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SAMIRAH EVANS & GEORGE KAYE


SAMIRAH EVANS & GEORGE KAYE


GEORGE KAYE SEXTET

GEORGE KAYE

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Bassist and arranger George Kaye will lead a sextet featuring vocalist Samirah Evans joined by Miro Sprague (piano), Michael Zsoldos (reeds), Eric Miller (trombone), and Claire Arenius (drums) for the opening set of the March 4 th Easthampton Jazz Festival. The program is comprised of selections from the 1958 recording by Miles Davis and Gil Evans of George Gershwin’s opera “Porgy and Bess”. The Gil Evans arrangements are adapted for sextet by George Kaye. The 1958 recording is regarded by critics musicians and fans alike to be the finest jazz interpretation of the opera and a pinnacle of orchestral jazz. 

George Kaye holds a Masters of Music from University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is a faculty member at the Vermont Jazz Center in Brattleboro, and the bassist of the Green Street Trio, which hosts the Northampton Jazz Workshop every Tuesday night at Sparetime Northampton. From 1996-2001 he was the bassist with Houston Person and Etta Jones and has worked with many other jazz notables including Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, Ted Curson, Doc Cheatham, James Spaulding, and Norman Simmons, Karrin Allyson, and Dakota Staton.

 
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SAMIRAH EVANS

 

In New Orleans, a city known worldwide for its music, Samirah was one of its most popular jazz & blues vocalists. She first performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1990, and became a regular fixture as either a leader or featured vocalist for fourteen consecutive years. She has toured Europe, Asia, and both North and South America as a headliner, and shared stages with a multitude of legendary artists from B.B. King and James Brown, to New Orleans own Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas. Her debut CD, Give Me A Moment, ranked as the fifth best in the New Orleans Times-Picayune annual music list of 2002.

 
 

MIRO SPRAGUE

Miro Sprague, is a jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader known for his dynamic performance style and inspiring creativity. A recent graduate of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, he has toured the United States, Europe, and Japan and has performed with Jerry Bergonzi, Matt Wilson, Greg Osby, Adam Cruz, Linda Oh, Karrin Allyson and Reggie Workman among others. Miro leads his own trio and quintet and is a member of the cooperative septet “Holophonor.” He is a skilled vocal accompanist and performs frequently with Karrin Allyson, Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris.

MICHAEL ZSOLDOS

Michael Zsoldos was introduced to music through his father's vast record collection, which included the music of Charlie Parker, Felix Mendelssohn, Billie Holiday, the Beatles, and Glenn Miller. Michael attended the Eastman School of Music where he studied classical and jazz saxophone with Ramon Ricker. He later studied with Andrew Speight and Branford Marsalis at Michigan State University and has a master's degree in music theory.

In 2010, Michael released his debut CD "Off the Cuff" with drummer Matt Wilson, bassist Martin Wind, and pianist Miro Sprague. "Off the Cuff" has been playing on radio stations throughout the US and Canada to great reviews and was on the nominating ballot in four categories for the 2011 Grammys.

CLAIRE ARENIUS

Drummer/composer/educator Claire Arenius has been performing in jazz and improvisational music for more than thirty years. Her formative years were spent studying music at the University of Massachusetts, where Archie Shepp and Max Roach were on faculty. Later, as the recipient of a National Endowment Music Grant, Claire relocated to New York City to study with master drummer Charli Persip. This led to Claire's joining legendary trombonist/arranger Melba Liston's ensemble and to performances at Carnegie Hall, the Seaport Jazz Fest, Jazzmobile, & many other concerts. 

Claire presently serves as Adjunct Music Jazz Performance Faculty at Amherst College and on music performance faculty at Smith College, and as a clinician/educator for the Holyoke Community College Jazz Festival, and she is on the Faculty for the Vermont Jazz Center.

ERIC MILLER

Eric graduated with a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from UCLA while studying at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, having the opportunity to learn from Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and many other artists in residence who instruct the ensemble each week.  The group performed at the 2013 and 2014 UNESCO International Jazz Day Celebrations held in Istanbul, Turkey and Osaka, Japan.  The alumni of the Institute have collectively formed a band called Holophonor. The band's debut CD was released on June 14, 2014.

