FRIDAY, JULY 15TH
Chembo Corniel Quintet
2009 GRAMMY NOMINEE Percussionist Wilson “Chembo” Corniel was born in Manhattan on November 22, 1953 of proud Puerto Rican parents and raised in the humble streets of Red Hook, Brooklyn. It was during these years as a quick-witted youngster that he had the privilege and honor to study with such luminaries of the Afro-Caribbean percussion tradition as, Tommy Lopez Sr., “Little Ray” Romero, Louie Bauzo, and Cachete Maldonado.
Chembo honed his skills at The Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in New York and at the prestigious La Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba under the direction of the great Chucho Valdés. His intense studies with such legends noted above channeled his energy onto a path where Wilson “Chembo” Corniel has now created a reputation for himself among musicians and the public. Today, he is considered as one of the best hard-hitting, versatile percussionists around. Chembo teaches percussion to students at the SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music and leads numerous clinics throughout the United States, bringing awareness of the rich Afro-Caribbean traditions to others. Among his credits, Chembo was chosen by Latin Percussion to create his own instructional DVD entitled An Introduction to Hand Percussion: Volume I – Congas. This DVD was released in December of 2000 with distribution by Warner Brothers and has been a success. He’s been a vital endorser of Latin Percussion instruments since 1982 as he is currently for Remo drum heads, Vic Firth sticks and Sabian cymbals. His touring credits are as long as his performing credits. Chembo has toured with many major artists throughout Europe, Asia, North & South America, and the Caribbean. Television credits include an appearance on the “Bill Cosby Show” and a recurring recording gig on Nickelodeon’s children show, “Dora the Explorer”. Chembo continues to perform and/or record with many artists of different genres. He is currently concentrating on leading his own Latin Jazz quintet, “Chembo & Grupo Chaworó”. Chembo received a GRAMMY NOMINATION by NARAS IN 2009 for “BEST LATIN JAZZ ALBUM” for his 2009 CD release entitled Things I Wanted To Do. This is a well-balanced Latin Jazz group that incorporates many rich traditions, such as writer Aurora Flores states: “a sprinkling of be-bop, a touch of swing with a dollop of bomba, rumba, tango and danzón topped with ‘un chin’ de charanga.”
One of the fastest emerging contemporary jazz recording artists in recent history, multiinstrumentalist, composer and producer, Vincent Ingala has blasted into an exciting stratosphere of his own making since his 2010 critically acclaimed debut album, ‘North End Soul.’ Still in his twenties, the charismatic saxophonist has been named Billboard Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year in 2012, Sirius XM Watercolors Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2013, and his music is consistently found atop the most noteworthy music charts in the world, including seven number one hits on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Chart, and nineteen songs on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Top 10. As much of an entertainer as he is a musician, the Yamaha Performing Artist has been wowing live audiences as a regular on the popular smooth jazz festival and cruise circuit for several years. His fun-loving stage presence, combined with an obvious passion for playing, elevates the crowd to an exciting frenzy!
An “old soul,” as he’s often referred to, Vincent possesses a deep knowledge and appreciation for all genres of music. His versatility on multiple instruments makes him sought after both live, and as a producer in the studio. His latest effort and seventh studio album, 2021’s ‘Fire & Desire,’ finds Vincent playing every instrument throughout the entire album, along with nine original compositions, and the reimagining of Houston Person’s dance floor hit, ‘Disco Sax.’ ‘Fire & Desire’ is the breath of fresh air that long time smooth jazz fans have been craving. Indeed, it is arguably Vincent’s most complete album to date and affirms the meteoric progress he has made since 2010. This coast-to-coast sensation continues to bring a playful spirit, old soul, and youthful enthusiasm to contemporary jazz, with a real sense for what music fans are seeking, from recordings to live performances.
“A solid relationship is when someone has your back and will stand by your side no matter what,” explains Boney James about the title of his new CD. “Solid is a word that has a few meanings, but this one really resonated with me and became the theme of the record.”
Solid is the four-time GRAMMY nominated saxophonist’s seventeenth album as a leader and will be released by Concord Records, April 17, 2020. Solid follows up his smash 2017 release Honestly which became his eleventh #1 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Album.
Sometimes, inspiration is slow in coming, evasive and stubborn. Other times, if an artist is very fortunate, it simply flows, the music practically writing itself. That’s how Solid, the latest release from Boney James came to be. “This record really flowed at an unusually quick pace,” Boney says. “There was a lot of positive energy in making this music. Solid is a very upbeat record. As I was writing them, these songs put a smile on my face.”
