Alicia Olatuja – vocals
Jon Cowherd – piano
Alon Near – bass
John Davis – drums
“…a singer with a strong and luscious tone and an amiably regal presence on stage” — New York Times
“Olatuja possesses a special instrument: a full-bodied tone, precise pitch and personal engagement at the lowest whisper or highest wail.” — Downbeat
Praised by the New York Times as “a singer with a strong and luscious tone and an amiably regal presence on stage”, Alicia Olatuja has been astounding audiences with her exquisite vocals, artistic versatility and captivating demeanor. She first came into the national spotlight in 2013, whilst performing as the featured soloist with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s Second Inauguration. Shortly thereafter, she assembled her own jazz based ensemble and recorded her first solo album, Timeless (2014).
Now focusing on the rich contributions of a diverse selection of female composers, Alicia is set to release her sophomore album, Intuition: From the Minds of Women in 2019 on the Resilience Music Alliance label. The album celebrates the achievements of a long list of esteemed female composers, while offering a musical perspective unique to Olatuja. She is joined by Kamau Kenyatta and Ulysses Owens Jr. as producers and the material includes songs of Brenda Russell, Sade, Tracy Chapman, Kate Bush, Angela Bofill and Linda Creed.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Alicia grew up immersed in a wide range of musical styles, including gospel, soul, jazz and classical. These influences have informed her artistic journey and she later graduated with a Masters degree in Classical Voice/Opera from the Manhattan School of Music. After appearing in numerous operatic and musical theater productions she started to perform more regularly in gospel and jazz concerts and worked with such esteemed artists as Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans and Christian McBride.
Steve Davis Quartet
Steve Davis – trombone
Rick Germanson – piano
Gerald Cannon – bass
Jason Tiemann – drums
with special guest Abena Koomson-Davis – vocal
Steve Davis is widely regarded as one of today’s leading voices on the trombone. Over the years, Davis has worked with jazz luminaries such as Art Blakey, Jackie McLean, Chick Corea, Cecil Payne, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver, Cedar Walton, Hank Jones & Benny Golson. Raised in Binghamton, New York, Davis has performed at major venues around the world including appearances on The Jimmy Fallon Show with Stevie Wonder and at The White House Tribute to Ray Charles (PBS). Davis appears on over 150 recordings, including 19 as a leader. His latest release, Think Ahead (Smoke Sessions, 2017) celebrates an exciting collection of original compositions including “A Little Understanding” and “Atmosphere” and time honored classics such as Little B’s Poem by the late Bobby Hutcherson and Tony Williams’ Warrior. Other notable releases include Say When: Celebrating J.J. Johnson (Smoke Sessions) For Realand Gettin’ It Done (Positone). Steve continues to work regularly with One For All (feat. Eric Alexander), Larry Willis, Harold Mabern, Dizzy Gillespie All-Stars, Jimmy Heath, Ron Carter and Christian McBride big bands. Steve’s original composition, “Optimism” appears on the McBride Big Band’s latest release Bringin’ It which won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. A long-time educator, Steve has guided a broad range of emerging musicians as a professor at Hartt School’s Jackie McLean Institute (University of Hartford). In April 2017, Steve was honored by the University of Hartford in celebration of his 25 years of service. Other ongoing prestigious educational endeavors include Jamey Aebersold’s Summer Jazz Workshops, the Jazz in Julyprogram at UMASS Amherst, Stanford University Jazz Workshop, as well as his long-time affiliation with the Artist’s Collective, founded by Jackie and Dollie McLean. His highly anticipated forthcoming album, Correlations, is set to release on Smoke Sessions March 2019.
Sarah Hanahan Quintet
Sarah Hanahan is a jazz saxophonist studying performance at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz within the Hartt School of Music (University of Hartford). Now a resident of Hartford, Connecticut but originally from Marlborough, Massachusetts, Sarah grew up listening to a wide variety of music, but always had a special love for jazz. Her father, who plays drums and percussion, introduced Sarah to music and gave Sarah her first saxophone at the age of 8. Sarah played lead alto sax for the Marlborough High School jazz band. As a high school senior, Sarah was lead alto for the New England Conservatory Prep Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Ken Schaporst, who taught her much about the history and tradition of big band music. She also studied with tenor saxophone great, Jerry Bergonzi.
In 2015, Sarah was awarded a full scholarship to study jazz performance at the McLean Institute. Her college professors include well-known jazz saxophone performers Javon Jackson and Abraham Burton. The McLean Institute has also afforded Sarah the opportunity to receive instruction from and perform with accomplished jazz musicians such as bassist Nat Reeves and trombonist Steve Davis.
In addition to her heavy gigging schedule, Sarah recently appeared as a guest artist at the Caramoor Jazz Festival. The Sarah Hanahan Quintet also opened the Hartford Bushnell Park 2018 Monday Night Jazz Series finale for Helen Sung. She fronts her own quartet / quintet, and plays in a duo with jazz guitarist Jeremy Galloway, a close friend and McLean classmate.
Sarah was also awarded the great opportunity to participate in Ravinia Steans Music Institute Jazz Program this past summer, which was awarded to just 15 jazz fellows. Fellows traveled to Chicago to spend the week studying with Billy Childs, Rufus Reid, and Tim Hagans. During that week they focused on writing new compositions and expanding their knowledge of harmony, all while meeting other great musicians from around the country.
