THE KENNY BARRON TRIO
Kenny Barron is an American jazz pianist, who has appeared on hundreds of recordings as leader and sideman and is considered one of the most influential mainstream jazz pianists since the bebop era. Kenny Barron’s unmatched ability to mesmerize audiences with his elegant playing, sensitive melodies and infectious rhythms is what inspired The Los Angles Times to name him "one of the top jazz pianists in the world” and Jazz Weekly to call him “The most lyrical piano player of our time.” Philadelphia is the birthplace of many great musicians, including one of the undisputed masters of the jazz piano: Kenny Barron. Kenny was born in 1943 and while a teenager, started playing professionally with Mel Melvin’s orchestra. This local band also featured Barron’s brother Bill, the late tenor saxophonist. By 1959 Kenny had worked with drummer Philly Joe Jones while still in high school. At age 19, Kenny moved to New York City and freelanced with Roy Haynes, Lee Morgan and James Moody after the tenor saxophonist heard him play at the Five Spot. Upon Moody’s recommendation Dizzy Gillespie hired Barron in 1962 without even hearing him play a note. It was in Dizzy’s band where Kenny developed an appreciation for Latin and Caribbean rhythms. After five years with Dizzy, Barron played with Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Milt Jackson, and Buddy Rich. The early seventies found Kenny working with Yusef Lateef who Kenny credits as a key influence in his art for improvisation. Encouraged by Lateef, to pursue a college education, Barron balanced touring with studies and earned his B.A. in Music from Empire State College, By 1973 Kenny joined the faculty at Rutgers University as professor of music. He held this tenure until 2000, mentoring many of today’s young talents including David Sanchez, Terence Blanchard and Regina Bell. In 1974 Kenny recorded his first album as a leader for the Muse label, entitled “Sunset To Dawn.” This was to be the first in over 40 recordings (and still counting!) as a leader. Following stints with Ron Carter in the late seventies Kenny formed a trio with Buster Williams and Ben Riley which also worked alongside of Eddie Lockjaw” Davis, Eddie Harris, Sonny Stitt and Harry “Sweets” Edison. Throughout the 80’s Barron collaborated with the great tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, touring with his quartet and recording several legendary albums including “Anniversary”, “Serenity” and the Grammy nominated“People Time” Also during the 80’s, he co-founded the quartet “Sphere,” along with Buster Williams, Ben Riley and Charlie Rouse. This band focused on the music of Thelonious Monk and original compositions inspired by him. Sphere recorded several outstanding projects for the Polygram label, among them “Four For All” and “Bird Songs.” After the death of Charlie Rouse, the band took a 15-year hiatus and reunited, replacing Rouse with alto saxophonist Gary Bartz. This reunion made its debut recording for Verve Records in 1998. Kenny Barron’s own recordings for Verve have earned him nine Grammy nominations beginning in 1992 with “People Time” an outstanding duet with Stan Getz followed by the Brazilian influenced “Sambao and most recently for “Freefall” in 2002. Other Grammy nominations went to “Spirit Song”, “Night and the City” (a duet recording with Charlie Haden) and “Wanton Spirit” a trio recording with Roy Haynes and Haden. It is important to note that these three recordings each received double-Grammy nominations (for album and solo performance.) His CD, “Canta Brasil” (Universal France) linked Barron with Trio de Paz in a fest of original Brazilian jazz, and was named Critics Choice Top Ten CDs of 2003by JazzIz Magazine. His 2004 release, Images (Universal France) was inspired by a suite originally commissioned by The Wharton Center at Michigan State University and features multi-Grammy nominated vibraphonist Stefon Harris. The long awaited trio sequel featuring Ray Drummond and Ben Riley, The Perfect Set, Live At Bradley’s, Part Two (Universal France/Sunnyside) was released October 2005. In Spring 2008 Mr. Barron will release his first studio recording in four years with The Traveler (Universal France), an intoxicating mix of favorite Barron tunes set to lyrics and newly penned compositions. In a first for the noted pianist, he is joined by vocalists Grady Tate (who sheds his drumsticks for this special appearance), Tony award winner Ann Hampton Calloway and the young phenom Gretchen Parlato, winner of the Thelonious Monk International Competition for Jazz. On “Um Beijo”, Mr. Tate’s warm, leathery voice balanced by Mr. Barron’s poignant touch make for a beautifully textured conversation, underscoring their longtime on stage collaboration. Another Barron original, “Clouds” is a lush vehicle for Ann Hampton Calloway’s romantic pitch-perfect yearnings matched with Barron’s trademark mastery of subtlety. The dramatic “Phantoms” intertwines Parlato’s ephemeral intimacy and syncopatic rhythms in an emotional escapade between Barron’s haunting notes, the West Afrrican stylings of guitarist Lionel Loueké, drummer Francisco Mela (who also adds a Cuban flavor to the vocals) and the driving bass of Kiyoshi Kitagawa. The journey continues with the aptly named “Duet” an improvisation with Beninborn Loueké who also joins the trio for a rousing version of Barron’s “Calypso”. A composer who relishes in the moment, Barron’s modern approach is highlighted by alto saxophionist Steve Wilson’s open musings on “Illusion” and “The Traveler” who also brings an urgency to the fun-paced “Speed Trap”. Barron consistently wins the jazz critics and readers polls, including Downbeat, Jazz Times and Jazziz magazines. In 2005 he was inducted into the American Jazz Hall of Fame and won a MAC Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a six-time recipient of Best Pianist by the Jazz Journalists Association and was as a finalist in the prestigious 2001 Jazz Par International Jazz Award. Whether he is playing solo, trio or quintet, Kenny Barron is recognized the world over as a master of performance and composition.
