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BABY GRAND JAZZ 2021

Hartford Public Library's highly-popular Baby Grand Jazz Series will return VIRTUALLY for its 18th season in 2021 with a stellar line-up of the best jazz musicians in the region.

Tune in every Sunday at 3:00pm from January 3rd through April 25th 2021 on
Hartford Public Library's Facebook Page and YouTube channel.

Watch past performances from this season on Hartford Public Access every Saturday at 12pm on Public Access Channel 5 (Comcast), Educational Access Channel 95 (Comcast), Channel 6030 (Frontier), Channel 6031 (Frontier), and now on Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Roku, and on hpatv.org.

Thank you to our presenting sponsor, The Kaman Foundation, for its continuing support. Thank you to Hartford Public Access for filming and broadcasting this season's performances. And special thanks to our longtime partners The Hartford Jazz Society and WWUH 91.3 FM.

Sign up for Baby Grand Jazz email updates here.

Ken Serio Trio– January 3rd 

Drummer Ken Serio and bassist Jedd Chlebowski started to play together in 2016, soon after guitarist Sinan Bakir joined and they have been playing, touring and recording regularly as a unit since then. They play with intense energy and grace and their repertoire is eclectic, covering tunes from jazz standards and compositions to rock and contemporary music as well as originals. Their latest album is titled “Road Trip”, a double live album featuring great late Vic Juris and Dave Mullen.

 

Sinan Bakir - guitar

Jedd Chlebowski - bass

Ken Serio - drums



June Bisantz & Alex Nakhimovsky – January 10th 

Jazz/classical pianist Alex Nakhimovsky and vocalist June Bisantz have performed, recorded
and toured together since 2005. Their concerts include jazz clubs and festivals such as the
Litchfield Jazz Festival, the BSBI Jazz Festival, the Greater Hartford International Jazz Festival,
the Waterbury Palace Theater/Poli Club, the Avon Public Library, Russell Library, the
Wadsworth Atheum, the Artist Collective and many others. The have toured Japan four times and recorded three albums together. Bisantz and Nakhimovsky share a background in classical
music - both chose the violin as their first instrument - a love of latin rhythms and jazz
harmonies, and a serious playfulness that has made them successful musical partners. Both
attended the Hartt School of Music - Bisantz as a child and Nakhimovsky as a young adult.

 

June Bisantz - voice
Alex Nakhimovsky - piano
Matt Dwonszyk - bass
Dan Liparini - guitar
Brunilda Myftaraj - violin
Ed Fast - drums & percussion


Anton Kot Trio – January 17th

Anton Kot was the pianist for the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Youth Orchestra and his ensemble was recognized in the 12th Annual Charles Mingus Festival in NYC. He has performed at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in NYC and Shanghai, the Side Door Jazz Club in Old Saybrook, Carnegie Hall, Wesleyan University World Music Hall, at the International Gamelan Festival in Indonesia, the Newport Jazz Festival with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, and had his compositions performed at Yale University’s Sudler Hall. In 2019, he toured Asia with Carnegie Hall’s NYO Jazz. Upon his return, he also performed at the Vail Jazz Festival. Anton is the 2020 drummer for Jazz Band of America and a recent graduate of the Manhattan School of Music Pre-college Program in Jazz Studies.
 
Anton Kot - drums and piano 
Paul Arslanian - piano
Steven Bulmer - bass

Andrew Wilcox Sextet – January 24th

The Andrew Wilcox Sextet is a modern jazz group led by Hartford-based pianist Andrew Wilcox. Featuring band members from the east coast cities of Philadelphia, New York City, and Hartford, the band has a unique chemistry from time spent in their own individual cities coupled with time together in the summers at the Litchfield Jazz Camp, where they spent their formative years. The compositions they perform include a variety of obscure tunes from lesser known 70’s and 80’s jazz musicians and Andrew Wilcox’s originals. Andrew’s originals are an organic output of his time spent out in nature combined with his life experiences up to this point. The result is a combination of powerful and intense swingin grooves, in addition to wistful and spacey melodies. Andrew’s eclectic influences have pushed his music forward as he follows in the footsteps of progressive jazz musicians of the past.
 
