Not to be confused with the French actress, this Maria Schneider has led a big band since the 90s. She's a disciple of the legendary bandleader, composer and arranger Gil Evans. So Maria's music is in that tradition. She was born Nov. 27, 1960 in Windom, MN which is a small town in south Minnesota. Maria studied music theory and composition at the University of Minnesota and then earned a master's degree in music at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. in 1985. Then Gil Evans hired her as a copyist and assistant. She went on tour with him with Sting and she also helped Evans with the score for the film The Color Of Money. Then Maria worked with trombonist and bandleader Bob Brookmeyer for five years. In 1992, she formed the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra and played weekly gigs in New York. When she's not leading her band in New York, she is touring the world doing a lot of guest conducting of jazz orchestras. Obviously it's cost prohibitive to take a full orchestra on tour. Maria signed with Enja Records in 1994. Hang Gliding is from the 2000 CD Allegresse. Musicians are Tim Ries, Charles Pillow, Rich Perry, Rick Margitza and Scott Robinson on sax and flute, Tony Kadleck, Greg Gisbert, Laurie Frink, Ingrid Jensen and David Ballou on trumpet, Keith O'Quinn, Rock Ciccarone, Larry Farrell and George Flynn on trombone, Ben Monder on guitar, Frank Kimbrough on piano, Tony Scherr on bass, Tim Horner on drums and Jeff Ballard on percussion. This was Maria's final album for Enja. She now records for ArtistShare which is a crowdfunding website for jazz musicians. Her latest CD The Thompson Fields was released in 2015. And it's interesting to note and some of the same musicians still record with Maria. The key guy seems to be Kimbrough who has been around since the 80s. Maria has also recorded with opera singer Dawn Upshaw. And she has won nine Grammy awards including two for The Thompson Fields. She is playing the Newport Jazz Festival this weekend so be sure to check her out if you are there. Here's Maria Schneider with the WDR Big Band performing Hang Gliding in Germany 2006.