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Baby Grand Jazz Returns January 7, 2018

The 15th Annual Baby Grand Jazz Series, sponsored by the Kaman Foundation, opens January 7 and runs through April 29. The free, hour-long concerts are held at the Downtown Library at 500 Main St from 3-4 pm. They are presented in partnership with the Hartford Jazz Society and WWUH 91.3 FM. 
 
The first and last performances (January 7 and April 29) will take place in the Atrium. All other performances will take place in the Center for Contemporary Culture on the main floor. The CCC has a seating capacity of 240. When the auditorium is full the doors will close. The CCC will open at 2 pm.  Overflow crowds can watch the livestream of the concerts in Classrooms 140-141, down the hall from the CCC.
 
Concert video is also posted for later viewing on its website, www.hplct.org.
 
View the concert live on Sundays from 3-4 pm on the Library's Facebook page.

 

JANUARY 7

Andy Sherwood's Dixieland Jazz Quartet

Clarinetist/Saxophonist Andy Sherwood retired from the U.S. Coast Guard Band after 24 years of service. He holds a Bachelor of Music in jazz studies and a Master of Music in clarinet performance. His Jazz Quartet performs a wide range of music from Dixieland and swing to jazz standards. They have performed in many venues throughout Connecticut including the La Grua Center, the Sidedoor Jazz Club, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the Groton City Cabaret series, and the Milford Jazz concert series. The quartet includes Ian Frenkel on piano, Bryan Rizzuto on bass, and Tom Briggs on drums.

Watch the concert.
See Maurice Robertson’s concert photos.


 

 

JANUARY 14

Metro Jazz Band

Kathy Bonaccorsi’s smooth, melodic singing style captures the vocal nuance of the New York jazz club singers of the 50s and 60s, where the genre Cool Jazz originated. Her ensemble’s repertoire includes American Songbook music made famous by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan to contemporary interpreters such as Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, and Norah Jones.

Watch the concert.
See Maurice Robertson’s concert photos.


 

 


 

 


JANUARY 21

The Matisse Project

Violinist Gwen Laster and pianist Christopher Bakriges were inspired by the “Jazz” book of paper cutouts produced by a bedridden Henri Matisse starting in 1941.
The 20 pieces composed by Bakriges are paired with Matisse’s work and inspired by the artist’s method of “teaching the eye to hear.”
Bakriges grew up in Detroit, graduated from the University of Detroit, taught in China, and studied World Music at Wesleyan University in Middletown with composer Anthony Braxton. He also studied ethnomusicology at York University in Toronto where he worked with Oscar Peterson.
Bishop John Selders from the Amistad UCC in Hartford will be the narrator for the program.

See concert here.

See Maurice D. Robertson’s concert photos.

 


 

 


 

JANUARY 28

Ronnie Burrage

Drummer and composer Ronnie Burrage’s trio, Holographic Principle, features Nimrod Speaks bassist from Philadelphia, and Michal Wierba pianist/keyboardist from Poland, playing intense fusion and straight ahead jazz called. The ensemble mixes elements of world music, jazz, jazz fusion, salsa, Afro Cuban with touches of all great Black music of the African diaspora. 

See concert here.

See Maurice D. Robertson's photos.


 

 


FEBRUARY 4

Sinan Bakir

Turkish guitarist/composer Sinan Bakir is noted as a virtuoso player and a masterful composer by the music critics and his peers. Sinan’s early musical experience started with mandolin lessons followed by an audition leading to the Ankara State Opera Children’s Choir. His all original debut album “On My Way”(2009) with bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Mark Ferber, followed by a quartet recording titled “Tales and Stories”(2012) with pianist Warren Byrd. Both albums received critical praise. Bakir teaches and performs as a soloist and in groups.
Pianist Tim Peck is Artist-in-Residence and Director of Contemporary Music at Pomfret School, a coeducation boarding and day school, where he guides students through a centuries-old musical conversation, teaching courses in Contemporary Music, musicianship, composition, and music production.Tim received his Master of Music in Modern American Music from the Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA.‚Äč

See concert here.

