NYO Rising Stars

March 18, 2023

Two 2022 Jersey Jazz Rising Stars will be members of this summer’s Carnegie Hall NYO Jazz ensemble – bassist Laura-Simone Martin from Lawrenceville and trumpeter Alvaro Caravaca of Budd Lake. 

Simone-Martin is returning to NYO for a second year. She told Jersey Jazz (July/August 2022) she was first inspired to play jazz bass when, as a fifth grader, she saw a video of Esperanza Spalding performing at the White House. “I saw her in her Afro, playing and singing,” she said. “I just saw myself and thought that I could be with her.”

The daughter of vocalist, Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin, who teaches Vocal Jazz at Princeton University, Simone-Martin studied with bassist John Clayton at the Vail Jazz Workshop and with alto saxophonist/educator Julius Tolentino and pianist Shamie Royston as a member of the New Jersey Youth Symphony Jazz Orchestra.

Caravaca told Jersey Jazz (October 2022) his first exposure to jazz, as a four-year-old, was hearing Dave Brubeck’s 1959 Columbia album, Time Out. He also studied under Tolentino – first at Jazz House Kids and then as a member of NJYSO. In November 2021, he had an opportunity to play with Wynton Marsalis, who was presenting a brass master class at Montclair State University’s John J. Cali School of Music. 

In the spring of 2022, Caravaca was part of the JHK Big Band that was a finalist at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington competition. Last August, he led the Rising Stars opening act at the New Jersey Jazz Society’s JerseyJazzLIVE! Concert in Madison.

NYO Jazz is led by trumpeter Sean Jones, who is Artistic Director. The program selects 22 musicians, between the ages of 16 and 19, from across the country, for an intensive summer program, which begins in early July on the campus of Purchase College, State University of New York. A second week of training takes place at Carnegie Hall, followed by a Carnegie Hall performance on July 25 featuring vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater as special guest. The ensemble with Bridgewater will then begin a 16-day European tour including performances in Amsterdam, Berlin, and St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Tickets for the Carnegie Hall concert will go on sale April 24 and can be ordered at carnegiehall.org, by calling (212) 247-7800, or in person at the Carnegie Hall Box Office.

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