2018 CMC Jazz Festival Headliner Performances Revealed

The 2018 CMC Jazz Festival revealed their announced headliners for the week-long festival to take place July 23rd to July 28th.  Last year, the CMC Jazz Festival, organized by the Historic Colored Musicians Club, held its first week-long festival ever.  The festival returns with another week-long slate of performances.

Announced to date with descriptions are:

Joel Ross and Good Vibes:
Historic Colored Musicians Club
Tuesday, July 24th, 2018
2 Shows! 7:30 pm & 9:00 pm

Chicago native Joel Ross has performed with historic and seasoned artists – Herbie Hancock, Louis Hayes, Christian McBride, and Stefon Harris – as well as with cutting-edge contemporaries like Ambrose Akinmusire, Gerald Clayton, Jon Batiste and many more. Twice selected as a Thelonious Monk Institute National All-Star and a 2013 Young Arts Jazz Finalist – he’s also had the opportunity to perform at the Brubeck, Monterey, Seattle, and Chicago Jazz Festivals -and- at internationally-celebrated venues like Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York, SF Jazz in San Francisco, and Club Vibrato in Los Angeles.

Playing the drum kit as early as three years of age, Ross learned other percussion instruments & approaches beginning in grade five, in his tenth year. When starting his work on Vibes, he engaged both classical and jazz works and did so throughout high school. In his last year there, Ross also began playing the piano in a more serious way.

Ross recently completed a two-year fellowship with the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet in California. Winning first place at the 2016 BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival ‘Jazz Forward’ Competition, he was also a winner of the Keep an Eye International Jazz Award, in Amsterdam. A fitting addition to trumpeter Marquis Hill’s wonderful group – before their 2016 European tour – Ross has just recorded his own debut album “Good Vibes,” to be released in 2018. He will be performing, also, with his newly minted Joel Ross’ Good Vibes ensemble.

(Personal note: I’ve seen Joel Ross perform twice in New York City.  Once with Marquis Hill.  A dynamic vibes player destined to be considered one of the greats.)

Zuri Appleby Projex Live:
Historic Colored Musicians Club
sponsored by Projex
Tuesday, July 24th, 2018, 10:30 pm

Zuri Elise Appleby will appear on the big screen in a cutting-edge, live-streamed concert, sponsored by Projex, at the Historic Colored Musicians Club. As the daughter of bassist Rodney and pianist Linda Appleby.  At the age of 5, Zuri began her love of music by singing in the church choir.  At age 7, she picked up the guitar, playing the violin, french horn, finally settling on bass. She has played with the likes of Ginuwine, Silk, Maysa, Soulive, Christopher Williams, Marvin Sapp, Martha Munizzi, Joseph Wooten, keyboardist for the Steve Miller Band, and CeeLo Green. Special events included The Lifebeat MTV VMA’S Pre-Concert Show in Holywood, iHeart Radio Music Festival in Vegas, The Jingle Ball Tour in numerous cities, The BBC Radio One Teen Awards at Wembley Stadium in London, and a widely-acclaimed featured performance at the 2015 American Music Awards. There were also several promotional television appearances such as The Ellen Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and the taping of the Victoria Secret Swimsuit Special on St. Barth’s Island that aired on CBS in March of 2016. She currently tours with Nombe and Brent Faiyaz, among others.

Onaje with Sabu Adeyola
Pausa Art House
Wednesday, July 27th, 2018
2 Shows! 8:00 pm & 9:30 pm

Born in Harlem of Caribbean parents( Father from Anguilla, Mother from Montserrat) and raised in Queens, Onaje started playing piano at age 7. He graduated from Manhattan’s High School of Music and Art as well as SUNY at Fredonia. In 1971, a gig with master guitarist Kenny Burrell at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit led to recording and sideman gigs with such artists as Norman Connors, Buster Williams, Cecil McBee, Betty Carter and Nat Adderley. He spent 2 years as pianist, composer, arranger in the band led by the late, great trumpeter Woody Shaw.

As a producer/arranger/pianist, Onaje has worked with other artists such as Billy Cobham, Kevin Eubanks, Will Downing, Angela Bofill, and Cassandra Wilson. Producer of debut albums for vocalists Vanessa Rubin and Gregory Generet and for bassist Kenny Davis whose album featured among others, Geri Allen, Javon Jackson, Billy Kilson and Don Byron.

