FRIDAY, JULY 16TH
Zaccai Curtis Afro-Cuban Jazz Quartet featuring Brian Lynch
After graduating from New England Conservatory in 2005, Zaccai Curtis moved to New York City where he performs regularly with artists such as: Donald Harrison, Cindy Blackman Santana, Eddie Palmieri, Christian Scott, Ralph Peterson, T.K. Blue, Brian Lynch, Ray Vega, and Eric Person amongst others.
Curtis composes and arranges for his own quartet, trio, Big-Band and more. In 2003 he was chosen as a winner of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s competition and each year consecutively through 2006. Zaccai and his quartet were selected by the U.S. State Department to be in the American Music Abroad (Jazz Ambassadors) program two times in 2006. They performed in Bangladesh, Calcutta, Bangalore, Mumbai, Sri Lanka and Maldives. In 2007 Zaccai Curtis was awarded the ‘Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Artist Fellowship’ for ‘original composition.’ In 2017 Curtis became a Chamber Music America: “New Jazz Works” grant recipient.
Zaccai currently performs his own music with his group ‘Curtis Brothers Quartet’ and recently released his new album, Syzygy(2017) after three successful releases; ‘A Genesis,’ ‘Blood Spirit Land Water Freedom’ and ‘Completion of Proof.’
Zaccai, along with his brothers Luques, has developed a recording collective (TRRcollective) of musicians that produce music on their own terms. He is proud to have been a producer for the GRAMMY nominated album (Entre Colegas 2016) released on the label (Truth Revolution Records/TRRcollective). This year, Zaccai created the first ever music news app developed for a record label: ‘The Riff: Music News‘ available on iTunes and android.
Dennis Edwards’ Temptations Revue
Dennis Edwards’ Temptations Revue is the original Temptations Revue.
This handpicked group of talents singers and musicians toured worldwide for three decades with the founder of the group, the late Dennis Edwards, who was lead singer of The Temptations for 14 years. Now, to honor the late Mr. Edwards, to keep his legacy alive and to celebrate his association with THE TEMPTATIONS, the group continues to perform to rave reviews and enthusiastic audiences! Exciting, authentic, “spot-on” performances of all the Temptations hits, delivered with dazzling vocals, precision choreography and stellar musical accompaniment.
This authentic group lead singer David Sea has shared the stage with David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, and Dennis Edwards as a member of the Ruffin, Kendricks, and Edwards group in the 1980s. The original Temptations Revue members continue to deliver the dazzling performances of The Temptations sound and moves to enthusiastic audiences of all ages.
Throughout the 60‘s, The Temptations defined the “Motown Sound” and made their mark as one of music history’s most iconic groups.
“Tailored suits, nimble choreography and beautifully bittersweet songs helped this Detroit vocal group sell tens of millions of albums……they became Soul/Pop immortals.”
With the addition of lead vocalist Dennis Edwards in 1968, The Temptations “continued to make hits, including a series of masterful psych-soul albums in the late 60’s and early 70’s.”
This new direction ushered in a wave of success for Motown and The Tempts.
Dennis Edwards became “the voice” of Psychedelic Soul singing lead on on hits such as “Cloud Nine” (1968),”I Can’t Get Next To You” (1969), “Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today)” (1970), “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (1972), and “Shakey Ground” (1975), among others. Two of these songs, “Cloud Nine” and “Papa Was a Rolling Stone”, won Grammy Awards.
“Cloud Nine” fueled by Dennis’ soulful, Gospel tinged lead has the distinction of scoring Motown’s very first Grammy.
SATURDAY, JULY 17TH
Amandla Band (Reggae)
Originally formed in 2004 through a collaboration between singer/songwriter/musicians Burnie T (Dominica) and Kali Wale (Connecticut), Amandla Band represents the very best in modern roots reggae music. In 2011, Amandla joined forces with internationally acclaimed reggae artist Ras Iba (St. Croix) to form a powerhouse trinity. With a unique sound and style harkening back to the days of Dennis Brown and Bob Marley and the Wailers, inspired by the musical prowess of Steel Pulse and Aswad, and continuing into the present day world-wide reggae diaspora, Amandla Band has delighted crowds up and down the East Coast and Northern California, sharing the bandstand with reggae legends Luciano, Third World, Beres Hammond, Ras Shiloh, Yellow man and more.
In 2013, Amandla Band released their debut compilation, PowerLink (CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon), which continues to receive critical acclaim and in addition to songs by Amandla’s core, also features musical works by Tuff Lion (Bambu Station, Midnite, Outpost Workshop) and Toussaint the Liberator (Soulive, Naya Rockers, Gatorwood Upreach). Ras Iba, who tours Europe regularly and has released a slew of highly praised albums (Jah Lion (2003), Many Lives (2006), Matsahyel (2010)) recently dropped a new single, “Beautiful” (2017), which has been creating waves both across the Atlantic and in the USVI. Fans anxiously await the release of the PowerLink sequel due out early next year.
