J+FF Presents: Savannah Grace Harris Trio

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The Jazz + Freedom Fest is proud to present the Savannah Grace Harris Trio featuring Colin Chambers (p) and Eliot Seppa (b.) Up and coming drummer Savannah Harris, journalism major at Howard University, is a student of the music. She is known for her upbeat spirit, her time, and her wide beat that has made her first call for many band leaders in the DC metro area. Hailing from Oakland, CA, she played with Geri Allen at the All-Female Jazz Residency through the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Montclair State University during the summer of 2014.

J+FF Presents: Fred Foss

Fred Foss is a highly respected alto saxophonist from DC. Having spent several years on the road and in New York, we are excited to have him perform for the Jazz and Freedom Festival this year. Please enjoy this video of his performance at Westminster Jazz Night in 2012.

Fred Foss – Saxophone
Herman Bernie – Bass
Mark Meadows – Piano
Harold Summey – drums

J+FF Presents: Reginald Cyntje Duo feat. Allyn Johnson

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Born on the island of Dominica and raised on St. Thomas, USVI, trombonist Reginald Cyntje has been mixing cultural heritage with Black American Music since the beginning of his formative years.

Growing up in the US Virgin Islands (USVI), he was steeped in the rich cultural music known as Quelbe (the official music of the USVI).

Quelbe was Reginald’s introduction to improvised music. One of his favorite Quelbe songs, Queen Mary, has a powerful message set to syncopated rhythm. This song sets the tone for his mission as a musician – to inspire change with music.

With cultural heritage at the forefront and social justice as the message, this passionate performer has “a deep-seated knowledge of Caribbean music and culture which has settled into his jazz trombone playing” (NPR Music).

After being featured on NPR’s Jazz Night in America, Cyntje recorded his fourth album on February 10, 2015. Spiritual Awakening musically embodies humanity’s complex journey from introspection to a celebration of freedom. Cyntje released Spiritual Awakening on May 4, 2015.

On April 22, 2014, Reginald Cyntje released his third albumElements of Life (Washington City Paper Recording of the Year) featuring pianist Allyn Johnson, bassist Herman Burney, drummer Amin Gumbs, vocalist Christie Dashiell, steel panist Victor Provost and saxophonist Brian Settles. The album explores the connection between the human being and the elements that nurture us.

In 2013, Cyntje released his sophomore album simply titledLove. The Washington City Paper said Love “is thoughtful and surpassingly gorgeous.” After debuting at #3 on the CMJ Jazz chart, Love made it to #10 on the CMJ Top 40 Jazz Chart. The album is a tribute to the human spirit.

As a trombonist, educator and activist, Reginald has performed with great musicians. After sharing the stage with his mentors for many years, Reginald finally released his highly anticipated debut album Freedom’s Children: The Celebration in August of 2011.

On his recordings, you can hear the sounds of calypso, reggae, and other African influenced genres which now give his music a unique flavor.

Reginald Cyntje, “blessed with impressive facility and an immediacy of sound” now resides in the Washington DC area (The Independent Ear). Capital Bop views him as “arguably D.C.’s most agile and expressive trombone player.”

The concept of his music ministry is to spread love, peace and social justice with each expression.

Reginald is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia and received his master’s degree at the University of Maryland. He teaches trombone privately, conducts workshops nationally and is an adjunct professor at Montgomery College. Mr. Cyntje is also the founder and owner of Jegna School of Music, LLC.


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Native Washingtonian, ALLYN JOHNSON, is a multi-talented musician, composer, arranger and producer whose trademark sound gives brilliance and fortitude to the art of jazz improvisation. Allyn, a prodigy who began playing piano at the tender age of five, got his start playing piano for the youth choir in his uncle’s church. There he honed his inner musical gift.

While a student at the University of the District of Columbia, Allyn was mentored by the late great jazz legend Calvin Jones, a venerable figure in the international jazz community. At UDC, Allyn was the first recipient of the Felix. E Grant Scholarship Award in jazz performance. He graduated magna cum laude from UDC in 1997 with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies. Now Allyn has served for more than six years as an adjunct professor of music and assistant director of the Jazz Studies program before succeeding Jones as the director in 2005.

Allyn hopes to continue Jones’ rich legacy of service, musicianship and academic excellence. Allyn is one of the nation’s most sought after musicians in the jazz community. He is revered by musical giants as well as the “young lions” of his generation. He was chosen for the highly competitive Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in 2001 and returned to teach in the program in 2002. As a composer-arranger, he has a growing library of works for ensembles of varying sizes and instrumentation.

In 2005 Allyn started an ensemble combining Gospel, Jazz and Classical music called Divine Order. He also has a group called Sonic Sanctuary which may be heard as his trio or small ensemble which ranges from acoustic straight ahead jazz to jazz fusion and funk. No matter what configuration Allyn may be heard in, you can best believe it will be just “good music for the soul”.