Elliot Bild - trumpet
Josh Walker - tenor saxophone
Dakota Austin - alto saxophone
Andrew Wilcox - piano
Zwelakhe-Duma Bell le Pere - bass
Jonathan Barber - drums

CBG and the Hartford Sound – January 31st

Click here for the Facebook Event and YouTube Event
 
CBG and the Hartford Sound is a collective started by pianist Damian Curtis, percussionist
Nelson Bello and trombonist Emmett Goods. The three have been friends and musical
associates for over 20 years but in 2014 came together for a one night gig and decided to keep
working. And in the last six years the band has played all across New England and in
Pittsburgh, Pa. The group's unique mix of both jazz and latin styles gives them a sound that can
only be described as uniquely “Hartford”. The band is currently working on their first recording
due for release in 2021.
 
Emmett Goods - trombone
Jonathan Powell - trumpet
Damian Curtis - piano
Luques Curtis - bass
TBD - drums
Nelson Bello - percussion


VALENTINE'S DAY DOUBLE FEATURE - February 14th
 

Medusa – 1:00-2:00pm 

Click here for Facebook Event and YouTube Event.

Medusa was founded in 2010 by Tap dancer Corey Hutchins and percussionist Jocelyn Pleasant! Both met and performed together in the late 90s early 2000s at The Artist Collective in Hartford. They wanted to change the way Jazz music was seen and especially Heard.  Medusa is a statement band that wants to be heard as they bring the two great American art forms of Jazz music and Rhythm Tap dancing together in a smooth mix of jazz standards and tap dancing at its highest level! Corey Hutchins has been with the Broadway sensation Riverdance and performed around the world as well as the White House in 2010. Jocelyn has made her mark in the community and performance scenes over the past 15 years. She continues to teach throughout CT and runs The Lost Tribe also. The band continues to move other artists in and out with availability but one thing remains. All the artists are Hartford Taught and grew up in the community to be better musicians and people.

Corey Hutchins - tap dance percussion
Jocelyn Pleasant - drums
Mike Carabello - piano
Dave Uelle - bass
Dakota Austin - saxophonist
 

John Kordalewski Trio – 4:00-5:00pm

Click here for Facebook Event and YouTube Event.

Pianist John Kordalewski, best known as leader of Boston's big band The Makanda Project, teams with Wes Brown and Royal Hartigan, rhythm section partners in the group Blood Drum Spirit for over 30 years.  The program will cover a wide spectrum, from "straight ahead" jazz compositions, to original compositions, to "global jazz" from South Africa and West Africa. 
 
John Kordalewski - piano
Wes Brown - bass
Royal Hartigan - drums

Charu Suri and Friends – February 21st

The first female Indian American jazz composer to premier work at Carnegie Hall, Charu was born in South India and has been playing the piano since the age of five, and performing since the age of nine. She formed her jazz band a few years ago, and has released three albums since then, including the recent "The Book of Ragas" blending a jazz trio and Sufi sounds, and The New American Songbook that is an ode to the more traditional songbook sound. Her work led her to become a GRAMMY voting member this past summer. Her band performers include Sufi singer Umer Piracha, Songbook singer Dani Rhodes, drummer Jay O'Brien and bassist Justin Lee. She currently resides in New Jersey as does most of her band.
 
Charu Suri, pianist and composer
Jay O'Brien, drums
Umer Piracha, Sufi vocals
Dani Rhodes, Songbook vocals
Justin Lee, Double Bass
 

Ray González Latin Jazz Quintet & HPL's NEA Big Read Kickoff – February 28th

Join us for one of our biggest crossover events of the year: Baby Grand Jazz meets Hartford Public Library's NEA Big Read Kickoff!
 
Help us launch HPL’s 2021 NEA Big Read around Julia Alvarez’s In The Time of the Butterflies and How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay with music, poetry, dance, and more! Featuring live latin jazz from the Ray González Latin Jazz Quintet, poetry readings from local poet Diana Aldrete, dance performance from Baila Con Gusto CT, and readings from In The Time of the Butterflies.
 
