Brooklyn-born flutist/percussionist/composer Jessica Valiente holds a BA in music from Barnard College in conjunction with Manhattan School of Music, an MA in music performance from the Aaron Copland School of Music (Queens College, CUNY) and a DMA in music performance from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Dr. Valiente is a recipient of the American Association of University Women American Dissertation Fellowship (2014-2015). She has performed in numerous classical, early music, jazz, experimental, Brazilian, Latin, and other world music groups. She is previously a member of the salsa and mambo orchestra of Orlando Marín, has worked with the bilingual Italian/English music and theater troupe, I Giulari di Piazza, and has performed on numerous occasions with the critically-acclaimed Bronx-based bilingual Spanish/English theater, Teatro Pregones. Dr. Valiente has produced all of Los Más Valientes' three CD’s on the Laughing Buddha label, as well as their 2013 live release on the 706 Music label, all of which have received wide critical acclaim. Ms. Valiente has taught music at Brooklyn College, John Jay College, Baruch College, University of Bridgeport, New School University, Mercy College, and the John J. Cali School of Music of Montclair State University.
Lead vocalist Genevieve Gazón is a native New Yorker whose vocal style, strengths and accomplishments reflect the rich melting pot of her Hell's Kitchen roots. Ms. Gazón was raised in the Spanish theater and trained at New York University's Undergraduate Drama Program at the Tisch School of the Arts. She is the daughter of the late Ilka Payan, renowned Hispanic actress, human rights lawyer and AIDS activist. Drama, passion and fury are her legacy and Genevieve has the voice to back it up. Ms. Gazón's vocal talents have made her a master of a broad range of styles, from, salsa, merengue, bolero and Latin jazz to rock, r&b, soul and blues. For seven years she was a frequent featured vocalist with the orchestra of legendary salsa pioneer Orlando Marín, Sr. and is the regularly featured lead vocalist with Los Más Valientes. In addition, she is an accomplished composer and her songwriting talents have caught the attention of music industry notables Carlos Alomar, Michael Barbiero and Chrissie Hynde, who performed and recorded one of Ms. Gazón's original songs. She continues to lead the Latin-tinged acid jazz project, Heavy Merge and to create original salsa material for Los Más Valientes.
Julie Rosado is a versatile and dynamic singer who draws her influence from Afro-Caribbean popular and folkloric music. She has performed with Los Más Valientes since 2009 as a vocalist and playing small percussion instruments, including güiro, maracas, clave, chekere and güira. Ms. Martí has performed in the Afro-Dominican fusion group Ecocumbé, and Cumbacare. She performed as a singer and a dancer with Grupo Kalunga Neg Mawon, a Haitian-Dominican folkloric group. Ms. Martí has performed with Beethova Obas, the Haitian jazz-fusion singer and guitarist. She co-created and performed in a duo project with bassist Vattel Cherry. Ms. Martí holds a Bachelor of Music in jazz/commercial studies with a concentration in voice from Manhattan School of Music, as well as a Master of Science in Communication Sciences from Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Saxophonist/clarinetist Debra Kreisberg performs, composes, arranges and records with Brooklyn singer-songwriters Matt Singer and Steve Waitt, as well as award-winning klezmer bands Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos, with whom she has toured in the U.S. and in Europe. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music with an MM in Jazz Studies from Manhattan School of Music, she has also performed with avant-jazz ensemble Joe Gallant & Illuminati, accordionist/composer/performer Rachelle Garniez, Canadian cabaret Yiddish star Theresa Tova, Rochester Philharmonic featuring Natalie Cole, the NYC funk band D'Tripp, and in the stage musical J. Edgar Klezmer. Her compositions have been heard in the documentary Making Their Mark: From German Immigrants to New York City Icons, and in the Off-Broadway production of Yisrael Campbell's show, You Can Never Be Too Jewish. She has been heard on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN Worldbeat, and on Showtime's The L Word. In addition to performing with Los Mas Valientes, Metropolitan Klezmer and The Isle of Klezbos, Debra performs with Zum Biergarten, The Highliners jazz quintet, Bronx Conexión, and leads her own jazz ensemble, The East Harlem Trio.
