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May 1, 2015    8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
John Raymond Quartet at Firehouse 12!

Firehouse 12 Presents John Raymond Quartet!

John Raymond

On his sophomore CD "Foreign Territory" (Fresh Sound/New Talent), Brooklyn-based trumpeter/composer John Raymond takes a refreshing and exciting look at the jazz tradition with a set of original compositions that retain the music’s classic aspects while feeling entirely contemporary.

To realize his modern reimagining of traditional elements, Raymond assembled a stellar quartet that is uniquely qualified to merge past and present - pianist Dan Tepfer, bassist Joe Martin and legendary drummer Billy Hart. With such a highly spontaneous group of musicians interpreting Raymond's intriguing compositions (one of which was chosen as a winner of ASCAP's 2015 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer award), the result was a cohesive effort of songs that create both a sense of mystery and a sense of joy in exploring the unknown.

Labeled "a prepossessing young trumpet player" (New York Times), Raymond performs regularly with musicians such as Orrin Evans, Linda Oh, Ethan Iverson, Rudy Royston and Gilad Hekselman among others. He has recently been a featured artist at the NYC Winter Jazz Festival, FONT Festival and Center City Jazz Festival, has recorded with Grammy-nominated singer Sara Bareilles, and has performed at events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival and NPR's Toast of the Nation New Year's Eve celebration.

At the age of 74, Billy Hart is an artist who fully embodies the spirit of simultaneously honoring and reimaging the tradition, having been a key player in the music’s last half-century. “We talk all the time about how as jazz musicians we want to be connected to the history and lineage, and Billy is not only part of that lineage but one of the people that has really shaped it,” Raymond says. “I feel like everything that Billy plays captures the essence of what this music has always been, and he’s always wanting to push the music in a direction that’s unknown, somewhere that you haven’t been before."

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May 2, 2015    8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Osborne, Waters and Simpson at Lyman Hall!

Lyman Hall Presents Jeffery Osborne, Kim Waters, and Brian Simpson!

Osborne Simpson and Waters

Enjoy this special presentation when Musical Director Brian Simpson collaborates with R+B Legend Jeffery Osborne and Jazz Superstar Kim Waters to create an unforgettable evening of music.

$39 General Public
$33 Series
$35 Faculty/Staff, SCSU Student Guests (Limit 2)
$20 SCSU students with valid ID (Limit 1)

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May 8, 2015    8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
Russ Nolan Quartet at Firehouse 12!

Firehouse 12 Presents the Russ Nolan Quartet!

Russ Nolan

The Russ Nolan Quartet celebrates the release of "Call It What You Want" and records their new live album entitled "Sanctuary from the Ordinary- Live at Firehouse 12".

Russ is an accomplished and active Salsa dancer in NYC and has used his inspiration on the dance floor to craft his last three Latin and Modern Jazz releases Tell Me (2012) ; Relentless (2014) – featuring Latin Jazz Grammy Nominee Manuel Valera on piano; and current recording Call It What You Want (2015). Previous recordings include With You In Mind with the Kenny Werner Trio.

His recording at Firehouse 12 will mark his 6th chapter in his study of Latin rhythms and their application to the Modern Jazz harmony.

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May 15, 2015    8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
Tim Berne and Matt Mitchell at Firehouse 12!

Firehouse 12 Presents Tim Berne and Matt Mitchell!

Tim Berne

Tim Berne and Matt Mitchell will be exploring composed and improvised
music in duo based on their 6 years of performance history.

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May 22, 2015    8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
Spectral Live at Firehouse 12!

Firehouse 12 Presents Spectral!


Spectral (aka Rempis-Johnston-Ochs) consists of Chicago saxophonist and producer Dave Rempis, Bay Area trumpet maestro Darren Johnston, and saxophonist Larry Ochs, best known for his work with the groundbreaking Rova Saxophone Quartet. A trio recording was released in the USA in June2014 on the Aerophonic label. Learn more about this horn trio that embraces
sincere musical freedom and tonal exploration:

“Bay Area trumpeter Darren Johnston first visited Chicago in the mid-aughts, quickly establishing ties with local musicians that have yielded recordings, ongoing partnerships, and shared gigs here and in California. But of course he also has enduring alliances back home, including one with tenor and sopranino saxophonist Larry Ochs (ROVA Saxophone Quartet, What We Live, Larry Ochs Sax & Drumming Core). Last year Johnston hosted Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis at a concert that also included Ochs, and when the three men got onstage together, the chemistry was immediate and incendiary. Horn-only ensembles tend to fall into two categories: either they take a figure-and-ground approach, with one or more players acting as a de facto rhythm section, or they turn into free- for-all blowouts. This trio’s music is like improvised carpentry, making elegant constructions out of each horn’s complete range of sounds, both customary and unexpected.” —Bill Meyer, Chicago Reader

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May 29, 2015    8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Down to The Bone with Special Guests at Lyman!

