In 2019, Nicole's career blossomed when she and her husband, renowned drummer and bandleader Dan Pugach, were dually nominated for a Grammy® for their arrangement of Dolly Parton's "Jolene." Nicole graces the stages at both the iconic Birdland Jazz Club and Greenwich Village's 55 Bar monthly. Before Covid, she toured extensively nationally and internationally. She was named in the top 40 under 40 for 2020 in Connecticut Magazine, and her weekly live stream during the Covid 19 crisis "Virtual Piano Lounge" was featured in Forbes in October 2020.
Nicole's critically acclaimed 2018 release, Hive Mind (Dot Time Records), earned the title of 'Best Jazz Album' in the 2018 International Music and Entertainment Awards. She was a finalist in the International Sarah Vaughan Vocal Competition and her original composition "The Coffee Song" won the New York City Coffee Music Project Songwriting Competition. Zuraitis has assembled an all-star female ensemble to record her project Generations of Her - Women Songwriters and Lyricists of the Last 100 Years while working diligently on her sixth album as a leader.
Nicole has collaborated with such luminaries as Cyrille Aimee, Thana Alexa, Dave Stryker, Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin, Omar Hakim, Melanie Safka, Helen Sung, and Bernard Purdie. She is a proud educator and teaches jazz and songwriting worldwide, with highlights including Berklee College of Music, NYU, SAM in India, The Australian Embassy, and the Lithuanian Consulate. Nicole is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration from LSUS and loves to rescue and rehabilitate pit bulls with her husband, Dan. For more information, visit www.nicolezmusic.com or tag @nicolezmusic.“A heart as big as her remarkable voice” Jazz Police “A star… gorgeous pliable voice with a warm resonance in her lower register and a delicious sweetness in her upper register. In countless appearances, I’ve yet to hear her miss a note…she also played several covers with arrangements that shattered preconceptions. A thing of beauty that induced tears of joy.” NiteLife Exchange Review of Dizzy's Club Coca Cola 2023“Multi-hyphenate Nicole Zuraitis is quite the seamstress. A celebrated pianist, singer, and songwriter, she’s adept at stitching together lyrical lines and melodic hooks, which she then sews onto fabrics colored with sophisticated harmony and the occasional metric twist. Her impressive handiwork remains accessible and, while tailored to her own experiences, fits comfortably around a wider reality”. Jazz Times“a heart full of soul and a voice full of sunshine”- All About Jazz“Deep music from a deep soul… thoughtful and purposeful. Of all the singers to have come out of New York in the last ten years or so, Zuraitis is one of the most individualistic. Gifted with scary range and gale-force power” - New York Music Daily“Zuraitis showcases superb songcraft”- Downbeat“I have heard Ms. Zuraitis a number of times with her own groups, and as much as I’ve enjoyed that, what she’s currently achieving with Mr. DeJesus and the Birdlanders is at a whole other level - this is one of the tightest vocalist / big band combinations you can possibly hear at the turn of the new decade.What’s more, she gets about half the show, about seven or eight numbers, climaxing brilliantly in “Imagine My Frustration.” In 1966, this was a four way collaboration between a quartet of legendary arrangers - Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Gerald Wilson and Jimmy Jones (who wrote the chart) who all contrived to produce an epic vehicle for Ella Fitzgerald, and Ms. Zuraitis is the only one I’ve ever heard with both the nerve and the chops to sing that chart today.” Will Friedwald, The CitiView“effectively, effortlessly, and oh-so-enjoyably…. an artist this affable deserves as big an audience in her corner as possible - she is simply that good.” - Broadway World“Zuraitis writes her own material, and her deftness with a lyric is decidedly pronounced; second, she’s a damned good piano player.... With an effervescent stage presence and a vocal style that’s equal parts Diana Krall and Bonnie Raitt, Nicole Zuraitis is already something special, but she also has the tools to be something very big. Watch this space.” -Jay Hunter Nippertown Lake George Jazz Festival Review “Channels her inner Joni Mitchell… an artist brimming with intelligence and an explorer’s spirit.” Theater Pizzazz"Brooklyn’s Nicole Zuraitis Brings Visceral Vocals, Her Powerhouse Presence and Winning Songwriting to Jazz Outing, Hive Mind (Dot Time Records)."