Join Us on November 10 for an Unforgettable Evening of Extraordinary Jazz with Ugonna Okegwo
World-renowned jazz bassist Ugonna Okegwo is set to take the stage at the upcoming Art of Jazz Series alongside the Gary Smulyan ensemble’s “Tadd’s All, Folks,” featuring the captivating Anaïs Reno. This extraordinary event is scheduled for Friday, November 10, promising a night of exceptional musical artistry.
Hailing from London and raised in Germany, Okegwo’s distinctive bass prowess has earned him global acclaim. His unique style, rich tone, and remarkable sense of swing have made him a sought-after musician in the jazz world. Critics worldwide have applauded his inventiveness and stylistic range, marking him as a leading light in the younger generation of jazz innovators.
Okegwo’s remarkable journey into the world of jazz was profoundly influenced by the eclectic sounds of African-American music. From James Brown to Charles Mingus, his exposure to various genres, including funk and jazz, shaped his musical identity. This fusion of musical concepts forms the bedrock of Okegwo’s distinct approach to the bass, setting him apart as a truly unique artist.
His transition to the vibrant jazz scene of New York began in 1989, following an invitation from legendary trombonist Lou Blackburn to tour Europe with his Afro-Jazz group, “Mombasa.” This experience led Okegwo to collaborate with eminent musicians like trumpeter Joe Newman, drummer Oliver Jackson, and bassist Major Holley. Their encouragement prompted Okegwo to make New York his home.
Upon his arrival in Manhattan, Okegwo’s talent caught the attention of saxophone legends such as Big Nick Nicholas, Junior Cook, and James Spaulding. He soon became a regular collaborator with these jazz luminaries. In 1992, the celebrated vocalist Jon Hendricks invited Okegwo to join him as a sideman, both on stage and in recording studios. Their partnership even took them to the White House for a special performance for the President in 1994.
During this period, Okegwo’s artistry caught the ears of two other exceptional young musicians, pianist Jacky Terrasson and drummer Leon Parker. Together, they formed a remarkable trio that earned acclaim for its creative and explosive sound, setting new standards in jazz performance.
Apart from his collaborations, Okegwo also shines as a bandleader. In 2002, he led his quartet on a European tour and recorded the group’s performance, resulting in the album “UOniverse” [Satchmo Jazz]. This record showcases Okegwo’s versatile style, incorporating his compositions and skillfully arranged standards influenced by various musical genres, including jazz, African music, funk, and classical influences.
Throughout his career, Okegwo has had the privilege of working with an extensive list of renowned jazz artists. His contributions have included performances and recordings alongside jazz legends such as Kenny Barron, Benny Golson, Pharoah Sanders, Tom Harrell, and Joseph Jarman, among many others. including most recently as a part of the Pete Mainverni Trio with Jeff Hamilton on the fabulous “On The Town” album focused on the music of Leonard Bernstein.
With an impressive array of performances and recording appearances to his name, Okegwo’s influence on the jazz world is undeniable. His expressive bass work has resonated with greats like George Adams, Benny Carter, Michael Brecker, and many more. His presence has been found at esteemed jazz festivals worldwide, including Antibes, Chicago, Montreal, and Vienna.
As the Art of Jazz Series welcomes Ugonna Okegwo on Friday, November 10, alongside Gary Smulyan’s ensemble “Tadd’s All, Folks” featuring Anaïs Reno, it promises to be an unforgettable evening, celebrating the rich tapestry of jazz and enduring legacy of Tadd Dameron.
Don’t miss this extraordinary musical event, a testament to the innovation and artistry that defines the world of jazz. For a truly incredible evening at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum not only featuring the extraordinary bassist Ugonna Ukegwo, but also 6-time Grammy® winner Gary Smulyan, Pete Malinverni, piano, Garmmy® Nominated Matt Wilson, drums, and Anaïs Reno, vocals, get your season pass to the Art of Jazz Series and tickets for this special show. This show will be a rare live performance presentation of one of the most acclaimed studio projects of 2022.
For more details about this special concert, go here: Gary Smulyan, “Tadd’s All, Folks” ft. Anaïs Reno
Get your Art of Jazz Series season pass here: Art of Jazz Series Season Subscription
Get individual tickets for just this show here: Art of Jazz I Gary Smulyan, “Tadd’s All, Folks”