"Let me be free!": A Piano Tribute to Free Jazz Pioneer Cecil Taylor (March 15, 1929 – April 5, 2018)
Four pianists, in a "round robin" format, Simona Premazzi, George Caldwell, Walter Kemp 3 and Michael McNeill will survey the works of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman, in the spirit of the great Cecil Taylor.
From Howard Mandel: "The groundbreaking music of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor-three Black Americans known to a broad-based audience by their first names alone-have impacted successive waves of musicians, not only in jazz but across the musical spectrum. Born within four years of each other, but with dissimilar family backgrounds and distinctly different personal temperaments, Miles, Ornette, and Cecil are individually and collectively American originals. Each has transcended the musical field to influence African-American culture."
"To me, the piano in itself, is an orchestra.".
"When you think about musicians who are reading music, my contention has always been the energy that you're using deciphering what the symbol is is taking away from the maximum creative energy that you might have had if you understood that it's but a symbol."
"I discovered very early that it wasn't quite enough for me to imitate people."
Cyrille Aimee Quartet
Cyrille Aimée Move On: A Sondheim Adventure
The genius of Stephen Sondheim stems from the revered composer’s ability to plumb universal human emotions even in the form of the most outré characters – be they cannibalistic barbers, presidential assassins, or fairy tale witches. The acclaimed vocalist Cyrille Aimée discovered that gift first-hand as she took a deep dive into the Sondheim songbook for her scintillating new album, Move On: A Sondheim Adventure. What began as a celebration of a legendary Broadway songwriter became a work of cathartic autobiography as one song after another captured her deepest personal feelings.
“I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” Aimée says. “At the moment that I was working on this album I was going through a lot of life changes. The more I listened to the songs, the more I realized they were really connected to what I was going through. At a very rough time, these songs were saving me.”
While its narrative arc is a self-contained story, Move On: A Sondheim Adventure (February 22 via Mack Avenue Records) is just the beginning of a new chapter in Aimée’s remarkable journey. It’s the French-born singer’s first release since disbanding the acclaimed band she’s led for the last several years, to which she bid a fond adieu on her last album, Cyrille Aimée Live. It’s also her first since moving from Brooklyn to New Orleans, the latest music-rich city that she’s been able to call home.
That move ended up being accompanied by even more uncertainty than usual for such a major relocation, as a break-up meant that she unexpectedly had to make it alone. The course of that relationship provided the through line for the songs on Move On, which traces the course of a romance from dreaming together (“Take Me To The World”) through vulnerable commitment (“Marry Me A Little”) to heartbreaking assurances (“No One Is Alone”) and finally the uncertain future (“With So Little To Be Sure Of”). Aimée’s Sondheim Adventure began in 2013, when she was invited to participate in a tribute concert for the Broadway legend at New York’s City Center, co-starring with Bernadette Peters and backed by Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Her show-stealing performance was widely praised, but the most memorable compliment came from the composer himself. “You made me cry,” Sondheim told Aimée backstage after opening night. “That was pretty powerful,” Aimée recalls with a touch of understatement.
Cyrille Aimée shares the magic of her craft in an intimate setting.
Improvisation is not just a technique for Cyrille Aimée, it’s a way of life. That adventure began in the small town of Samois-sur-Seine in France, where the young Cyrille Aimée (Sur-real M-A) was introduced to a wealth of diverse music by her French father and Dominican mother: everything from Michael Jackson to French chanson, Flamenco to country-western. She and her sister would dance around the living room, instilling a gleeful abandon and warm groove that still shine through her music to this day.
The acclaimed vocalist ventured from singing on street corners in Europe to dazzling audiences at the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals; from sneaking out to sing in gypsy encampments in her native France to acting on Broadway; from braving the notoriously tough audiences at New York’s Apollo Theatre to being called a “rising star in the galaxy of jazz singers” by the New York Times. Among countless accolades, Aimée won the Montreux Jazz Festival Vocal Competition and the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition.