J+FF Presents: RENAISSANCE TRIO feat. Nasar Abadey (d), Allyn Johnson (p), and James King (b)

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Photo Credits Elle Lowe

Drummer and Composer Nasar Abadey is the founder, leader and driving force of SUPERNOVA®.  They perform music from the threshold of Jazz to beyond space and time, while having an artistic license to express their compositions through traditional African rhythms, bebop, fusion, Afro-Cuban, Afro Brazilian, modal and free form. The band’s musical inspirations include, but are not limited to, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie and many more.  Based in Washington, DC Abadey has also built a solid reputation as a sideman with several groups, and has recorded and/or performed with many national artists throughout his career. Abadey began playing drums at age five, drawing influences from powerhouse drummers such as Tony Williams, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones and his cousin Frankie Dunlop, to name a few. Nasar Abadey creates music which he refers to as Multi-D: multi-dimensional, multi-directional.

Nasar Abadey’s band SUPERNOVA’s® debut CD, Mirage was released on Amosaya Records, and his sophomore CD Diamond In The Rough was released on DPC Records in 2011. Most recently SUPERNOVA® was selected by the US State Department and the Lincoln Center as Ambassadors to tour with the American Music Abroad Rhythm Road. This one month tour took them to five (5) countries in East Africa; Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Mozambique. Abadey has performed with many jazz greats, and has appeared in various music festivals internationally. His credits include: Amiri Baraka, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Rouse, Gary Bartz, David Sanchez, Cyrus Chestnut, Gregory Porter, Sonny Fortune, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Kenny Kirkland, Gary Thomas, Stanley Turrentine, Sun Ra, Frank Morgan, Bobby Hutcherson, Pharaoh Sanders, Russell Malone, Malachi Thompson, Andrew White, among others. Based in Washington, DC Abadey has also built a solid reputation as a sideman with several groups, and has recorded and/or performed with many national artists throughout his career.

Mr. Abadey’s Eleven Piece (11) piece SUPERNOVA® Chamber Orchestra, which includes strings, was invited by Jason Moran to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage to perform in recognition of International Jazz Appreciation Day, in April 2014.  Abadey’s big band, the Washington Renaissance Orchestra premiered a concert at the historic Lincoln Theatre, in Washington, DC in June, 2013 as a tribute to African American Music Month. He often includes vocals with these ensembles, and is the founder and artistic director of both.  In 2013 Mr. Abadey was honored by the Strathmore Mansion Artist in Resident (AIR) to mentor vocalist, Integrity Reeves, and drummer, Isabelle DeLeon.

Additionally, he has appeared in various festivals including, San Remo (Italy), Montreal (Canada), Cap City (DC), Virgin Island (Caribbean), JVC (NYC), Morocco (Africa), Chicago Jazz Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival, D.C. Loft Jazz Festival, Atlanta Jazz Festival, Mellon Bank Jazz Festival, (Philadelphia), The East Coast Jazz Festival, the Free World Jazz Festival (DC), International Children’s Festival (Seattle), Guatemala City Jazz Festival, Duke Ellington Festival, DC Jazz Festival, Mid Atlantic Jazz Festival among others.

Currently Mr. Abadey is currently Professor of Jazz Percussion in the Jazz Studies department at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.

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Native Washingtonian, ALLYN JOHNSON, is a multi-talented musician, composer, arranger and producer whose trademark sound gives brilliance and fortitude to the art of jazz improvisation. Allyn, a prodigy who began playing piano at the tender age of five, got his start playing piano for the youth choir in his uncle’s church. There he honed his inner musical gift.

While a student at the University of the District of Columbia, Allyn was mentored by the late great jazz legend Calvin Jones, a venerable figure in the international jazz community. At UDC, Allyn was the first recipient of the Felix. E Grant Scholarship Award in jazz performance. He graduated magna cum laude from UDC in 1997 with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies. Now Allyn has served for more than six years as an adjunct professor of music and assistant director of the Jazz Studies program before succeeding Jones as the director in 2005.

Allyn hopes to continue Jones’ rich legacy of service, musicianship and academic excellence. Allyn is one of the nation’s most sought after musicians in the jazz community. He is revered by musical giants as well as the “young lions” of his generation. He was chosen for the highly competitive Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in 2001 and returned to teach in the program in 2002. As a composer-arranger, he has a growing library of works for ensembles of varying sizes and instrumentation.

In 2005 Allyn started an ensemble combining Gospel, Jazz and Classical music called Divine Order. He also has a group called Sonic Sanctuary which may be heard as his trio or small ensemble which ranges from acoustic straight ahead jazz to jazz fusion and funk. No matter what configuration Allyn may be heard in, you can best believe it will be just “good music for the soul”.