Onaje is a 2006 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Jazz Artist for his album, “Remember Their Innocence”

“Let Me Be Free: Celebrating Cecil Taylor”
Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center
Thursday, July 26th, 2018
7:30 pm

“Let me be free!”: A Piano Tribute to Free Jazz Pioneer Cecil Taylor (March 15, 1929 – April 5, 2018)

Four pianists, in a “round robin” format, Simona Premazzi (a gifted rising star pianist from New York City), George Caldwell, Walter Kemp 3 and Michael McNeill will survey the works of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman, in the spirit of the great Cecil Taylor.

From Howard Mandel: “The groundbreaking music of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor-three Black Americans known to a broad-based audience by their first names alone-have impacted successive waves of musicians, not only in jazz but across the musical spectrum. Born within four years of each other, but with dissimilar family backgrounds and distinctly different personal temperaments, Miles, Ornette, and Cecil are individually and collectively American originals. Each has transcended the musical field to influence African-American culture.”

“To me, the piano in itself is an orchestra.”

“When you think about musicians who are reading music, my contention has always been the energy that you’re using deciphering what the symbol is taking away from the maximum creative energy that you might have had if you understood that it’s but a symbol.”

“I discovered very early that it wasn’t quite enough for me to imitate people.” -Cecil Taylor

3oh! Dark Room DJ Set
Undisclosed Location
VIP Passholders ONLY
Thursday, July 26th, 2018, 9:00 pm

Blujazz artist Walter Kemp 3, pianist, composer, rhythmic vocalist, is the driving force behind the “Walter Kemp 3oh!.” the trio is set to release a “Limited Edition” vinyl LP entitled “DarkRoom.” This unique event, for presale album buyers and VIP pass holders only, will be a Jazz DJ Listening Set, spinning the ensemble’s live recording, along with expert jazz mixes.

The 3oh!’s debut release, “Dark Continent,” brought Kemp’s innate abilities to the forefront. Having joined forces with long-time musical collaborators, RiShon Odel Northington, recording and touring bassist for GRAMMY-nominated Najee, and percussive phenom David “Teaspoon” Hulett, the trio embodies ”the spirit of the music.” -JBL George W. Harris (LA Jazz Weekly) states the release, “swings with excitement… Kemp is richly expansive … Northington bends the strings with authority… the whole team is romantic over Hulett’s snazzy drum work… anything but the expected piano trio.”  As featured artists on Toronto’s Jazz FM 91.1, and with a live performance heralded as “the best…incredibly beautiful music,” this is just the beginning for these promising young artists.

Mwenso & the Shakes
Historic Colored Musicians Club
Friday, July 27th, 2018
2 Shows! 7:30pm & 9:00pm

Mwenso and the Shakes are a unique troupe of global artists who present music that merges the highest form of entertainment and artistry while commanding a formidable timeline of jazz and blues expression through African and Afro American music. Immigrating from Sierra Leone, London, South Africa, Greenwich Village, Madagascar, France, Jamaica, and Hawaii the Shakes all now call Harlem their home.  Taking from the stylings of Fats Waller, Muddy Waters, James Brown and many other American musical legends – Michael Mwenso leads an electrifying show the New York Times calls “intense, prowling, and ebullient.”

Francisco Mela Crash Trio
Babeville
Asbury Hall at Babeville
Saturday, July 28th, 2018
8:00pm

Francisco Mela is a favorite amongst jazz’s elite instrumentalists, among them, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, JoAnne Brackeen, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, Bobby Watson and McCoy Tyner, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication, and life-affirming spirit as an extension of his incredible talents as a composer and drummer.

Francisco Mela was born in 1968 in Bayamo, Cuba. He moved to Boston in 2000 to pursue a degree at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music and, quickly thereafter, the faculty recognized that Mela had much to offer students and promptly hired him to teach at the school. Mela rapidly made a name for himself on the Boston scene, becoming the house drummer at the legendary Wally’s Café Jazz Club. It was at Wally’s that Mela began developing a concept for his own band, one that would feature the sounds of modern jazz with the traditional music he grew up with in Cuba.

FE (2016) is Francisco Mela’s fourth and most recent project as a leader. The self-released album spotlights two standout musicians that join him to form The Crash Trio, pianist Leo Genovese, and bassist Gerald Cannon. Appearing as a featured guest on the recording is the legendary guitarist, John Scofield. Early response to the album has been overwhelmingly positive, and the trio received tremendous support when they toured parts of Europe earlier this year.  FE is of particular significance to Mela and is a tribute to his late parents. The Crash Trio will be performing this fall through 2017 in support of the new album.

For more information about the festival, announcements regarding local stage performers, and to purchase club and festival passes, visit the CMC Jazz Festival Website:  https://www.cmcjazzfest.com/

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