- Ken Micallef (Downbeat)"Emerging onto the scene with a notably warm personality, Zuraitis, vocalist extraordinaire, gave her audience a blues “clinic.”....soaring vocals... intimate familiarity....intonation and dreamy clarity.....I watched, transfixed by Zuraitis’s careful mastery of both piano and vocal. She made a mark for herself there (Birdland Jazz Club).”- Chris Struck, Cabaret Scenes Magazine 2019“A playful pianist....sublime vocals.... Zuraitis unwound a sweeping, sunny set.... it’s clear that above all else, she is a musician first — her well-cultivated, swingin’ and misbehavin’ stage presence notwithstanding. Opening act Nicole Zuraitis rules the night at the Cabot.” Chad Konecky, Wicked Local Boston 2019"A voice that's hard to ignore... remarkable range... you can't help but stop and take notice." -- Jazz Inside Magazine"Zuraitis conveys a warm folksy yearning...stands out....breezy elegance...coos sassily like Peggy Lee." - All About Jazz 2018“Nicole is a very accomplished musician, plain and simple. Nicole’s singing is out of this world but so is her composing, arranging, band leading and piano playing. She has strong charisma as she simultaneously excites the audience and makes them feel comfortable. Great presence doesn't always go hand-in-hand with great musicianship, but that certainly is not the case with Nicole.” --Antonio Sanchez, Pat Metheny Group, Migration, Birdman"A strong musicianship that is never compromised, the gorgeous and capable instrument that can be conversational one moment and then soar to the heavens the next, the sincere storytelling that is always present in her delivery. Nicole is one of my favorite vocalists…a masterful musician who uses her knowledge for the good of the story. This is a rare and beautiful thing."- Jane Monheit“Nicole Z is an important new voice on the New York scene. Nicole’s songs bring excellence to her generation, and her unwavering spirit will inspire all people who hear her gorgeous music.” -Rachel Z "Zuraitis’ fluid, natural sound is very much richly expressive and wide ranging... her composing full of jazz sensibility and great emotional depth, open to a variety of influences.... an emotive voice with seductive warmth.... 'Pariah Anthem' is a winning exhibition of her performance and songwriting skills." -- Hartford Courant
During his career, Alí has collaborated and performed with such figures as Johnny Pacheco, Eddie Palmieri, and Paquito D’Rivera. He has also recorded with bands of great tradition such as Orquesta Broadway and Africando as well as modern fusion bands like Alfredo Naranjo y El Guajeo, La Clave Secreta, and Los Jóvenes del Barrio.
It is much beyond the amazing Afro Latin rhythms that Alí’s strings reach. He has become a sultry sound in tango, regularly performing with Grammy winner bandoneonist Raul Jaurena, and a regular collaborator on scores with flamenco guitarist Pedro Cortés. His repertoire expands even further to include gypsy jazz and American folk music, as a member of the touring quintet Doc Severinsen & El Ritmo De La Vida. He has also infused the violin into the popular rhythms of R&B, performing live with The Roots, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z. Alí can be heard arranging and collaborating dance beats with Grammy winner producer Louie Vega and artists Anané and Luisito Quintero, as well as recording with award winning groups Aventura and Don Omar. His violin has backed up amazing singers of the stature of Mercedes Sosa, Susana Baca, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Alejandro Fernández, and Cheo Feliciano among others. From international performances to innovative recording sessions, from tropical Afro-Caribbean beats to swing and jazz, from arrangements in salsa to collaborations in Middle Eastern music, and from güajiro folkloric phrases to electric funk grooves, Alí Bello has proven himself as a musician with an exceptionally skillful repertoire and much more to come._____
Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band
Captivating audiences with an invigorating and fresh perspective of Latin jazz, Alí Bello and The Sweet Wire Band presents a fusion of contemporary jazz with many different Afro-Venezuelan and Caribbean musical styles.
