Claire will tell you that her life changed on Sept. 23rd, 1971, when as a very (very) young girl, playing saxophone for 3 months, she heard a big band concert at the Westchester County Center. The saxophone section stood up for a soli, and Claire was on her chair screaming. After dragging her father to the stage door for autographs afterwards, she said of the Buddy Rich Band bus, "I'd do anything to be on that bus". It was the kind of epiphany that only young enthusiasm can breed, but enthusiasm is still the motivating force in her musical life. After attending the Berklee College of Music, she began an education of another kind -- making a living as a musician. Her career has included anchoring the sax section in the Diva Big Band for 7 yrs, freelancing in New York doing EVERY imaginable kind of gig (available on request!), recording 5 CDs with the brilliant, quirky composer/pianist Joel Forrester and their band "People Like Us", as well as two CDs as leader on Koch Jazz, ("Swing Low" and "Movin' On" now re-released on Dalybread Records) and a release of her own called "Heaven Help Us All" (Dalybread Records). She has performed on numerous CDs, film scores, jingles, and of course in many festivals and venues.
In the fall of '05, Claire began a new long term project, touring the
country playing gigs and tracking down some of the hidden treasures
of the jazz world, interviewing them on video, planning an eventual
documentary. In October '05, the William Jefferson Clinton
Library in Little Rock, Ark. requested a copy of her first CD,
Swing Low to be included in a listening station as a CD significant to
the former president while in office.
Six time winner of the Downbeat Critic's Poll "Talent Deserving
Wider Recognition" and winner of the Jazz Journalist Association
"Baritone Sax of the Year '05" category, Claire travels worldwide,
performing as a bandleader and sideperson.
She is working on a composition based on the life of her
second cousin Mary (Toppy) Joyce. Joyce was the first non Alaskan
to travel 1,000 miles from Fairbanks in 1936 by solo dogsled.
Her story is a great American tale. Claire is currently planning a
multi -media event in honor of Toppy's life.
Dave was born in Oakland, California, in 1952. There was a half-size violin kept in the closet in case he wanted to be a concert violinist. He played trumpet at the age of nine, moving to baritone horn at the age of eleven, followed by a stint on drums until he settled on electric bass at thirteen, adding upright bass to the mix until the switch to saxophone at the age of twenty-one.
Sewelson has specialized in the baritone saxophone since the early seventies. He arrived in New York City in the summer of 1978, settled in the East Village, played in many bands in the area including the 25 O'Clock Band, Jemeel Moondoc's Jus Grew Orchestra, Noise R us, Mofungo, Freedomland, The President, Konk and Illuminati. He was a founding member of the Microscopic Septet and played with Wayne and Bill Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Saheb Sarbib, John Zorn, Roy Campbell, Elliot Sharp, Dee Pop, Frank Lowe, Pat Place, Billy Bang, Walter Perkins, Bobby Radcliff, Clayton Thomas, Kyosuke Otsuka, Norah Jones, and so many more.
Sewelson is currently involved in several projects, among them William Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra and Fast ‘N Bulbous (the Captain Beefheart Project), and Two Sisters Inc.. He leads The Daves, Sewelsonics Smooth FreeJazz.
Bassist/tuba artist Dave Hofstra has played, toured, and recorded extensively in jazz, rock, blues, klezmer, and new music. He has performed with artists Bobby Previte, Lou Grassi, Bobby Radcliff, Grady Gaines, John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Debbie Davies, Elliot Sharp, Tom Cora, Guy Klucevsek, Bill Frisell, Toshi Reagon, Luka Bloom, Marshall Crenshaw, Joel Forrester, William Parker, and Nora York, as well as with Philip Johnston's Big Trouble, the Microscopic Septet, and the Transparent Quartet; Rachelle Garniez's Fortunate Few and Twilight Time; Casselberry & DuPree; The Waitresses; Sleepy LaBeef and the Klezmatics.