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Gates, Giacomo

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Heavily steeped in the traditions of the original vocal improvisers from Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald through their modern counterparts Betty Carter and Leon Thomas, Giacomo's own approach draws most heavily from the bebop-rooted masters like Jon Hendricks, Babs Gonzales, King Pleasure and most of all, Eddie Jefferson. Like his influences, Gates has forged his own unique path. However, he didn't display his talents to the public-at-large until 1990, at 40 years of age. Prior to that, Gates led the life of a hardworking blue collar 'man's man.' After a number of years driving everything from school buses to cattle transporters to 18-wheelers, Giacomo departed for the Alaskan wilderness in 1975, working for 14 years in a variety of jobs, including three years on the Alaska Pipeline. However, in June of 2004 Giacomo and Andy Bey subbed for Jon and Kevin Mahogany in Europe, performing with the other two regular members of The Four Brothers vocal ensemble, Mark Murphy and Kurt Elling. Giacomo has also performed with such notables as Lou Donaldson, Freddie Hubbard, Richie Cole, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis and Hilton Ruiz. But his primary focus has been leading his own groups, which has taken him all over the U.S. and other parts of the world. Gates has three heavily acclaimed CDs, with his most recent release, Centerpiece on Origin Records garnering rave reviews and receiving heavy airplay on over 300 stations, with over three months in the top 20 of the Jazz Week charts.

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