Ray González is dedicated in mind, body and soul to the creation of music. A native of Puerto Rico, Ray González is a pioneer of Latin music in the US. He has played and recorded with some of the best international artists of our times: Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Giovanni Hidalgo, Charlie Sepúlveda, Rafael Cortijo, Ismael Rivera, Puertosax, Luis Marin, Eguie Castrillo, Paoli Mejias, Jerry Medina and many others. Through the years, González has been commissioned to compose for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. He has also performed with the symphonies for projects such as Music of the Americas and others. Ray González Latin Jazz Quintet is energetic, dynamic and refreshing. González music has a distinct Afro-Caribbean personality with a spicy swing to delight the public. A treat to Latin Jazz lovers!
 
Ray González Latin Jazz Quintet:
Damian Curtis - Piano
Benny Velázquez - Bass
Miguel Rios - Percussion
Tony González - Percussion
Ray González - Trumpet & Flugelhorn
 
More about the NEA Big Read: February 28th - March 30th, 2021
Hartford Public Library’s 2021 NEA Big Read celebrates Julia Alvarez’s books In the Time of the Butterflies and youth selection How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay through exciting programming around Dominican art, literature, and performance, as well as educational and celebratory programs on revolutionary Hartford Latinas for the month of March. Join us as we explore how the books’ themes of Dominican pride, free-thinking, resilience, and women’s rights take root right here in Hartford. The NEA Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
 

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Dan Liparini Quartet– March 7th

The Dan Liparini Quartet is a collaborative group that performs original music influenced by jazz, folk and a variety of other influences. In 2019 the group went into the studio to record Liparini's debut album “Tessellations", released September 2020. Each member of the band is a graduate of the Jackie McClean Institute at the Hartt School of Music.

 

As a bandleader and a sideman Dan has performed at venues and music festivals across the region such as the Sidedoor Jazz Club, Infinity Music Hall, Daryl's House Club, The Hartford Festival of Jazz, Talcott Mountain Music Festival, Baby Grand Jazz Series and Northampton Jazz Festival. He is also a member of the New Haven based Americana band Goodnight Blue Moon, and has been a faculty member of the Litchfield Jazz Camp since 2017.

 

Dan Liparini- Guitar

Jen Allen- Piano

Matt Dwonsyzk- Bass

Eric Hallenbeck- Drums

 


Kyoko Oyobe Quartet – March 14th

The Japanese-born pianist, composer Kyoko Oyobe has been a mainstay in the New York Jazz scene since 2005. She started performing with her own group at New York CIty’s renowned jazz clubs, such as Smalls Jazz Club and Fat Cat. In December 2008 she made a live recording of her original music with her trio, at Smalls Jazz Club that gave birth to the album, “Cookin’ at Smalls” released in 2009. In 2014 she made a recording with her Quartet, “Happy Silence,” which was released in 2015. She has headlined at many well-known jazz venues in New York, such as the Blue Note, Smalls Jazz Club, Mezzrow, Jazz at Kitano, Garage, 55 Bar, Fat Cat, etc. In Japan, she is also known for touring regularly with her Trio and Quartet at NHK concert hall (Japan’s National public broadcasting organization), Body and Soul (Tokyo), Left Alone (Kobe), Speak Low (Hiroshima), New Combo (Fukuoka), Renaiss Hall (Okayama) and many others. Her prowess as a superlative jazz pianist is recognized internationally by musical peers who regularly invite her to accompany them.
 
Kyoko Oyobe - piano
Matt Wilson - drums
Michael O'Brien - bass
Steve Wilson - saxophone

Jimmy Gavagan Qunitet – March 21st

Jimmy Gavagan and the members of his ensemble are current students of the University of Hartford. Together they take influence from John Coltrane, Ahmad Jamal, Miles Davis, and many other jazz greats to manifest a creative musical environment. You will hear them recreate jazz standards as well as channel their influences through original music.
 