ANDY JAFFE OCTET


ANDY JAFFE OCTET


ANDY JAFFE OCTET

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ComposeR, Arranger, EducatoR, AuthOr

ANDY JAFFE

Composer, author, and bandleader Andy Jaffe has been active in music education for over 40 years, teaching at institutions ranging from Conservatories and Universities to Liberal Arts Colleges throughout the Northeast as well as in Europe and Asia.  He directed the Jazz Program in the Music Department at Williams College for 27 years as well as having served as founder and Artistic Director of the Williamstown Jazz Festival.  He currently teaches in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in music composition. His contributions to jazz pedagogy include his books “Jazz Harmony” and “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” (both published by Advance Music). His recordings include “Manhattan Projections” (The Andy Jaffe Sextet featuring Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney and Marvin “Smitty” Smith), “Double Helix” (piano duo with Tom McClung), “An Imperfect Storm” (Bill Lowe-Andy Jaffe Big Band and Slovak Radio Orchestra featuring Richard Stoltzman, Bruce Williamson and Tom McClung), and “Arc” (featuring tonight’s ensemble).  His hundreds of original compositions are written for a variety of ensembles and genres, including orchestral works, big band, chamber and a cappella groups. He has twice won Artists Foundation Fellowhips in music composition.  Among his former students are Grammy and Oscar award winners, prominent ensemble leaders and Chairs and professors at many music departments. “Arc” is …”a long-awaited gem from this classy composer, arranger, and first-class pianist…” Richard Kamins, steptempest.blogspot.com; “…flawless” (Mark Corroto in All About Jazz); “…a Gil Evans-like ear for harmony and motion…” (Brian Zimmerman, Downbeat).

 
 

JIMMY GREENE

Jimmy Greene’s debut recording for Mack Avenue, Beautiful Life, is a celebration of the life of his 6-year-old daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, whose life was tragically taken, along with 19 other children and 6 educators, on December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The album garnered two Grammy® nominations: one for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and the other for Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for Greene's arrangement of his composition "When I Come Home," featuring vocalist Javier Colon.
 
“I want to give a sense of how Ana lived,” Greene says. He fulfills that mandate with an intense, cohesive, genre-spanning program, juxtaposing the hardcore instrumental jazz for which he is best known with traditional spirituals, contemporary Christian music, standard ballads, and three original songs framing his own lyrics. Animating the repertoire is a gold-standard rhythm section (Renee Rosnes, piano; Christian McBride, bass; Lewis Nash, drums), augmented at various points by guitarists Pat Metheny and Jonathan DuBose; pianists Kenny Barron and Cyrus Chestnut; vocalists Colon, Kurt Elling and Latanya Farrell; spoken word from Tony® Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose; a 13-piece string ensemble from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra; as well as an accomplished children’s choir. He composed or arranged every selection and plays tenor and soprano saxophones and flute with customary authority, melodic focus and abiding soulfulness.
 
A native of Hartford, CT, Greene is considered one of the most respected saxophonists of his generation since his graduation from the Hartt School of Music in 1997. His previous solo releases, Live at Smalls (SmallsLive), Mission Statement (RazDaz/Sunnyside), The Overcomers Suite (NuJazz), Gifts and Givers (Criss Cross), True Life Stories (Criss Cross), Forever (Criss Cross), Brand New World (RCA Victor), Live at Birdland (RCA Victor) and Introducing Jimmy Greene (Criss Cross) have been met with much critical acclaim. In fact, Tony Hall of Jazzwise Magazine (UK) calls Greene “ . . .without doubt one of the most striking young tenors of recent years.”

The Jimmy Greene Quartet performs regularly in jazz venues, festivals and clubs worldwide, including the Village Vanguard (New York), Le Club (Moscow), Casa del Jazz (Rome), Sunside Jazz Club (Paris), Red Sea Jazz Festival (Israel), Lapataia Jazz Festival (Uruguay) and Amazonas Jazz Festival (Brazil). In one such appearance, Jim Macnie of the Village Voice said,"[Greene] is good for a couple of body chills every time you see him. He's got a big barrelhouse sound, and a way of negotiating changes that make academic moves seem natural."

