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MP3 Coalition - Point of View

Original jazz fusion compositions with incredible virtuoso improvisation from the COALITION jazz quartet.

8 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, JAZZ: Acid Jazz

Tony Branco - Piano/Keyboards/Synthesizer

Tony played piano early in his career with Miles Davis alumnus, " Philly " Joe Jones and Le Grande Prix, covering a four year period working jazz clubs on the east coast. He was music director for A&M Records R&B Recording artists, performing concert tours both here and abroad. This association led to recording session work in Philadelphia at Sigma Sound Studios during the " Sound of Philadelphia " era. Tony was pianist for the David Ellis and Lester Lanin Orchestras of New York having the opportunity to perform for Princess Grace of Monaco while on tour with the Lanin band in Europe as well as President George Bush, Sr. here in the U.S.

Tony has four cds released, three as co-leader of Coalition, a jazz/fusion band based in Las Vegas, and one release under the Tony Branco Trio, all on ESM Records and available worldwide. Coalition, is working on another release for 2006. All of the current recording projects on ESM Records feature original material almost exclusively coming from within the existing bands.
In April of 2002, and April of 2003,Tony, as member of the COALITION Jazz Quartet, took first place in the Reno International Jazz Festival for two consecutive years.
Tony graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree, Music Jazz Studies-Performance, Cum Laude, from University of Nevada Las Vegas in August, 2003 and expects to complete a Master of Music degree in Composition May, ''05.
In addition to COALITION band duties, and heading the Tony Branco Trio, he is working on developing Tony Branco FilmWorks Music, which involves scoring music to film, and the Urban Dazz Band, which is a dance jazz band with urban and hip-hop street rhythms. The FilmWorks Music projects and the Urban Dazz Band will be available later this year.

Nick Tipping - Acoustic & Electric Bass

Nick Nick was born in 1976 in Wellington, New Zealand. His childhood musical endeavours included piano lessons, choirs, and recorder lessons. In 1992 he formed the close harmony group Face Value with some school friends, and they went on to achieve success in regional and national competitions. They also appeared frequently on nationally televised shows and events, and recorded a CD in 1996, to critical acclaim.

Having tried various instruments (percussion, drums, cello, bassoon), Nick settled on the bass, and began study at the Massey University Wellington Conservatorium in 1998. He graduated with a BMus in jazz performance in 2000, by which time he had gained a solid reputation in the Wellington music scene. He performed with bands such as Omnibus, Jazz Dive, the Vipers, the Benj Berryman Hiptet, and the Tommy Loungerillo Orchestra.

In July 2001 he visited the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, and attended the summer school held concurrently by the Berklee College of Music. There he had the opportunity to play with some of Europe''s finest young musicians, and also was able to meet and jam with Roy Hargrove, one of the world''s best trumpet players.

In August of that year he began study towards his MM at UNLV, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He soon became known in Las Vegas for his solid, reliable, and supportive playing, and landed gigs with artists such as Stefan Karlsson, Buddy Greco, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

While in Las Vegas, Nick became known as a talented reader and was the first call substitute for some of the most popular shows in Vegas- My Way (the Rat Pack tribute) at the Tropicana, and Marlene Ricci and Jay White (America''s Neil Diamond) at the Riviera. During his time in Las Vegas he formed along with Tony Branco, Nolan Stolz and Richard Forrester the contemporary jazz group, Coalition, which won the Reno Jazz Festival in 2002 and 2003, played at the Baked Potato in Los Angeles, and recorded Coalition''s 3rd CD.

After graduating, Nick took on a 1-semester teaching job at the Seoul Jazz Academy, in South Korea. Again he quickly became known for his reliability and musicianship, and played at such top venues as JJ''s, All That Jazz, and Club Evans.

He is currently Programme Leader of the Jazz Foundation Course at Massey University''s Wellington Conservatorium of Music, in Wellington, New Zealand.
He is active in the Wellington and New Zealand jazz and contemporary music scene as a teacher, performer, and recording artist.

Nolan Stolz - Drums

Drummer for COALITION since 2002, but began playing with Tony since 2001, and with Richard as early as 1998
During the StarWalk sessions, Nolan actually studied with the COALITION''s drummer Joe Malone (then, the jazz drum instructor at UNLV)

For the band, he has written an untitled piece in 5/4, and arranged a traditional Bulgarian folk song (in 7/16) called "Erghen Diado"

Outside of the band, Nolan writes classical works and plays progressive rock

His band Art Rock Circus is awaiting their 4th release "Tell a Vision" on the Tributary music label
The Nolan Stolz Rock Orchestra, playing classic symphonic works in a prog-rock style, is also to be released by Tributary. Richard appears on this album as well.

Formal education
B.M. Jazz Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Principal teachers: Chris Benham (Las Vegas), Joe LaBarbera and Steve Houghton (L.A.)

