Lavay Smith

Sultry chanteuse Lavay Smith evokes a sensuous era of glamorous Jazz divas and sexy pinups adding a modern, feminist twist. Whether singing her own compositions or drawing on a large repertoire of classics, Lavay and her all-star 8-piece band bake up an instant recipe for good times.

diego figueiredo ken peplowski 1 credit carol loricco
Diego Figueiredo and Ken Peplowski - photo credit Carol Loricco

"Ken Peplowski is one of those fine young Americans who are currently setting so much of the pace in all that's good in jazz.” Jazz Journal International
“Ken Peplowski is arguably the greatest living jazz clarinetist” Russell Davies, BBC2

Karrin Allyson

"If there's a choir in heaven, someday the exquisite vocalist Karrin Allyson will lead it. She's such an otherworldly talent that the creator probably already has her on heavy rotation." The Houston Press

"Allyson coolly stakes her claim. She brings a timbre that is part ice and part grain — incisive, original, and emotionally convincing." Gary Giddons, The Village Voice

Heart, intelligence, warmth — an emotional range from bittersweet to sassy —you hear it every time you listen. Make no mistake — Karrin Allyson is singing to you.  The New York Times

Karrin lives in New York City, following a childhood in the Midwest, schooling in the Bay Area, a degree in classical piano performance and important stints in Minneapolis and Kansas City, where she began her recording career with Concord Jazz. Karrin currently spends two days out of three on tour, playing the major jazz festivals, concert venues and clubs of the U.S. and making repeated tours overseas — to Brazil, Japan, Australia and the great cities of Europe. Throughout 2014 Allyson was featured as solo vocalist in the 'Newport —Now 60' Tour which played in thirty cities across the US and Canada before concluding the 2014 Newport Festival.

Jon Faddis

Jon Faddis is considered to be the complete and consummate musician, with the skills of conductor, composer, and educator. He had earned accolades from his close friend and mentor John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, who declared of Faddis, “He's the best ever, including me!” Faddis possesses an unparalleled range with a full command of his instrument. Time Out New York (2003) has praised Faddis as “the world's greatest trumpeter … brash soloistic logic and breathtaking technical acuity.” According to the The Wall Street Journal, Faddis is “a trumpet player of prodigious lyrical force”.

Johnny Rodgers was born and raised in Miami, FL.  A graduate of the New World School of the Arts in Miami, he went on to study at Florida State, the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music and graduated from Western Michigan University.

A fortuitous meeting with Liza Minelli led to his participation on her world tours and later as a featured singer, dancer, pianist and songwriter in the Tony Award-winning Liza’s at The Palace on Broadway in 2009 and 2010. Johnny co-wrote the featured song “I Would Never Leave You” which is included on the show’s DVD release as well as the Grammy-nominated CD.

Houston PersonHe’s one of the best . . . He’s got bull chops!” – Dizzy Gillespie

Dubbed “the natural heir to the Boss Tenor crown worn so long and so well by Gene Ammons” (Bob Porter), global performer Houston Person knows the music business inside out, from booking his own tours to producing his own albums. As eclectic as he is talented, Person has recorded everything from disco and gospel to pop and R&B, in addition to his trademark, soulful hard bop. After years as producer and house tenor for HighNote Records and touring with the late Etta Jones, Person is now known as a master of popular songs played in a relaxed, highly accessible style reminiscent of the great Ben Webster.

diego figueiredo ken peplowski 1 credit carol loricco
Diego Figueiredo and Ken Peplowski - photo credit Carol Loricco

“Diego Figueiredo is one of the greatest guitarists I’ve seen in my whole life. The world needs to listen to his music."  George Benson

"Diego Figueiredo is one of the most amazing and exciting artists in jazz today.  His astounding virtuosity fuses Brazilian, jazz, and classical elements into a style all his own.  The audience is swept up into Diego’s joy of music!" Shelly Berg / Dean of Music - Frost School of Music at University of Miami

TIERNEY SUTTON
Tierney SuttonThe New York Times said that jazz vocalist, Tierney Sutton is “a serious jazz artist who takes the whole enterprise to another level.” Sutton has been a Jazzweek “Vocalist of the Year” awardee and a recipient of the LA Jazz Singer’s “Vocalist of the Year” award. A six-time Grammy nominee for “Best Vocal Album,” Sutton is often described as “a singer’s singer,” and “a musician’s singer” who uses her voice like an instrument. For over 20 years she fronted the Tierney Sutton Band, which includes pianist Christian Jacob, drummer Ray Brinker and bassists Kevin Axt and Trey Henry. Her band’s CDs have consistently topped the US jazz radio charts.