Lyman Hall Presents Down to the Bone with Special Guests: Jeff Bradshaw, Joey Sommerville, Elan Trotman!

Down to the Bone with Special Guests

We’ve put together a special DOUBLE BILL concert that starts with Jeff on trombone, Joey on Trumpet and Elan on Sax, this talented combination of horns will kick off a concert that is going to be a jazz super jam!  Then buckle up and get ready to ride the groove with Down to the Bone!

$30 General Public
$25 Series
$25 Faculty/Staff, SCSU Student Guests (Limit 2)
$20 SCSU students with valid ID (Limit 1)

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May 29, 2015    8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
Brian Charette at Firehouse 12!

Firehouse 12 Presents Brian Charette's Mighty Grinders!

Jazz organist/pianist Brian Charette, has established himself as a leading voice in modern jazz. "Square One" (2014 Posi-Tone), his seventh and latest record, presents a fresh take on the art of the organ trio. The trio is rounded out with rising star Yotam Silberstein on guitar and in-demand Mark Ferber on drums. The music is elegantly lyrical and brilliantly evocative with a very mod- ern jazz sensibility. Charette unleashes nine original compositions with sounds influenced by multiple genres, along with novel interpretations of songs by Joe Henderson and The Meters.

Charette was born in Meriden, Connecticut in 1972, and was introduced at an early age to music by his mother, an excellent pianist, and studied classical piano and bass. By the age of seven- teen, he was working sideman gigs with jazz luminaries such as Lou Donaldson and Houston Person. After high school, Charette began touring Europe and was gravitated to the culture and scene of Prague and the Czech Republic, introduced by Czech trumpeter Laco Deczi.

Charette's organ career began in the 1990s, and soon he was getting called for more organ gigs than piano. This was great with Charette, as he loved the organ, which tied together his passion for piano and bass.

"I love the power and sonic potential of the organ," says Charette. "You can really have a huge control over the dynamics and timbre. The interesting thing about organ is that you are really in charge of the harmony, and can go anywhere you want with it. It's a physically tough instrument to play, working the pedals and drawbars, especially behind lots of saxophones."

Charette's recorded career as a leader began with his 2002 self-titled release and continued with Missing Floor (2008), Upside (2009 SteepleChase), Learning To Count (2010 SteepleChase), Mu- sic For Organ Sextette (2012 SteepleChase), and Borderline (2013 SteepleChase).

Besides being a critically acclaimed composer and band leader, he has worked with many nota- ble artists such as Joni Mitchell, Chaka Khan, Lou Donaldson, and many others. Charette, is also an active author and educator, writing for Keyboard Magazine, DownBeat, and Czech magazine Muzikus. Charette teaches masterclasses all over the world, and is on the faculty of the Czech Summer Jazz Workshop at Jesek Conservatory in Prague. Charette continues to tour the world and now splits his time when he's not touring between Prague and New York City.

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June 5, 2015    8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
Rudresh Mahanthappa Quintet at Firehouse 12!

Firehouse 12 Presents Rudresh Mahanthappa Quintet!


Mahanthappa was born in Trieste, Italy, the son of Indian emigrants to the United States. He was born in Italy as a result of his father's job in academia, but spent nearly his entire early life in Boulder, Colorado, graduating from Fairview High School in 1988.

In 1992, Mahanthappa graduated from Berklee College of Music. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in jazz composition from Chicago's DePaul University in 1998.After moving to New York City in 1998, he quickly teamed up and released an album with pianist Vijay Iyer, Architextures, the first of many collaborations between the two.

As of 2012, he has twelve albums out as a leader or co-leader on labels including Pi Recordings, Savoy Jazz, ACT Music + Vision, and others. Mahanthappa's playing and composing are firmly ensconced in the highest of the New York jazz scene today.

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June 7, 2015    2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Euge Groove at Raphael Vineyards!

Jazz On The Island Euge Groove at Raphael Vinyards!


