The Chamber Jazz Ensemble

James Emery, guitar
John Lindberg, bass
Rob Thomas, violin


Since its formation in 1977 on the Lower East Side of New York City, the String Trio of New York has been delighting, inspiring and thrilling audiences around the world with its singular acoustic improvisations and compositions for violin, guitar and bass.

The Trio has become a veritable institution of jazz and contemporary music and they have developed a unique, personal sound and a musical essence which is immediately recognizable. This element has been noted by critic Nat Hentoff, who observed "One of Duke Ellington’s favorite ways of bestowing praise was to describe a player or group as being ‘beyond category’. The phrase befits the String Trio of New York and, for that matter, each of its players".

Initially conceived as a composer/performer’s collective, the Trio has grown in scope and and features a repertoire featuring original works by the members, works commissioned from composers including Muhal Richard Abrams, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Oliver Lake and Anthony Davis and arrangements of classic works by Ellington, Mingus, Monk, Coltrane, Parker, Powell, Shorter and others.

For over decades, the Trio has been one of the most active touring ensembles of its kind and has performed hundreds of concerts throughout North America, Europe, East Asia, India, the Middle East, and North Africa. Their international jazz festival appearances include Berlin, Paris, Zurich, Vancouver, Toronto, Leipzig, Cracow, Victoria, Edmonton, Lovere, Tampere, Leverkusen, Warsaw and others. Hailed by critics worldwide, the Philadelphia Inquirer said that the Trio " solidly prepared, but offers the excitement of improvisation projected through unshakable musicianship." JazzTimes raved, "No individual or ensemble has done more to demystify chamber jazz, and to realize its potential for warmth, sensuousness and beauty...than the String Trio of New York." The New York Times observed that the Trio"...was as rhythmically alive, stylistically varied and consistently inventive as anything this listener has heard recently."

In the United States, the Trio has performed at the Mellon, Ravinia and Newport Jazz Festivals as well as Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Walker Arts Center, The Smithsonian Institution, The Kennedy Center, Houston's Da Camera Society, Stanford Lively Arts, Spivey Hall in Atlanta, San Francisco's Herbst Theatre, The Wexner Center at Ohio St., The University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, Wolf Trap and many others. Their extensive domestic touring has resulted in performances in over 40 states. The ensemble has been featured on National Public Radio's Weekend Edition and most recently on Public Radio International's Concerts from the Library of Congress. The String Trio of New York’s remarkable music has contributed immeasurably to the chamber jazz idiom and has won an enthusiastic and increasingly expanding audience.

The String Trio of New York has released eighteen critically acclaimed recordings for the Arabesque, Black Saint, Stash, Music & Arts, Accord Accort, Omnitone, Barking Hoop and Westwind labels. During a recent tour of Europe, S3NY recorded The River of Orion for Black Saint Records in Milan, Italy.

Recorded with funding from the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the CD documents one of James Emery’s recent large-scale commissioned works (The River of Orion) and John Lindberg’s Journey Platz.

Emery was also commissioned to write First Light for the Trio with funding from Meet The Composer’s Commissioning USA program. The Trio toured the work, another large-scale creation, in America and Europe to very enthusiastic audiences.

Recent seasons have brought highly regarded collaborations and tours, both in the USA and Europe, with saxophonist Joe Lovano, pianist/composer Anthony Davis, saxophonist/composer Oliver Lake, saxophonist/composer Carlos Malta. and the Bang On A Can All-Stars.

The Trio has received numerous awards including annual grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Cary Charitable Trust, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, Chamber Music America and Meet The Composer.

The Trio brings together three of the most dynamic, creative and unique individuals in jazz and contemporary music:

James Emery has been described as "one of the world's finest guitarists" by His celebrated recordings have been described as "innovative and imaginative" and "utterly distinctive" by the Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD. A Guggenheim fellow, he has performed his works in over 25 countries worldwide.

John Lindberg, has toured worldwide as a leader and released twenty-five albums featuring his compositions.  Downbeat Magazine recently noted "One of bassist Lindberg's most enduring distinctions is that he demonstrates how much having fun could--probably should--be central to modern jazz dynamics".

Rob Thomas is increasingly regarded as one of the most impressive jazz violinists currently working.  His breadth of ideas, stunning technique and total command of the jazz vocabulary inspire all who hear him.  His recent work includes projects with Andy Summers, Lee Konitz, the Jazz Passengers and the Mahavishnu Project..

Thomas joined original members Emery and Lindberg in January, 2001. S3NY has featured some of the finest violinists in jazz and contemporary music and Thomas is no exception. He follows violinist Diane Monroe, who performed with the group from 1997 to 2000. The first violinist to perform with the group was Billy Bang (1977-'85), followed by Charles Burnham (1986-'90) and Regina Carter (1991-'96).

Thoroughly committed to education and outreach programs, the String Trio of New York has presented residencies or workshops at Stanford, Penn St., Ohio St., U. Michigan, Dartmouth, Da Camera of Houston, Ohio U., Williams College, U. North Carolina, U.C. San Diego, U. New Mexico, U. Nebraska, U. Arizona, U. Tennessee, Washington U., Rutgers. U. Vermont, and many high schools and elementary schools nationwide.


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