In addition to her work with her band, Sutton currently performs in a jazz trio with flautist Hubert Lewis and guitarist Larry Koonse. She is also be touring and recording with the award-winning Turtle Island Quartet over the next several years.

Sutton’s most recent CD is After Blue, a re-imagining of the legacy of Joni Mitchell. She has headlined in recent years at The Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center. She can also be heard on film and television soundtracks including The Academy Award-nominated film “The Cooler” as well as on television commercials (BMW, Green Giant, Yoplait Yogurt, and Coke)

As a music educator, Sutton taught for over a decade at USC’s Thornton School of music and is currently the Vocal Department Head at The Los Angeles Music Academy in Pasadena, CA where she has created a new curriculum for vocalists. Her former students include vocalists Sara Gazarek, Kathleen Grace and Gretchen Parlato. Tierney’s voice can often be heard on film and television soundtracks as well as on television commercials. Learn more at the artist’s website at www.tierneysutton.com


SHELLY BERG
Shelly BergAn accomplished pianist in both classical and jazz styles, Shelly Berg is a recording artist for Concord Music Group, and a Steinway piano artist. He has arranged and recorded with many award-winning artists. In 2007, Berg was appointed as Dean of the University of Miami’s Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music where he teaches both privately, in the Frost Experiential Music Curriculum, and administers the academic, musical and research pursuits of over 700 music students and 100 faculty. He was formerly the McCoy/Sample endowed music professor at USC Thornton School of Music where he taught for 16 years.

Berg is featured as an arranger and pianist on two Grammy and Latin Grammy Award winning Arturo Sandoval projects on the Concord label. His trio, the Shelly Berg Trio (Shelly Berg, piano; Gregg Field, drums; Chuck Bergeron, bass), recorded an all-Gershwin CD with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with José Serebrier, Conductor. His recent Grammy Award nominations include “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist” for his arrangement of “Out There” on the CD Tales of the Unusual (Jazzed Media) featuring vocalist Lorraine Feather in 2013. In 2014 he was again nominated for “Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for his arrangement of “What a Wonderful World” on Gloria Estefan: The Standards (Sony Masterworks) and as co-produced for Gloria Estefan: The Standards in the Best Traditional Pop Album category, along with Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan.

Shelly performs at major music festivals and venues throughout the world, is the Music Director for an annual Jazz Cruise and was recently a featured speaker at the TEDxMIA conference on Miami Beach. He is also a featured performer on several concerts for UM’s annual Festival Miami. In 2012 he performed on piano and the B-3 organ at the Hollywood Bowl for a Ray Charles Tribute concert which was produced by Gregg Field. He appears regularly for the Gold Coast Jazz Society at the Broward Center and for Larry Rosen’s JazzRoots Series at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

Website: www.shellyberg.com

Allan Harris QuintetAllan Harris is a world-class singer, guitarist and songwriter.  Perhaps best known for his interpretations of jazz standards, Allan’s smooth vocals and guitar-styling easily cross genres, from jazz to rock to blues. He is unquestionably one of the most versatile talents in contemporary jazz and blues music.  “Harris is a velvet-voiced jazz singer, with a savvy manner and music in his veins.” (Variety)  Very few vocalists in the industry have his charismatic combination of soulful yet elegant phrasing, exciting musicianship, and dynamic stage presence. 

Tony Bennett has called Allan "my favorite singer" and The New York Times' Stephen Holden raves about "the protean talent that is Allan Harris."  Allan has cultivated a global following, playing for packed audiences and receiving outstanding reviews throughout the United States, Europe, Russia and the Far East.  A three-time winner of the New York Nightlife Award for "Outstanding Jazz Vocalist,” Allan is regularly featured at the world’s great music festivals.  The Miami Herald wrote that Harris’ voice and demeanor “project the warmth of Tony Bennett, the bite and rhythmic sense of Sinatra, and the sly elegance of Nat ‘King' Cole.”

Growing up in Brooklyn, Harris was meant to be a musician.  His mother was a classical pianist, and his Aunt was an opera singer, who turned to the blues.  Because Aunt Theodosia attracted the attention of famed music producer Clarence Williams, he became a regular dinner guest and often brought along other performers such as Louis Armstrong.  Once Armstrong even baby-sat and terrified young Allan with his "frog like voice." Sunday afternoons were spent at the Apollo matinees, which was across the street from his Aunt Kate’s Soul Food restaurant, where he got to meet many of the artists who played the Apollo during his formative years. 