All of Solid’s eleven tracks were produced and written or co-written by James. Three songs—“Full Effect,” “Tonic” and the title track—were built from licks played at sound-check by touring guitarist Kendall Gilder on the road in support of Honestly. “I said, hey, what’s that riff you’re playing?” James recalls, “And Kendall said, ‘that’s just something I’m messing around with.’ I got my iPhone and recorded them, then took it home and wrote the songs!”
Four other songs were initiated by longtime James collaborator, acclaimed writer/producer Jairus ‘J-Mo’ Mozee (Anderson Paak, Nicki Minaj, Anthony Hamilton). One of those, “Be Here,” was ultimately transformed into Solid’s Adult Urban single featuring special guest Kenny Lattimore, best known for his Top 10 R&B hit “For You.”
Says James, “We met at the Soul Train Awards twenty years ago and he said, ‘Some day we need to work together!’ As I was working on ‘Be Here’, I started to hear his voice in my head. I reached out to him and he wrote and recorded the lyrics. It’s such a romantic song and it really reinforced the theme of the record, strong and positive relationships.”
SATURDAY, JULY 16TH
Will Prince and Friends
William Prince is a Contemporary Jazz Saxophonist, with a soulful sound and approach. He’s been fortunate to perform with greats, such as: Vocalist – Phil Perry, Producer and Keyboardist – Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Trombonist – Jeff Bradshaw, and Producer/Musician/Vocalist – Doobie Powell. William has released several singles under his name, with his previous national release being “Sumthin’ Sumthin’ “(Maxwell classic) in 2017. William has teamed up with Billboard charting Saxophonist and Producer, Judah Sealy on this hot new release entitled “Mainstream”. You can also catch William performing in the Massachusetts/Connecticut/New York areas with Jazz Bassist, Ace Livingston.
A native chicagoan, isaiah sharkey spent his early years living in cabrini green. Perhaps as a precursor to his future career, he lived with his parents in a row house on a street that is now named for curtis mayfield. Coming from a musical household, isaiah was introduced to music at the age of four. He decided he wanted to be a guitarist and asked his parents to purchase one. Shortly thereafter, isaiah started learning music under the close introduction of his father, michael sharkey. He would learn about different musical genres/styles from gospel music, which came from growing up in the church, to jazz, r&b, blues, rock and funk music. It wasn’t long after that isaiah would become noticed by other musicians in the chicago area for being a young, new talent. Soon after, he started doing concerts in the church as well as sitting in local jazz club jams. At the age of 14, isaiah, along with his father and brothers, released their first album entitled, “skyliner.” this album displayed isaiah’s ability to play covers and some transcriptions from greats like wes montgomery and george benson.
Subsequently, he started his recording career and served as a sideman for gospel artists such as smokie norful, donald lawrence and vanessa bell armstrong. He also toured as lead guitarist with ronald isley and recorded two albums with him. In 2009, isaiah started working with artist d’angelo on his third album, black messiah, which won the 2015 grammy award for best r&b album. Based on his work and contribution to the project, isaiah received his first grammy.isaiah also has worked, recorded, and toured with several world-renown and grammy award winning artists including john mayer, patti labelle, christopher martin of coldplay, paul simon, corrine bailey rae, mike posner, keith urban, brian mcknight, boyz ii men, lalah hathaway, raphael saadiq, chris dave and the drumhedz, regina bell, ruben studdard, lupe fiasco, kelly price, faith evans, rance allen, the winans, the clark sisters and many others. Isaiah sharkey is poised to take center stage as he fuses together his background in rock, gospel, jazz, r&b, blues, and funk to create an original sound with an unmistakable dose of soul. His highly anticipated debut album love.life.live. Was released in september of 2017 and earned him the iheart radio artist of the month award in november for his single “it’s a shame” featuring dj jazzy jeff. His sophomore album love is the key: the cancerian theme was released on june 21, 2019.
As Spyro Gyra looks forward to 2020 and beyond, they show no sign of slowing down. Over the last 40+ years, they have performed over five thousand shows, released thirty-one albums (not counting “Best Of…” compilations) selling over ten million albums while also achieving one platinum and two gold albums. Although few acts have accomplished this type of record, they have done it by constantly challenging themselves as is evidenced by their last studio release “The Rhinebeck Sessions” which was written and recorded over three days in the studio.
Born in Brooklyn, bandleader Jay Beckenstein grew up listening to the music of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and Dizzy Gillespie, and started playing the saxophone at age seven. Beckenstein attended the University at Buffalo, starting out as a biology major before changing to music performance (read classical and avant garde). During summer breaks, he and an old high school friend, keyboardist Jeremy Wall, played gigs together back on Long Island. Wall attended college in California, and after both graduated, Beckenstein stayed in Buffalo’s thriving music scene, where Wall eventually joined him.