The band has recorded two albums: Inheritange and Connection Caracas - New York, under the New York music label TigerTurn and Zoho Music, and have been reviewed as one of the Top 50 Jazz CD’s of 2013 by JazzTimes Magazine, ranked 4th among The Best CDs Released in 2013 by Mark Holston of JAZZIZ Magazine and has also been named Album Of The Week twice by the Latin Jazz Network, among other reviews. The albums’ many musical colors and textures create canvases of musical intermixtures in which Ali’s virtuosic violin, and it’s very distinctive palette of sounds and timbre, is the protagonist._____
“Connection Caracas – New York… exudes vitality, cohesivenes, and a natural flow…” Scott Albin / JazzTimes Magazine
“The mix of classical, folk, jazz, roots, and Latin genres are very compelling and enthralling”… Matthews Foss / Inside World Music
“A wonderful, indefatigable set that just keeps right on delivering”…Chris Spector / Midwest Records
“Alí Bello is a master of his instrument; a player of extraordinary refinement, who seems to suffuse the violin with a powerful electrical charge as he plays it”… Raul da Gama / Latin Jazz Network
City Winds Trio
BATALá NEW YORk
Batalá New York is part of a global community of bands playing Afro-Brazilian music under the name of Batalá. While each band is independently owned and operated by the local community of percussionists, all Batalá bands engage in fair trade and collaboration with the same drum makers, textile artists, printmakers, and other artisans in Salvador de Bahia, in northeast Brazil. The Batalá bands principally play Samba Reggae, a world music that incorporates Brazilian Samba and Caribbean Reggae. They play the compositions and arrangements of Mestre Giba Gonçalves, founder of Batalá, and other mestres on metal drums with polymer skins. The bands' music includes rhythms heard throughout the African diaspora and pays homage to traditional Afro-Brazilian music and spirituality. Most of the bands' instruments are worn on the body as they play. Batalá New York performances, with colorful costumes and dynamic choreography, are a high energy, joyful percussive experience.
TRI-COUNTY PIPES and DRUM
HAYNE KIM- violin
A dedicated educator, she served as a faculty member of Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music in Bangkok, Thailand from 2017-2022. Students she mentored there have gone on for further studies at institutions such as Zurich University of the Arts, University of York, and Central Michigan University, and are members of the Royal Bangkok Symphony Orchestra and Thailand Philharmonic.
Hayne takes a special interest in contemporary music and interdisciplinary arts. She is the violinist and co-founder of Círculo Trio, an ensemble dedicated to exploring and presenting new and/or underperformed works alongside standard repertoire. Projects that the trio has commissioned include The Triumph of Time (2017), an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play The Winter’s Tale for actor and trio with original music, and a collaboration with Bangkok City Ballet for Thea Musgrave’s theatrical chamber work, "Pierrot." From August 2020-April 2022, she was involved in several collaborations with composer and mixed-media artist Jean-David Caillouët featuring her original poetry alongside musical performance.Hayne holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, where she was the recipient of the Vice President's Award, and Michigan State University. Her past mentors include Lyman Bodman, Grigory Kalinovsky, and Dmitri Berlinsky. She plays on a violin from Catania, Sicily made in 1921 by Michelangelo Puglisi.
Jenny Ribeiro - soprano
Ben Larsen - cello
Mr. Larsen is a graduate of Manhattan School of Music, where he was the recipient of the Hans and Klara Bauer Scholarship, as well as the 2011 Pablo Casals Award. His past mentors have included Julia Lichten, David Finckel and Eric Dahlin, as well as lessons with Marta Istomin and Bonnie Hampton. He spent a year playing with the band, The Left Banke, and attended summer festivals including Pacific Music Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, Music@Menlo, and Castleman's Quartet Program. Along with his wife, pianist Hyungjin Choi, he actively performs in the Larsen-Choi Duo, which champions new music, original compositions and sonata literature. In addition to his busy performance schedule, he holds a private teaching studio in addition to a faculty position at Music School of Westchester. He plays on a 19th century anonymous cello.