Kevin Powell and Company
Kevin Powell is a professional musician based out of the Hartford, Connecticut. Born into a family of musicians & singers, Kevin’s musical roots began in the church & since, has grown to become a highly respected musician who has performed with & produced for many artists in the music industry such as: (Kim Burrell, Donnie McClurkin, Fred Hammond etc.) Kevin has done various tours throughout the Country of Japan for over the last 14 years with his father & Legendary Gospel Jazz Musician “Hubert Powell” & The Heavenly Choir. Kevin is also a national musician with the Churches of God in Christ (COGIC) with over 7 million members world wide and he has traveled all over the world spreading God’s love through the joy and power of music.
Six #1 hits. 60+ dates per year. Adam’s first two albums stormed up the charts in unprecedented fashion setting the stage for his third release, “Escape.” The album features guest appearances by Najee, Rick Braun, Michael Lington, Marcus Anderson, Jeff Ryan and Kat Hawley.
Adam signed with Kalimba Music (founded by Maurice White of Earth, Wind, & Fire) in August 2015. His first offering on the Kalimba label features Brian Culbertson, Gerald Albright, Euge Groove, Eric Darius and Michael Lington. And in 2016, Adam was been named both Smooth Jazz News and JazzTrax Debut Artist of the Year.
Adam has also been a guitarist to the stars, appearing with a who’s who list of artists in a wide variety of genres. Credits include Dave Koz, Jennifer Lopez, Brian Culbertson, Natalie Cole, Brian McKnight, and American Idol to name just a few.
He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California and currently teaches at Musician’s Institute, Chaffey College, and Saddleback College.
For Eric Darius there are no limitations when it comes to breaking new ground. Internationally known as an elite Jazz/R&B/Pop Saxophonist, Songwriter, Producer, and Performer, Darius recently dropped, “L.O.V.E Feat. Brian Culbertson” the third single from his seventh studio album, Breakin’ Thru, which debuted at #2 on the iTunes Top 40 Jazz Albums Chart.
This project is an extra special milestone for Darius as it is his first release via his own independent label, SagiDarius Music. The title track and debut single for Breakin’ Thru has been a staple on Contemporary Jazz radio reaching #1 on the Billboard Charts, as well as his second single Dare 2 Dream, which reached the Top 5 on the Billboard Charts.
Breakin’ Thru features 10 original songs with co-production by Darius, Rodney Jones, Jr. (Chris Brown, Mary Mary, Mary J. Blige) and Butta N’ Bizkit (John Legend, Ne-Yo, Miguel, Ledisi). Eric is currently on a worldwide tour promoting the Breakin’ Thru album, dazzling audiences globally with his dynamic show.
About his foray into independence, Darius says, “I’m was really excited to finally release an album on my own record label. The timing just felt right after 15 years in the music business. Seeing how the music industry has changed over the years, I thought it was time to take a leap of faith and take complete advantage of the new technology and social media that is now at my disposal – putting the music entirely back into my own hands, giving me creative freedom, and giving the audience and fans a direct experience exactly the way I hear and feel it with no restrictions. Breakin’ Thru is about breaking down all of the walls, barriers and boundaries, and just making good, uplifting music. It’s not about genres. When you listen to this project, you’ll hear so many elements from Hip-Hop, to R&B, Pop, Rock, Gospel, Funk, and Reggae. I don’t want to be caged or boxed in musically. The project is a true and honest representation of myself as an artist and reflects my growth as a person, musician and songwriter.”
Art From Da Hart (Ginette Christie)
Ginette Christie aka Gin “Siren” Christie was born in Hartford CT. She started dancing at the age of 6, taking tap classes at the Artist’s Collective in Hartford CT, with Mama Sheryl Smith. After a year of going to The Collective, Ginette took a break from dance. She later started attended the Artist’s Collective again at the age of 14 up until she was 18 years old. She danced had many great teachers such as Aka, Jolet Creary, Lovet, Mike Gamble, Tom etc. After Ginette left the Artist’s Collective she went on to choreograph shows, train and take classes at BDC, perform with different companies, travel around the new England area and down south to battle, as well as teaching classes in CT, and MA area. Ginette loves to inspire and encourage people through the expression of art.
Mike Childs (McKeyz) & Friends
Mike “McKeys” Childs, born a Hartford native. Mike has travelled around the world uplifting spirits with his musical talents playing: Gospel, R&B, Jazz, Rock and Soul Music. He has dazzled and inspired many with his gift of music and his powerful performances in places such as: Japan, Korea, Portugal, Germany, Africa, Brazil, to name a few. Mike has also played for the United States Military Tours. Mike is an accomplished Musical Director and Minister of Music. God has also gifted Mike with the gift of singing. He currently is lead singer with the wall known show band, Soul Sound Revue in the New England area. Mike stays grounded because he realizes his gifts are from God. One of Mike’s biggest inspiration is, his love for his family. His beautiful wife Darlene, five Children, eight grandchildren, one brother and, to name a few mentors, Pastor Powell, Chris Big Dog Davis, Timmie Maia and a host of other musical legends who are an inspiration in his musical career. These are the ingredients that helps Mike transform into “McKeyz” when he hits the stage.