GREG ABATE QUARTET
Greg Abate jazz saxophonist, flutist, composer continues as an International Jazz/Recording Artist with 225 days a year touring the globe. In the mid 70's , Greg played lead alto for the Ray Charles Orchestra for two years. In 1978 Greg formed his group Channel One, which was a favorite in the New England area and from there had the opportunity to pay tenor sax with the revived Artie Shaw Orchestra under leadership of Dick Johnson from 1986 to 1987. Following this experience, Greg ventured out as post hard bop soloist playing Jazz Festivals, Jazz Societies and Jazz Clubs throughout the US, Canada and abroad, including most of Europe, UK, Moscow and Georgia Russia. To this date Greg has recorded over 17 other recordings as leader. Greg has been inducted into the RI Music Hall of Fame 2016.
Paul Del Nero has performed on acoustic and electric bass, both in big bands and small groups. He has played many national and international jazz festivals, clubs, and shows. He has toured with the famous Artie Shaw Orchestra under the direction of Dick Johnson, with several Broadway shows and has recorded on the Concord, Candid and GM labels. Widely known for his talent and style, he is a former artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre and a USIA grant recipient.
For over 25 years, Paul has been a regular choice of blues legend, Mose Allison, for his performances in the Northeast US. Paul has also played with the likes of Hal Crook, Benny Golson, Charlie Rouse, Donald Byrd, Buddy Tate, Dakota Staton and numerous other well-known jazz artists.
Jon Wheatley, guitartist, from Syracuse, New York and now residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studied arranging/composition at Berklee College of Music where he is now associate professor. He also teaches guitar and ensemble at University of Massachusetts at Lowell.
Jon has recorded with his 50/50 Quintet and with Ruby Braff, Dick Johnson, Herb Pomeroy, George Masso, Daryl Sherman, Gordon Brisker, Donna Byrne, and many others. His work has been lauded by journalists Steve Futterman, Bob Blumenthal and Dan Morgenstern.
As a drummer, Gary Johnson has been working professionally for over thirty years. He is the son of New England jazz great Dick Johnson. For four years, he traveled extensively with the Artie Shaw Orchestra under the direction of Dick Johnson. during that time he accompanied such artists as Rosemary Clooney, Buddy Defranco and Connie Haines. Gary has also worked with Scott Hamilton, Dave McKenna, Ken Peplowski, Keely Smith, Dizzy Gillespie, Ruby Braff and Phil Wilson's Big Band. Formal training consists of studies with instructor Bill Flanagan, Fred Buda of The Boston Pops and jazz artist Alan Dawson. Currently playing with Bombay Jim and the Swingin' Sapphires featuring vocalist Jim Porcella, Lou Colombo's jazz group and The Ray Santini Quartet. Also freelancing in the New England area, recordings include work with Dick Johnson's Swingshift, "Artie's Choice", featuring Dick Johnson and Lou Colombo, Bombay Jim, The Chris Taylor Trio, guitarist Fred Fried and Lee Childs and the Bourbon Street Paraders.
THE PETER DEMBSKI GROUP
Born into a musical family, Peter Dembski is a pianist and composer whose work has been heard internationally. His recordings have included former members of the Miles Davis group and Sting’s band. In addition to performing with his band, The Pandea Group, he has been active as a musician in the New York world of dance and theatre. He is the recipient of a number of prizes and grants including the 2007 Performing Arts Fellowship from the Maine Arts Commission, the first and only improvising musician to win this award. Peter has lived in New York and Europe and now makes his home in Camden.