In January of 2019, Sarah was awarded the great honor of holding the saxophone chair in the Jazz Education Network (JEN) Sisters in Jazz Quintet. This is the first time in ten years that the combo has been put back together, made up of five of the finest women collegiate jazz students. The JEN Conference was held in Reno, Nevada, and Sarah along with the other Sisters were flown to the conference to play a show composed of original music and American songbook standards.
Besides her love and appreciation of many jazz artists including Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Miles Davis and too many others to list, she is a huge fan of the Beatles, the Dave Matthews Band, and many groups who specialize in vocal harmonies (Beach Boys, CS&N, America, Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices). She enjoys jazz vocalists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holliday, but loves Nancy Wilson the most!
Sarah’s main horn is the Yanagisawa A-991 alto sax. She also plays soprano sax and flute, and works on piano and drums in her spare time.
Olli Soikkeli Trio
Olli Soikkeli – guitar
Julian Smith – bass
Alberto Pibiri – piano
Born in Nurmes, Finland and based in NYC, Olli Soikkeli was introduced to the music of great Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz, which has been his primary focus since. Olli played in jazz clubs and festivals across Finland, and toured Europe with Sinti Guitarist Paulus Schäfer. While still young, he’s already played with notable artists such as Bucky Pizzarelli, Stochelo Rosenberg, Tommy Emmanuel, Andreas Öberg, Cyrille Aimee, Antti Sarpila and Marian Petrescu.
After move to New York City in 2014. Olli has played legendary venues such as Town Hall, Birdland Jazz Club, Blue Note and the Lincoln Center. Olli has performed on at Side Door Jazz previously with the group Rhythm Future Quartet.
The Olli Soikkeli Trio pays homage to the great Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole trios.
Kat Edmonson – vocals
Matt Munisteri – guitar
Aaron Thurston – drums
Roy Dunlap – piano
Bob Hart – bass
Critically acclaimed vocalist and songwriter, actor and dancer, Kat Edmonson has played major stages across the United States, Europe and Japan. She’s appeared in major motion pictures, performed on radio and television, and released four groundbreaking albums to date. Her newest album, Old Fashioned Gal, is out now on Spinnerette Records. Her tour supporting the full length album continues with major tour stops throughout the U.S.
Of writing Old Fashioned Gal, Edmonson says, “I wrote these songs while holed up in my Brooklyn apartment during the winter of 2016. I had a terrible, reoccurring cold that winter and was often laid up in bed. I’d go back and forth from watching 1930s movies on Turner Classic Movies to working on a song. While writing this album, I realized that I was seeing what looked like scenes from a film in my head—a film not yet made. I ultimately sat down and wrote an entire outline for a screenplay—a musical, of course—with this music, the score. I processed a great deal of self-doubt in order to write this hopeful record. Old Fashioned Gal is about believing in yourself even when it seems no one else will.”
Old Fashioned Gal was entirely written and produced by Edmonson with associate production by band member and drummer Aaron Thurston. It was recorded over several sessions throughout the summer and fall of 2016 at Atomic Sound Studios in Brooklyn with Grammy winning engineer Fernando Lodeiro. This is her third time working with twenty-two-time Grammy-winning engineer Al Schmitt who mixed the record at Capitol Studios in Hollywood.
The album follows Edmonson’s critically acclaimed 2014 release The Big Picture, which debuted #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers, #1 on Contemporary Jazz Chart and #2 on the Total Jazz Chart. NPR First Listen described the record, “She’s a savvy student of ‘60s film soundtracks, jazz-pop stylists and Brill Building songcraft.” Her 2015 performance on “CBS This Morning: Saturday” garnered the program’s highest rated viewership since 2006. She recently appeared in Woody Allen’s Cafe Society as a 1930s jazz singer and is highlighted on the official soundtrack performing her version of “Mountain Greenery.”
2012’s Way Down Low was described by The New York Times as “fresh as a spring bouquet” while The Boston Globe’s Steve Greenlee heralded it as “one of the greatest vocal albums I’ve ever heard.” The record debuted at #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart and was featured on several major year-end lists including Downbeat Magazine, WNYC Soundcheck’s “Best Live Performances” and Daytrotter’s “Best Sessions of 2012.” Edmonson was featured on NPR an impressive five times that same year.
Growing up in Houston, Edmonson wrote her first song on a school bus at age nine. The Texas native evolved her signature style in Austin’s local club circuit for several years before self-releasing Take To The Sky in 2009. In the proceeding years, Edmonson toured throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan while also supporting high profile acts including Lyle Lovett, Chris Isaak, Gary Clark, Jr., Jaime Cullum, Shawn Colvin, Smokey Robinson, George Benson, Michael Kiwanuka, Nick Lowe and Willie Nelson.
Edmonson lives in Brooklyn, New York.
