(From Left To Right – Max Moran, Joe Dyson, and Conun Pappas)
The Bridge Trio, consisting of Conun Pappas, Max Moran, and Joe Dyson, are a formidable vessel to communicate the true qualities creating New Orleans’ Sound. They posses the intangible elements that touch the very hearts of many who love New Orleans. Furthermore, they have a relentless fortitude to gain knowledge that continues to enhance their musical aesthetic, creating a sure formula that will stand the test of time. This Trio of brilliant men will most certainly be “The Bridge” that will continue the legacy and lineage of the incomparable Spirit found in this great City, called New Orleans.
The trio today enjoys increasing professional recognition and success in the jazz world as members of saxophone master Donald Harrison’s band. All three are composers of innovative, original compositions in the “Nouveau Swing” style, a style of jazz created by Donald Harrison that merges modern dance music like r&b, hip-hop, soul, rock, and jazz with Afro-New Orleans traditional music.
They have performed on the international stage in prestigious festivals, performance halls and nightclubs in places such as Paris, Morocco, St. Croix, French Guiana, Brazil, Spain, Greece, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and many others and have been featured in David Simon’s hit HBO Series “Treme”. Each are graduates of two of the country’s most distinguished music schools; Joe Dyson and Max Moran received degrees from Berklee College of Music in Boston and Conun Pappas is a graduate of The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. They are a very unique trio of young musicians who stand strong as members of the next line of jazz virtuosos to come out of the thriving music traditions of New Orleans.
New Orleans has been a jazz piano town since Jelly Roll Morton claimed he invented the jazz piano. Conun Pappas, Jr. is a native son of the Crescent City and a successor to a long line of great New Orleans piano players. Signs of his talent showed at the early age of six when he created a tune on a keyboard to accompany his sister while she was practicing a dance school routine. His parents enrolled him in classical piano lessons for formal training where his skill and talent blossomed. While attending the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Jazz Camp, Conun discovered jazz and auditioned for enrollment at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) where he was accepted. He studied and performed with New Orleans greats such as Donald Harrison and Alvin Batiste. His journey from the jazz program at NOCCA led to his graduation from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, which placed him in a markedly unique tradition. Conun currently performs in New York City with distinguished artists such as Brianna Thomas and Majid Khaliq. In 2014, he received a Piano Legacy Award from the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. In addition to performing, he is also an active educator; working with organizations such as Carnegie Hall, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. He also serves as the musical director at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in the Bronx. As a composer, he was awarded a NPR Heavy Rotation Public Radio Song of 2013 with “125th and Broadway” along with placements on VH1, American Heroes Channel, Bravo, and Discovery Channel. His playing and compositions are firmly entrenched in the style and vocabulary of modern jazz, but his music and reach continues to expand categories.
Max Moran began his studies in music with violin lessons at the age of five. He later became interested in the guitar and soon found that the bass was his calling. A summer spent at Jazz Aspen JAS Academy, a renown jazz residency program, was instrumental in his early growth and development. While enrolled there he met and had the opportunity to share the stage with bass master Christian McBride and piano virtuoso Benny Green, both of whom were impressed with Max’s playing and who encouraged him to continue to pursue his musical ambitions. As a student at NOCCA (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) Moran experienced a four year mentor-ship under legendary clarinetist and pioneer jazz educator Alvin Batiste and bassist Chris Severin (Dianne Reeves, Dr. John). He earned a gig as the bassist in Batiste’s group, the Jazztronauts, as a junior in high school after sitting in on one of his performances. At 17, Max got his first opportunity to play with Donald Harrison through the recommendation of pianist, Conun Pappas. Max continued to study and perform with Mr. Harrison throughout high school as a student in the Tipitina’s Intership Program (T.I.P.) and has been, for the past several years, the electric and acoustic bassist in the Donald Harrison Quintet and the Congo Nation Band where he has grown artistically and professionally. The experience has exposed him to a great teacher and mentor in saxophone legend Harrison and has afforded him the opportunity to play on a worldwide stage with first class musicians. In addition to working with other artists such as Victor Goines, Herlin Riley, Sean Jones and Delfeayo Marsalis, Max now leads his own group, Neospectric, and is an instructor at the Tipitinas Internship Program.
Joseph C. Dyson, Jr.’s musically inclined family introduced him to music at the early age of two years. He began playing as a drummer in his father’s church with other family members. His musical education began at Mc Donogh #15 Creative Arts/Magnet Elementary School in New Orleans and continued at NOCCA. Dyson has honed his skills over the years as a participant in the Project Prodigy Summer Music Camp, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp, Berklee’s Five Week Summer Performance and Jazz Workshop, Port Townsend Jazz Workshop, Tipitina’s Internship, and the New Jazz School Jazz Camp. He has received numerous scholarships, including the full tuition presidential scholarship to Berklee College of Music from which he graduated with honors. He has been priviledged to be associated with some of the finest musicians in the industry, having studied with the likes of Donald Harrison, Alvin Batiste, Clyde Kerr, Herlin Riley, Chico Hamilton, Adonis Rose and Jerry McGowan among others. Mr. Dyson’s professional performing credits include gigs with Donald Harrison, Ellis Marsalis, Ernestine Anderson, Dr. John, Branford Marsalis, Stefon Harris, Christian Scott, Dr. Lonnie Smith, as well as with grammy winners Nicholas Payton, Allen Toussaint, Bryan Lynch, hip hop producer Darius Harrison, Terrance Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr, and Esperanza Spalding.