 


 

FEBRUARY 11

John Kordalewski Trio

The John Kordalewski Trio combines jazz sensibilities and traditions of three continents, playing “straight ahead jazz” ranging from the bebop era to more modern composers, and jazz from bass player Carlos Pino’s native Colombia and drummer Kesivan Naidoo’s native South Africa. The group was formed in 2016 and has been performing in the Boston area, including the Madorla Music Series and the Cambridge River Festival. Pianist John Kordalewski has been playing in the Boston area since the early 1990s, frequently in the Mardorla Music Series where he led a 13-piece group performing tribute concerts to Makanda Ken McIntyre.

See concert here.

See Maurice D. Robertson’s concert photos

 


 

FEBRUARY 18

Margaux Hayes and New World Ensemble 

The New World Eensemble presents music of the diaspora. This includes original compositions and interpretations of compositions by various artists.  Margaux Hayes is a Vocalist/Performance Artist/Educator. Richard McGhee III is a composer/multi-reed instrumentalist. Performances have included the music of Sun Ra, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Fela Kuti, Tam-Tam Gise and the MageePa Project. Richard traveled to Capetown, South Africa as a member of the Institute of Training & Development, South African Artists Exchange. The band includes Jonathan Chatfield on piano, Jocelyn Pleasant on percussion, and Colin Benn on viola and bass.

See concert.

See Maurice D. Robertson’s concert photos.

 


 

FEBRUARY 25

Haneef Nelson

The Haneef Nelson Quintet is a Hartford based jazz ensemble that features original music and arrangements of Latin jazz and jazz standards. Haneef Nelson was introduced to jazz at the young age of 13 through his father and through the Jazzmobile program. There he was taught how to play trumpet by such legendary figures as Donald Byrd and Cecil Bridgewater, but it wasn’t until he was 17 years old and met Dave Burns, an unsung trumpet legend in jazz. Nelson attended and graduated from the Hartt School, where he studied with such luminaries as Jackie McLean, Nat Reeves, Steve Davis, Chris Casey, Raymond Williams and Roger Murtha.
Nelson will play with Taber Gable on piano, Matt Dwonszyk on bass, and Jonathan Barber on drums.
Taber Gable started playing piano at age 9 in church and received his undergraduate degree in Jazz Studies from the Hartt School, and  a Master’s in Jazz Performance from the Juilliard School.
Matt Dwonszyk began playing electric bass at age 11, learned the upright bass at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Performing Arts and the Artists Collective after-school program, and received his undergraduate degree from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School, and Master’s in Music from SUNY Purchase.
Jonathan Barber began playing drums at age 5 in Hartford, studied at the Artists Collective in Hartford, received his undergraduate degree in music from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School, and has worked as a teacher at the Litchfield Jazz Camp, the Greater Hartford Arts Academy and at Hartt.

 

Watch video performance.


 

MARCH 4

Jeff Fuller & Friends

Bass player and composer Jeff Fuller leads a trio that has created two albums, “Shoreline Blues,” and “The Call From Within.”
Joined by pianist Darren Litzie, and drummer Ben Bilello, the group was formed in late 2014 to per­form original jazz compositions. Fuller’s eclectic jazz and Latin jazz compositions are featured along with the distinctive modern pieces by Litzie.
The trio’s performances are marked by the deep improvisatory interaction of Fuller, Litzie and drummer Ben Bilello The trio performed at last summer’s Hartford Monday Night Jazz Series. 

Watch performance video.


 

 


 

MARCH 11

Jan Jungden Trio

The Jan Jungden Trio infuses a carefully chosen jazz repertoire with a sound that is truly its own. Jan’s keyboard versatility keeps things interesting whether she is swinging with the band on piano, burning up the organ, or laying down a funky groove.  Bob Laramie’s ability to be comfortable walking through a jazz tune or snappin’ and poppin’ on electric bass, and Justin Blackburn’s expertise in traditional jazz drumming as well as his natural feel for Latin and funk rhythms rounds out the sound. 

Watch performance video.