In addition to his recordings and appearances as a leader, Greene appears on 75 albums as a sideman, and has toured and/or recorded with Horace Silver, Tom Harrell, Freddie Hubbard, Harry Connick, Jr., Avishai Cohen, Kenny Barron, Lewis Nash, Steve Turre, the New Jazz Composers Octet and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, among many others. As a member of Harrell's quintet, Greene was featured on CBS's benchmark news magazine, 60 Minutes. As a member of Harry Connick Jr.'s Big Band, Greene is a featured soloist on 2 DVD releases, Harry for the Holidays, and Only You. He was featured as a soloist on Connick's 2003 holiday special aired on NBC, in addition to NBC's Today Show, and BBC's Parkinson Show.

[Down Beat magazine] recognized Greene as one of "25 Young Rising Stars in Jazz."

As a composer, Greene was awarded the prestigious 2005 ASCAP / IAJE Commission in honor of Ornette Coleman, the 2013 State of Connecticut Governor's Arts Award in Music the City of Hartford's Innovator Award in Music. Greene was named a 2004 Winner of Chamber Music America's New Works: Creation and Presentation grant for jazz composition, awarded a 2005 Artist Fellowship in Music Composition by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and awarded a 2009 Individual Artist Grant by the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Forty of Greene's original compositions and arrangements have been recorded on the RCA Victor, SmallsLive, Criss Cross, NuJazz and RazDaz / Sunnyside labels. In addition, Greene's performance of his composition "Mr. McLean" was aired throughout the US and Canada on ABC-TV during a NASCAR pre-race broadcast in September 2007.

Greene is Coordinator of Jazz Studies and Assistant Professor of Music at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT.

Greene is Assistant Professor of Music and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT. Previously, he has served as Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the University of Manitoba, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Purchase College (State University of New York), as Lecturer at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School (University of Hartford) and as an Instructor at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Greene has given clinics and masterclasses throughout the United States, Canada, Brazil, Israel and Russia. Two of his former students have been named semi-finalists in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition and 18 student musicians and small ensembles under Greene's direction have won DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards.

Jimmy was named First Runner-Up in the 1996 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition, and was named one of the"25 Young Rising Stars in Jazz" by DownBeat Magazine in 1999. Greene graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.Mus in Jazz Studies from the Hartt School and holds a M.Mus in Music Education from Boston University. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Jazz Arts at the Manhattan School of Music. His mentors have included Jackie McLean, Jim McNeely, Justin DiCioccio, David Liebman, Phil Markowitz, Garry Dial, Dave Santoro, Kris Jensen, Steve Davis, Ken Radnofsky and Janet Arms.

Jimmy Greene is a clinician for Borgani Saxophones and Vandoren Mouthpieces, Reeds and Ligatures and uses their products exclusively.

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WALLACE RONEY

Wallace Roney is from Philadelphia, PA, born May 25, 1960. He began his musical studies at the age of five, learning rhythmic dictation and sight-reading. He began playing the trumpet at age six. He was identified as a prodigy and was awarded a scholarship to the Settlement School of Music at the age of seven. It is there that Wallace received private trumpet lesson with Sigmund Herring at the age of ten. As a child prodigy, by the age of 12 Wallace became the youngest member of the Philadelphia brass ensemble which was comprised of members of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

During his affiliation with the brass ensemble Wallace met jazz great Clark Terry who became a major influence, teacher, mentor and friend. Clark Terry taught him more about the trumpet than previous classical trumpet teachers had. He taught him technique, articulation and breath control. Clark Terry was the first of Wallace's three greatest mentors.

Wallace's moved to Washington, DC where he attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts. While at Ellington he studied the trumpet with Langston Fitzgerald, trumpeter with the Baltimore Symphony. Fitz, as he was fondly called by Wallace, taught him to strive for excellence in spite of obstacles.

Wallace sat in with Art Blakey's band at the age of 15 and was offered the job to replace trumpeter Bill Hardman. A car accident that happened the day after he was offered the gig caused Wallace's father not to let him take the job. Wallace did, however, continue to sit in with a lot of great musicians including Cedar Walton, Sam Jones and Billy Higgins all of which led to Wallace playing several gigs with Cedar Walton.