“[Old Fashioned Gal] is a handsome showcase for her songwriting, which has grown ever more confident over the last decade, nostalgic in tone but clear-eyed in the application.” —NPR Music “Songs We Love”
“Kat Edmonson’s Old Fashioned Gal sounds like an alternate soundtrack to an Audrey Hepburn film, 11 self-penned songs of gentle romance and vulnerability in a decades-old style sparkling with modern sensibilities… and then there’s her voice. Part bashful debutante, part starry-eyed fiancée, part world-wise seductress, it possesses a singular expressiveness.” –Associated Press
“An intimate journey from doubt to resolve and implied triumph.” –Billboard
“This is someone who knows what they want to say.” –Relix
“…creating a new Great American Songbook.” –No Depression
“Her blend of traditional jazz and singer-songwriter pop is unusual but not without analogues…Willie Nelson, Rufus Wainwright, Gregory Porter and Edmonson’s longtime champion, Lyle Lovett have all explored similar territory. And there is something so distinctive about Edmonson’s voice and song-writing that she deserves a place among those fellow travelers.” –Texas Music
Miguel Zenon Quartet
Miguel Zénon – saxophone
Luis Perdomo – piano
Hans Glawischnig – bass
Henry Cole – drums
“This young musician and composer is at once reestablishing the artistic, cultural, and social tradition of jazz while creating an entirely new jazz language for the 21st century.”
— MacArthur Foundation, 2008.
Multiple Grammy Nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón represents a select group of musicians who have masterfully balanced and blended the often-contradictory poles of innovation and tradition. Widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation, he has also developed a unique voice as a composer and as a conceptualist, concentrating his efforts on perfecting a fine mix between Latin American Folkloric Music and Jazz.
His latest release, Típico (Miel Music, 2017) celebrates the Miguel Zenón Quartet, his working band of more than 15 years, which includes Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, Austrian bassist Hans Glawischnig and fellow Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole. The album features original music by Zenón, which was specifically written for the members of the Quartet and directly inspired by their individual playing and personalities. The end result is a testament to the band’s unique chemistry and their outstanding collective musicianship.
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Zenón studied classical saxophone at the Escuela Libre de Música in Puerto Rico before receiving a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from Berklee College of Music, and a master’s degree in Jazz Performance at Manhattan School of Music. Zenón’s more formal studies, however, are supplemented and enhanced by his vast and diverse experience as a sideman and collaborator. Throughout his career he has divided his time equally between working with older jazz masters and working with the music’s younger innovators—irrespective of styles and genres. The list of musicians Zenón has toured and/or recorded with includes: The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersh, Kenny Werner, David Sánchez, Danilo Perez, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, The Mingus Big Band, Bobby Hutcherson and Steve Coleman.
He is also a founding member of the groundbreaking SFJAZZ Collective, a group whose past and current members include Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Brian Blade, Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas and Eric Harland. In the years 2012 and 2013, Zenón’s association with SFJAZZ expanded even further, when he served as resident artistic director for the first two seasons of the SFJAZZ Center, along with Bill Frisell, Jason Moran, Regina Carter and John Santos.
Zenón’s ten recordings as a leader (including the above mentioned Típico) represent not only his growth as a musician, but also his ability to constantly evolve and reinvent himself as a conceptualist and producer. His debut CD, Looking Forward (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2002), represents a snapshot of the very eclectic musical interests of the then 24-year-old musician, and was selected by the New York Times as the number one “alternative” jazz recording of 2002.
His second recording as a leader, Ceremonial (Marsalis Music, 2004), was described by All About Jazz as a “head on crash of Latin, Jazz and Classical traditions—modern Jazz at its very best,” and garnered unanimous critical praise and recognition both within and outside the jazz world.
Jíbaro (Marsalis Music, 2005), his third recording, was further proof that all the critical praise he had been receiving was well deserved. The recording is an exploration of a style of popular Puerto Rican folk music known as La Música Jíbara. The Chicago Tribune summed it up best when they wrote: “The instrumental prowess of Zenón’s playing, the vigor of his compositions and the sensitivity of his band to Puerto Rican song forms point to new possibilities in jazz.” Like his previous recordings, Jíbaro was uniformly well received and appeared on many top ten lists including The New York Times, Latin Beat, El Nuevo Día, and the Chicago Tribune.
Decidedly more personal and introspective, Awake (Marsalis Music, 2008) incorporates a string quartet and additional horns to Zenón’s core group and brings to the forefront his formidable skills as a writer and arranger. As was admirably put in Audiophile Audition: “This is an album far beyond the usual sax & string outing, revealing a unique statement that communicates passion, intellect and spirit to the listener.” Awake also caught the attention of the international press, garnering it 5 star reviews and top honors in publications like Jazzwise (UK), Jazz Man (France) and Jazz Magazine (France).
Zenón returned to his Puerto Rican roots for inspiration in his next outing, Esta Plena (Marsalis Music, 2009), which draws from the traditional Plena music style of his home country and was supported by a fellowship from the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. On it Zenón augmented his quartet to include three percussionists/vocalists and took on the additional roles of both lyricist and vocalist. Jazz Times wrote that Esta Plena is “…music with integrity, energy, poise and a fresh vision of how the Afro-Caribbean jazz aesthetic can evolve without losing its deep roots.” In addition to being hailed by critics (New York Times, Village Voice, El Nuevo Día, Downbeat, The Chicago Tribune) as one of the best recordings of 2009, the recording earned Zenón two Grammy nominations (one for Best Improvised solo and one for Best Latin Jazz Recording of the year) as well as a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Recording of the year.
