2018 Jazz & Classics Festival
Andrew ‘Jr. Boy’ Jones
was raised in Dallas, Texas, by his mother Gladys, who was a single parent after divorcing her husband when Andrew was very young. The singer for a big band, Gladys retired to raise her family, and the band’s leader, Adolphus Sneed, stayed with the family as a father figure. Andrew received his first guitar from his mother for his seventh birthday, and he practiced every day. After noticing Andrew’s talent, Sneed bought him his second guitar. Andrew has amassed more than 50 years of experience as a professional guitar player. ‘Jr. Boy’ was in his first professional group, the Thunderbirds, backing Freddie ‘The Texas Cannonball’ King by age 16. In the ’60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, ‘Jr. Boy’ toured the world with several music legends, such as Johnnie Taylor, Tony Coleman, Cornell Dupree, Little Frankie Lee, Bobby Patterson, Russell Jackson, B.B. King, Katie Webster, and Charlie Musselwhite, to name a few.
In 1996, Andrew began his solo career and released the ¬first album in which he was featured as a vocalist as well as a guitar player. He has since released five more solo albums, one of which he released from his own label, GalexC Records and his only live album on 43rd Big Idea Records. ‘Jr. Boy’ has been touring extensively with his blues band all over the country for the past two years, performing at several venues in and around the Dallas area. Andrew and his band have also performed at large festivals, such as the Texas Blues Radio Annual KNON Blues Festival, and international events like the Ottawa Blues Festival.
Best of all in the trio's performance was its sheer sense of fun. Obviously, they are having a ball, the three women played with passion, like sparring partners smiling at each other after each volley. Indeed, they exhibited the kind of visible rapport more common in a jazz ensemble or rock group. the Grammy Award-nominated Eroica Trio – Erika Nickrenz, piano; Sara Parkins, violin; Sara Sant’Ambrogio, cello – presented a program specifically selected to reflect the romantic association with Valentine’s Day. Resplendent in festive red, they began with a lush medley of Gershwin tunes “Porgy and Bess Fantasy”, arranged for them by Kenji Bunch. Quickly establishing their authority over their respective instruments, the musicians played brilliantly with a pure tone and considerable brio.
“Berceuse (Lullaby) de Jocelyn”, the best-known selection from Benjamin Godard’s Opera of the same name “Jocelyn”, followed. Selections from Argentine Tango-master Astor Piazzolla referenced Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. “Otono Porteno”, a paean to autumn, “Oblivion”, and “Primavera Portena”, a salute to Spring, concluded the first half of the program. After intermission, the ensemble offered an exuberant rendering of Felix Mendelssohn’s “Trio No 2, Opus 66 in c minor” in four movements.
Praise for the ensemble was unanimous. Lillian Van Hest, Impromptu Classical Concerts’ President, noted: “Passion! Passion! Passion! They made it look like they were having ‘fun’ while working their brains out.” On a more technical level, Van Hest observed: “The piano collaborator is sort of the ‘unsung hero’, gluing the scores with precision.”
“Each performer of this trio was flawless!
Violist Luke Fleming's performances have been described by The Strad as "confident and expressive...playing with uncanny precision," and lauded by Gramophone for their "superlative technical and artistic execution." Festival appearances include Marlboro, Ravinia, Bravo!Vail, and Festival Mozaic, among others. Mr. Fleming was violist of the internationally acclaimed Attacca Quartet, with whom he served as Quartet-in-Residence for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Graduate Quartet at The Juilliard School, and was awarded First Prize at the Osaka International Chamber Music Competition. In 2015, Mr. Fleming became the Founding Artistic Director of both the Manhattan Chamber Players, a New York-based chamber music collective, and the Crescent City Chamber Music Festival, a mission/outreach-centric festival held annually in New Orleans. He has performed as a guest artist with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Sejong Soloists, Ensemble Connect, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the New York Classical Players, and the Serafin and Canterbury String Quartets, and has served on the faculties of the Innsbrook Institute, Renova Music Festival and Houston ChamberFest, and Fei Tian College. Mr. Fleming holds a Doctor of Musical Arts, Artist Diploma, and Master of Music from the Juilliard School, a Postgraduate Diploma with Distinction from the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a Bachelor of Music summa cum laude from Louisiana State University.