SUNDAY, JULY 18TH
Liviu Pop & Friends (Jazz/Blues)
One of Connecticut’s best-kept secrets is drummer Liviu Pop. Born and raised in Romania during the communist regime, Liviu and his wife, Raluca, left their native country 15 years ago to make a new life for themselves in the USA. At the time of this decision, Liviu was holding the drum position in one of Romania’s top Pop/Rock bands. Liviu knew he had hit the ceiling of a musician’s career in Romania, and that fact, coupled with his deep devotion to American Blues Music prompted the move. With very little money in their pockets and only a basic grasp of English, the couple made their way west.
Liviu Pop is a versatile drummer who plays a wide variety of genres, including blues, soul, funk, jazz, electronic and experimental. He was inducted into the Connecticut Blues Hall of Fame in 2018. He has played all over the region, much of New England, the United States, and still returns to Europe three or four times a year. He has performed with a virtual who’s who of blues artists, including Hubert Sumlin, Sam Lay, Lucky Peterson, Debbie Davies, Lil’ Dave Thompson, and Toni Lynn Washington.
An unequivocal musical prodigy, singer-saxophonist-songwriter-composer and band leader Grace Kelly has rocked the jazz world with sold-out concerts, 13 acclaimed albums and a resume that includes performing at the Hollywood Bowl and as part of the house band for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” – all before reaching her mid-twenties.
Kelly’s early career featured performances at Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration at age 16 and at 14 as a soloist with the Boston Pops playing an original composition arranged for the legendary orchestra; she has since then played over 900 shows as bandleader in 35 countries at venues like the Kennedy Center and Moscow Symphony Hall and for the Montreal, Newport, and Montreux international jazz festivals. Touted for her scorching saxophone stylings and purring vocals, Kelly has performed and recorded with renowned artists including Lin Manuel- Miranda, Dave Brubeck, Phil Woods, Huey Lewis, Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan, Questlove, and Wynton Marsalis.
As the Winner of “Song of the Year” for her single “Feels Like Home” in the 2018 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Kelly has also won multiple ASCAP Composer Awards, Boston Music Awards, multiple DOWNBEAT music awards, International Songwriting Awards. She has also appeared as a featured performer in films and television, including acclaimed documentary “Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story”, Amazon’s Emmy-nominated original series “Bosch”, and featured in the 2017 Emmy-winning Yamaha production “The Right Note”
Featured by Vanity Fair as a millennial shaking up the jazz world, Kelly’s state-of-the-art brand of electro jazz-pop and inventive digital content are pushing her to the forefront of the fusion scene, alongside names like Snarky Puppy, Jacob Collier, Cory Henry, Robert Glasper, Jon Batiste, and Too Many Zooz.
Brubeck Brothers Quartet (BBQ)
Chris and Dan Brubeck have been making music together practically all their lives. Drummer Dan and bassist, trombonist, and composer Chris cut their first record together in 1966—nearly a half century ago. They’ve subsequently played a variety of styles in a number of different groups, as well as with their father, jazz giant Dave Brubeck, and with their own Brubeck Brothers Quartet. With Dan and Chris as the foundation, guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb, complete this dynamic quartet. They perform at concert series, colleges, and jazz festivals across North America and Europe including the Newport, Detroit, Montreal, Playboy/Hollywood Bowl, and Monterey Jazz Festivals. The Quartet’s last cd, LifeTimes was a hit on the Jazz Week radio chart where it made the Top Ten list as one of the most played jazz recordings of the year.
These versatile musicians also collaborate with orchestras all across the U.S. as well as internationally, including performing with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra. With Chris Brubeck’s compositions as a vehicle, the BBQ has joined with chamber groups to collaborate with musicians from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Russian National Symphony Orchestra.
Although the Quartet’s style is rooted in “straight-ahead” jazz, their concerts reveal an inherent ability to explore and play odd time signatures while naturally integrating the influences of funk, blues and world music. The group’s creativity, technique and improvisation can be heard in their uncompromising music, which reflects their dedication to melody, rhythm, culture and the spontaneous spirit of jazz.
Hiroshima is a Grammy nominated smooth jazz group based in California. The group was formed in 1974 by Dan Kuramoto and June Kuramoto.
Hiroshima’s debut album sold more than 100,000 copies in its first three months. The band’s second album yielded the song “Winds of Change”, which received a Grammy Award nomination for Best R&B Instrumental. Hiroshima has released seventeen full length albums. The group earned its first gold album in 1985 with Another Place and a second gold album with Go. The album Legacy was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category in 2010. Hiroshima has sold more than four million albums worldwide.
Hiroshima consists of Dan Kuramoto (saxophone, flute, keyboards, shakuhachi), June Kuramoto (koto) Kimo Cornwell (keyboards), Dean Cortez (bass guitar), and Danny Yamamoto (drums and taiko).
Hiroshima was given the Visionary Award by East West Players, the oldest Asian Pacific American theatre company in the United States, for the band’s “impact on the Asian Pacific American (APA) community through their artistic excellence and support of the Asian Pacific American performing arts.
The group’s newest single “Watercolors” is currently in radio rotation on Sirius XM and charted on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz chart.