Euge Groove

“Fear and creativity can not live in the same room,” declares free-spirited and consummate chart-topping saxophonist, composer, producer and radio host Euge Groove.  “You can’t bring fear into the creative process. It took me a while to get that.”  Euge Groove’s Ying and Yang and ebb and flow approach to his artistry and life have allowed him to enjoy a career longevity that is atypical.  The highly sought after musical chameleon has been called upon for his musical prowess by everyone from Rock `N' Roll Hall of Famer Tina Turner and balladeer Luther Vandross to UK Blues Rocker Joe Cocker, Richard Marx, Tower of Power and Huey Lewis and the News, among countless others. A road warrior, Euge Groove stays at the top of his game by maintaining a busy touring schedule. “I love live performance, which is probably pretty obvious to anyone that has seen me live,” shares the charismatic saxman. “On a sonic level, I try to capture the space of a live performance when I record. Instead of going for a really ‘dry’ soundstage, I try to envision what the sound would be if it was playing on a theater or small venue stage.”  August 19, 2014 Shanachie Entertainment will release GOT 2 BE GROOVIN’, created over a six month period and the latest installment in Euge Groove’s musical evolution. “It was a blessing to take some time off from touring and really be able to focus on the creating this project,” states Euge.  “I’ve built a great studio here at the ‘Groove House’ and it makes me feel good just to sit in it. I’ll light a bunch of candles, incense, warm lighting, and just open the mind to music. It’s an amazing feeling.”

In an industry where artists are consistently put in a box and categorized, Euge Groove remains an artist who chooses to continually push the boundaries and let his music go where his heart leads. “Good music is good music, no matter what.” Euge’s open heart and ears have led him to the top of the charts multiple times resulting in thirteen #1 hits. GOT 2 BE GROOVIN’ is sure to find a home at the top once again.

GOT 2 BE GROOVIN’ is an exhilarating set of nine originals and one cover that opens with Euge’s soaring soprano saxophone on the alluring “Forever And A Day,” giving a nod to Shakespeare in typical Euge tradition.  The album’s title track and first single embodies all the right ingredients for a Euge Groove  smash hit, as he struts his stuff and pulls out all the stops concocting a timeless organic groove of jazz, R&B, funk and soul. “This song came out one morning after I had gone to bed diggin’ on James Brown,” explains Euge. “He always had groove that turned the snare beat around and I wanted to capture that but in a modern studio kind of way.”  Euge nails the track with its freight train guitar, rolling Hammond B 3 and funk horn section that would have done the ‘Godfather of Soul’ proud. In addition to paying homage to musical influences on GOT 2 BE GROOVIN’, Euge gives us insight into some of the people closest to him. A family man, many of the album tracks are inspired by his family, including the irresistibly spunky and sparkling R&B number “Miss Bane,” which highlights Euge’s ethereal soprano and was penned in honor of his wife. Euge also dedicated the album’s one cover, the Doug Edwards and David Richardson song “Wild Flower,” to his wife stating that “every lyric in the song seems like it was written just for her.” Through the years “Wild Flower” has been recorded by everyone from The O’Jays and The Neville Brothers to Johnny Mathis and Blake Shelton. Euge’s rendition features Elliot Yamin of American Idol fame who delivers a warm and moving version.

The sweet and mellifluous ditty “Hey Hey Lil’ Lilah Belle” captures the jubilant and beautiful energy of Euge’s daughter while “Homie Grown” finds him in good company collaborating with some like-minded creative spirits including guitarist Paul Brown, keyboardist and guitarist Jeff Carruthers, and bassist Roberto Vally. A special highlight on GOT 2 BE GROOVIN’ is the introspective and gorgeous gospel-inflected “Rain Down On Me,” featuring Peter White’s impressionistic guitar in a delicate dance with Euge’s robust tenor. “I associate this song with God and it is about asking for a cleansing of the soul. It is something I beg for from time to time,” confides the multi-instrumentalist.

“Groovin Up Hip Street” calls to mind magical vibes of The Blackbyrd’s with its magical groove. Euge shares, “I had an idea to write a song that if it was playing while you were swaggering with confidence on the ‘hip street’ wherever you are and it was playing behind you, this is what it would sound like. It’s four-on-the-floor kick drum is your foot-step and your finger snaps and hand claps push the groove. There is no snare drum on this cut, which is a first for me. Just snaps and claps.” Who wouldn’t want theme a like this?!

Euge Groove pays homage to his West Coast roots with “Tango in Tio.” T.O., being a nickname given to his Thousand Oaks neighborhood. GOT 2 BE GROOVIN’ closes with “In Love with You” featuring vocalist Chanel Haynes from Trin-i-Tee 5:7. Euge explains how he connected with the singer. “My wife happened to be at her sister’s house in Austin for a party and was helping to clean up when she heard someone singing in the next room. She was freaking out over her voice. It turned out to be Chanel. Her voice is ridiculous. At times it’s like listening to Toni Braxton, then she goes all Tina Turner on you!”