Hailed in the New York Times for "impassioned" playing and "clear articulation and unity of purpose," violinist Kate Ransom is a distinguished chamber musician, recitalist and teacher who has presented hundreds of concerts throughout North America and Europe in major chamber music venues. Ms. Ransom is founding violinist of Serafin String Quartet, lauded by Gramophone and Fanfare Magazine for the 2013 Naxos release of early works by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon and by The Strad Magazine and American Record Guide for the 2010 Centaur release. As founding member of the Alexander String Quartet, she received first prize and audience prize at the London String Quartet Competition and toured internationally. Ms. Ransom is also a frequent collaborator with other artists such as the Eroica Trio, William Preucil, David Coucheron, Charles Abramovic, Steven Tenenbom, Sadao Harada, and Eliot Fisk. She performed the complete Beethoven violin sonatas in 2010 and the complete Brahms violin sonatas in 2012 in locations around the nation. Presently, Ms. Ransom is an adjunct violin instructor at the University of Delaware and she has previously held visiting artist positions at Brevard College and Lehigh University. She has also held Ensemble in Residence positions at University of Delaware, St. Lawrence University, SUNY-Potsdam, Lehigh University and Brevard College. Ms. Ransom pursued post-graduate chamber music study at The Juilliard School with Robert Mann and holds master's and bachelor's degrees in violin performance from Yale University and University of Michigan, respectively. Her major teachers were Paul Makanovitzky, Szymon Goldberg and Ivan Galamian, and she was a chamber music protégé of Tokyo Quartet. Ms. Ransom currently serves as president of The Music School of Delaware. She plays a violin made in 1728 by the Venetian master, Sanctus Serafin.
Pianist, Artistic Director, Master teacher, editor and judge for international competitions, William Ransom regularly appears around the world in recital, as soloist with orchestras, and as a chamber musician. He has performed for the American Ambassadors to Japan, Korea, Austria and Ireland, and his performances have been broadcast on National Public Radio and Television in the United States, Japan, Korea, Argentina, and Poland. A graduate of Juilliard, he is founder and artistic director of the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta and also directs the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival in NC.
Doug Deming & the Jeweltones
Eastside Detroit native Doug Deming, now hailing from Florida’s Gulf Coast, has garnered widespread attention for his deft guitar work and memorable songwriting. With a nod to the likes of T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian, as well as Luther Tucker and Robert Jr. Lockwood, Doug leaves his own mark whether swingin’ on the big jazz box, or playing straight up blues on the solid body Fender guitar. Since playing the local Detroit scene beginning in the early 90’s, Doug has spent much of the following years touring and recording with top blues artists, including Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson, legendary Louisiana swamp bluesman Lazy Lester, Texas' Gary Primich, Chicago greats Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones and A.C. Reed, as well as Detroit’s own Queen of the Blues, Alberta Adams. Leading his band, The Jewel Tones, Doug continues to bring noteworthy traditional and original roots music to his audiences.
just swings with loads of energy and style.”
— Sunday Night Blues Project
Deming is a ferocious guitarist, fiery but clean, with a crisp, clear tone reminiscent of Charlie Christian's style." -Grant Britt, BLUES MUSIC MAGAZINE
...here is a cat that is bedrock solid in the blues with inventive guitar licks, clever song writing, and upbeat, dance inducing music. As a guitar player, he nails every category: taste, tone, restraint, timing, and phrasing." -James Walker, BLUES BLAST MAGAZINE
Johnaye Kendrick—New Orleans Jazz Orchestra
The Orchestra won a Grammy® Award in the 2009 for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” category for their release Book 1 on which Ms. Kendrick is featured. Johnaye performs her own original compositions as well as fresh interpretations of beloved jazz and blues compositions. She focuses on graceful renditions of jazz standards and composes music and lyrics where she often accompanies herself on harmonium, violin, viola and percussion. The legendary Jimmy Heath says that “Johnaye is not just a vocalist. She is a complete musician with a beautiful instrument and open ears.” A dedicated educator, Johnaye resides in Seattle, WA where she serves as an Associate Professor of Jazz Voice at Cornish College of the Arts. In 2013, she was nominated for an Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Award as “Northwest Vocalist of the Year.”