Alma Adentro (Marsalis Music, 2011), is a tribute to The Puerto Rican Songbook. On it he arranges and explores the music of five legendary Puerto Rican composers: Bobby Capó, Tite Curet Alonso, Pedro Flores, Rafael Hernández, and Sylvia Rexach (whom he considers “the George Gershwins, Cole Porters and Jerome Kerns of Puerto Rican song”). The recording features his longtime working quartet of pianist Luis bleckmann, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Henry Cole, plus a ten-piece woodwind ensemble orchestrated and conducted by close friend and collaborator Guillermo Klein. This groundbreaking project both honors the music of these masters while at the same time exposing their music to new audiences. Alma Adentro was chosen as the Best Jazz Recording of 2011 by iTunes and NPR, and was Nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.
Rayuela (Sunnyside Records 2012), a collaboration with French pianist/composer Laurent Coq. It was inspired by the literary masterpiece of the same name by Argentinean writer Julio Cortázar (Hopscotch in English) and the compositions on the recording look to translate some of the most memorable characters and passages from the book into musical terms. They are joined by Dana Leong (cello and trombone) and Dan Weiss (tabla, drums and percussion), masterful musicians who help create the unique ensemble sound that distinguishes this very special project.
Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico (Miel Music, 2013) features the debut recording of The Rhythm Collective, an ensemble first put together in 2003 for a month long tour of West Africa. The group includes Aldemar Valentín on electric bass, Tony Escapa on drums and Reinaldo de Jesus on percussion; all native Puerto Ricans and some of the most coveted musicians in their respective fields. Fed by the energy of the full capacity audience in attendance, the group delivers a high intensity performance which includes originals by Zenón and covers of Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” and Silvio Rodriguez’ “El Necio”.
Identities are Changeable (Miel Music, 2014) is inspired by the idea of national identity as experienced by the Puerto Rican community in the United States, specifically in the New York area. All the music on the album is written around a series of interviews with several individuals, all of them New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent. The narrative created by these conversations gave birth to all the compositions on the record, with audio excerpts from the interviews weaving in and out each piece. The album, which is also complemented by a video installment by David Dempewolf, features Zenón’s longstanding quartet (with Luis Perdomo, Hans Glawischnig and Henry Cole) plus a twelve-piece large ensemble comprised of some of the best musicians in jazz today. Identities Are Changeable was Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album and chosen as one of the best recordings of 2014 by NBC News, NPR, The Boston Globe, Rhapsody, All About Jazz and Jazz News Magazine, among others.
As a composer he has been commissioned by SFJAZZ, The New York State Council for the Arts, Chamber Music America, Logan Center for The Arts, The Hyde Park Jazz Festival, The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Jazz Reach, Peak Performances, PRISM Quartet and many of his peers. He has been featured in articles on publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg Pursuits, Jazz Times, Jazziz, Boston Globe, Billboard, Jazz Inside, Newsday, Details, as well as gracing the cover of Downbeat Magazine on two occasions (2010 & 2014). He has also topped the Rising Star Alto Sax category of the Downbeat Critic’s Poll on four different occasions, topped both the Jazz Artist of the Year and Alto Saxophonist of the Year categories on the 2014 Jazz Times Critics Poll and was selected as the 2015 Alto Saxophonist of the Year by the Jazz Journalist Association. Zenón’s biography would not be complete without discussing his role as an educator. In 2003, he was chosen by the Kennedy Center to teach and perform in West Africa as part of their Jazz Ambassador program. Since then, he has given hundreds of lectures and master classes and has taught all over the world at institutions which include: The Banff Centre, Berklee College of Music, Siena Jazz, Universidad Veracruzana, Conservatorium Van Amsterdam, Musik Akademie Basel, Conservatoire de Paris, University of Manitoba, Manhattan School of Music, Columbia University, Princeton University, UMass-Amherst and the Brubeck Institute. He is also a permanent faculty member at New England Conservatory of Music. But perhaps what best reflects his commitment to education and cements his growing reputation as a “cultural ambassador”, is a program that he founded in 2011, called Caravana Cultural.
The main purpose of Caravana Cultural is to present free-of-charge Jazz concerts in rural areas of Puerto Rico. The program makes a “cultural investment” in the Island by giving these communities a chance to listen to jazz of the highest caliber (Zenón invites some of the best musicians in the New York jazz scene to perform as guests), while at the same time getting young Puerto Rican musicians actively involved in the concert activities. Since February 2011, Zenón presented a concert every four to six months. Each concert focuses on the music of a specific jazz legend (Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, among others) and is preceded by a pre-concert presentation which touches on the basic elements of jazz and improvisation. Over the past ten years Zenón has also personally organized “Jazz Jam Sessions” in the area of San Juan, as a way of creating a platform for younger jazz musicians to grow and interact with one another.
In 2008 he was selected as one of 25 distinguished individuals to receive the prestigious and coveted MacArthur Fellowship, more commonly known as the “Genius Grant”. Zenón lives in New York City with his wife Elga and their daughter.
Aaron Parks Little Big
Aaron Parks – piano & keyboards
Tommy Crane – drums
David ‘DJ’ Ginyard – bass
Greg Tuohey – guitar
Aaron Parks Little Big, the new Ropeadope album from the acclaimed pianist, keyboardist and composer, is at once the culmination of his brilliant early career and the long-awaited follow-up to his Blue Note Records debut, Invisible Cinema. That 2008 release, with its gorgeously melodic writing and improvising and deft use of indie-rock, electronica and hip-hop elements, established Parks as one of the most gifted and original young voices in jazz. “This is the natural successor to that record,” says the New York-based artist, 34. “It’s taking the ideas of that project and doubling down on them—fully committing to that direction.”