At the age of 16 he met another trumpet player who would become the second greatest influence in his musical life, Dizzy Gillespie. Dizzy taught Wallace even more advanced techniques that enhanced his ability to play intricate improvisational phrases. During this time he also went to NY and sat in with the great Philly Joe Jones which caused a stir. It wasn't long before he met the great trumpet player Woody Shaw who also became a close friend and mentor. During this time, Wallace graduated from Ellington and began studying with Dr. Donald Reinhart, a world renowned brass specialist in the Brass community, while at the same time attending Howard University and studying with Fred Irby. Wallace remained at Howard University for a year only to be called away to become a member of Art Blakey's Big Band. He also played with Joe Henderson, Dollar Brand and then studied for a year at Berkele School of Music before leaving there to rejoin Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

Since playing with the "Messengers" the list of people that Wallace has played with is a veritable who's who of jazz. Too numerous to name, he likes to say that he has played with everyone from Jay McShann to Herbie Hancock.

In 1983 he met the greatest influence in his life, the person that was his idol and his greatest teacher, Mile Davis. Wallace's relationship with Mile was similar to Louis Armstrong's relationship with Joe (King) Oliver. Being with Miles gave him insight and tutelage on being a melodist, being on top of the most creative music, and uncompromisingly taking it further.

At one point Wallace rejoined Art Blakey's Band and at the same time was invited to play with Tony Williams' quintet. He elected to play with Tony's ground breaking band. In 1984 Wallace also met and hung out with Ornette Coleman and premièred his symphony "The Sacred Mind of Johnny Dolphin". He also played gigs with Ornette in his "Classic Quartet", taking Don Cherry's place when he died.

All of the time spent studying under and hanging with Miles Davis led Miles to ask Wallace to play with him on the Historic Miles at Montreux Concert. This was historic because it was the first time Miles had played straight ahead jazz in 30 years. The concert was recorded and it received a Grammy. When Miles died in 1991, Wallace joined what he considers to be the greatest group in history, VSOP, which included Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, and Wayne Shorter. It is with VSOP that Wallace won his second Grammy. In 1996 he joined Chick Corea's "Special Quintet". Wallace also played on Michael McDonald's record for which he won a Grammy for his solo in "Like a Child".

Wallace formed his own group in 1993. Other than periodic special projects and playing intermittently with other all-star groups, he has been leading his band and is dedicated to continuing to add to the jazz music legacy.

bruce williamson

Williamson has performed in clubs and festivals worldwide with artists such as Art Lande, Mark Isham, Jack McDuff, Fred Hersch, Gary Peacock, Paul McCandless, Bobby McFerron, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Bennie Green, Dave Douglas, Tom Harell, Dave Stryker, and Jim Pepper. He has also performed in New York City with American Ballet Theatre Orchestra, New York City Opera Orchestra, Manhattan New Music Project, Partita Ensemble, Bang on a Can Spit Orchestra, Bond St. Theatre’s Shinbone Alley Stilt Marching Band, and various Broadway pit orchestras (currently playing Reed-1 in Chicago). He has collaborated on theatre projects with composer Ricky Ian Gordon and director Tina Landau (The Family Project); director George Wolfe (Caroline, or Change); with director Julie Taymor (Juan DarienThe Lion King, and The Green Bird); and with director Mark Rylance of the Globe Theater.

His work has been featured in Academy Award-winning composer Elliot Goldenthal’s film scores for In DreamsThe Butcher BoyPublic EnemiesFridaTitusThe Tempest, and Across the Universe (the last four directed by Taymor). As a recording artist for Timeless Records, Williamson has been featured on dozens of recordings, playing saxophones, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, piccolo, piano, and synthesizer. He has been awarded Jazz Composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Armour Foundation, and his compositions can be heard on various recordings including his Timeless Records CD Big City Magic, his Origin Records CD Standard Transmission, the Turtle Island String Quartet CD Metropolis, and a recent release called Resonance. He has taught at SUNY Purchase, Hunter College, and Williams College. BM, University of Miami; MA, Hunter College. Williamson has taught at Bennington since 1994.