Born Steven Eugene Grove in Hagerstown, Maryland, Euge Groove grew up in a musical home. His mother played piano and taught the Cherub choir at Christ Lutheran Church and he began his own musical pursuits at the age of seven, beginning with the piano and adding the saxophone at nine. But for Euge it was in elementary school where he discovered that music was his calling. “In fifth grade I thought I'd be in school band the rest of my life.” He later discovered two saxophonists who had a profound effect on his approach to playing.  “One was French classical player Marcel Mule, who really defined what the sax was supposed to sound like for me and the other was David Sanborn. He took that sound and brought it into the mainstream world,” reminisces the worldly saxophonist. Through the years, Euge’s love of Jazz, R&B, Gospel and Blues have all come together to inform his personalized sound.   He explains, “I've listened to everyone from Grover (Washington Jr.) and (David) Sanborn to (Charlie) Parker and (John) Coltrane as well as (Michael) Brecker, (Stan) Getz, King Curtis, Junior Walker, Richard Elliott and Kirk Whalum. The thing is, the more mature we become the more those influences fuse into something new. I always listened to a lot of R&B growing up, fused that with Pop music, then with the Gospel music. Hopefully all of these influences come through in my music and I am able to create my own unique expression.”

A graduate of the University of Miami's School of Music, Euge launched his professional career in Miami in the mid 80s, playing in Salsa bands, top 40 club bands and doing the occasional high profile session date like Expose's “Seasons Change,” a #1 Billboard AC hit. Not long after he moved to L.A. in 1987, he wrote a track for Richard Elliot's THE POWER OF SUGGESTION album, and Elliot recommended Euge to take over his spot in Tower of Power. Euge toured with TOP for four years, including a year backing Huey Lewis & The News. His resume grew from there to include recording, touring or performing stints with Joe Cocker, The Eurythmics, The Gap Band, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville and Richard Marx. Marx included Euge's horn on “Keep Coming Back,” a #1 AC hit duet he recorded with Luther Vandross.  In 1999, coming off the road after two years of touring with popular Italian singer Eros Ramazotti and Joe Cocker, the saxophonist paved the way for his eventual solo stardom by recording some tracks of his own. Without a record label to distribute the music, Euge put his songs on the now-defunct website, dubbing himself “Euge Groove” and downloading started almost immediately and Euge was soon topping the Jazz chart.

He signed soon thereafter with Warner Bros. “Vinyl,” his first single from his self-titled Warner Bros. debut, set a record by spending 27 weeks on the R&R charts, eventually ranking at #24 for the year. PLAY DATE kept the trend going with two more #1 radio hits, “Slam Dunk” and “Rewind.” In 2004, Euge Groove's Narada debut, LIVIN' LARGE, spent 68 weeks on the Billboard charts, debuted at #4 and came in at #25 overall for 2004. "Livin' Large," the single, was the #5 most played song for 2004 on the R&R singles chart. "XXL" spent 36 weeks on the radio chart. JUST FEELS RIGHT followed in 2005 and its first single, "Get Em Goin'," was #1 for two months.

BORN TO GROOVE followed in 2007 and featured several chart-topping singles, including “song of the year” for Relgify. His Shanachie debut was in 2009 and included the #1 smash hit title track and the top five single “All For You.” 2011 saw the release of  S7VEN LARGE whose title track scored a #1 hit. 2012 brought the release of HOUSE OF GROOVE, which spawned two #1 hits.

When Euge Groove is not in the studio or on the road he finds comfort in being with his family, cooking, swimming, running, playing with animals and gardening. The saxman who makes his home his sanctuary confides, “It is my prayer that when people hear this new music that they will listen and be relaxed through this new journey.”

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June 11, 2015    8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
The Rippingtons Live at Infinity Hall!

Infinity Hall Presents The Rippingtons featuring Russ Freeman!

After 25 years and 18 studio albums, this Grammy-nominated powerhouse band continues to break new ground…..they define the group’s genre as “Contemporary Jazz” but these guys lay down the funk, blues and fusion equally as well.

Fans that have followed Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons for any stretch of time over the past quarter century know the versatile award winning and Grammy nominated guitarist/composer, and producer has long had a penchant for naming songs and albums after exotic places (Aruba, Kenya, Morocco, Weekend in Monaco, Sahara, etc).