Katie Kressek - violin and arrangements
As a recording artist, she has performed on albums with Norah Jones, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Five For Fighting, Sarah Jarosz, The Hot Sardines, Breaking Benjamin, Phillip Phillips, Zayn Malik, and many more. Recent tours include Adele 25 Live in both Europe and North America, Five For Fighting Live with String Quartet, Elbow's 2020 American Tour, Father John Misty’s 2018 Pure Comedy Tour, Rod Stewart at Madison Square Garden, and in Europe, US, Japan, and Latin America as the lead violinist and strings arranger for Lana Del Rey. She served as the concertmaster of David Byrne's Contemporary Color project, performing with Byrne, St. Vincent, Tune-Yards, and Lucius in shows in Toronto and New York. She has also collaborated with Rufus Wainwright, Roseanne Cash, Diana Krall, St. Vincent, Billy Porter, A Great Big World, Bastille, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Jesca Hoop, Steve Martin & Edie Brickell (with the Steep Canyon Rangers), Alicia Keys, Kanye West, O.A.R., Shakira, KD Lang, Chris Martin, Josh Groban, John Mayer, Jewel, Lenny Kravitz, Joanna Newsom, Enya, Susan Boyle, Il Divo, Ayo, Maya Isacowitz, Misterwives, Chilly Gonzales, Chromeo, Mt. Eden, The French Gentlemen, Frank Ocean, MNDR, She & Him, Amber Rubarth, Kishi Bashi, and many others.
Her most recent arranging projects include Jonathan Coulton's album Some Guys, Phillip Phillips Behind The Light, and Lana Del Rey's Body Electric on the Paradise LP which was nominated for a Grammy.
Her work in television includes performances on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with James Corden, The Late Show with Steven Colbert, American Idol, Bluegrass Underground, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Today Show, The Late Show with David Letterman, The View, CBS The Early Show, The Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting, and the 51st Annual Grammy Awards. In film, she has recorded soundtracks for Music and Lyrics, The Last New Yorker, Our Disappeared, and Alive Inside. Her Broadway credits include the original New York production and Angelica Tour of Hamilton, The Cher Show, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, American Idiot, The Lion King, Chaplin, Follies, Cinderella, The Phantom of the Opera, Gigi, Honeymoon in Vegas, Matilda, Pippin, On The Town, A Minister's Wife, Giant, Frozen, and many more.
Katie holds a B.F.A. in music performance, a B.A. in literature, and a certificate in arts management from Purchase College, an M.M. in music performance from The Mannes College of Music, and a Masters and Doctorate in music and music education from Columbia University. Additional studies at Berklee College of Music. Widely known in the arts in education community for her energetic and responsive teaching, coaching, and concert hosting work, she has served as teaching artist for Lincoln Center Education, The New York Philharmonic, and many other cultural organizations.
Maxim Moston - violin and arrangements
Maxim appears regularly on the stages of Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as a member of numerous classical ensembles around New York. He has also been involved in over 40 Broadway productions, most recently in Moulin Rouge, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Fiddler On The Roof.
Maxim has performed around the world as violinist and music director for Antony and the Johnsons. He worked extensively with Brooklyn bands Slow Six and Edison Woods and has appeared with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, Belle and Sebastian, Mary J Blige, Beck, Nick Cave and Jay-Z, among countless others.
Maxim’s arrangements and orchestrations can be heard on numerous albums and live performances, including worldwide releases from Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright, Keren Ann and Josh Groban. Performances of his orchestral re-imaginings of William Basinski’s seminal Disintegration Loops 1 and 2 have been warmly received on three continents. More information can be found at maximmoston.com
Rachel Golub - Violin & Viola
In New York, Rachel performs live with Elliott Sharp and Orchestra Carbon, The Metropolitan Opera, The FU Ark-ist-RA, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Andrea Bocelli, among many others, as well as on Broadway (Matilda, Hamilton, Moulin Rouge). Summer engagements include the Classical Tahoe festival and the D.C. Funk Parade.
During the strange year of 2020, Rachel was recruited to join Trey Anastasio Band for sevenweeks of the Beacon Jams, as part of the maverick Rescue Squad Strings.
After receiving her BA in Classics from Yale, she studied violin with Lorand Fenyves, and also became a disciple of Indian classical music with sitar maestro Ustad Shahid Parvez.
An avid distance-swimmer, seasoned through eleven South Brooklyn winters, Rachel has circumnavigated Manhattan, and in 2009, became the sixth known person to swim the first narrows of the Strait of Magellan. She created the Liminophone, an algorithmic composition using real-time meteorological data from New York-New Jersey Harbor, to sonify the swimming experience.