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James King is an accomplished bassist whose musical career spans more than 40 years on both the national and international stages. King has lived and worked in Washington, DC since 1977, where he is currently a member of the Gary Bartz Quartet and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. He has performed with jazz greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Gary Bartz, Elvin Jones, Stanley Turrentine, Sonny Fortune,Cedar Walton, Buck Hill, Frank Morgan, David ”Fathead” Newman, Arnett Cobb, Teddy Wilson, Milt Jackson, Bud Shank, James Moody, Ronnie Matthews, Junior Cook, Jon Hendriks, Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Vanessa Rubin, Rosanna Vitro, Giacomo Gates, Rebecca Parish, Melissa Walker, Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, Bruce Barth, Cyrus Chestnut, Regina Carter and Johnny O’Neal, among others. He has appeared at jazz festivals in the United States and Europe including Montreal, the North Sea and Pori. He has also performed at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy Club, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, KC Jazz Club and Terrace Theater. In addition to his performances, King has conducted clinics, participated in public school music programs, led his own group and composed a myriad of original compositions. He studied music at Texas Southern University, Hampton University and the University of the District of Columbia and originally hails from Houston, Texas.

Featured Performer: REformanceArtists

 

imagePhoto credit Darwyn Dave

REformanceArtists is a new collective dedicated to promoting jazz within the DC business community.

Aaron Myers

Aaron Myers is a native Texan who began playing the piano at the age of 3. A veteran of the United States Army, where he also Played, Sang, Directed & Composed music; Aaron went on to Navarro College, majoring in Theatre and Business, where he was the musical director with the College Gospel Choir.

In 2005, Aaron relocated to Los Angeles, CA where he performed his comedy at many of the comedy clubs in Hollywood (The Laugh Factory, Ha Ha Cafe, The Comedy Store, Ice House). Musically he was the featured talent at the Fashion TV’s 10 year Anniversary Party, and as a studio musician he composed/recorded the soundtrack for the film, “A Song and a Prayer”. Not forgetting his roots, he worked as the musician for the Youth Department at West Angeles Church of God in Christ.

Aaron served as a field organizer for 9 months during the 2008 presidential campaign, working for the Obama/Biden Ticket. In December of the same year Aaron moved to Washington, DC to oversee the closing of the Global Family Program, acting as the last paid National Director.

While in DC, Aaron grew deep musical roots performing at major events in the nation’s capital such as: 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, National Legal Aid & Defender Association 100th Anniversary, Rehearsing/Directing/Performing 100 Voice Choir at the World AIDS Conference, Various events at the French & Swiss Embassies, teaching music classes for the DC Summer Program, Teaching Master Jazz Performance Classes with students from Canada & France, performing at the Library of Congress and a featured artist for the Capital Jazz Festival for 3 concurrent years.

In May of 2013, Aaron Myers released the Video “What’s a Man to Do” from his Debut Jazz/Neo Soul Album “Leo Rising” (released nationwide July 4th 2013) to critical acclaim. In July of 2013, Aaron Myers co-starred in the docu-musical, “My Civil War” for the Capital Fringe Festival, and starred in the play “God is not Through with me Yet” in August of 2014. On Septemeber 3rd Aaron sold out Blues Alley in Washington DC. His sophomore album “The Lions Den” is scheduled for release in 2015 followed by a tour.

Currently, Aaron Myers is the Minister of Music at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ.

Tony Martucci

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This year marks TONY MARTUCCI’S fiftieth year in music. During that time Tony has performed and recorded on stages at home and abroad with some of the greatest names in music. A short list of those collaborations include John Abercrombie, Mose Allison, Paul Bley, Michael and Randy Brecker, Rusty Bryant, Gary Burton, George Coleman, Marc Copland, Eddie Daniels, Dave Douglas, Tommy Flanagan, George Garzone, Danny Gatton, Joe Henderson, Fred Hersch, Lee Konitz, David Liebman, The Jose Limon Dance Company, Joe Lovano, Hank Marr, Donny McCaslin, Grachan Moncur lll, James Moody, Don Patterson, Dewey Redman, Joshua Redman, Sonny Stitt, and Kenny Werner.

Martucci continues to cultivate an original and interpretive drum style that is both supportive and interactive, reflecting his deep understanding of the jazz tradition and his vast stylistic influences. Tony is a skilled accompanist and a soloist of unusual melodic depth.

Tony’s extensive discography includes four critically acclaimed recordings under his own name: “EARTH TONES” (which earned a spot on the Jazz Times Critics Pick Best of the Year), “COLLAGE”, “LONG STREET CHARM” (rated four stars in Down Beat magazine), and the most recent, “LIFE IN HAND,” included by  The Washington Post in its list of the best recordings of 2011. In addition to leading his own ensembles, current projects include The Jazz Update, The Victor Haskins Group, Glenn Wilson, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Mary Morton Parsons Jazz Masters.

Martucci has been a professor of music at The College of William and Mary and The University of Maryland. Tony currently is an adjunct professor of music at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he teaches drum set, Latin percussion, and small jazz ensemble. Tony is also a teaching artist for the Washington Performing Arts Society, The Capitol Jazz Project, and the Kennedy Center Jazz Outreach program in Washington D.C.