In recent years, Freeman has noticed that The Rippingtons' fan base has increased exponentially, as the group's longtime admirers transfer their passion for the music to their children. Several Rippingtons albums have been inspired by Freeman's travels, and collectively, they have formed the life soundtrack for hundreds of thousands of contemporary jazz fans worldwide for a quarter century.

The titles of each hit Ripps album has often reflected Freeman's deep wanderlust, whether he had actually been to the places he wrote about or was just dreaming of them in musical terms. These include Kilimanjaro, Tourist in Paradise, Welcome to the St. James Club, Weekend In Monaco, Live in L.A., Sahara, Brave New World and Live Across America. In 2006, the band celebrated two decades of instrumental magic with The Rippingtons 20th Anniversary, a remarkable CD/DVD package that included a CD of all new Ripps music and a DVD featuring a colorful retrospective as well as exciting videos from over the years.

On their latest Peak Records album, Russ Freeman and The Rippingtons take their lucky fans on a trip of a lifetime to Cote D'Azur. Traveling with them is their trademark jazz cat, by artist Bill Mayer, who again graces the CD cover art. Next time out, who knows? Freeman's musical passport still has a lot of open space to be stamped, and the journey continues!

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June 12, 2015    8:30 pm to 11:30 pm
Noah Jarrett's Trio Live at Firehouse 12!

Firehouse 12 Presents Noah Jarrett's Trio!

Noah Jarrett

Noah Jarrett was born and raised in New Jersey, as well as New York City. He began study of the electric bass at the age of nine, after five years studying the violin. With initial interests in the many forms of rock, Noah spent most days after school playing music in his basement with his musician friends.

The communal attribute in many musical forms led him into the genres of jazz, reggae, Indian, African, Gnawan music, while also studying the classical traditions. For nine years now, Noah has primarily studied the double bass, while still playing the electric bass quite often.

He plays in a great variety of groups in the New York and Boston areas, including current groups such as FAT LITTLE BASTARD, a dark, groovy guitar trio, THE INBETWEENS, also an electric guitar trio, which is an explosive and dynamic group based out of New York City. Noah accompanies the virtuosic Malian kora player, Mamadou Diabate in many group settings at festivals and events all over the country.
In addition, Noah plays with a 14-piece band, the Brooklyn Qawwali Party, which commemorates the late-great Sufi singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. BQP uses the Pakistani qawwali melodic and propulsive rhythms as a basis of further improvisation.

Noah has also had the pleasure of playing with John Abercrombie, George Garzone, Bob Gulotti, Bill Goodwin, and other NYC musicians.

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July 12, 2015    2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Marc Antione and Steve Cole at Raphael Vinyards!

Jazz On The Island presents Marc Antione at Raphael Vineyards!

Marc Antione

Contemporary jazz guitarist Marc Antoine blends his classical training with a multi-cultural urban groove. After studying at the Edouard Paiteron College and the International School of Classical Guitar, he played with a typically varied cast of artists: pop stars like Sting, Basia, and Selena, rappers like Guru's Jazzmatazz project and Queen Latifah, plus acid jazz hipsters the Solsonics and DJ Greyboy. Signed to the New York City subsidiary of GRP Records, Antoine recorded his solo debut Classical Soul in 1994. The album climbed to the top of the contemporary jazz charts, thanks to the single "Unity." Urban Gypsy followed a year later, and in 1998, Antoine resurfaced with Madrid; Universal Language, his first LP for new label Polygram, appeared in early 2000; Cruisin' was released a year later.

The title of Steve Cole's third recording, NY LA, may trip on the East Coast-meets-West Coast hipness factor of his fresh and crackling brand of smooth sax jazz, but the soul in his music definitely has more than a few touches of the R&B/blues influence of his hometown, Chicago. The saxman's trademark sound is a sizzling mix of modern funk textures and neo-soul sensibilities mixed with quick, catchy hooks and feisty horn textures on the choruses. He's primarily a tenor player, but keeps the listener compelled with tracks that cater to his skills on alto and soprano as well. His rise to genre stardom perfectly paralleled smooth jazz's tendency in the latter '90s and beyond to embrace the old and new R&B grooves.

The son of a semi-pro clarinet and sax player, Cole trained classically, first on the clarinet before switching to the sax in high school. He continued his musical studies at Northwestern University and was among the winners of the annual Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Young Artists competition. Even while earning a degree in economics and later an M.B.A., he switched his musical focus to his truer loves, R&B and jazz, and became a staple on Chicago's club scene. He's kept great company over the years, starting with Junior Wells and pianist Bob Mamet. Cole's smooth jazz breakthrough was his several-year side gig with Brian Culbertson, which led to his working with the keyboardist (also a Windy City native) on tracks that evolved into Stay Awhile, one of smooth jazz's biggest sensations of 1998. The success of his debut and its three hit radio singles also ensured Cole's success at the 2000 Oasis Smooth Jazz Awards, where he won the Prism Award for Best New Artist.

