ALONZO DEMETRIUS & THE EGO
With the state of our nation and racial injustice in mind, trumpeter Alonzo Demetrius and his working band The Ego released their debut album Live From The Prison Nation with Onyx Productions on October 16, 2020. Joining Demetrius on this socially conscious recording is tenor saxophonist Yesseh Furaha-Ali, pianist Daniel Abraham Jr., bassist Benjamin Jephta, and drummer Brian Richburg Jr. Demetrius, a New Jersey native, has gained a rapport for his brilliance as a composer and is uniquely recognized for his implementation of electronic processing.
The release of Live from the Prison Nation will mark Onyx Productions’ first release of an instrumentalist other than its founder, Ralph Peterson. The drummer and composer served as a source of inspiration for Demetrius’ work—while teaching Demetrius at Berklee College of Music, Peterson challenged his students to grapple with the social and political subjects that musicians often encounter. Live From The Prison Nation is described as Demetrius’ personal form of protest against the Prison Industrial Complex. Unveiling a composition that speaks to the complicated journey of Black livelihood in America, Demetrius samples speeches by Davis and Abu-Jamaal to convey an outright, timely message that is all the more personal. Over the course of the album, the listener encounters the verbiage and sounds necessary to inspire contemplation and action.
In 2019, Demetrius acquired a Masters degree from Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute Masters Program. Demetrius’ contributions to the jazz community are not limited to performance—since obtaining his Masters, he has instructed masterclasses domestically and abroad at Berklee College of Music, IMEP Paris College of Music, Music Academy International, Fundación Danilo Perez, to name a few. Since arriving in New York City in late 2019, Alonzo has shared the stage with the likes of Terri Lynn Carrington, Mimi Jones, Ralph Peterson, Dezron Douglas, Brasstracks, and The Fugees, among others.
Dave Cantor, Downbeat (USA)
"In addition to Live From The Prison Nation introducing its leader [Alonzo Demetrius] to a wider audience, the album also marks the first release from Onyx Productions—helmed by[the late] drummer and educator Ralph Peterson—that doesn’t feature its founder. That’s a significant vote of confidence, and the music here seems to bear out the trust Peterson’s invested in the young trumpeter."
Mike Hobart, Financial Times (USA)
"Impressively, voice-overs and music merge, speech patterns are translated into rhythmic motifs and a passing mood becomes a whole train of thought. But the meat of the album is upscale contemporary mainstream modern jazz with soulful modal themes, well-worked arrangements and a rhythmic blend of hip-hop and swing."
Vagarag, JazzBuzz (Greece)
"Overall, an impressive start for Demetrius who finds his way with a style somewhere between two of the most famous trumpeters of the new generation, Ambrose Akinmusire and Christian Scott."