Trombonist Rick Faulkner, originally from Charlottesville, VA, has lived in New York City since 1990. As a freelancer, he has worked with artists ranging from Max Roach and David Murray to Haitian stars Tabou Combo, and has played everything from salsa and Dixieland to the avant-garde. From 1992 to 1998, he was a member of the legendary ska band the Toasters, touring internationally and recording three CDs. In 1994, Rick and saxophonist Fred Reiter co-founded the critically-acclaimed New York Ska Jazz Ensemble, an innovative group mixing instrumental jazz with Jamaican ska and reggae rhythms. In addition to recording with NYSJE and the Toasters, Rick has appeared on the CDs of artists as diverse as folk singer Sloan Wainwright, Haitian band Skah-Shah #1, and the electric jazz group the Question. His arrangements have been played by Michael Brecker and John Scofield, among others, and he has contributed many compositions to CDs by NYSJE, the Toasters, and Los Mas Valientes. In addition, his compositions have been featured on the Lifetime television show The Place, and the soundtrack of the 1997 feature film Bang. In the Latin music realm, Rick has performed with Raulín Rosendo, Ramón Rodríguez, Orlando Marín, Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers, and 1999 Grammy Award nominee Juan Carlos Formell. In addition to Los Mas Valientes, he currently performs with Bronx Conexión, Willie Martinez y La Familia Sextet, and a number of other Latin music and world music groups in New York City. Rick has served on the music faculty of Hunter College, is the former director of jazz and instrumental studies at the Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities in New York City. Rick currently teaches instrumental music at New York City’s Talented and Gifted Academy for Young Scholars, and directs the Anything But Classical (jazz and world music) ensemble for New Jersey's longest running youth orchestra organization, Youth Orchestras of Essex County.
Amy Millan, pianist.
Bassist Anna Milat-Meyer was born in Brooklyn, NY and started playing the electric bass at the age of 15. Since then, she has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in music from the City College of New York, studying upright bass and jazz with Ron Carter, and Latin bass with legendary salsa and Latin jazz bandleader/composer Ray Santos. In addition to her studies at City College, she has also studied with notable Latin bassist Guillermo Edgehill at Boys’ Harbor Performing Arts Center in East Harlem. Since then Anna has performed with numerous funk, reggae, ska, jazz, salsa and merengue bands, including Carlos Jimenez, Annette Aguilar and Stringbeans, Las Chicas del Merengue, Las Chicas de Nueva York, Retumba, Avenida B, and Skinnerbox. Currently she performs with ska-punk band the Pilfers, appearing on their debut release, Chawalaleng (Mojo Records). She also frequently performs with klezmer sensations, The Isle of Klezbos.
Percussionist Yasuyo Kimura holds a Bachelor of Music from Mukogawa Women's University in Japan. Originally a dancer, Yasuyo moved from her native Japan to New York City to study modern dance. It was in these classes that she became attracted to the sounds of percussion. This led to studies at the renowned Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Spanish Harlem. Her instructors included Greg Askew, Johnny Almendra, and Victor Rendón. She also studied with Bobby Sanabria and Duduka Da Fonseca at Drummer’s Collective in NYC. In Cuba, she studied with Tomas Ramos Ortiz (El Panga) and Yaroldi Abreu. Since then, Yasuyo has performed and recorded with various groups, which include: El Shabazz Djembe Orchestra, Los Más Valientes, Pasión, Grupo Latin Vibes, Adela Dalto’s Mujeres Latinas, Henry Brun & the Latin Playerz, Rodríguez/Rendón Latin Jazz Orchestra, Mireya Ramos & 809 Ladies,“Co-Tim-Bó” Percussion Ensemble, and Blue Mambo, and Bronx Conexión. Yasuyo has also been involved in clinic/presentations at PASIC, KOSA NYC, and PAS NJ. Ms. Kimura is an LP Percussion performing artist.