 

MARCH 18

The Hot Club of New England

The Hot Club of New England (HCNE) is a musical collective featuring the top swing, bebop & gypsy jazz musicians. HCNE was founded by violinist Jason Anick, leader of the gypsy jazz group The Rhythm Future Quartet. Jason is joined by vocalist Atla DeChamplain, guitarist Max O’Rourke,  bassist Greg Loughman, and pianist Matt DeChamplain. HCNE  brings the elegant and classic style of this updated swing sound to a modern audience. The band's music has echoes of Duke Ellington, and other legends of the Great American Songbook, tinged with bebop and the French manouche style of the violinist Stéphane Grappelli, guitarist Django Reinhardt, and the Quintette du Hot Club de France. The core instrumentation of voice, violin, acoustic guitar, and upright bass provide the “gypsy jazz” sound which will be augmented by DeChamplain. 


 

MARCH 25

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Group leader L. Mixashawn Rozie grew up in Hartford and earned a degree in History and Ethnomusicology from Trinity College. He offers workshops and performances of "Decoding Race through Music" an original program that helps young people understand the facts and myths about race ethnicity and nationality. Rick Rozie is the principal bass player with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and frequently plays in jazz settings. Drummer Billy Arnold plays with the Young@Heart Chorus in Northampton, Mass. Pianist Warren Byrd performs frequently in Hartford and in Europe.
The band plays ragtime, no time, bebop, hip-hip and funk music.

 


 

 


APRIL 8

Jazzkia

Dutch-born Trumpeter and sax player Saskia Laroo leads this band  and shares vocals with her husband, pianist Warren Byrd. “Jazzkia” is the title of Laroo’s third album. Bass player Stephen “King” Porter is a Hartt school graduate and teaches there.   Drummer Jocelyn Pleasant provides the beat for many local bands, leads The Lost Tribe, and teaches.The band plays Laroo’s original compositions, and jazz standards.


 

APRIL 15

The Bossa Nova Project

The Bossa Nova Project was founded by Brazilian singer-songwriter/pianist, Isabella Mendes. The project was in­spired by the original Bossa Nova movement which took place during the Brazilian “Golden Era” in the ‘60s, when Brazil was booming culturally, socially and economically. The goal of the Bossa Nova Project is to replicate that original intent: to share beautiful music with others, to bring people together and to bring happiness to the world.
Bass player Itaiguara Brandão is from Rio de Janeiro and is now based in New York City. His solo album, “Awakening,” explores Brazilian music.Wesley Amorim is a guitarist, composer and arranger from São Paulo, Brazil, has played in the pit of Broadway musicals, including “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “The Lion King.” Drummer/composer Mauricio Zottarelli was born in Brazil and moved to the U.S. in 1991 to study at the Berklee School of Music, majoring in film scoring, performance and arranging.  He has played on 70 albums and performed with Eliane Elias, Lee Ritenour and Esperanza Spalding. 

 


 

 


APRIL 22

Trio 149

Pianist Noah Baerman earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University, studying for six years under Kenny Barron. Noah’s widely acclaimed 2003 release “Patch Kit” raised funds and awareness for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder with which he was born. The album, featuring bassist Ron Carter and drummer Ben Riley, gained substantial press and radio airplay nationally and led to an appearance for Noah on Marian McPartland’s NPR program “Piano Jazz.” Noah has released a total of nine albums as a bandleader including “Soul Force” (a tribute to the life and message of Martin Luther King), “Bliss” (a trio album of all original compositions), the solo piano album “Turtle Steps.” and “Know Thyself,” an album-length suite for jazz septet resulting from his having been awarded the Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation “New Works” grant. Noah is active as an educator, teaching privately and at several other institutions including Wesleyan University, where he directs the Jazz Ensemble. Joining Baerman him is pianist Jen Allen, bass player Henry Lugo, and drummer Johnathan Blake.


 

 


APRIL 29

Steve Kroon Latin Jazz Sextet

Steven Kroon is a percussionist with a high-energy electrifying Latin Jazz Sextet. Their musicality consists of Jazz with a blend of Afro Cuban and Brazilian music. . Kroon has been a professional musician for the last 35 years, working with singer Luther Vandross for two decades, and backing Diana Krall, Aretha Franklin and Ron Carter.  He also performed on The Tonight Show," "The Late Show With David Letterman," and "The Grammy Awards." 


 

SPONSORED BY THE KAMAN FOUNDATION