Little Big also marks the recorded debut of the intuitive working group that gives the album its title (and which takes its name from a fantastical novel by John Crowley—a favorite book of Parks and, the pianist notes, Wayne Shorter). Parks handled the production duties, with engineering by Daniel Schlett (whose credits include The War on Drugs and Ghostface Killah). The album was mixed by both Schlett and Grizzly Bear bassist/producer Chris Taylor, the latter of whom Parks met in a Seattle big band at the age of 10. “We put a lot of time and care into the way this record sounds, and the result”—simultaneously crystalline and warm, postmodern and natural—“makes me really happy,” Parks adds.
After experimenting with various lineups and sessions, Parks landed on three musicians ideally suited for this atmospheric, genre-bending new work. “This feels like a real band, one that will be around for a while,” he says. Greg Tuohey is the longest-running member, a guitarist who places taste and tone ahead of chops-focused bravado—or, as Parks puts it, “It’s like he’s chasing Miles Davis’ phrasing with Jimi Hendrix’s attitude.” On electric bass is David “DJ” Ginyard Jr., a left-handed player with a distinctively lyrical approach and an aptitude for seeing the bigger musical picture. “He really understands what the bass does, and he thinks super compositionally,” Parks says, noting how some of Ginyard’s basslines have become integral to the songs. Anchoring the unit is Tommy Crane, a forward-looking, stylistically resourceful drummer who brings both explosive creativity and a producer’s knack for precision. “He has a very unique ability to internalize and commit to the particular heartbeat of each song,” Parks explains, “but always with this vital and elastic human element, which is rare to hear in combination with the kinds of grooves we’re exploring.”
Together they interpret a panoramic set of Parks’ original compositions—from the 21st-century fusion of “Kid,” to the odd-metered studio jam “Professor Strangeweather,” to the trip-hop ambiance and folkish melody of “Bells.” The psychedelic “Aquarium”—“probably the sexiest tune on the album,” Parks says, chuckling—conjures up the trippy, sultry neo-soul vibe of Meshell Ndegeocello, before Tuohey offers a solo that channels Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood. “Digital Society” somehow manages to evoke Afrobeat, bluegrass and Aphex Twin. “Lilac” is, as Parks describes it, “a solo-piano pop tune.” The leader’s “secret favorite” cut, “Doors Open,” seeks inspiration in late Talk Talk and the “earnestness” of Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band. That closing track is “definitely not afraid to go straight for your heart,” Parks says with a laugh.
A prodigal talent raised outside of Seattle, Parks moved with his family to study at the Manhattan School of Music when he was 16. Two years later, on the recommendation of a teacher, NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron, he was invited to join trumpet great Terence Blanchard’s band. That tenure began the relationship with Blue Note that would yield Invisible Cinema, released when Parks was just 24. In The Guardian, John Fordham called the album “a real independent vision,” adding that “Parks is a fast-rising star.” In the September 2008 issue of JazzTimes, Parks was named a “New Jazz Visionary” alongside current giants like Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. Over the ensuing decade, Parks certainly made good on that early promise. He was an essential presence in Kurt Rosenwinkel’s band, including on the guitarist’s well-received double album from 2012, Star of Jupiter. As a member of the supergroup James Farm, also featuring saxophonist Joshua Redman, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland, Parks put out two celebrated albums on Nonesuch. In 2013 he released his first disc as an ECM Records artist, Arborescence, which DownBeat’s J.D. Considine called “a forest-invoking solo-piano effort marked by wonderfully detailed narratives and a harmonic palette worthy of Ravel.” Find the Way, an ECM trio session with bassist Ben Street and drummer Billy Hart, followed last year and garnered equally enthusiastic reviews.
On Little Big, Parks taps into the lessons he’s absorbed throughout those far-reaching experiences, while also progressing some of the au courant sounds he investigated on Invisible Cinema. “This feels like the most personal record I’ve ever made,” he says. What’s more, the album reflects his worldview, an outlook in which optimism and inclusion supersede politics. “There’s a lot out there right now to protest against, and it feels like it’s the artist’s duty to create music that reckons with the issues of the day. Nonetheless, this is not a protest record. It’s not against anything; it’s much more for something. What we’re aiming to do is blend genres and ideas in an open and fluid way, so that structure and freedom work together to serve the larger concept of the song. It’s a way of working together that feels representative of the kind of world I could imagine many of us might want to live in.”
Patricia Barber Trio
Patricia Barber – piano and vocals
Patrick Mulcahy – bass
Jon Deitemyer – drums
From her early days leading a jazz trio in small Chicago nightclubs, Patricia Barber has drawn extravagant accolades. The praise came at first from local writers, impressed by her unique arrangements and coolly composed piano improvisations. As she added vocals to her repertoire, the praise poured in from national reviewers intoxicated by her recordings. And when (after years of international touring) she began to focus on her own compositions, kudos arrived from new fans, besotted by her lapidary lyrics and her often indelible imagery.
Since Barber doesn’t consider herself a poet – and since she didn’t want to be a jazz pianist in the first place – you’d have to say things turned out pretty well.