Katie Matzell is an up-and-coming singer and songwriter from Portland, Maine who released her debut EP at the start of 2018. MaineToday described the six-song EP as “fierce and dazzling,” adding that Matzell’s vocals are “sweet, full and gorgeous” with a “richness to them that make the songs burst all the more.” The Deli Magazine said “Matzell’s voice, both effortless and simple, floats above a sea of washy keys and pocket grooves, calling comparisons to not only her influences of the past (Bonnie Raitt and Aretha Franklin), but to her contemporaries — Norah Jones and Emily King immediately come to mind.” Matzell was nominated by the New England Music Awards in 2018 for Female Performer of the Year.
WAYNE DELANO QUARTET
Lead by saxophonist Wayne Delano, the quartet plays jazz the way it should be played. Wayne has played and toured with Maynard Ferguson, Woody Herman, Phil Woods, Michael and Randy Brecker, Chaka Kahn and many more.
THE WHITEHEAD / DEAN GROUP
Whitehead/Dean Group is the latest collaboration of midcoast musicians trumpeter Mike Whitehead and drummer Jason Dean. It grew out of a musical relationship that goes back twenty years. Joining them in the band is midcoast bass icon Glen Dubose and the multifaceted guitarist Mitch Markowitz. Whitehead/Dean Groups music is firmly rooted and inspired by the experimental, funk based jazz of the 1970's and 80's. Both cover and original tunes are represented in the bands sets.
THE RIGHT TRACK
The Right Track is a high-energy, 11-piece dance band with a full horn section. The group's multi-talented musicians contribute years of experience and diverse musical influences to the band's sound. With tight three-part harmonies, one of the funkiest horn sections north of Boston and a set list bursting with classic favorites and current tunes, The Right Track promises keep people of all ages on the dance floor all night. The Right Track is: Lincoln Blake (keys), Jen Feldman (vocals), John Gass (trombone), Tom Gray (vocals), Kristi Kalajian (vocals), Scott Kessel (sax), Tyler Lee (drums/percussion), Justin Milliken (guitar), Tom Rodman (drums/percussion) Chris Sewall (bass), Peter Stuart (trumpet) and Drew Weber (drums/percussion).
Hyperphonix is an all original electric jazz/funk ensemble located on planet Earth in the mid-coast Maine area. With sounds drawn from the deep well of Fusions origins mixed with visions of a utopian, sci-fi future, they create a unique blend that is both nostalgic and familiar, yet alien and fresh. The bands influences are infinite, but if hard pressed, they say they range from Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Herbie Hancock, Jaco and The Grateful Dead. They seamlessly blend and bend musical styles calling back to jazz's roots while plotting a trajectory towards tomorrow's harmonics. Featuring Alan Boyer composer and keys, Jim Dorian on bass, Jason Dean on drums and new addition Robin Lane on cello.
THE EXTENSION CHORDS
The Extension Chords are a teenage Jazz-Inspired Trio who have been performing at art galleries, business events, and several larger venues since mid-2016. The group consists of Myles Kelley (Keyboard), Katherine Bowen (Electric Bass), and Owen Markowitz (Drum). This year, the Extension Chords have started performing original compositions for their audiences, and have been honored with an opportunity to perform at the Maine Conference of the Arts.
“The Extension Chords are thrilled to announce a victory at the 2019 MAMM SLAMM battle of the bands in Portland on May 11th. The trio came in first in competition with 11 other talented bands and received a generous cash prize along with many other opportunities such as an opening set for muddy ruckus/king Kyote at the Port city music hall, festival appearances, professional recording time, and more. In addition to coming in first, Myles Kelley received the award for “Best keyboardist”, Own Markowitz for “Best Drummer”, and Katherine Bowen for “Best Bass Player”. All three Extension Chords are excited for what their future holds including a set at the Jazz In June Festival at the Camden Snow Bowl this Spring. “
BILL BARNES DUO
Although jazz has always been his passion, Bill actually began his professional career in the late sixties as a backup musician for touring R&B recording acts. His first national tour was with Atco Records star Arthur Conley (“Sweet Soul Music”) on a series of concert dates to promote the release of Conley’s second hit single, “Funky Street.”
Since then he has played with recording artists such as Eddy Floyd, Spider Turner, Sam the Sham, Rufus Thomas, The Drifters, The Coasters, Tommy Roe, The Marvelettes, Len Barry, Little Eva, Gabrielle Goodman, and many others.
With three CD’s to his credit, Bill is also an accomplished music journalist and essayist. Bill currently resides in Mid-Coast Maine and performs throughout New England.