The Messengers
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The Messengers

Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States

Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States
Band Jazz Acoustic


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Still working on that hot first release.



About The Messengers:

“The Messengers” began as a band in September of 2010 as college project with the objective of recreating the repertoire of Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. During that semester the band performed at the “Areas Recitals” of the Jazz Studies Department, for faculty members and other students in the Jazz Studies Program. After the single semester project finished the musicians decided to maintain the band and began perform in different venues in the state of Michigan. The group has performed on three occasions at The Union Cabaret and Grille, the main jazz stage in Kalamazoo, and had a show at The Livery in Benton Harbor. The band is now planning to produce their first recording including all original compositions, maintaining the sound and spirit of “Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers”.

About the band members:

Nelson Oliva (drum-set, leader). Nelson comes from Santiago, Chile (South America) to pursue his Master’s degree in Music Performance at Western Michigan University.
He holds a long lasting carrier as a professional musician. He has performed in different countries including Chile, Argentina, United Kingdom and France (at the prestigious Marciac Jazz Festival). Nelson has participated in five jazz CDs including his own album as a leader which received recognition as the best Chilean jazz recording of the year 2006.
Besides his work as performer he has developed important activities in the field of jazz education and promotion. The year 2006 he was in charge of Jazz workshops for high schools sponsored by the Chilean Culture and Arts National Council. The same year he was president of the Santiago Jazz Society, a non profit organization which is dedicated to promoting the jazz music in Chile.
In United States, besides The Messengers, Nelson has performed with the Western Michigan’s Jazz Orchestra, Western Michigan’s Drum Choir, and with the saxophone player Melissa Aldana in New York City.

Ben Schmidt-Swartz (saxophone) comes from Maywood, Illinois a Suburb of Chicago. He is in his 4th year at Western Michigan University pursuing a degree in Jazz Studies. Since coming to Western, Ben has participated in all of the major jazz ensembles including the University Jazz Lab Band, The University Jazz Orchestra, The Advanced Jazz Combo, and Western Michigan’s Gold Company (vocal jazz). While playing with the Jazz Orchestra, Ben has been able to perform with such great musicians as Ingrid Jensen, Donny McCaslin, and Kurt Elling. Ben has performed at the Detroit Jazz Festival before with Stefon Harris, and the great Bobby Watson of the Jazz Messengers.

Curtis James (Trumpet) Curtis comes from Livonia, Michigan right outside of Detroit. He received his high school diploma from the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy where he studied with Patrick Hession. Currently, Curtis is seeking a Degree at Western Michigan University in Jazz Studies, where he plays in the Jazz Orchestra, and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Gold Company. At Western, Curtis studies with Scott Cowan.

Nich Mueller (Piano) Nich is a 19-year old singer-songwriter, who has been enjoying the sounds of his own creation and studying the world of music since he laid his hands on a piano at the age of three. Nich was born and raised in Kalamazoo, MI. He dove into the musical roots of blues, rock, and bluegrass and studied classical, pop, and jazz influences from an early age. Nich has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Allen Room in Jazz at Lincoln Center, Western Michigan University’s Miller Auditorium, Van Andel Arena and DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, MI, and in master classes for Fontana Chamber Arts and the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. In 2010, Nich had the opportunity of performing with Grammy Award Winning vocalist Kurt Elling, as pianist for the Western Michigan University Jazz Orchestra.
Nich is also releasing his first own album titled All In A Day on April 2nd at the Little Theatre in Kalamazoo.

Andrew Rose (Double Bass) Andrew is a student currently working towards his bachelor’s degree in music performance from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Andrew is originally from Moscow, Idaho, and attended the University of Idaho before transferring to Western Michigan. He frequently doubles on electric bass in addition to the upright bass with The Messengers, Desolation Row, Advanced Jazz Combo, and many other professional ensembles in the area.