Drummer/percussionist Victor Rendón is a highly respected educator, author, and veteran of the New York Latin music scene. He studied intensively for many years with Jimmy Ramirez, Louie Bauzo, Johnny Almendra, “Little” Ray Romero, Frankie Malabe, Mike Collazo, Pablo Rosario, Changuito, Roberto Borrell, and jazz drummers Paul Guerrero & Charli Persip among others. Formerly co-leader of the Rodríguez/Rendón Latin Jazz Orchestra, he now leads the Latin-jazz group Blue Mambo, the percussion group Co-Tim-Bó, and the Latin jazz big band Bronx Conexión . He has worked as a side man with Mongo Santamaria, Chico O’Farrill, Carlos "Patato" Valdés, Ray Santos Orchestra, Grupo Caribe, Latin Jazz Coalition, The "New" Xavier Cugat Orchestra, Grupo Latin Vibes, and many others. As an author/transcriber, his work has appeared in Modern Drummer, Percussive Notes, LP Newsletter, Music in Motion Films, DCI Music Video, Drum! Magazine, and Warner Bros. Publications. He is author of The Art of Playing Timbales distributed by Alfred Publishing. For several years Victor also published his own semi-annual magazine, Latin Percussionist. Rendón, who holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of North Texas and a Masters degree in education has had a lengthy career teaching instrumental music and Latin percussion in the New York City Public Schools. Currently, he teaches and directs the Latin Jazz Ensemble at Lehman College in the Bronx. A successful clinician, he tours the world giving workshops in Latin percussion styles. Mr. Rendón is an LP, Sabian, Vic Firth, and Evans performing artist and educator.
Born in Colón, Panamá, percussionist Renato Thoms studied at the Conservatory of the National University of Heredia in Costa Rica, holds a Bachelor of Music Performance degree at Berklee College of Music and Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies at The Boston Conservatory in 1998. During his training he received numerous awards, including becoming a finalist in the 2000 Thelonius Monk Hand Drum Competition. He has performed with Rubén Blades, Eddie Palmieri, Danilo Pérez, Conrad Herwig, Brian Lynch, Ray Vega, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jon Lucien, Sol y Canto, Paquito D'Rivera, Victor Mendoza, Antonio Hart, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez, and the late Hilton Ruiz. In addition to the Latin and jazz idioms, Renato plays a variety of percussion styles including classical, pop and R&B, and has recorded with Eric Reed, Antonio Hart, Harvie Swartz, Edú Tancredi, Hilton Ruiz and The Boston Pops. He was a cast member-musician of the 2005 Broadway production of the Mambo Kings and performed at the 2006 Latin Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden with Ricky Martin. As an educator, Renato is a lecturer of Latin American percussion at Carnegie Hall. He has lectured and taught master classes at Holy Cross University, Rutgers University, LaGuardia Community College, Princeton University, The Crane School of Music and Conservatorio Superior de Música in Spain. Renato conducts and directs the after school Afro-Caribbean percussion programs at Wingspan Arts and PS87. He is currently on tour with Sol y Canto and Playing with many other groups in NYC, also he is very active in the recording scene. Renato endorses Latin Percussion instruments.
