Gyan Riley (b. 1977) is an equally strong presence in the worlds of classical guitar and contemporary music. While studying as the first full-scholarship guitar student at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he received a recording contract for his debut CD of original works, Food for the Bearded, released in 2002 on New Albion Records. He has since expanded his career as a composer and instrumentalist, receiving commissions from the Carnegie Hall Corporation, the New York Guitar Festival, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, and the Elaine Kaufman Cultural Center. He has performed throughout 10 European countries and across the U.S., both as a soloist and in ensemble with various artists such as Zakir Hussain, Michael Manring, Dawn Upshaw, the San Francisco Symphony, the Falla Guitar Trio, the World Guitar Ensemble, and his father, the composer/pianist/vocalist Terry Riley. As a teacher, Gyan has served on the faculties at Humboldt State University, Cal State University East Bay, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Highlights of Gyan's 2009 schedule include a ten-concert tour of Ireland and a performance at Carnegie Hall.
Wil Blades and Scott Amendola conjure various sonic deities though only a duo. Their live shows have been generating a buzz around the Bay Area. The two got their start as a group when Scott had the vision of performing Duke Ellington’s “Far East Suite” in duo with Wil. While quite a daunting task translating a suite (originally written for a big band) into duo, the Hammond Organ had previously been used in the 1940’s and 1950’s to emulate the sound of big bands. With Wil’s knowledge of this tradition and Scott’s desire to push boundaries, they were able to pull it off in a explorative, yet cohesive manner. The duo continues to perform the Ellington suite in their live performances, while also developing their original material. In performance, Amendola and Blades cover everything from Avant Garde to Funk, Bebop to Rock.