Richard Forrester - Guitar

Richard Forrester
Guitarist for COALITION since 2002, Richard has been playing with Nick since 2001 and Nolan since 1998
For the band, he has written the award winning "Accept the Unexpected", and also "Point of View", "Homeless in Paris", "Nowhere", "Come with Me", and many more
Outside of the band, Richard has a rock band called Dr. Awkwa .rD and the Evil O livE
He also plays in the Nolan Stolz Rock Orchestra, which has a CD awaiting release from the Tributary Music Label
Former education:
B.M. Jazz Studies, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Principal teachers:
Joe Lano (Las Vegas) & Larry Koonse (Los Angeles)

Geoff Neumann - Acoustic & Electric Bass

Geoff Neuman, Studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he received both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees (in Music Education). He is known as a versatile bassist as he plays both electric and acoustic bass in jazz, classical, rock and other music situations. Geoff has performed with various artists ranging from Joe Williams, Stefan Karlsson and Eric Marienthal to Celine Dion, Andrea Bocelli and Luciano Pavoratti. He has also shared the stage with Chick Corea''s Elektric Band, Yellowjackets, Stanley Jordan, Scott Henderson''s Tribal Tech and others as a member of the fusion band Minimum 3 before moving to Las Vegas to attend UNLV. Claiming bassist John Patitucci as his biggest influence, Geoff tries to learn from the many different situations he is in. In addition to performing, Geoff is the orchestra director at Green Valley High School where they were named the National GRAMMY Signature School for the 2000-2001 school year. They have just been named a GRAMMY Signature school for a second time for the upcoming 2004-2005 school year. At Green Valley, Geoff has taken his students on tours to Florida, California and last year they traveled to Europe to play concerts in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is also the conductor of the Las Vegas Youth Symphony. He will continue both teaching and performing as he feels he learns just as much from his students as hopefully they learn from him.


Coalition: Tony Branco, piano, electric piano, synthesizer; Richard Forrester, electric guitar; Geoff Neumann, electric and acoustic bass; Nolan Stolz, drums; Walt Blanton, guest trumpet; Winchester Cultural Center, February 15, 2004.

review by Patrick Gaffey

Coalition is a group of solid players, truly original compositions, a winning mix of electric and acoustic instruments, fury and lyricism.

The members played few and relatively short solos. The emphasis was on the overall sound, and that emphasis paid off. Geoff Neumann substituted for the band''s longtime bassist, Nick Tipping. Geoff, an outstanding and versatile bassist, fits in perfectly. Richard Forrester and Nolan Stoltz are recent UNLV graduates.

Tony Branco came to UNLV for an advanced degree in the midst of a career which included a long tenure with the band of Philly Joe Jones, and he leads Coalition, but not overtly. I expected this accomplished pianist to solo extensively, but the selfless attitude of the group seems to derive from him.

Tony wrote five of the eleven compositions, Richard three, Nolan two and Nick one. Tony''s "Third Street Promenade" might have been the finest tune of the day. On it, the band sounded like a quieter, more relaxed Return to Forever. The tune featured Nolan, an extraordinarily talented drummer.

Nolan''s delightful "Erghen Diado" was merged with Richard''s "Come with Me," arranged by Nolan. Nolan discovered "Erghen," in astonishing pieces of Bulgarian folk music, in 7/16 time, written and originally performed by a women''s chorus. The band was restrained, and the paired tunes featured fine synthesizer and guitar solos.

For Nick''s "Aroha," Tony returned to piano, Nolan on brushes. The tune''s tasty melody featured a yearning guitar, which grew into a spacey guitar solo and a soft, beautiful piano solo with guitar accompaniment before the band began to turn up the heat. Then the proceedings moved into the real fusion zone. Think of the surface of the Sun. Melody and harmony as structure were mostly replaced by rising and falling levels of turbulence.

"Miles" featured a typically excellent turn by guest trumpeter Walt Blanton, beginning with Harmon mute. The band played the dynamics beautifully, alternating quiet sequences with a maelstrom. Here Nolan sounded like the outstanding fusion drummer Lenny White.

Nolan Stoltz is a name to remember. His other tune, the clever and surprising "Catharsis," alternates 5/4, 6/4, 5/4 and 4/4 time. When you sense the band is about to get loud, the volume falls. And Nolan is a very fine drummer. Richard''s "Point of View" ended the concert, opening with dark, funky piano and a guitar counter melody. Richard produced his most interesting and unusual playing on this tune, against the rhythm, reaching cacophony, then stopping, leaving the piano alone, sounding as if from another room. It was extraordinary music, and again the group''s control of its dynamics was impressive.

Tony soloed beautifully, moving from acoustic to electric piano and back. Tony''s "Amazonia" was in a happy, bouncing 5/4, with a nice keyboard solo and a tricky solo from Richard. Tony''s "Chick" paid homage to the man Tony claimed as the group''s main influence, but no other piece sounded as much like Chick Corea as this one; the tune nodded to "Spain," and Tony echoed Chick''s style.

Tony''s "The Line," which opened the second half, was a quiet, enjoyable tune featuring a lyrical guitar solo and a fine solo on electric piano. Coalition showed mastery of a broad palette of techniques and styles; it is producing deep compositions, and we can look forward to more excellent concerts from this band and from its individual musicians.

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