Barber wrote (in Poetry Magazine, in 2005): “I am a songwriter, which is not the same thing as a poet. Poetry is a passion, my ever present guide and inspiration. Though I indulge in very little of the lingua franca of the art. . . . I cannot talk about poetry, but I know poetry. Alone, with logic and diligence, I have studied, but for me art can be created neither by logic nor diligence. Like music, poetry is created in the mouth, in the ear, and in the air.”
That’s an especially nuanced explanation; then again, the gleaming successes of Barber’s art lie in the nuances, the nooks and crannies, of conventional performance. When the veteran music writer Don Heckman (in the Los Angeles Times) called Barber “one of the most utterly individual jazz performers to arrive on the scene in years,” he wasn’t referring to the virtuosic spectacle that comes all too easily to today’s jazz artists; he had homed in on the quiet audacity with which Barber has redefined the role of the singer-songwriter for 21st-century jazz.
Born in the Chicago suburbs, Barber came by music naturally. Her father was Floyd “Shim” Barber, a saxophonist who had worked with Glenn Miller’s orchestra, and the instrument beguiled young Patricia: “When he played the saxophone around the house, I’d put my hand in the bell to feel the music.” She began playing classical piano at the age of 6, but by the time she had graduated high school – in South Sioux City, Iowa, where the family had moved in the mid-60s, following her father’s death – Barber had foresworn jazz entirely. “It was hanging over my head the whole time,” she recalled years later. “But I thought that becoming a jazz musician was such a stupid thing for a woman to do – for a smart woman to do – that I tried to resist it.”
Barber enrolled at the University of Iowa with a double major in classical music and psychology, while continuing to indulge the voracious reading habit she had nurtured since childhood. But the jazz echoes she thought she’d banished only grew louder, and by graduation, she had decided to follow in her father’s path. She returned to Chicago, and in 1984 she landed the gig that put her (and the venue at which she performed) on the national jazz map: five nights a week at the intimate Gold Star Sardine Bar, which held 60 people at the most, but where the audience made up in sophistication what it lacked in size.
Soon her reputation spread beyond Chicago, spurred by enthusiastic response to performances at the Chicago Jazz Festival (1988) and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands (1989), culminating in her major label debut (A Distortion Of Love) in 1992. Two years later, she released Café Blue, her debut for the small Premonition label; working with label head and producer Michael Friedman, Barber garnered rave reviews from around the nation, which would quickly become the normal response to each new release.
At about the same time, Barber began a steady engagement at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill (which was owned in the 1920s by a lieutenant of Al Capone’s, and is today considered the city’s leading jazz room); when not on tour, she continues to perform there every Monday night. And, ever the student, Barber returned to academia in the mid-90s to earn her master’s degree in jazz pedagogy from Northwestern University. (She regularly gives master classes in this country and overseas.)
Barber’s first two albums for Premonition made her an international star: despite the label’s tiny size, Barber sold more than 120,000 of the album Modern Cool and even more of the follow-up Nightclub, attracting the attention of Blue Note Records. In 1999 Blue Note started distributing her discs as part of a unique partnership – the first joint imprint in the fabled label’s then-six-decade history. In 2002, Barber moved into an exclusive contract with Blue Note, recording three albums, including Mythologies, a genre-crashing song cycle based on the writings of the ancient Roman poet Ovid; the project was supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship in composition (the first ever awarded to a non-classical “songwriter”).
By then, Barber had secured her place in modern jazz history. Among her contemporaries, only Cassandra Wilson had managed to create a comparable chemistry of new and old standards (catalyzed by uncategorizable originals); and only Diana Krall would match the compound appeal of Barber’s rarefied vocals and pristine piano. In recent years, she has released two volumes of music recorded at the Green Mill, available on her own label.
George Colligan Quartet
George Colligan – piano
Gary Thomas – tenor sax
Drew Gress – bass
Ralph Peterson – drums
George Colligan is a New York based pianist, organist, drummer, trumpeter, teacher, and bandleader, who is one of the most original and compelling jazz artists of his generation. An award-winning composer (Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation grant recipient) and player (winner, Jazzconnect.com Jazz Competition), Colligan is highly in demand as a sideman, having worked with players like Cassandra Wilson, Don Byron, Buster Williams, and Lonnie Plaxico, both on the bandstand and in recording sessions (appearing on over 100 CDs). He has released 24 recordings full of his intelligent writing and impressive technique. His latest CD on the Origin Label is called”The Endless Mysteries” and features Larry Grenadier and Jack DeJohnette. Colligan’s musical style incorporates everything from showtunes to funk, from free improvisation to 20th century classical music. His performances include dazzling technique as well as mature restraint. Colligan was on the faculty of the Juilliard School for two years and is currently an Assistant Professor at Portland State University. He is currently a member of Jack DeJohnette’s New Quintet.Recently, Colligan started playing the Hammond 44 Melodion(melodica). He also started a popular blog called jazztruth(jazztruth.blogspot.com).
“Colligan is an equally deserving torch-carrier of the piano trio tradition….” John Kelman , All About Jazz
“One of the best kept secrets in jazz….” Chris Hoven, All About Jazz
“As a creative artist, he’s really up there…. In terms of technique, knowledge of music and improvisational creativity, there aren’t a whole lot of cats from his generation that are any better than him. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of any.”– Don Braden in a blindfold test for Jazz Times
“Pianist George Colligan stole the set with a display of technique that inspired a standing ovation.”-Harvey Siders, Jazz Times, in a review of a Ravi Coltrane concert.