Her most recent album, LIVE, is the closing chapter of her years of touring with her innovative two-guitar line-up. As an actress, Aimée co-starred with Bernadette Peters in a Stephen Sondheim tribute at New York’s City Center. This has inspired her into digging deeper in the Sondheim repertoire for her next project. She’s shared her story via master classes, a TEDx talk, and an address at the Conference on World Affairs.
Cyrille Aimee Masterclass
The Brent Birckhead Quartet have a riveting performance planned. Birckhead will join the “CURATION” series on multiple reeds, paying homage to Jazz scholar & Great, Reynold Scott.
Saxophonist Brent Birckhead is an award-winning artist, whose aesthetic is an intersectional amalgam of traditional and popular styles. Unbound by genre, Birckhead’s approach to woodwind artistry is driven by his compulsion for creative risk and deep respect for legacy. His place in the continuum of a storied lineage begins with his surname, Birckhead, and extends to his extensive musical education and work ethic as a visionary approach to life as a rising leader.
Educated at Howard University (BME, MM), Birckhead was named best blues/pop/rock soloist and outstanding instrumental jazz soloist by Downbeat Magazine as part of the annual Student Music Awards. In 2011 Brent was named "Best Alto Saxophonist" by the Washington City Paper.
The Baltimore native's talent earned him the honor of performing and touring with legendary artists including Lauryn Hill, Nas, Wale, Eric Benet, Larry Graham, George Duke and many more.
Birckhead is the professor of saxophone at Morgan State University. On February 22nd Birckhead released his self titled debut album on Revive Music. He currently resides in New York City.
George Spanos (b. 1979), originally from Greece, is an internationally acclaimed drummer and composer who is based in New York. He started taking piano lessons at the age of eight, continuing at the age of fourteen with his studies of modern drums and percussion. Spanos' recent highlights include his performances with John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Marc Ribot, Leo Genovese, Daniel Carter, Juini Booth, Lawrence Clark, On ka'a Davis, Sylvie Courvoisier, Erik Friedlander, Steve Swell, Miles Griffith, The Downtown Avengers, Unanimity Quintet and many other incredible artists
Juini Booth performs with the George Spanos Trio, featuring drummer/Bandleader Spanos and pianist Leo Genovese.
Arthur Juini Booth, legendary bassist/composer, lives and works in New York City, and has been Playing professionally since 16. Firmly rooted in the forefront of the American jazz tradition, which he has helped to shape, Booth , has performed and toured for over 30 years with jazz musicians from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers to Tony Williams Lifetime to Coleman Hawkins to Albert Ayler to Chuck Mangione to Sun Ra to McCoy Tyner.
Juini tours extensively in Western and Eastern Europe, performing solo bass concerts in the U.S., Canada and Japan. Some career highlights have been a concert with Randy Weston at the Tangiers Jazz Festival, Morocco; and with Sun Ra Arkestra in Tiblisi,Georgia (USSR) a film of painter Larry Rivers entitled "Round Trip."
He received the Mingus-Zimmerman Award sponsored by ISB (International Society of Bassists) for Most Imaginative Performance in the Free Choice Category Music Curator at Hallwalls in Buffalo New York (1981-82) and at NAC Niagara Arts Council in St. Catherine's, Ontario (1991). His compositional work has been supported by an NEA composers' grant, CAPS, and Meet the Composer.
Recording credits include: Shelley Mann, McCoy Tyner (3 albums), Freddie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, Sun Ra, Hamiet Bluiett, and many other artists.
George Spanos Trio
“Reyvolation: An homage to Rey Scott” Performer, Sun-Ra Arkestra member, composer, musical innovator, and professor of African- American Music. (March 22, 1944 – June 23, 2018)
A gathering of ten musical souls, engendered to paying homage to the ancestral sounds of the great Rey Scott will reimagine Scott’s sound explorations over the course of his career. The ensemble will revisit Scott’s ever-evolving style, delving deep within themselves to seamlessly reconnect jazz to its roots, while consciously and simultaneously working to uproot it. This adventurous collaboration with the Burchfield-Penney Art Center will incorporate small group, full ensemble and “call and response” formats, in the spirit of the famed musician, professor, and historian.
