A Tree Grows to Release Album in 2017


A Tree Grows is creating instrumental music that defies categorization and crosses stylistic barriers. The two brothers Rashaan and Russell Carter have formed an unusual collaboration with german-born electronic musician Emanuel Ruffler. Together they started creating sonic textures to contrast and expand on Tivon Pennicott’s urgent saxophone tones and lines. 


Tivon Pennicott has established himself at the top of todays young saxophone world. A two-time Grammy winner as well as a second place winner in the prestigious Thelonius Monk Competition, Mr. Pennicott has become a prominent part in the band of jazz-soul singer Gregory Porter. Mr. Porter, arguably one of the most celebrated and genre-crossing artist of the decade, has over the last years been featuring Mr. Pennicott on countless live and TV appearances across the globe.


Born in Marietta, Georgia in December of 1985, Tivon began studying tenor saxophone in high school, garnering recognition early on as an outstanding soloist. In 2004, he relocated to Miami to study at the Frost School of Music. While still in college, guitar legend Kenny Burrell invited Tivon to join his quintet. Tivon’s continuing association with Burrell has led to numerous performance opportunities at many of the world's greatest venues alongside special guests like Stevie Wonder or Wynton Marsalis. Tivon moved to New York in 2009 where he enjoys collaborating with a variety of amazing bandleaders: he appeared on Esperanza Spalding's crossover success, "Radio Music Society”, and also toured with masterful drummer Al Foster, who is best known for his long lasting collaboration with Miles Davis.


Mr. Pennicott’s unique style incorporates his attention to rhythm, tasteful melodic lines, and his deep understanding of the importance of the groove. His maturity as a player extends far beyond his years, facilitating music that is refreshing, insightful, and deliciously exciting. With “A Tree Grows”, he has now found the opportunity to work in a band of like-minded progressive musicians, who are not afraid to defy expectations of style, instrumentation and expression.


Emanuel Ruffler, who has been in New York for more than 20 years, arrives at this moment via a wildly varied resume: a grand prize at the Thelonious Monk Composer’s Competition; songwriting credit on Me’shell Ndegocello’s “Aquarium,” co-written by Ruffler with Sabina Scuibba of Brazilian Girls; a collaboration with designer Emanuel Ungaro that ultimately led to Ruffler soundtracking an ad for an Ungaro-produced perfume. All of which gets fed into the blender when Ruffler sits down with the other members of “A Tree Grows”, who bring their own grid of influences into the room.


Rashaan and Russell Carter grew up in the Washington D.C. area. It was there, with the nurturing of their father, a saxophonist, and their mother, a radio programmer, that they both forged an interest in music. After stints with various instruments the bass became the voice for Rashaan’s musical expression - while Russell ended up on the drums. They worked and gained experience in the local scene in Washington D.C. with artists such as as Gary Thomas. After high school, Rashaan moved to New York City to attend the New School University. He quickly began to work with many of the faculty including percussionist and composer Joe Chambers. Most befittingly, it was during rehearsals for a groundbreaking piece by Mr. Chambers that Rashaan met future bandmate Emanuel Ruffler. The New York Times writes about the performance at Lincoln Center in 2004: ”Elizabeth Streb's "Gauntlet," [was] the evening's most elaborate premiere. Joe Chambers's score was full of fascinating layers of drumming, whistling and chiming.”  


As it turned out, these unusual layers of sound were just the beginning of a fruitful collaboration that turns a new corner in the music of “A Tree Grows”.