George Colligan has toured, recorded ,and/or performed as a sideman with Cassandra Wilson, Buster Williams, Don Byron, Lonnie Plaxico, Gary Bartz, Benny Golson, Gary Thomas, Miguel Zenon, Tom Harrell, Steve Coleman, Eddie Henderson, Ralph Peterson, Vanessa Rubin, Steve Wilson,Dave Weckl, Richard Bona, Jane Monheit, Ravi Coltrane, Lenny White, Michael Brecker, Mike Clark, Nicholas Payton, Sheila Jordan, Janis Siegel, Christian McBride, Billy Hart, Charles Fambrough, Mingus Big Band, AL Foster, Mark Turner, Don Braden, Lew Soloff, Gunther Schuller, Carl Allen, Rodney Whitaker, Lee Konitz, Jamie Baum, Michal Urbaniak, Ron McClure,DJ Logic, Randy Brecker and Stefon Harris, among others.
Bruce Barth Trio
Bruce Barth – piano
Vicente Archer – bass
Montez Coleman – drums
Jazz pianist and composer Bruce Barth has been sharing his music with listeners the world over for more than twenty-five years. In addition to traveling widely performing his own music, he has also performed with revered jazz masters, as well as collaborated with leading musicians of his own generation. And in a recent
review in the Newark Star-Ledger, Zan Stewart writes “No one sounds quite like Barth. His solos are characterized by robust swing, his ability to tell a story, and by his rich, beguiling sound.”
Bruce has performed on over one hundred recordings and movie soundtracks, including fourteen as a leader. He is equally at home playing solo piano (American Landscape on Satchmo Jazz Records), leading an all-star septet (East and West on MaxJazz), and composing for a variety of ensembles. His trio has recorded live at the legendary Village Vanguard in New York City, and his duo recording with saxophonist Steve Wilson, Home, was chosen by Down Beat magazine as one of the best recordings of 2010. His current CD is “Daybreak,” on the Savant label.
2018 promises to be a banner year for Bruce, as he is anticipating the release of two new CDs. The first is Sunday, featuring tenor legend Jerry Bergonzi, recorded live in Spain. The second features Bruce’s trio interpreting music of the Grateful Dead. The trio will be performing this music on the west coast and at several major European Jazz Festivals this summer.
Originally from Pasadena, California, Bruce arrived on the New York jazz scene in 1988, and soon started working in the bands of Stanley Turrentine and Terence Blanchard. While in Terence’s band, Bruce recorded his first two CD’s as a leader, In Focus and Morning Call for the Enja label; both were chosen for the New York Times’ top ten lists. These recordings displayed not only Bruce’s powerfully fluent piano playing, but also the scope of his own compositions and his imaginative arrangements of jazz standards.
As a leader of his trio and larger ensembles, Bruce has performed at major venues in the United States, Europe, and Japan; he has led bands at many major venues in New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and major festivals in UK, Spain, Sweden, and Portugal.
Throughout his professional life, Bruce has had extended collaborations with Terell Stafford, Steve Wilson, Luciana Souza, Steve Nelson, and Tony Bennett. He has performed with James Moody, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Art Farmer, and the Mingus Big Band.
Finally, Bruce is a dedicated teacher, currently on the faculties of Temple University and Columbia University. He has also given master classes around the globe.
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque
Multiple Juno Award winner, Jane Bunnett has turned her bands and recordings into showcases for the finest musical talent from Canada, the US and Cuba. She has been up for Grammy Awards, numerous Juno’s, received The Order of Canada, The Queens Diamond Jubilee and most recently The Premiers Award for Excellence. An internationally acclaimed musician, Jane Bunnett is known for her creative integrity, improvisational daring and courageous artistry. Her exploration of Afro-Cuban melodies expresses the universality of music and her ability to embrace and showcase the rhythms and culture of Cuba has been groundbreaking. She has toured the world bringing her own special sound to numerous Jazz festivals, displaying her versatility as a flutist, saxophone player and pianist.
Jane’s debut recording hit the Jazz world in 1987 with the Stunning Juno nominated “In Dew Time” featuring American Jazz legends Dewey Redman, Don Pullen and Canadian icon Claude Ranger.
During and in-between her Cuban explorations Jane released recordings and toured with a powerful group of Jazz innovators. “New York Duets” and “Live at Sweet Basil” with Don Pullen and Billy Hart. “Water is Wide” with Pullen as well as Jeanne Lee, Sheila Jordan and Billy Hart. A duet with Paul Bley (Double Time) “Spirituals and Dedications” with Dewey Redman, vocalist Dean Bowman and master pianist Stanley Cowell.
Two documentaries have been made about Bunnett’s work. “Spirits of Havana “(2000) National Film Board (NFB) was presented at numerous film festivals internationally, television (CBC, PBS) as well as in Europe.
A more recent film “Embracing Voices” has been shown at film festivals and is awaiting commercial release. Jane’s most recent recording and touring group “Maqueque” is turning heads internationally. The group consists of Jane with five dynamic young Cuban women instrumentalists and composers. Their 2nd release “Oddara” is coming out this fall.
As an educator, spokesperson and social activist, she remains unafraid to explore uncharted territory in her quest for excellence.