Bradley Howard’s career spans classical & modern choral works, solo recitals, & opera roles, he is recognized as a multi-faceted performer. A passionate educator, he joined the faculty of Emory University & the faculty of the Amalfi Coast Music Festival. He’s an active adjudicator, clinician & presents master classes and/or clinics across the USA. His students have been accepted to undergraduate & graduate programs in voice performance and musical theater at The Julliard School & many others.
is a jazz pianist and composer. He is best known for his captivating performances, classic yet current sound, and popularity in the Southeastern United States jazz music scene. Motley has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, and the American Composers Forum (ACF). Motley’s selection by the ACF as an artist in residence led to his second composition for string orchestra and jazz trio, The Resolution of a Dream. He premiered his Highland Summit: A Suite for String Quartet and Jazz Quartet with the Vega String Quartet at the Highlands Chamber Music Festival and later performed his Suite Odyssey with the ensemble at Carnegie Hall. In 2010, Motley premiered a composition based on a work by Toni Morrison at the Toni Morrison Society’s 6th Biennial Conference in Paris. Motley was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame in 2015. As the director of jazz studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Motley founded the Strickland Jazz Studio, an interactive teaching facility that integrates the rich heritage of American jazz with today’s technology practices.
The Vega Quartet
that "[the Quartet’s] playing had a kind of clean intoxication to it, pulling the listener along…the musicians took real risks in their music making" and the L.A. Times praised their “triumphant L.A. debut.” They concertize both nationally and internationally, most recently in Baltimore, Chicago, Nashville, Sacramento, Berlin, San Miguel, and the Brahmssaal in Vienna’s Musikverein. The Quartet's major performing projects at Emory University, where they are Quartet-in-Residence, have included performing the complete cycle of Beethoven quartets, as well as pairing Bach’s complete works for solo violin, viola and cello with the six Bartók quartets.
Two-time Grammy Award winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman’s virtuosity, technique, imagination, and communicative power have revolutionized the world of clarinet playing, opening up possibilities for the instrument that no one could have predicted. He was responsible for bringing the clarinet to the forefront as a solo instrument, and is still the world’s foremost clarinetist.
Stoltzman gave the first clarinet recitals in the histories of both the Hollywood Bowl and Carnegie Hall, and, in 1986, became the first wind player to be awarded the Avery Fisher Prize. As one of today’s most sought-after artists, Stoltzman has been a soloist with more than a hundred orchestras as well as a recitalist and chamber music performer, innovative jazz artist, and prolific recording artist. A two-time Grammy Award winner, he has amazed critics and audiences alike in repertory spanning many musical genres.
Stoltzman’s talents as a jazz performer as well as a classical artist have been heard far beyond his annual tours. He has performed and recorded with such classical, jazz, and pop greats as Emmanual Az, Yo-Yo Ma, Gary Burton, the Canadian Brass, Chick Corea, Judy Collins, Eddie Gomez, Keith Jarrett, the King’s Singers, George Shearing, Wayne Shorter, Mel Tormé, and Spyro Gyra founder Jeremy Wall. Stoltzman frequently performs with his son Peter John Stoltzman, a talented classical and jazz pianist and composer.
Stoltzman graduated from Ohio State University with a double major in music and mathematics. He earned his Master of Music degree at Yale University while studying with Keith Wilson, and later studied with Kalmen Opperman at Columbia University. He makes his home in Massachusetts and is a passionate Boston Red Sox fan. He is also a Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef whose specialty is the Linzer Torte.