As a teenager, Harris moved to Pittsburgh where he learned from some of the masters like Harold Betters and Roger Humphries.  He worked with bands around the area and learned to play many different styles of guitar from country to soul music, and ultimately found his niche in jazz.  Early on in his career he was known as a guitar player who sang, but as audiences began hearing his voice he became more focused on singing.  While his guitar style was influenced by rock musicians of the day, his voice always was most comfortable singing the American Songbook.  Harris moved to Atlanta and then to Miami where he continued developing his voice and stage presence.  It was in Miami that he first met Tony Bennett who encouraged him to return to New York in 1991.

Since then Harris has been a featured soloist and producer of a three-year jazz series at Sotheby’s where he first teamed up with Tommy Flanagan.  He has paid tribute to Nat “King” Cole at the Kennedy Center where he recorded, Long Live the King (Love Productions Records, 2007) and continues to tour around the world.  In 2007, Mr. Harris was awarded the Chamber Music of America Residency Grant for his “Cross That River” project which toured 12 schools in Harlem.  “Cross That River,” is now a full-scale musical celebrating the Old West as told through the words and music of a black cowboy, and played to rave reviews during the 2009 New York Musical Theater Festival.
As a Gibson Guitar featured artist, Allan and Ruby (his constant 6 lb. canine companion and the first dog music critic) can frequently be found rehearsing at the Gibson Hit Factory, and along with The Allan Harris Band, enjoy playing the top music clubs in his hometown of New York City.

Website: www.allanharris.com

 

John PizzarelliJohn Pizzarelli, the world-renowned jazz guitarist and singer, was called “Hip with a wink” by Town & Country, “madly creative” by the Los Angeles Times and “the genial genius of the guitar” by The Toronto Star. When he performs with his wife, singer/actress Jessica Molaskey, and his father, guitar legend Bucky Pizzarelli, they were labeled “the First Family of Cool” by the San Francisco Chronicle and “the von Trapps on Martinis” by The New Yorker.  

Using performers like Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra and Joao Gilberto and the songs of composers from Richard Rodgers, George Gershwin to James Taylor, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Lennon & McCartney as touchstones, John Pizzarelli has established himself as one of the prime interpreters of the Great American Songbook and beyond, bringing to his work the cool jazz flavor of his brilliant guitar playing and singing.
Pizzarelli started playing guitar at age six, following in the tradition of his father. After playing in pickup groups and garage bands through high school he began exploring jazz with his father as a teenager, and was able to perform with a number of great jazz musicians who would be a major influence on his work, including Benny Goodman, Les Paul, Zoot Sims, Clark Terry and Slam Stewart. John went out on his own after recording My Blue Heaven for Chesky Records in 1990, then toured extensively, playing clubs and concert halls, opening for such greats as Dave Brubeck, Ramsey Lewis and Rosemary Clooney. In 1993, he was honored to open for Frank Sinatra’s international tour and then joined in the celebration for his 80th birthday at Carnegie Hall bringing down the house singing “I Don’t Know Why I Love You Like I Do” with his father accompanying him.

For Pizzarelli, his hero and foundation was Nat “King” Cole and the comparison to his iconic trio is the highest of compliments. “I’ve always said in my concerts that Nat ‘King’ Cole is why I do what I do.” But Pizzarelli adds, “We aren’t trying to copy him. His sound was singular and inspired. I’ve always said we’re an extension, a 21st century version of what that group was.” In fact, Pizzarelli devoted his RCA albums Dear Mr. Cole and P.S. Mr. Cole to music made famous by the beloved song stylist. Pizzarelli’ s catalog of albums also includes a touching cycle of torch ballads (After Hours), a collection of classic swing and bold originals (Our Love is Here to Stay), and a charming holiday disc (Let’s Share Christmas).  On one of his last projects for RCA, John Pizzarelli Meets the Beatles, he brought classic Beatles songs into the worlds of swing and smoky balladry. In 1997, Pizzarelli made his Broadway debut in the musical Dream, a revue of Johnny Mercer songs.  

John has an extensive discography which includes Kisses In The Rain and Let There Be Love (Telarc 1999), The Rare Delight of You (2002), Live at Birdland (Telarc 2003), Bossa Nova (Telarc 2004), Knowing You (Telarc 2005), Dear Mr. Sinatra (Telarc 2006), With A Song In My Heart (Telarc 2008), Rockin’ In Rhythm (Telarc 2010), Double Exposure (Telarc 2012) and his latest album, John Pizzarelli Salutes Johnny Mercer – Live at Birdland (Vector Records 2015) .

Pizzarelli received the 2009 Ella Fitzgerald Award from the Montreal International Jazz Festival, joining a select group of past winners including Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett and Harry Connick, Jr. He performs annual engagements at the Café Carlyle with Jessica Molaskey and at Birdland with his jazz combo and continues to tour throughout the United States, Europe, South America and Japan.

Website: www.johnpizzarelli.com

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