In between Stay Awhile and 2002's Between Us (also produced by Culbertson), Cole kept busy playing with his own band and as a sideman with Dave Koz, Marc Antoine and Peter White (on a U.K. tour), Rick Braun, and Larry Carlton. Between Us featured the hit singles "Got It Going On" and "From the Start," as well as a snazzy cover of TLC's "Waterfalls." Cole's most enduring relationship is the one with Culbertson, and his sax graces three of the keyboardist's hit recordings.

Culbertson helms some tracks on NY LA, but Cole expands beyond his usual sonic edges by also working with fellow saxman David Mann and the tandem Sonic Soul, who introduce vocals to the Cole mix for the first time. NY LA was recorded in both cities with top sidemen like bassist Will Lee, guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., percussionist Lenny Castro, and former Miles Davis keyboardist Darren Johnson. Rather than simply repeat the creative ideas of Cole's first two hits, the album effortlessly bridges the gap between instrumental virtuosity, seamless ensemble playing, and a high-caliber creative chemistry that runs the stylistic gamut. Cole subsequently released two albums during the 2000s: Spin in 2005 and True in 2006. In 2011, Cole delivered the orchestral covers album Moonlight, featuring songs by James Taylor, Burt Bacharach, Sarah McLachlan, Paul McCartney, and others. Cole returned in 2013 with the more contemporary funk and smooth jazz-oriented Pulse.

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August 9, 2015    2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Matt Marshak and 480East at Raphael Vineyards

Jazz On The Island presents Matt Marshak and Four80East at Raphael Vineyards!


Matt Marshak infuses new energy into the golden era of contemporary jazz and R&B – think late 1970s through the 1980s – on Lifestyle, the guitarist’s strongest and most honest release. Mix the old-school, robust sounds of George Benson, Larry Carlton, James Brown, David Sanborn, Prince and BB King with Marshak’s thoroughly modern playing, and you have a CD rooted in the grandest tradition jazz and groove music.

“To me, the ’70s and ’80s were the golden era of instrumental music,” Marshak says. “These natural recordings remain timeless to me. The energy and soul they captured were something so special, and my hope was to revisit the formula used on a lot of those older records.”

The tight trio of bassist Gerald Veasley, keyboardist Benjie Porecki and drummer Carl Anderson complement Marshak’s licks on this organic production with minimal overdubs and absolutely no drum machines or drum loops. The result is nine original songs brimming with a palpable sense of artistry, spontaneity and improvisation. Recorded live at Secret Sound Studios in Baltimore and Marshak’s own Nuance Studios in New York, Lifestyle embodies everything fans and listeners have come to know Matt for both in the studio and during his dynamic live shows.

“We gathered on two chilly winter days at a cozy little studio in Baltimore with engineer John Grant,” Marshak says. “I came in with a rough chord chart for each tune that acted as a mere guide for what would ultimately become the recordings on this album. In the moment, these songs changed, developed, and took us to places we never imagined. We left drum loops, programming, over-editing on the side and just played some live music. This is my vision. This is my belief. Recording it live gives ‘Lifestyle’ an air of freedom you don’t hear a lot today.”

The CD’s first single, "Midtown," is a bright and funky jazz romp and, like the rest of the project, showcases Marshak’s dexterous electric guitar work. “Jumpin’” begins with a James Brown vibe, with Mario Cruz’s brassy horns boosting the energy level. Marshak captures the blues groove of the era with “Hats and Sneakers,” his snaky guitar lines complemented with sexy horns and Porecki’s meaty and nasty organ runs. On “Last Exit,” Marshak lays down a Benson-like groove that slides and grooves like the best songs from the era.

The catchy title track recalls the best of the supergroup Fourplay with its shimmering vibe. "Dreamin' in Dubai" offers a jazzy yet hypnotic groove with Barry Danielian on trumpet, while “One Happy Guy" captures an irresistible melody and a feel-good swing. And "I've Been Down" is an emotional pop ballad that transcends any musical genre, while "Mandela" is a rare acoustic performance that captures the flavor of South African music and is a song to remember.

