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Baby Grand Jazz is a series of 16 free jazz performances held in our Downtown Library Atrium on Sunday afternoons, January through April, that blends traditional styles with new sounds in a celebration of the diversity of jazz culture and great music. Enjoy refreshments for purchase from the Kitchen Cafe atrium kiosk. Baby Grand Jazz is sponsored by the Charles H. Kaman Charitable Foundation. Click here to print flyer. 

2015 Performer Lineup

JANUARY 4, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Watch a video of the performance!

Eli Yamin is a jazz and blues pianist, producer, educator and Steinway artist. Raised in the bands of jazz masters Walter Perkins, Illinois Jacquet and Barry Harris, Eli’s exciting and imaginative piano playing has taken him and his groups around the world as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Department of State and has led him to perform and teach at the famed Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City as well as invited for a command performance at President Obama’s White House. Yamin co-founded The Jazz Drama Program, which uplifts students, teachers and their communities through interactive experiences in the jazz arts—storytelling, music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Yamin’s compositions “A Healing Song,” about the healing power of the blues, and “Rwandan Child” about the wisdom of children, awaken a shared sense of humanity, love and joy in all audiences. Eli’s jazz musicals for children are performed around the world and licensed by Theatrical Rights Worldwide. His CDs are featured on Sirius XM and Jazz 88, WBGO in Newark.

Eli Yamin – Piano/Vocal
Lakecia Benjamin – Alto Saxophone
Jennifer Vincent – Bass
Craig Haynes - Drums

Eli yamin

JANUARY 11, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Nicholas Di Maria Quintet

Nick Di Maria is a New Haven, CT based trumpeter, composer, producer, and educator. A graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Nick holds a Bachelor’s in Jazz Performance studying under Eddie Henderson, Dave Scott, Jeremy Pelt, Taylor Ho Bynum and Rich Clymer, a Masters of Science in Music Education.

In 2012 Nick joined the ranks of the Connecticut Ska band, For Serious and has been performing shows all over the state with the very talented band as they released their first album, Revival of the Fittest. In 2012 Nick recorded his second studio release, The Beatnik, at Firehouse 12 Studios in New Haven. The album contains 9 original compositions that reflect Nick’s compositional influences. The album is half straight ahead, half electro-acoustic jazz.

Nick Di Maria – Trumpet
Andrew Kosiba –Piano
Andrew Zwart – Bass
Eric Hallenbeck - Drums

Nick Di

JANUARY 18, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Eri Yamamoto

Since moving to the United States in 1995, Eri Yamamoto has established herself as one of jazz's most original and compelling pianists and composers. Jazz legend Herbie Hancock has said, “My hat’s off to her… already she’s found her own voice.” The Eri Yamamoto Trio has developed a unique sound and repertoire, and has built a loyal following in New York and abroad. They have recently toured the U. S., Canada, Europe, and Japan, with appearances at major festivals in Cathedral Park, Portland, Oregon; Hartford, Connecticut; Jazz en Raffale, Montreal; Cheltenham, England; Terrassa, Spain; Bray/Derry, Ireland; Time Zones in Bari, Italy; and Shiga, Japan.

In 2013, Eri released her first live CD, “Firefly, recorded at Klavierhaus in New York City. “Firefly” is her ninth CD as a leader, and features long-time trio mates Dave Ambrosio on bass and Ikuo Takeuchi on drums. The title track evokes the natural beauty and tranquility of her native Japan, while other songs bring to life the vitality and energy of New York City. Since 2000, Eri's trio has been appearing regularly at Arthur's Tavern, a historic jazz club in New York's Greenwich Village. Eri has also developed a personal voice as a solo pianist, and has moved audiences with her renditions of her own compositions and her spontaneous improvisations. She has also collaborated with such stellar musicians as William Parker, Paul McCandless, Yves Léveillé, Ron McClure, and Andy McKee, Lewis Barns, Rob Brown, and Butch Morris.

Eri Yamamoto – Piano
Ikuo Takeuchi – Drums


Eri yamamoto

JANUARY 25, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.;
Tarantino/ Terefenko Duo

Tarantino/Terefenko presents fresh takes on jazz standards and re-inventions of classical works, along with original music and improvisation. The duo released their first album, “Crossing Paths,” in Fall 2014. Tarantino/Terefenko performed at the 2014 Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas, Texas, where they presented a clinic on Terefenko’s recent publication Jazz Theory: From Basic to Advanced Study and showcased some of their other work. The duo can be found performing and presenting jazz workshops and clinics in the Rochester area and will be touring internationally in the Spring of 2015.