Mika Stoltzman, called “High-wire jazz marimbist… an amazing, energetic performer ready for major exposure.” (LA Times) was born in Amakusa Island, Kumamoto, Japan, and now resides in New York City. Since studying at the University of Toronto, Mika has devoted herself to marimba performance and musical studies under the strong influence of the NEXUS. She is also studying Jazz privately with jazz vibe master, Mike Mainieri, in New York, while Steve Gadd has been her producer. “Mika Stoltzman makes the marimba sound so natural within jazz.” (JazzTimes)
Mika has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel & Weill Halls, Tokyo (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011), PASIC (2005, 2007), in addition to touring in cities around the world. She premiered John Wyre’s Moonlight for marimba and orchestra with the Kyushu Symphony, and Bill Douglas’s marimba concerto with the Kumamoto Symphony Orchestra. She was also guest soloist in the Kracow Philharmonic in Poland, and Szombathely Symphony Orchestra in Hungary. Her arrangement and performance of “Tokyo/Vermont Counterpoint” appears on Steve Reich’s CD Triple Quartet (Nonesuch).
She has also appeared on Richard Stoltzman’s CD Goldberg Variation (BMG Japan) and Jo Hisaishi’s Asian X.T.C. (Universal Japan). In August, 2011, Mika celebrated sold-out recitals at Blue Note Jazz clubs throughout Japan with her group, MIKARIMBA, featuring Mika on marimba, the legendary Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, and the formidable Stefan Karlsson (piano). In 2012, Mika celebrated a sold-out recital at Carnegie Weill Hall in NYC. Mika performed 8 world premiere pieces with Richard Stoltzman, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez and Mike Mainieri (vibraphone). In September, Mika performed at the World Heritage Shimogamo Shrine in Kyoto, Japan with Richard Stoltzman and Duke Gadd (drums). She then joined with Eddie Gomez and the four completed a successful Japan tour.
On May 30th, Mika celebrated another sold-out recital at Carnegie Weill Hall performing World Premiere works by John Zorn, Bill Douglas, Steve Reich, William Thomas McKinley, and Chick Corea’s new arrangements with Richard Stoltzman, Gayle Moran Corea, Harlem String Quartet, David Finck (bass), Bill Cahn (per), Bill Pihl (piano), and Duke Gadd, with a special guest appearance by Chick Corea.
Mika’s guest performance of Chick Corea’s Piano Concerto No.1 on Marimba (World Premiere) with Xalapa Symphony Orchestra in Mexico conducted by Langranco Marchlletti on Sep 1st was a great success.
In December, Mika released her second album with MIKARIMBA produced by Steve Gadd, “If You Believe,” with Richard Stoltzman, Steve Gadd, Eddie Gomez, John Tropea (guitar), Duke Gadd, and the Harlem String Quartet. Mika, Steve Gadd, and John Tropea completed a successful 5-city Japan Release Tour the same month.
“Mika Stoltzman is beyond category, to use Duke Ellington’s signature compliment, and she proves it here” (All About Jazz)
Rhonda Ross & Rodney Kendrick
Singer-songwriter, Rhonda Ross, is an international Social-Artist, who explores questions of race, gender, power and spirituality through her art. Rhonda uses her music to examine the society in which she lives and through all of it, asks “In the midst of THIS, how can I still be free?" As the only child of Diana Ross and Motown Founder Berry Gordy, it has become evident that Rhonda not only has the talent, but the significance to carry on her parents’ legacy, all the while establishing her own unique musical destination. Her husband, pianist-composer Rodney Kendrick has produced several albums, including a solo piece titled Thank You, a duo-piano piece with his mentor Randy Weston, an album with his wife of 20 years titled Rhonda Ross Live: Featuring Rodney Kendrick, as well as a project with his father, Jimmy Kay titled Black is Back.
“Rhonda Ross and Rodney Kendrick have an obvious passion for their music & for each other. They draw the audience into their love affair. It’s magnetic.” Through Rodney, Rhonda commenced studying with the late jazz great Abbey Lincoln. “It was Abbey and Rodney who convinced me to begin my journey as a singer-songwriter.” Rhonda says, “I primarily consider myself a story-teller and poet. I use my music to inspire and to uplift.