Youth Performers: violin and coro section
Las Hermanitas Valientes -
Maggie Faulkner began studying music and performing in public at a very tender age. She began musical study with the ukulele at age 4, and moved on to violin at age 5. Since then she has taken on classical guitar studies, mandolin and viola. In 2012, Maggie was the recipient of 5th prize in the Youth Fiddle Competition, Old-Time Division, of the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, the world's oldest and largest country fiddling contest, and her very first taste of competitive playing. In addition to performing in the string section with Los Mas Valientes, Maggie can also be heard performing on mandolin with the Brazilian choro ensemble, Choro Down Neck, and with her sisters in their folk, rock and world music for kids band, The Blue Potatoes featuring The Faulkner Sisters. Locally, Maggie is a member the Youth Orchestras of Essex County, where she was concertmaster of the Junior Symphony (2014-2015), principal viola in Junior Symphony (2015-2016), and is a first violinist in the senior division, the Essex County Symphony Orchestra (ECSO). She was the 2015 winner of the annual Concerto Competition, Junior Division, and has also appeared as a soloist on classical guitar with ECSO. She is formerly a member of the Italian traditional music and dance troupe, Bambini d'Italia, as well as the Bloomfield Mandolin Orchestra. Maggie and her sisters have performed at South Orange Performing Arts Center, the Montclair Art Museum, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Trumpets Jazz Club, the Blue Ridge Music Center, The Onderdonk House Bohemian Festival, and numerous churches, libraries and other venues, large and small. She and her sister Lisa are featured playing fiddle and singing in an episode of the award-winning web series, Bare Feet with Mickela Malozzi. Maggie's teachers have included Dilyana Zlatinova and Jordan Tarantino (violin and viola), Ivan Max (classical guitar), and Dennis Lichtman (mandolin).
Lisa Faulkner announced her interest in music at the age of 2 when she proclaimed to her father, trombonist/bassist Rick Faulkner, that she wanted to play the bass. She has never let that idea go. Following in her sister Maggie's footsteps, she began ukulele and violin studies at the age of 4, but continued to campaign for a bass. She received her first electric bass at the age of 7, and has since performed professionally with her family in their family band, The Blue Potatoes. Lisa also participates Youth Orchestras of Essex County, where she plays bass with the jazz and world music ensemble, was principal of the 2nd violin section in the Junior Symphony Orchestra (2013-2014), and is currently serving as concertmaster in that same ensemble. She also performs in Los Mas Valientes as a violinist, has performed and competed at the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention, and performed as a vocalist and dancer with Bambini d'Italia. Besides her musical engagements, Lisa danced in the Junior Repertory Company of the Center for Modern Dance Education from 2012-2015, where she was the 2013-2014 winner of the Maya Kyla Memorial Scholarship. Lisa was also selected as a winner of the 2014 American Girl (TM) video dance competition and appears in their mash-up video, "Isabella's Dance Jam." She is currently a student in New Jersey Ballet's intensive program, and has performed in New Jersey Ballet's production of The Nutcracker as a mouse. She has studied voice with C. Richard Morgan, and continues to study violin with Jordan Tarantino, electric bass and acoustic bass with Jack Breslin, and dance, as she pursues her dreams of life as a performing artist.
The youngest in a musical household, Daphne Faulkner is not one to be left behind, and quickly learned that she would have to be fierce to stand out in such company. She has done just that, beginning both violin and drum studies at the age of 4, and quickly outpacing her sisters at every milepost. Her exceptional ear and fearless stage presence have made her a formidable soloist and competitor at a young age. From her first year of violin studies, she has accompanied her sisters at nearly every performance and has held her own, showing herself to be a soulful lead singer with great vocal power and a back-up singer with prodigious harmonic skill. She is also a member of Youth Orchestras of Essex County where she was concertmaster of the Overture Strings (2014-2015), currently plays violin in the Junior Symphony, is a percussionist in the jazz and world music ensemble, and is winner of the 2016 Concerto Competion, Junior Division. Her other performance experience as a violinist and as a vocalist include the Blue Potatoes, Los Mas Valientes, and Bambini d'Italia. Daphne has studied voice with C. Richard Morgan, and currently studies violin with Jordan Tarantino, drums and percussion with Victor Rendón and Peter Abazia, dance at New Jersey Ballet, and drama and musical theater at New Jersey School for the Dramatic Arts.