The Bridge Trio has its roots deeply entrenched in the New Orleans Jazz tradition. Drummer Joe Dyson, pianist Conun Pappas, and bassist Max Moran came together as a group at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) under the direction of their mentor and former teacher, the legendary clarinetist and jazz educator Alvin Batiste. These young musicians performed with Batiste as the Jazztronauts while still in high school and played with him on his last gig. Their stirring musical tribute of his music at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2007, on the day of his passing, is regarded by many as one of the most moving performances in the festival’s history.
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 that electrify audiences at their live performances.
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. 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 a summer music camp Conun discovered jazz and auditioned for enrollment at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) where he was accepted. His journey from the jazz program at NOCCA to the Manhattan School of Music to the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music has placed him in a markedly unique tradition. His playing and compositions are firmly entrenched in the style and vocabulary of modern jazz but his music transcends categories. In addition to Donald Harrison and Alvin Batiste, Conun has performed with the Danny Rivera Orchestra, the Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indians Tour Band, and the Victor Goines
Quartet. He understands the musical language he has chosen as he continues to develop his distinct musical voice.
Max Moran’s musical journey began with violin lessons as a five year old. 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 renowned 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, Mr. Moran experienced a four-year mentorship under legendary clarinetist and pioneer jazz educator, Alvin Batiste, and bassist Chris Severin (Dianne Reeves, Dr. John). He earned his first professional gig as the bassist in Batiste’s group, the Jazztronauts. At 17, Mr. Moran got his first opportunity to play with Donald Harrison through the recommendation of pianist Conun Pappas.
Mr. Moran continued to study and perform with Mr. Harrison throughout high school as a student in the Tipitina’s Internship 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. Mr. Moran has performed with Christian Scott, Henry Butler, Bryan Lynch, Herlin Riley, and Leo Nocentelli of The Meters, among others. He received a degree in Professional Music with a concentration in Music Production and Engineering while attending Berklee College of Music on a full scholarship. Moran fronts his own group, Neospectric, and is a teacher at the Tipitina’s Internship Program.
Joseph C. Dyson, Jr.’s musically inclined family introduced him to music at the early age of two. 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 privileged 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.
First coming together at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts, the trio performs a set with 16-year-old trumpeter Bradford featuring music rooted in the New Orleans jazz tradition. Part of The Music of New Orleans.