jonathan barber

Drummer, Jonathan Barber, born in Hartford, CT, has been playing the drums since the age of 5 years old. Barber was first introduced to the drums by his father and began nurturing his passion and talents at his family church. During his senior year of high school, Barber became a member of the Artist Collective in Hartford, CT founded by Jackie and Dollie McLean. There he studied with Master Artist, Renee Mclean, who introduced him to jazz, and its history. From that point Barber knew he wanted to be a musician. He furthered his studies by enrolling at the University of Hartford’s, Hartt School of Music, Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, where he graduated with Cum Laude, receiving a B.A. in Jazz Studies. Jonathan Barber has had the opportunity to perform with many artists such as Jimmy Greene, Erykah Badu, Jeremy Pelt, Wallace Roney, J.D. Allen, Harold Mabern, Steve Davis, Larry Willis, Abraham Burton, and many more. After graduating from the Jackie McLean Institute, Jonathan instantly dove into the New York and international jazz scene, performing in notable festivals and clubs. Currently, Jonathan Barber is touring nationally and internationally sharing his musical gift to the world.

JOHN CLARK

Horn player, arranger, and composer, John Clark has performed all over the world with a wide diversity of musicians in a variety of musical arenas:  jazz, pop, Broadway, classical, and studio work.

Clark was awarded the M.M. degree from New England Conservatory of Music where he studied Horn, composition and improvisation, and he established his jazz credentials with a series of recordings with his own band--the most recent being the album I Will on the Postcards label (nominated for Record of the Year by the National Association of Independent Record Dealers).

The list of artists (many of them Grammy winners) with whom he has recorded and/or performed includes:  Gil Evans, McCoy Tyner, Miles Davis, Joe Lovano, Julius Hemphill, Jaco Pastorius, George Russell, and the Mingus Orchestra, among many others.  

Clark is the recipient of a composition grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, and his work has been performed and/or recorded by the Gil Evans Orchestra, McCoy Tyner Big Band, Paul Winter Consort, Composers’ Concordance, Genghis Barbie, Imani Winds and the Pugh-Taylor Project, among others. He is on the Faculty of Manhattan School of Music and the Board of Directors of Mohawk Trail Concerts (MA).


KRIS ALLEN

Saxophonist and Composer Kris Allen, a native of West Hartford CT, was a protege of the late great Jackie Mclean. Kris has performed and/or recorded with Illinois Jacquet, Gerald Wilson, Mario Pavone, Winard Harper, Helen Sung, Kendrick Oliver, and the Mingus Dynasty, among many others.  He presently appears in major jazz venues as a sideman, as the leader of his own quartet and as a part of the Jazz Samaritan Alliance.  Kris is a member of the Truth Revolutions Recording Collective and his first disc as a leader Circle House was released in 2012 to critical acclaim.  A longtime educator, Kris is presently the Artist-In-Residence in Jazz at Williams College, and he has been a Senior Teaching Artist for Litchfield Performing Arts Inc. since 2001.  Kris plays Vandoren reeds mouthpieces and ligatures exclusively.

MARTY JAFFE

Marty Jaffe, 20 years old, hails from Conway, Massachusetts and now resides in New York City, where he studies at Columbia and Juilliard. His family immersed him in music at an early age.  At age six he began to play the double bass, and by his teens he was performing alongside his father, a professional pianist and composer. Marty has studied with Dr. Salvatore Macchia, John Clayton, and Ray Drummond, and he is currently a student of Ron Carter. Additionally, he has participated in Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead, The Brubeck Jazz Colony, The Vail Jazz Workshop, and Young Arts Week.

In 2013, he was awarded first prize in the International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition, he toured Japan with Takeshi Obayashi, and he performed in Latvia with Beka Gochiashvili. Additionally, he performed at The Blue Note, Jazz At Lincoln Center, and The Kennedy Center. He frequently performs with Miro Sprague, Freddie Bryant, and John Clark, as well as occasionally collaborating with the renowned choreographer Bill T. Jones. Music is continually a source of inspiration, resilience, and healing for Marty. He hopes to spread this positive energy through his own music.