Jimmy Gavagan - drums
Nathan Edwards - saxophone
Jeremy Galloway - guitar
David Winters - piano
Conway Cambell Jr. - bass

New England Jazz Ensemble – March 28th

New England Jazz Ensemble is comprised of Walter Gwardyak on the piano, Steven Bulmer on the bass, and Jonathan Mele on the drums. Gwardyak (piano) is a bebop pianist, composer and arranger whose five-decade career has many highlights, including: a summer playing with the Buddy Rich band in 1969; a decade as house pianist with the Sonny Costanza big band in the 1980s and 90s; and music director, composer and arranger for the New England Jazz Ensemble for over 20 years. Bulmer is a multi-dimensional musician actively performing and recording on upright bass, electric bass and tuba. Mele (drums) is a New York City-based freelance drummer, percussionist, composer and audio engineer.
 
Walt Gwardyak - piano
Steve Bulmer - bass
Jon Mele - drums

Jonathan Barber and Vision Ahead – April 11th

International recording artist, composer, educator and bandleader, Jonathan Barber was voted the #1 Up-and-Coming Drummer of 2018 in Modern Drummer. Barber has already recorded and toured worldwide with such artists as Pat Metheny, Erykah Badu, Nicholas Payton, Buster Williams, Jimmy Greene, Jeremy Pelt, Wallace Roney, Terrace Martin, Jennifer Holiday, Harold Mabern, Steve Davis, Stefon Harris, The Brooklyn Philharmonic and many more. In addition to his first-call status as a sideman, Barber has recently stepped forth as a composer and leader with his Vision Ahead band, featuring saxophonist Godwin Louis, guitarist Andrew Renfroe, bassist Matt Dwonszyk, and pianist Taber Gable. The group’s blend of classic, swinging jazz with elements of gospel, rock, soul, and fusion is a compelling showcase of Barber’s broad stylistic range as a composer and performer. Jonathan Barber & Vision Ahead was featured and headlined the 2018 Rainy Days Jazz Festival held in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, 2019 Hartford Jazz Festival, 2020 Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, amoungust numerous venues across the country.
 
Jonathan Barber - drums
Godwin Louis - alto saxophone
Matt Dwonszyk - bass
Taber Gable - piano
Andrew Renfroe - guitar

People of Goodwill – April 18th

In homage to Africa, the music of People of Goodwill is based around the drum and always reflects a deep respect for the power of rhythm. The music of People of Goodwill freely uses the wide variety of popular music styles, including Jazz, Funk, Rock, Reggae, Rhythm & Blues, Latin, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban that have evolved as a result of the African Diaspora. People of Goodwill presents a combination of its own original compositions and its arrangements of select compositions by some of the most outstanding songwriters and musicians of our time. The band has opened for internationally acclaimed artists such as Ray Charles, saxophonist George Howard, and percussionist Sheila E. People of Goodwill recently was featured at the First Night Hartford Celebration, the Juneteenth Festival at the Wadsworth Atheneum museum in Hartford, CT and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, CT. On several occasions Academy Award winning actor Paul Newman has invited the band to play for his annual gala fundraiser at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, CT.
 
Leon Alexander (Hassan Ali), Congas and Percussion
Peter George, Sr., Drums
Melvin Jackson, Flute
Bill Mocarsky, Keyboards
David Stoltz, Bass

TROMBEATZ – April 25th

Trombeatz is a musical group featuring Latin jazz/Fusion on a mission to express cultural and social issues. Directed by trombonist Hommy Ramos and percussionist Nelson Bello, Trombeatz is their forum to relive their wealth of life experience. Through their compositions and arrangements, Trombeatz takes Latin music and changes in it into a whole new form, the fundamental base for a unique fusion that combines rock, hip hop, reggae, funk, soul, R&B, and electronic music, resulting in an exquisite combination of pop art. 
 
Hommy Ramos - trombone & musical director
Nelson Bello - percussion & co-founder
Alex Ayala- bass
Joel Mateo- drums
Felipe Fournier- vibraphone
Ivan Renta- saxophones

Click here to watch Baby Grand Jazz performances from past seasons.


SPONSORED BY THE KAMAN FOUNDATION