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  • Christopher Bonnier Pitts (2002)

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    He has performed at major jazz festivals and clubs in North America and Europe and played with jazz notables; Thad Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Foster, Clark Terry, Phil Woods, Jon Fadis, Regina Carter, James Carter, Betty Carter, Geri Allen, Bob Hurst, Kenny Garrett, Roy Brooks, Johnny O’Neil, Ralph Armstrong, Marcus Belgrave, Rodney Whitaker, Danny Spencer, Rick Margitza, Buddy Defranco, Joe Morello, Charlie Persip, Anthony Braxton, Eula Lawrence, John Handy, Eddie Marshall, Madeline Eastman, Kitty Margolis, Bruce Forman, Mike Clark, Tim Hagans, Grover Washington Jr., Ronnie Cuber, Steve Slagel, Winard Harper, Marvin Stamm, Herb Geller, Chris Taylor, Ron Savage, Yuron Israel, Ron Mahdi, Charles Boles, Sam Sanders, Jaribu Shahid, and Warren Gale.

    Entertainers Pitts has performed with include: Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Liberace, Gladys Knight, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Martha Reeves, Lou Rawls, Bob Hope, Henny Youngman, and even President Bill Clinton. He recorded with Lyman Woodard, Enchantment, The Floaters, The Dramatics, and opened for many acts including Dave Mason, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Ambrosia, and Don Mclean. Pitts currently performs with the Boston based commercial group Clockwork. He has recently recorded and performed with R&B artist Kim Trusty.

    Pitts also founded the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra in 1995 and directed the band until 2000. He continues to guest with the band on occasion.

    He is a recipient of composition and performance grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for the Arts and the Detroit council of the Arts. He was a staff instructor at Detroit Jazz Center and a Clinician at Metro Detroit Public schools. In the Boston area, Pitts has been filling in at Rivers and Harvey Finstein music schools. He also directs the Metropolitan Boston Youth Jazz Project, a group of gifted area students learning advanced jazz combo and big band playing.

    Detroit provided Pitts solid exposure to serious jazz artists such as saxophonists Sam Sanders, Donald Walden, Phil Lasley, trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianists Kenn Cox and Charles Boles. Encouraged to lead his own groups, he formed the EMX with trumpeter James Van Dyke, pianist Kenn Cox, bassist Ed Pickens and drummer Danny Spencer (after Ed Pickens left the music business, the bass chair was subsequently held by young bassists Bob Hurst, Rodney Whitaker and Jaribu Shahid.) The group gained attention opening for Ornette Coleman and went on to perform at several National Jazz Festivals, concert venues and jazz clubs. He also gained big band experience in the band's of Ed Nuccilli, J.C Heard, Sam Sanders and Marcus Belgrave.

    Pitts studied privately with George Coleman in New York and Billy Pierce in Boston.

    During the late 80s, Pitts began a second career as a Freelance Television Producer and Director while continuing to play Jazz. Clients included Fortune 100 Companies and Foreign Television to Non-Profit Organizations and Community Groups. He also Produced and Directed a series of half-hour documentaries, Jazz Masters: Keepers of the Flame which garnered several national awards and grants. While in San Francisco, Pitts produced numerous multimedia projects and co founded a multimedia production company, Cooperative Media Group. Focusing on eLearning, the company was renamed Coursenet Systems and later purchased by Technology Solutions Company and renamed Peer3. After 2 years, TSC closed Peer3 in the summer of 2001 and Pitts returned fulltime to music.

    Live events Pitts produced include several benefits : Jamedy, a six hour Jazz and Comedy benefit for the ACLU featuring comedians; Will Durst, Margret Cho, and musicians, John Handy, Joyce Cooling, Kitty Margolis, and Jazz for Greenpeace a series of 6 hour Annual benefits featuring 50 jazz artists.
    Pick Artist Album Song Label
    # 1 Sonny Rollins The Bridge The Bridge (Bluebird)
    # 2 Wayne Shorter Speak No Evil Speak No Evil (Blue Note)
    # 3 Joe Henderson Canyon Lady Tres Palabras (OJC)
    # 4 Charlie Parker Charlie Parker with Strings: The Master Takes Just Friends (Verve)
    # 5 Gil Evans Svengali Cry of Hunger (Koch)
    # 6 Weather Report 8:30 Black Market (Columbia)
    # 7 John Coltrane A Love Supreme Resolution (Impulse)
    # 8 Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage Maiden Voyage (Blue Note)
    Book A compendium of the works of Kurt Vonnegut
    Luxury Item "My saxophone", and survival equipment, such as a knife with many tools
    Alternate Picks/Not Broadcast
    Alt 1 Miles Davis The Complete Concert: 1964 (My Funny Valentine and "Four" & More) My Funny Valentine (Columbia)
    Alt 2 Woody Shaw Love Dance Love Dance (Muse)
    Alt 3 Charles Mingus The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife ... Mood Indigo (Columbia)
    Castaways by date
    George Cotsirilos
    09 Feb
    Ed Klitsch
    05 Jan