMIN SCHUMAN, Drums and Founder of JazzReach, Inc.
Born in Lansing, Michigan, musician he began playing drums at the age of thirteen while growing up in Tucson, Arizona. Upon receiving his Bachelor's degree in Professional Music from Berklee in 1990, Schuman moved to New York City where he has gone on to play with such luminaries as Junior Cook, Cecil Payne, John Ore and Big John Patton along with contemporaries, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Reed, Wynton Marsalis, Brad Mehldau, Larry Goldings, Antonio Hart, Vincent Herring, Don Braden, Stefon Harris, Mark Turner, Kurt Rosenwinkel and Joshua Redman.
In 1994, with proceeds from the reluctant sale of an inherited Steinway Grand Piano, H. Benjamin, Founded JazzReach Performing Arts & Education Association, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of young people through the presentation of unique multimedia educational programs.
HELEN SUNG, Piano
Hailing from Houston,Texas, she began her musical studies in classical piano and violin at age 5. Discovering jazz while in college, she went on to attend the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at New England Conservatory, a groundbreaking program that gives students the opportunity to study with jazz greats.
Helen presently lives in New York City . She has worked or recorded with such luminaries as Slide Hampton, Steve Turre, Benny Golson, Buster Williams, and legendary composer and saxophonist Wayne Shorter. She has also played and toured with Steve Wilson, Antonio Hart, Lonnie Plaxico, Diva, The Mingus Big Band, Clark Terry's "Young Titans of Jazz" Big Band and most recently, Greg Tardy and T.S.Monk.
Helen is also an active bandleader -- her debut CD entitled PUSH was recently released by Fresh Sound Records, and her groups are regularly showcased at local jazz venues including the famed Blue Note Jazz Club. Helen also stays involved in educational endeavors, performing with JazzReach and the Newark Boys Chorus
MARCUS STRICKLAND, Tenor Saxophone
A Miami native, Marcus Strickland graduated from the New World High School of the Arts in Miami in 1997. As a student of performance and composition, Mark relocated to New York City and continued his studies at The Mannes School of Music at The New School for Social Research, where he developed his signature sound.
As both tenor and soprano saxophone player, Marcus has appeared in an impressive number of groups that include The Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Reggie Workman's African American Legacy Band, The Mingus Big Band, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, The Milt Jackson Big Band as well as the groups of drummer, Winard Harper and bassist, Lonnie Plaxico.
Still in his early twenties, Marcus is a significant contributor to the fertile New York City jazz scene. With a gorgeous tone and unabashed command of both his instrument and linear expression, Marcus demands the listener¹s attention. He attributes his rapid musical development to his tutelage under legendary drummer Roy Haynes and bassist extraordinaire, Lonnie Plaxico.
Marcus is also an active composer and leader of his own group, The Marcus Strickland Quartet who can be heard on his most recent recording, Brotherhood.
Currently, Marcus plays in both the groups of the drummers Roy Haynes and Jeff ³Tain² Watts and trumpeters, Dave Douglas and Tom Harrell and the big band of the legendary McCoy Tyner.
MARK GROSS, Alto Saxophone
Mark Gross began playing saxophone as a young boy growing up in Baltimore, Maryland in his parents's home often resounding with the soulful sound of gospel music.
After four years at the Baltimore High School for The Arts.In 1988, of intensive playing, practicing and studying (under the tutelage of two of the school's finest woodwind professors, Bill Pierce and Joe Viola), Mark graduated from Berklee with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Performance.
Not long after graduation, Mark workled for legendary jazz great, Lionel Hampton for nearly four years (1989-1992). He then performed for over a year in the hit Broadway musical, Five Guys Named Moe, based on the music of Louis Jordan. Mark's saxophone also enhanced Sandra Reaves' one-woman show, The Great Ladies of Jazz & Blues.
Since 1993, Mark has been touring regularly with The Duke Ellington Orchestra in addition to finding time for short stints with the bands of Nat Adderly, Mulgrew Miller, Jack McDuff, Phillip Harper, Joe Chambers, The Spirit of Life Ensemble and Delfeayo Marsalis, with whom Mark has recorded and toured Japan.
Since 2002, Mark has been recording and touring with the Grammy Award winning Dave Holland Big Band with which Mark has received rave reviews in both the New York Times and Village Voice.
Mark's first recording as a leader, Preach Daddy was released in 1997 . Mark can also be heard on the recording projects of Ted Curson, Shingo Okudaira and Antonio Hart. In the spring of 2000, Mark released his second CD (The Riddle of The Sphinx).
Mark currently resides in Teaneck, New Jersey with his wife Shirelle and sons, Mark, Jr. and Caleb.
JOSHUA GINSBURG, Bass
Josh Ginsburg resides in Brooklyn, NY and has performed with artists such as Eddie Henderson, Doug Rainey, Jeremy Pelt, Bobby Watson, Mark Turner, Frank Gant, Ryan Kisor, Eric Lewis, Xavier Davis, Mark Gross, Jimmy Greene, Winard Harper, Sam Yahel, George Colligan, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Goldberg among others.
In April 2000, Josh participated in The Kennedy Center's annual Jazz Ahead program and in The Thelonious Monk Institute's Jazz Colony in conjunction with The Aspen Jazz Festival, which took place in July 2000.
In the fall of 1999, Josh toured Japan with the John Regen Trio where he performed nightly at the Blue Note - Fukuoka. He has also toured Denmark and Sweden with the John Ellis Quartet. While there, he recorded a CD with guitarist, Doug Rainey.
Other recordings include Andrew Adair's States and Metta Quintet¹s critically acclaimed debut, Going To Meet The Man.
Josh was born in 1976 in Baltimore, MD. From 1994 -'96, he studied under the tutelage of jazz master, Jackie McClean and renowned bassist, Nat Reeves as a scholarship student at The Hart School of Music in Hartford, CT.
From 1996 - '98, he studied with Buster Williams, Reggie Workman, Joe Chambers, Charles Tolliver, Billy Harper, Peter Washington, John Webber and Hal Galper at The New School/Mannes Jazz & Contemporary Music Program in NYC, where he was the recipient of the Major Holly Bass Scholarship. In the spring of '98, Josh received his Bachelor's Degree in Performing Arts from The New School in New York City.
portion of proceeds from the sale of all Metta Quintet recordings directly benefits JazzReach's endeavors in arts education.