ReyVolation- the Ensemble
Sabu Adeyola- Double Bass
Steve Baczkowski- Saxophone & Other Instruments
Brent Birckhead- Saxophone & Woodwinds
Walter Kemp 3-Piano/ Melodica/Keys
Curtis Lovell- Vocals
Greg Millar- Guitar
RiShon Odel- Bass/ Electric Bass/ Loops
Abdul Rahman Qadir- Drums
Scott Tixier- Violin
Don't miss this Historic Tribute Jam at the Colored Musicians Club. This landmark event, led by Don Metz (Burchfield Penney, Buffalo State) and Sabu Adeyola (University at Buffalo) will further highlight Rey Scott's life and works, as so much of Scott's music has become part of the new jazz standard. Enjoy many specially-invited musical guests who have toured with, recorded with, and shared cherished space and time with Scott.
With a musical career spanning 25 years and almost 15 albums, Naryan Padmanabha is continuously refining his sound as an innovative, fusion sitar performer. He has been booked alongside with the likes of Buffalo Philharmonic, String Cheese Incident, Bernie Worrell, Jennifer Hartwick (Trey Anastasio Band), Chuck Morris (Lotus), Fareed Haque, Garaj Mahal, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Steve Kimock, Andre Manga, Max Creek, Rob Wasserman, Toubab Krewe, The Heavy Pets, Consider the Source, Melvin Seals and JGB, and Family FUNKtion and the Sitar Jams. He has also recorded with the world renowned North Indian Classical vocalists V.J. Kichlu and South Indian percussionist T.S. Nandakumar. He is widely considered the go-to sitarist of Western New York, and continues to please audiences with his ability to bust out world groove beats, chill melodies and slammin’ improvised solos.
“ Indian music with jazz fusion, funk and jam, is one of the most innovative sounds that I have heard...” -Music Marauders
“An artist that needs to be in everyone’s rotation.” -Relix
“Tripped out!” -Village Voice
David "Teaspoon" Hulett has been playing drums since age 4, and gigging since age 8. "Teaspoon" has logged countless hours in the studio for various projects for various groups and has played for the likes of The Carnival Cruiseline, Disney, Marcus Miller, Critts Juke Joint, Gruvology, The Michael Jackson Tribute Tour 2010, The Black Eyed Peas, T.I., Kendrick Lamar, The Christopher Hopper Band, Grammy Award Nominee Eric Roberson, Siri Music Group artist Meisa, Philicia Collins of The David Letterman Show, B3 jazz organ great Lonnie Smith, Tommy Z, Bobby Jones of BET, Joseph Wooten and a long list of others with a current endorsement by Regal Tip drumsticks
Born in Buffalo, NY, he began his music career in the late 90's . He is one of the most respected and technical drummers of his generation. His articulation and attenion to detail has given him the ability to adapt to many genres of music, from rock, pop, jazz, r&b, to country, folk, blues, and gospel. David Hulett got his start like many drummers around his hometown at church. Although the church was a major facilatator to master his skill he credits jazz and blues as his biggest influence. As a teenager he was exposed to music greats from his own home town such as The Goo Goo Dolls, Rick James, Lucky Peterson, and B3 Hammond Legend Lonnie Smith.
Currently David tours with many bands including The Tommy Z Band whose Blues album just went #8 on Billboard Music Charts, As well as his current projects with The Walter Kemp 3oh! and their newly released long anticipated album "Dark Continent" which has had rave reviews and is in the top 5 among national college radio stations in good company with Robert Glasper and Norah Jones. He's currently working on a recording, touring and gigging with many, including his own "David J. & the Inner City Bedlam."