Sax-Man Elan Trotman has quickly become one of the fastest rising stars in jazz with over 10 Billboard topping radio singles in his young career. Trotman brings his tropical grooves and soulful Caribbean flavors to major festivals, jazz clubs and cruises worldwide. In addition to a successful solo career, the Berklee College of Music graduate has also worked as a side-man with some of the biggest names in the biz’ including Roberta Flack, Jeffrey Osborne, Johnny Gill, Peabo Bryson, Michael McDonald, Jonathan Butler, Sheila E and Earl Klugh. Trotman is also the Executive Producer of the Annual Barbados Jazz Excursion which directly supports Elan’s Never Lose Your Drive Foundation in Barbados.
Growing up in Puerto Rico, Bernie Williams discovered his love for baseball and music at roughly the same time, when at the age of eight he fell in love with the sounds of a flamenco guitar his merchant-marine father brought home from Spain, and also felt the same exhilaration when he first picked up a baseball bat. The young student-athlete quickly excelled in both pursuits, going on to attend the special performance arts school Escuela Libre de Musica at the age of thirteen and becoming one of the most noted young athletes on the island, both as a track and field standout posting record times in the 400 meters, as well as one of Puerto Rico’s most sought after young baseball prospects. Bernie was signed by the New York Yankees after high school in 1987. After working his way through the farm system, the switch-hitting Williams made his Major League debut with the Yankees in May, 1991.
In his 16-year career patrolling centerfield for the New York Yankees, Bernie Williams was a four-time World Series Champion and a five-time All Star. Williams has more post-season RBIs to his credit than any other player in Major League history and his resume also boasts four Gold Glove awards, six American League pennants, the 1996 ALCS MVP award, and the 1998 American League batting title. Bernie is also among the Yankees all-time leaders in every major batting category, with his performance statistics often standing alongside such legends as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio. On May, 24, 2015, the Yankees retired Bernie’s uniform number 51 and a plaque was dedicated and placed in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium, cementing his legacy as an all-time Yankee great.
Throughout Williams’ years with the Yankees, his passion for music never waned, and the sound of his guitar would often be heard emanating from the clubhouse or during team flights. Whether acoustic or electric, a guitar was a constant presence in the star’s locker or equipment bag, and it was no surprise when he demonstrated how serious his musical pursuit was with the release of his first album, The Journey Within in 2003. The record featured fusions of jazz, rock and the tropical rhythms of Williams’ Latin heritage and was met with both strong critical praise and instant chart success- reaching #3 on Billboard’s “Contemporary Jazz Chart.”
Bernie Williams raised his musical game even further with the release of his second album Moving Forward. Featuring guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Secada, Dave Koz, and an All-Star cast of renowned studio musicians, Moving Forward debuted as Billboard’s #2 Contemporary Jazz album in the country, and continued to hold that chart position for five straight weeks, and spawned two consecutive Billboard #1 singles, Go For It, and Ritmo de Otono. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Album in 2009.
In addition to performing at concert venues, music festivals, and special events, since the release of Moving Forward, Bernie spent considerable time authoring his first book, Rhythms of the Game: The Link Between Music and Athletic Performance, published by Hal Leonard Books and released in July 2011. The book examines the symbiotic relationship between musical artistry and athletic performance through the eyes of a man who has mastered both.
Bernie is an active crusader for arts and music education in the lives of all students, and is a national spokesman for the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Foundation’s SupportMusic Coalition, which unites non-profit organizations, schools, and businesses working to assure that music education is supported in communities everywhere, and that all children have the opportunity to learn and grow with music. He has met with leaders of Congress on Capitol Hill for years lobbying to ensure that arts and music become part of a core education in our schools across the United States.
In 2015, he was appointed a Turnaround Arts artist by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the White House, and U.S. Department of Education. Turnaround Arts brings arts education programs and supplies to a group of the lowest-performing elementary and middle schools in the country. These resources help schools improve attendance, parent engagement, student motivation, and academic achievement.
On May 13, 2016, Williams graduated from the Manhattan School of Music, in New York, NY, a prestigious music conservatory in New York, NY, receiving a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance.
You can find Bernie online at www.bernie51.com, on Twitter @bw51official and on Facebook at BernieWilliamsOfficial and Instagram at BernieWilliamsOfficial.
Standing on the shoulders of flute giants from worlds as diverse as Rampal & Galway in Classical Music; Richard Egues’ Cuban Charanga style; rocker Ian Anderson’s Jethro Tull; Herbie Mann and – most influential of all – Hubert Laws as pioneers of Jazz Flute, Latin Grammy Award winning Nestor Torres’ rhythmic and mellifluous flute sound remains apart in a class all by itself. His 14 recordings as a soloist; 4 Latin Grammy nominations, one Grammy nomination and one Latin Grammy Award; collaborations with diverse artists such as Gloria Estefan, Kenny Loggins, Dave Mathews, Herbie Hancock, Tito Puente, Michael Camilo, Paquito D’ Rivera and Arturo Sandoval; as well as performances with the Cleveland, Singapore, and New World Symphony Orchestras among many others, are testament to the remarkable journey of an Artist who continues to grow and enrich the lives of those who experience his talents.
Born in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, Nestor Torres moved to New York City, where he pursued Classical flute studies at Mannes School of Music, Jazz at Berklee College of Music and Classical and Jazz at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. During that time he also learned to improvise in the ‘Charanga’ Cuban Dance Music style, which helped shape and develop Nestor’s melodic and danceable sound.
His CD This Side Of Paradise won the Latin Grammy award in the Pop instrumental category, scheduled to be presented on September 11, 2001. This great achievement – and its timing – proved to be a major turning point for Torres.
“Of course it was a great honor and privilege to win the Grammy. That being said, the fact that I was to receive it on 9/11 gave my work and my music a stronger sense of mission and purpose.”
Since then, Torres has focused on transcending his role as a Jazz Flautist to that of an agent of change through crossover multi-media productions, compositions and performances. To that effect, his compositions ‘Successors’, Marta y Maria and Disarmament Suite (commissioned by the Miami Children’s Chorus, St. Martha-Yamaha Concert Series, and ICAP – International Committee of Artists for Peace – respectively), are variations on Nestor Torres’ multi-cultural fusion sounds as expressions of today’s world. Then again, Nestor’s music has always been about that: a Crossover fusion of Latin, Classical, Jazz and Pop sounds. Rich and engaging, complex and exuberant, profound yet accessible.
In addition to his achievements in the studio and on the stage, Torres is also the recipient of many awards, including two honorary doctorate degrees from Barry University and Carlos Albizu University, for his commitment to youth, education and cultural exchanges.