“Not many people know it, but Buffalo was like a mini Chicago back then, with a smoking blues, soul, jazz, even rockabilly scene, of all things,” Beckenstein muses. “After being confined to classical music for so long, it was heaven. I was in the horn sections around town, backing some great vocalists.”
Spyro Gyra, whose odd name has since become world famous, was first known simply as “Tuesday Night Jazz Jams,” a forum wherein Beckenstein and Wall were joined by a rotating cast of characters. Tuesday just happened to be the night when most musicians weren’t playing other gigs to pay their bills. Around this time, a young keyboardist named Tom Schuman began sitting in when he was only sixteen years old. This young man, of course, remains a member to this day.
Brian Simpson/Jackiem Joyner/Steve Oliver
After graduating from Northern Illinois University, keyboardist and composer Brian Simpson relocated to Los Angeles where he was soon playing alongside musicians Gerald Albright and Norman Brown and eventually on a world tour with Janet Jackson.
In 1990 Simpson received a call from George Duke that led to a decade of touring and production work with the late jazz legend. It was his tenure with George that led to working with a variety of artists, from James Ingram and Anita Baker to Dave Koz and Wayman Tisdale.
Contemporary saxophonist, author, and music producer Jackiem Joyner is set to release his 7th album, Touch, worldwide this fall, 2019. After more than 15 years as a recording artist, Jackiem continues to stand out with electrifying live performances and brilliant music productions. As a performer, he has toured over 30 countries and performed with the likes of the late George Duke, Marcus Miller, Keiko Matsui, Donnie McClurkin, Angela Bofill, Najee, Kirk Whalum, Peter White, and many, many more. Joyner’s radio success is widely known within the industry.
With a career spanning over 25 years in music, multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer Steve Oliver is still being heard each day on contemporary and smooth jazz radio around the world.
His career has produced multiple #1 hits on the Billboard charts and countless radio staples over nearly two decades – including with his latest album “Unified” (2020) – a collaboration with keyboardist Brian Simpson that has reached the #1 spot on the Billboard and Amazon jazz sales charts.
Steve’s been a touring member of Acoustic Alchemy, has played countless club dates and headlined festivals worldwide. He’s also co-written and produced tracks with Grammy award winning pianist Omar Akram and many smooth jazz notables including Vincent Ingala, Brian Simpson and Paul Taylor.
Average White Band
AWB are widely regarded as one of the best soul and funk bands in the history of music. Though perhaps best known for their timeless instrumental mega-hit ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ the band’s strength actually lay in their consistently accomplished song-writing, stretching across several gold selling albums and multi- grammy nominations for the legendary Atlantic Records. Somewhat incongruously, given their Scottish roots, the six piece took the influences of their R&B heroes – people like Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Donny Hathaway and others – and developed their own ‘authentic’ sound which was eagerly adopted by black audiences in the US and elsewhere.
Whilst a good number of cuts – ‘Cut The Cake’ and ‘Let’s Go ‘Round Again’ to name but two – attracted chart action as hit singles, many other album tracks, like ‘Schoolboy Crush’ and ‘Person to Person’ became much sampled and turn-tabled ‘rare’ grooves. Many more tunes, such as ‘Cloudy’, ‘A Love Of Your Own’ and ‘Nothing You Can Do’ – amongst many others- stand alongside some of the finest soul ‘album tracks’ ever recorded.
The current lineup of the band, with noted US musicians alongside founding members Alan Gorrie and Onnie McIntyre, continues to delight audiences and critics alike in its wide – ranging touring. The musical energy and trademark sound are remarkably true to the original, and with constant revisitations and re-workings of AWB’s, and others’ classics in the mix, it is no surprise that the Average White Band is now a multi – generational attraction, and a perennial fixture with so many of the top music venues.
SUNDAY, JULY 17TH
Funky Dawgz Brass Band
The Funky Dawgz Brass Band are one of the premier touring acts on the live music scene today. Emerging from Connecticut, these young men have engulfed the spirit and traditions of New Orleans as well as earned the respect from local musicians who grew up and reside in the city. It is impossible not to enjoy yourself during a show as they play a contagious upbeat mix of traditional New Orleans R&B, original music, hip hop, funk, and today’s top hits with a brass twist.