Lifestyle is Marshak’s eighth CD and follows 2012’s Colors of Me, which featured jazz, R&B, a hint of funk and a dash of world music. It featured the hit “Cadillac Kid,” which was in regular rotation at Sirius/XM's Watercolors. It followed 2001’s Preservation, 2004’s This Time Around, 2006’s Groovosphere, 2008’s On the Rocks (one of JazzTimes’ top jazz albums of the year), 2009’s Family Funktion and 2011’s Urban Folktales.

The guitarist recently toured the world in support of his music as he was invited to play at prestigious events like the Dubai International Jazz Festival and the Mallorca Jazz Festival in Spain. He was a familiar figure on the jazz circuit in the U.S. as well, performing at Jazz on the Vine in Wisconsin (opening for Fourplay), the Rehoboth Jazz Festival in Delaware and the River Raisin Jazz in Detroit. Marshak also toured with Canadian jazz supergroup Four80East on their 2013-2014 world tour and is now featured on their most recent album, “Four 80 East Live.” He’s also teamed up for many live shows with Marcus Anderson (Prince’s saxophonist) this last year, and the duo is bringing a new energy to the format of contemporary jazz.

Marshak also performs at such clubs as Yoshi's in San Francisco, Scullers in Boston, and many other respected venues nationwide. He’ll be headed to the famous Augsburg Jazz Festival in Germany in September 2014.

Four80East is an electro-jazz collective that’s all about the groove. Mixing jazz with soul music and electronic production, the Canadian producer duo of Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace have created a signature bass-propelled sound that entrances listeners of their recordings and enthralls audiences at their live shows.

Since breaking out with their critically acclaimed first release “The Album,” in 1997, Four80East has been a mainstay on contemporary jazz radio and touring circuits with hits like “Eastside” and “Noodle Soup” and five subsequent albums.

Although the “band” was born as a studio project, DeBoer and Grace have been able to transform their layered and captivating sonic productions into a high-energy live show with the help of many world class session musicians who join them on stage. DeBoer, a multi-instrumentalist who plays keyboards, guitar and bass, fronts the band on their live performances.

As a production team and as artists, DeBoer and Grace have had global success. They’ve won every major music award in their native Canada from a Juno to a MuchMusic Award to a Canadian Radio Music Award. Internationally, they’ve achieved commercial success and received critical accolades for their work as remixers, label owners, producers, and artists in the genres of R&B, jazz and dance. They’ve also migrated their talents to film and TV as composers for hit shows, films and commercials.

For 20 years as producers and songwriters and almost as long as Four80East, they’ve reinvented themselves time and time again. Whether pushing the boundaries of musical integration on their recordings or filling the dance floor at their concerts, Four80East is continually putting their unique twist on contemporary jazz’s sound and style. For them music is all about being fresh and exciting and, most importantly, all about the groove.

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September 13, 2015    2:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Richard Elliot at Raphael Vineyards!

Jazz On The Island presents Richard Elliot at Raphael Vineyards!

Richard Elliot

Saxophonist Richard Elliot has arrived at a very special anniversary for blowing audiences away with his soulfully robust playing. 2014 marks 30 years since the release of his debut solo album, Initial Approach (ITI – 1984), on which he stepped out showcasing his tenor sax, soprano sax, Lyricon and writing skills. What does a red-blooded Scottish sax man raised in Los Angeles – now with a wife and five children – do for a 30-year encore? Well, this one-time member of the classic soul band Tower of Power proves he’s “not a young man” and drops the most overtly sensual, romantic and intimate album of his career in collaboration with contemporary jazz production/guitar giant Paul Brown. The title of this 17th solo project is Lip Service (the artist’s first for Heads Up/Concord Music Group).

The 10-song Lip Service features seven all new original compositions with teasing titles such as “Sookie Sookie” and “All the Way,” as well as three choice covers of soul and pop hits from the ’80s (“Shining Star” by The Manhattans), the ’90s (“Anytime” by Brian McKnight) and today (“When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars).

“It’s not a radical departure,” Elliot says with a chuckle, “just a softer edge. The intensity is still there, just channeled in a different way. I’ve been madly in love with my wife Camella for 20 years (courtship and marriage combined). Romance has always been an important part of our relationship. With five children, there’s never a dull moment in our home but we always take time away for us…something we never had to work at. It just gets better every year - and that’s not Lip Service!”