John Raymond & Real Feels
John Raymond – flugelhorn
Ben Eunson – guitar
Matt Aronoff – bass
Colin Stranahan – drums
With a singular voice on the trumpet and flugelhorn, John Raymond is making his mark as one of the most promising, up-and-coming jazz musicians in the world. Recently dubbed as a Rising Star by Downbeat Magazine, John has performed with some of most well-respected names in jazz including Orrin Evans, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Billy Hart and Linda Oh among others. He has released five albums under his own name since 2012, all of which receiving critical acclaim from the New York Times, Stereogum, Downbeat, JazzTimes and more. John has also established himself as a sought-after educator, both as the Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Indiana University and as a guest clinician and soloist at schools around the world.
Raymond’s Real Feels incorporates indie-rock, folk and electronic influences to both riveting original music and fresh takes on recognizable songs by artists such as Bob Dylan, Thom Yorke, Bon Iver, Paul Simon and more. Regardless of material, the band’s improvisational, free-wheeling, “keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat” approach to the music makes each experience with Real Feels a new and captivating experience. It’s no surprise that they are one of the hottest, up-and-coming groups in jazz today.
OLD LYME INN
85 Lyme Street
Old Lyme, Connecticut 06371
At The Show
Doors at 7:30pm for cocktails and seating
Shows begin at 8:30pm
unless otherwise advertised
Pre-show dinner reservations available at
The Old Lyme Inn
(food is not served at the club, full bar service available)
No unauthorized audio or video recording is permitted during performance. This includes cell phones. Photos restricted to first set per artist request.
Enjoy overnight discounts with your tickets
VOTED BEST LIVE JAZZ BY CT MAGAZINE 2014 AND 2015! Come check out why.....
TS Monk Sextet
Donald Vega Trio
Ravi Coltrane Quartet
Big Chief Donald Harrison
Bucky Pizarelli | Russell Malone | Ed Laub
Ken Kitchings | SideDoor Jazz
Feb 27, 2015 | see full article
Nov 16, 2014 | see full article
May 7, 2014 | see full article
November 14, 2013 | see full article
September 26, 2013 | see full article
September 17, 2013 | see full article
MAY 9, 2013 | see full article
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June 21, 2013 | see full article
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May 13 2013 | see full article
Jan 30, 2016 | see full article
Jan 31, 2016 | see full article
WPKN 85.9FM The Real Alternative
NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL
Founded in 1954, the Newport Jazz Festival® was the first annual jazz festival in America. It has been host to numerous legendary performances by some of the world’s leading established and emerging artists.
VISIT NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL
Garde Arts Center
Performing arts theater presenting Broadway shows, opera, film and other events. New London, Connecticut.
VISIT THE OASIS ROOM
Established in 1994, JazzReach is a nationally recognized New York City-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, performance, creation and teaching of jazz music.
The Artists Collective
The Artists Collective is a cultural institution serving the Greater Hartford region, providing year-round professional training in dance, music, drama, visual and martial arts emphasizing the arts and culture of the African Diaspora.
The Hartt School of Music
The Hartt School is the comprehensive performing arts conservatory of the University of Hartford. Hartt offers innovative degree programs in music, dance, and theatre.
Newport Festivals Foundation
To continue the Newport Jazz Festival® as it has been since 1954 in the presentation of the greatest jazz performers who follow the traditions of New Orleans, swing, bebop and modal as the core and heart of jazz music.
Innovators of the finest musical instrument and mic stands for 35 years, The Music People! Inc. has been one of the nation’s leading suppliers of microphones and pro audio equipment.
The Sidedoor jazz club is the realisation of a long cherished dream. Ken Kitchings has always been a true fan of jazz music and brought many great artists to The Garde Theatre in New London, CT during his time there.
In 2011 Ken and his wife Chris bought the beautiful, but sadly neglected, Old Lyme Inn and put their hearts and souls into bringing its former glory to life. Once the inn became an established part of the community, Ken set his sights on an unused “side door” space attached to the inn, visualizing the perfect jazz venue: Intimate, welcoming, elegant and a quality, great sounding room that the very best jazz artists would be happy to play in!
On May 10th, 2013 its door and stage was opened by none other than the venerable George Wein and his Newport All Star band, cutting the ribbon and giving his blessing to an awestruck Ken Kitchings! An incredible gala night opening to be remembered – setting the standard and placing The Sidedoor firmly on the jazz venue map!
PHOTO: DOLORES MAURISU, KEN KITCHINGS
“Thank you for treating us so well. I’m happy that The Side Door brings quality, art and celebration to the community, thank you for inviting me to be a part of the magic! Sending love and wishing you health and joy, thank you. Benny”~ Benny Green 4/18/14
“This is the real deal! You’re right in the cross hairs of the NY and Boston music scene… This is every bit as great as playing the Vanguard!”~ Kenny Werner
This is the best thing to happen to the Connecticut shoreline since the Baldwin Bridge!~ Robin Whitney, Side Door VIP
Intimate room, good bar service and superb jazz band! A great place to go after dinner on the weekend in Old Lyme or Essex near the CT shore.~ TripAdvisor User: Glenn C
very excited to see this has opened – just what we need in this area!!~ Facebook User: Carrie Leber
As shepherded by Ken Kitchings – who owns the Old Lyme Inn with his wife, Christine, and is a booking force at the Garde Arts Center – the SideDoor will be an intimate venue dedicated to showcasing the finest touring jazz musicians as they negotiate the I-95 corridor.~ RICK KOSTER, The Day
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