Alexa Tarantino – Saxophone
Dariusz Terefenko - Piano



FEBRUARY 1, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Ms. Rocke Brown, a Northeast Region Winner of the Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition, was honored in 2012 by the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame for her acclaim as a singer and music educator. She is known for her soul-stirring renditions of hymns, spirituals, gospel and jazz that linger with audiences far beyond the vibrations of the last note.

Hartford Courant writer and critic Owen McNally marveled, "Jolie Rocke Brown is a versatile vocalist who ranges authoritatively and with graceful ease over everything from opera and music theater to gospel and jazz". Legendary poet, educator and activist, Dr. Maya Angelou noted, "Jolie Rocke Brown sings with such passion ... and compassion!"

Jolie Rocke Brown – Vocal
Joel A Martin - Piano


Jolie brown

FEBRUARY 8, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The Survivors Swing Band generates energy and excitement everywhere they perform. A 7-piece professional jazz band, based in Connecticut, that plays the classic melodies from an era gone by--hot tunes and soothing ballads of the Swing Era-- plus many of the wonderful melodies from the two decades that followed. The "Big Bands" played this music with a high degree of rigid orchestration. The Survivors render it with a greater tilt towards improvisation, thus giving each pass at a tune somewhat of a new flavor while still keeping true to the original melodies.

Jeremy Aliston - Drums
Jules Bashkin - Alto Sax
Greg Butko - Reeds
Lauren Humpage - Bass, Vocals
Dave Mechler - Cornet, Trumpet
Bill Steinhauser - Banjo, Guitar
Sandra Wittman - Piano


Swing band

FEBRUARY 22, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Mihoko is a Japanese native jazz piano performer, composer, and educator. She holds B.M. with magna cum laude from Berklee College of Music at where she studied with Joanne Brackeen and met Jazz piano legend, Harvey Diamond (disciple of Lennie Tristano). She studied with him after graduating.

Her music has been inspired by many of jazz giants, especially Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Herbie Hancock, and Mulgrew Miller. Ravel, Debussy, and Poulenc are also her favorites as she was trained with classical music.

She has been performing in the U.S. and Japan in various venues and festivals with various bands including Latin jazz group and salsa bands, and small settings such as duo and solo. In 2010, a debut CD whose content is five originals and two standards was released and air-played on the NPR and Japanese FM. Sheila Jordan, a legendary jazz vocalist, commented, “You play beautiful with a deep soul.”

Her piano trio on the CD (Thomas Hebb on bass, Yoron Israel on drums) toured in Japan in 2010.

Mihoko is a resident pianist at the Langham Boston since September 2013 as well as actively performing at many other places in Boston and NY.

Mihoko Abe – Piano
Larry Roland - Bass
Yoron Israel - Drums


Mihoko trio

MARCH 1, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Laszlo Gardony is a critically acclaimed artist who has brought his soulful improvisations and compositions to audiences in 24 countries. Born in Hungary, Gardony showed an early aptitude on the piano. A full scholarship to Berklee brought him to America in 1983.Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Gardony has been called “a pianist worthy of praise within the highest pantheon of performers” by and “a great pianist” by Dave Brubeck.He has released ten albums, leading groups that included Dave Holland, Miroslav Vitous, Mick Goodrick, Yoron Israel, John Lockwood, Jamey Haddad and Stan Strickland among others.

Laszlo Gardony – Piano
John Lockwood – Bass
Yoron Israel - Drums


Laszlo Gardony

MARCH 8, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The piano has been Matt’s passion, serving as an outlet for self- expression that he learned and love and rely on. Matt’s music is rooted in a profound love for the early jazz masters. What makes him unique is his application of early jazz piano devices created by Ragtime, Blues, and Stride musicians. His love of classic jazz piano inspires him to pursue a thorough musicianship that uses traditional elements with modern jazz concepts.

Matt DeChamplain – Piano
Steve Davis – Trombone
Atla DeChamplain - Vocals


Matt D

MARCH 15, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Joshua Breakstone

"Fire in velvet. A fitting description of Joshua Breakstone's jazz guitar," wrote Paul Weidman in The Sante Fe New Mexican. "His flowing lines on up-tempo cookers are impeccably clean and fiery, bearing the mark of a first-rate improviser, while his chordal work on heartbreaker ballads is the final word in finesse," has raved Guitar Player magazine. Japan's Jazz Hihyo (aka Jazz Critique) recognizes that "The style in which Joshua develops his fluid single-note solos used to be thought of as the Grant Green school, but now this man leads the school. Down-beat also has written that "There is no shortage of young, knock-out jazz guitarists about us these days. And Joshua Breakstone is among the best of them."