They have toured nationally from coast to coast, as well as internationally and have been featured in all corners of the live music scene. From playing sold out shows at Madison Square Garden as the horn section for Dispatch, to Camp Bisco, to closing out The Peach Music Festival, their performances flow seamlessly from EDM festivals to jam band festivals to traditional New Orleans second line parades. They were also recently featured multiple times on national televised programming on ESPN (house band for March Madness Tournament Challenge, opening segment of First Take) as well as on the Hulu and FX hit series “Fargo” starring Chris Rock.
Singer Songwriter/Guitarist Matt Marshak brings together heartfelt songs with meaning, a unique and soulful voice, reassuring and relatable lyrics, and his heartfelt trademark guitar sound. His songs speak of hope, faith, reassurance, family, and the simple life. His journey in music combines a diverse influence from country to blues to r&b, and even jazz. His influences include artists such as James Taylor, Vince Gill, Paul Simon, BB King, and Larry Carlton. His latest single “Daddy’s Girl” is Matt’s debut country radio single (April 2022). An emotional song about the sacred bond between a father and daughter. Joining Matt on the track is Marc Muller on steel guitar from the Bruce Springsteen “Western Stars” album and his brother Chris on drums. The song was mixed by grammy award winning engineer Billy Hume in Atlanta, GA.
Firey String Sistas
Firey String Sistas! is a highly intuitive and energetic ensemble that provides a refreshing alternative to the standard Jazz band. Since 2011, the ensemble has been committed to pushing the limits of string, ensemble playing, and improvisation to the next level.
Founder and cellist Nioka Workman is joined by stellar artists, violinist Marlene Rice, bassist Endea Owen, vocalist/pianist Mala Waldron, and percussionist Camille Gainer-Jones.
Firey String Sistas! presents compelling performances that incorporate aspects of women’s culture, original compositions, American songbook standards, world music, and Jazz. Some of the ensemble’s celebrated programs include “Women, Wine & Song” and the popular JOYOUS! A Chamber Jazz event for the holidays.
Marquis Hill: New Gospel Revisted (100%)
Marquis Hill’s rise over the last few years has been striking and there’s no letting up. Since winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute Jazz Composition award he has demonstrated full command of his art and built a reputation for synthesizing what he describes as the essential elements of the Africa-American creative heritage including contemporary and classic jazz, hip-hop, R&B, house and neo-soul.
Now, his sights are set even higher. In early 2022, Marquis will release his debut album on Edition: New Gospel Revisited, an extraordinary live recording that reimagines his debut as a leader with a new band, a new focus and a sharpened ear as a bandleader, composer and performer. The set is breathtakingly good with a band that sounds as inventive and creative as it reads on paper.
For Marquis, revisiting and re-energising the set that started his recording career is a slingshot to a new trajectory with a new label and new focus, as Marquis explains “… New Gospel was my debut album and my first completed production. To revisit this music in a fresh way, with a new band has been uniquely invigorating —and hugely rewarding. Working in partnership with Dave and Edition, it’s thrilling to consider the long term and to see where my continued journey will take me next. Now I’d like to focus on the clarity of my voice and, together with Edition, even more effectively spread love and light through the music – to distinct audiences of distinct individuals, all around this world of ours…”
The Manhattan Transfer
It’s been nearly forty years since Tim Hauser, a former Madison Avenue marketing executive, paid his bills by driving a New York City cab while aspiring to form a harmony vocal quartet sui generis that could authentically embrace varied musical styles, and still create something wholly unique in the field of American popular song.
Hauser had been in doo-wop groups, folk groups, and even in a short-lived quintet named The Manhattan Transfer, but as the sounds of jazz, R&B, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, salsa and swing poured out of brownstones, Hauser now dreamt of four-part harmonies without limits.
In the Fall of 1972, Hauser’s taxi fare was an aspiring young singer named Laurel Massé, who was familiar with the sole album by Hauser’s earlier Manhattan Transfer combo, and was looking to form a group. A few weeks later, another of Hauser’s fares invited him to a party where he met Brooklyn native Janis Siegel; although already in a group, Siegel agreed to help out on some demos and before long she was the third member of The Manhattan Transfer. As Hauser, Massé and Siegel began rehearsing, Massé’s then-boyfriend, who was drumming in a Broadway pit band, introduced Hauser and Siegel to Alan Paul, who was co-starring in the original production of Grease, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1974 the group began performing regularly throughout New York City at Trude Hellers, Mercer Arts Center, Max’s Kansas City, Club 82, and other cutting edge cabaret venues. By the end of the year they were the number one live attraction in New York City, prompting Newsweek to send a writer to their show at Reno Sweeney’s in Greenwich Village to report on this growing phenomenon.