Two-time GRAMMY Award-winning record producer Paul Brown also influenced the dim lights/rising passion direction of Lip Service. “I have to give credit for the seed of that concept to Paul,” Elliot admits. “The first time I ever worked with him on a full project was for my album Jumpin’ Off (Metro Blue – 1997). Prior to that, I was a guest on records he produced by Peter White and others. We maintained a great relationship. Recently we got reacquainted on Dave Koz’s Summer Horns. Toward the end of recording when he found out I was about to start on my next record, Paul threw out the idea of me doing something more romantic. Everything that I do has to apply on a personal level or else I can’t feel connected. So I thought about it, decided this concept worked perfect for me and we had a great time.”

“My records tend to be potluck things,” Elliot continues, “constantly shifting in terms of feel: some hard things, then some soft. Not to say that I haven’t used concepts. Metro Blue (2005) was a Euro-Funk thing. Rock Steady (2009) was a tribute to my influences growing up, which was all about R&B music. Lip Service is a different deal. We definitely slowed it down a bit.”

A Southern Californian to the core, Elliot commuted on L.A.’s notoriously choked 405 Freeway to get this job done. “I feel naked if I don’t have my car. I do a lot of creative thinking when I’m driving – gathering thoughts in terms of direction. I live in San Diego so I would make the pilgrimage to work in Paul’s studio – braving the traffic, chilling for a minute then jumping into it. We’d have ‘song starts’ from folks like Jeff Carruthers, then I would put melodies to them using Paul as that all-important sounding board. Together we were literally writing melodies while we were recording.” Another standout is the evening driver “City Lights,” which was brought in by New York-based keyboardist Bob Baldwin. “I’ve known Bob for years and love his music,” Elliot states. “This one had such a nice vibe and is a departure from the rest of the record. It’s got a romantic, night time feel but reminiscent of classic contemporary jazz stuff. It felt really good.”

One point Elliot hopes to get across is that an album soaking in an aura of romance doesn’t have to be solely about sex. “We didn’t want everything sounding like a hot and heavy Minor 7th vibe. Playfulness is good, too. ‘Sweet Spot’ (a warm wave of guitars and sax intoxication) and ‘Givin’ it Up’ (a gentle rock steady groove) have that aspect.” The opening number “Desire” laid the blueprint for what Elliot and Brown sought to capture. “That song morphed through a bunch of iterations. It set the tone of the record with a Latin feel. When you’re searching for a sound, there’s a tendency to throw a lot of stuff at a song from a production standpoint. Instead, we pulled stuff out of ‘Desire.’ Minimalist from an arranging standpoint, the more air and space there was created a better canvas for my saxophone.”

The cover songs are all inspired choices, each challenging in their own way. The Manhattans’ “Shining Star,” which Richard suggested, is given a bluesy feel with a horn arrangement by Tower of Power veteran Greg Adams. Brian McKnight’s “Anytime,” closing the album in lovingly layered afterglow, was suggested by Brown, arranged by keyboardist Tracy Carter and temporarily intimidated Elliot. “I thought to myself, ‘Best not to overanalyze.’ We got the arrangement together, cut the rhythm section then I had a glass of wine, took a deep breath and dived in.”

Poetically, the remaining cover of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” was suggested by Elliot’s wife. “Camella said, ‘You have to listen to this!’ I’ve loved that guy since he started. His roots clearly come from Soul music and bands like I was, and he’s worked hard for years to get to where he is now. So, naturally, I feel an affinity with him. I was already familiar with the song and Camella’s got a really good intuition for songs like that. She reminded me that I recorded ‘Over the Rainbow’ with just sax and piano (from On the Town – 1991) and it was one of the biggest songs on the album. I ended up using acoustic piano with just a bit of B3 organ (both played by Lew Laing). Then I went through a bunch of versions of my performance ’til we got something straddling the fence between sensitive and having some intensity.”

Slow burning intensity has been Richard Elliot’s stock-in-trade since debuting as a member of the novel Chapman Stick-based quartet Kittyhawk in 1979 at the age of 19. With influences ranging from Grover Washington, Jr. to John Klemmer, his broad range of saxual expression knows no bounds. He has topped charts and toured the world as a leader as well as with the innovative groups Guitars & Saxes and Summer Horns (Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright and Dave Koz), the latter of whom he’ll be on the road with all summer 2014 (debuting a selection or two from Lip Service) before continuing on with his own shows in the fall. It’s the unabashed excitement from concert fans that drives him to this day.

Looking back on the 16 solo projects that led to Lip Service, Elliot concludes, “I’ve never counted my albums. I tend to do a record every year-and-a half or two. It just goes by so quickly. I still love what I do. Recording is a fun yet arduous process… but I never get tired of playing live. I always say I play my concerts for free and get paid for everything else I have to do the other 23 hours of the day! It’s a privilege to play music for a living…and I never take a gig for granted.”

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