Joshwa Breakstone – Guitar
Noah Baerman - Piano


Joshua Breakstone

NEW DATE! Sunday, March 22nd, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Steve Clarke was born and raised in Bridgeport CT. Born into a musical family, four brothers played brass instruments, the oldest brother was a jazz saxophonist, and dad played trumpet, music was always a part of his life. Has been playing and performing for over 35 years. Has toured in U.S. Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Austria, & Slovakia. Steve has his own Jazz Trio and has release 7 CD’s under his name on Hop-N-Bop Records. His latest CD, “New Beginnings” features guitarist Mike Stern. The Steve Clarke Trio has been considered a new up & coming “Jazz Fusion Power Trio” but, these guys have been around, involved with music for decades and internationally known for there sold out shows in Europe.

Steve Clarke – Bass
Dexter Pettaway – Drums
Pat Marafiote - Piano


Steve Clarke

MARCH 22, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Jonny King has been described by Downbeat as “one of the strongest piano voices” of his generation and a “bandleader who kicks ass.” JazzTimes likewise wrote that he “represents the best of what jazz has to offer” as both a performer and composer. A native New Yorker, he grew up in the City’s jazz clubs, participating first as a fan and then as a performer. Before he was a teenager, King had already performed onstage with Dizzy Gillespie and appeared on television at the piano alongside his early idol, Earl “Fatha” Hines. Before he was 20, he was already sitting in with Art Blakey and playing his first gigs in New York.

King has also made his mark as a composer and arranger and has consistently attracted the attention of the jazz media for his compositions. The New York Times dubbed him “a thinker’s composer,” the Boston Globe called him “perhaps the best of the young composers,” and the LA Times noted that his compositions are “consistently provocative.” In addition to his own recordings, King’s pieces can be heard on a number of other recordings featuring such superb artists as Dave Holland, Billy Pierce, the late Tony Reedus, Steve Nelson, Alan Dawson, Renee Rosnes and Mulgrew Miller.
King is also a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University and cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. Despite the demands of oth careers, he has managed to combine life as a performer and composer with practice as a trial lawyer concentrating in intellectual property.



MARCH 29, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Alvin Carter is a multi-percussionist who had his musical beginnings on congas and later added drum set and many other types of percussion to his list. He currently focuses on Afrikan-American improvisational music but has been active in many different musical styles for many years. Alvin leads his own groups LEGACY: The Keepers of Tradition and The Alvin Carter Project. He also performs with Rafiki, which is led by Alvin Carter, Sr.

Alvin Benjamin Carter, Jr. – Drums
Emery A. Smith – Piano
Vishnu Wood – Bass


APRIL 12, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Family, heritage, tradition, exploration and innovation – these are the hallmarks of the Curtis Brothers, the men and their music. Zaccai and Luques Curtis are among finest of the latest crop of young musicians making their mark in New York City, the United States and around the world. They are 21st Century artists grounded in the artistic values of the 20th Century, the time when they first began their extensive musical studies and steadfast commitment to the advancement of the art form which they had been surrounded by since their birth into a household rich in the sounds of music, both jazz and Latin.

Zaccai Curtis – Piano
Luques Curtis - Bass



APRIL 19, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Brian Marsella is a pianist, composer, band leader, and educator rising in the ranks of New York’s young music stars. His musical stylings can be heard on numerous recordings and on concert stages across the globe. Growing up in Bucks County, PA, Marsella taught himself to play piano by ear, listening to his father play the saxophone and vibes. His discography includes seven albums on Zorn’s Tzadik label, including Zorn’s Mount Analogue. Most recently, Marsella can be heard on Jon Madof’s jewish afrobeat album, Zion80. His film credits include the performance and arrangement of Jessica Lurie’s score for Daniel Zezelji’s film, Fibonacci Bread, and original music for Jackie Pare’s tap dance documentary, Tap or Die.

Brian Marsella – Piano
Jason Fraticelli – Bass
Tim Keiper - Drums



APRIL 26, 2015, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

International jazz pianist and composer Hey Rim Jeon will be featured with her band, Hey Rim Jeon & Friends, at the Hartford Public Library, as a part of the Baby Grand Jazz Series 2015. Jeon will be performing jazz standards and original compositions from her latest CD, Introducing Hey Rim Jeon. Joining her on her albums are Dave Liebman, Terri Lyne Carrington, James Genus and Richie Barshay. Described as a “brilliant pianist” by legendary saxophonist Benny Golson, Jeon has been featured on WNBC’s “Weekend Today in New York”, and a documentary special broadcast on KBN, Korea’s National TV network channel. Jeon is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and currently serving as assistant professor of in the Piano Department.

Hey Rim Jeon – Piano
John Lockwood – Bass
Yoron Israel - Drums