Portland, OR native Jordan Alleman was seduced by the siren song of the five-string banjo at the tender age of thirteen. Initially a bluegrass player, his musical journey has since encompassed pop, classical, folk, blues, and rock influenced styles. Thanks in part to a scholarship at the Berklee College of Music, Jordan has studied under a growing list of such banjo giants as Peter Schwimmer, Wes Corbett, Tony Trischka, and Bela Fleck. Jordan continues to grow artistically and explore the sonic frontier with the Boston-based guerilla roots outfit Damn Tall Buildings and the traditional bluegrass group Max Wareham and the Morning Bugle, both FreshGrass Award alums.
Victor Furtado is a 16-year old improvisational clawhammer banjo player and musician. He started playing banjo at age 9 and instantly became obsessed and forever interested in anything musical. Bluegrass Today raves, “This is a young man with an absurdly precocious talent, and a depth of understanding of old time music that is at odds with his age.” His self-titled debut record contains fifteen tracks of mostly traditional fiddle tunes, along with a pair of heartfelt and well-crafted originals. Recent achievements include Grand Prize at the 2015 Clifftop Banjo Contest and a performance on NPR’s Woodsongs alongside banjo luminary Noam Pikelny.
Takumi Kodera is a 21-year-old bluegrass/jazz banjo player from Yokohama, Japan. He started to play banjo at the age of 11, and has been involved in a number of musical projects through his teens, playing music that ranges from pop standards, to impeccable Bach transcriptions, to innovative new acoustic originals. He won the grand prize at Yokohama Banjo Player’s Contest 2012, and has appeared onstage at festivals on many continents, including the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in 2013. This is the farthest hometown from North Adams in the history of the FreshGrass Award!
Steven Moore is a 25-year-old banjo player from St. Clairsville, OH. He has won the grand prize in several national banjo competitions, including the US National Bluegrass Banjo Championship in Winfield, KS, Rockygrass, RenoFest, and MerleFest. In addition to playing with his bluegrass band Almost Famous, Steven plays jazz guitar as a music-talent scholar at Marietta College, where he is also earning a degree in biochemistry. He cites Béla Fleck, Noam Pikelny, Alison Brown, and Scott Vestal are his greatest banjo influences. Elements of swing, jazz, bluegrass (particularly newgrass), old-time, celtic, and Americana are evident in Steven’s progressive banjo style.
Petr Vošta is banjoist from the Czech Republic with an already-impressive career of collaborations in a wide variety of genres. His band Sunny Side won the prestigious European World of Bluegrass Festival in 2010, and was awarded “Best European Band” at the 14th Annual Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival in Northern Ireland. With his jazz-rock band Cimpr Campr, he incorporates elements of 1970s radio and golden-era rock n roll into an acoustic package. In 2010, he won 2nd place in the Czech Republic’s nationwide “Banjo Player of the Year” survey. His playing is truly one-of-a-kind, and full of surprises!