Arts & Entertainment

September 4, 2012

The Many Colors of a Woman Jazz Event

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Written by: marvin
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On Saturday, September  8, 2012 at 8:00 pm, the public is invited to spend a priceless and unforgettable evening listening to the passionate, melodious sounds  of jazz with a feminine flair, at the 31st free. Many Colors of a W*O*M*A*N Jazz Festival Concert, Liberty Christian Center International, 23 Vine St/Ella Cromwell Way, Hartford, CT, 06112, 860.522-3296.

To kick off the twenty-fifth year celebration of extraordinary performances the September 8, 2012… Many Colors of a W*O*M*A*N FREE Jazz Concert will headline Nicki Mathis’ Afrikan Amerikan Jazz New Millennium All Stars: Ricky Alfonso trumpet, Melanie Dyer viola, Yasuyo Kimura conga, Rozanne Levine clarinet, Bill Lowe trombone, Maxine Carol Martin tenor sax, Paulette shekére, Linda Presgrave piano, Dotti Anita Taylor flute/voice, Shirazette Tinnin drums, Alex Trembley bass, Deborah Weisz trombone, Mark Whitecage alto sax and MORE;  featuring Antoinette Montague;

OMOJA with Yunie Mojica – alto saxophone, lead contact for the group, with  music roots at The Artists Collective, and Jackie McLean Jazz Institute, University of Hartford, Jen Allen – piano who played at The Kennedy Center, Mary Lou Williams Workshop Performance, and has released her debut CD Pieces of Me;  Raynel Frazier – trombone working on her Master Degree in the District of Columbia – similar ties to The Collective, and University of Hartford; Steve Porter – bass, one of the more promising young lions in the area; Jonathan Barber – drums has been featured with his own band at New Haven’s Jazz Festival, and West Virginia –  travelled abroad; also a part of UMOJA is up and coming extraordinary vocalist Shenel Diana Marie Johns who completed her studies at The University of Hartford;

Firey String Sista’s Duo: Riza Printup and Niokia Workman

Rounding out this multigenerational feast for the senses, the evening’s performances will spotlight Nicki Mathis a smoldering ember singer with fire in the belly, and a hugh passion for jazz – is one who fans her and other artists’ flame; Antoinette Montague, a mover and shaker/stellar starlight of a singer basking in gold dust from heaven –  of the electrifying impact Antoinette has on audiences, Larry Luttenger, of the Central New York Jazz Arts Foundation has this to say, Packed house, standing ovation, multiple encores — after a night like that it’s the law — your guest has to return for more. We had no alternative but to invite our 2010 cabaret artist — the pride of Newark NJ, the incomparable, bluesy, swinging Antoinette Montague — back again….

Born and raised in Newark, Antoinette Montague was drawn to the music by her mother who was always singing and sounded like Ella Fitzgerald.  For a time, Antoinette’s mother, Pecola, daughter of Gussie Powell, lived in Hartford; making their debut appearance on MCW’s stage, from NYC, is the powerful Firey String Sista’s Duo Riza Printup and Niokia Workman; from Washington state, Kimi Ginn Rabun is making Hartford her home, and spreading her heartfelt, dynamic storytelling throughout the state of CT in schools, and other educational/artistic settings; Therelza Ellington, Weaver High School alumni, one of the finest dramatic actors in the world makes her MCW debut appearance; Television producer and video production trainer Nyesha McCauley will emcee the event.

A welcome tradition in Connecticut’s capital city since 1987, this free event is unique for several reasons:

it is one of the few venues nationwide which showcases an extensive selection of multi-talented musicians, singers, poets, dramatists, comedians and other artists who are primarily women; and some men and children. It holds the distinction of being the longest running jazz festival driven by jazzwomen’s compositions.

The Many Colors of a Woman, inc., is a Hartford-based non-profit, tax-exempt, female friendly organization, whose primary purpose is to encourage, as well as to celebrate the vibrant expression of jazz – an unparalleled, creative African-American art form; and,

This yearly, locally-designed and produced autumn concert, literally spans the globe with its impact, as performers have come from, and/or made appearances in virtually every continent on earth.

Past performances have featured an impressive array of musical genius, a sampling includes:

• Jazz Ambassadors Lenora Zenzalai Helm, a vocalist, composer, music educator/clinician, and Chicagoan, who has recorded and toured with such notables as Freddie Jackson, Branford Marsalis, Donald Brown, Junior Mance, etc.; and Melba Joyce, a vocalist and Texas native with over three decades of successful appearances with many giants of jazz:  Louis Satchmo Armstrong, Frank Foster, Benny Carter, Louis Jordan, Freddie Hubbard, and Billy Eckstine;

• Since her arrival in the United States from Japan in 1981, pianist, synthesist, composer, arranger, Yasko Kubota made significant contributions to the jazz scene performing for such notable aficionados as:  First Lade Hillary Clinton; the Kennedy family; the late Arthur Ashe; actor Danny Glover; the Tonight Show’s Jay leno; R&B recording stars Ashford & Simpson;

•  Bandleader, percussionist Mayra Casales has toured with Tania Maria, Sophie B. Hawking, Angela Bofill, Wayne Shorter, Celia Cruz, and the late greats Phyllis Hyman, and Jon Lucien; in addition to recording on albums with Reginia Belle, Micky Howard, Dizzy Gillespie, and Carmen Lundy;

• To the delight of audiences throughout East and Southeast Asia, Europe, Scandinavia and South America, in addition to the United States, Francesca Tanksley, an Italian-born US citizen, an internationally acclaimed jazz pianist and composer has performed with outstanding artists – Billy Harper Quintet, Melba Listen & Company, the Erica Lindsay Quintet, Cecil Payne, Slide Hampton,  Clifford Jordan, Al Foster, Howard Johnson, and many others.

• Hartford born Dona Summers Carter, pianist, composer, arranger, songwriter, bandleader, and accompanist has presented her original selections in such esteemed venues as New York’s Town Hall, Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, The Blue Note, and The Squire.  A graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University with a Bachelors Degree in Music, Dona attended the Hartford Conservatory of Music, and holds a Masters Degree  from Lehman College.  She has written and published scores of instrumental as well as vocal pieces which reflect her musical heritage, and a fusion of the jazz, gospel and contemporary genres in which she specialized;

• Danbury, CT based celebrated flutist, composer, promoter, entertainer Sherry Winston has performed with Quincy Jones, Ramsey Lewis, the late Grover Washington, Roberta Flack, Peabo Bryson, Herbie Mann, Hubert Laws, etc.  Her second album, Love Madness, hit the Top 10 at Billboard, followed by a third release twice nominated for a Grammy, Love is. As Director of Jazz Promotions for several recording companies, Winston was responsible for promoting such luminaries as Wynton Marsalis; Nancy Wilson; Church Mangione, Kenny G; and Harry Connick, Jr;

• Israel based Judy Lewis performed as a classical pianist in the Midwest and New York before moving to Jerusalem in 1978 where she continued to study and perform classical music.  In 1996 Lewis switched over to Jazz and founded Lewis Trio format, performing extensively all over Israel including the International Israel Festival.  She released her first all original material CD entitled Weaver of Dreams, in her eclectic styled combination of classical technique, American folk culture, and modern jazz idioms.  Her arrangement of The Water Is Wide is described as compelling, tender, poignant, and haunting.  It brought her across the water to the Many Colors of a W*O*M*A*N.

• .  Saskia Laroo found her way to the MCW – all the way from the Netherlands – where they call her Miles Davis, and she hangs around, on stage and off, performing around the world with Warren Byrd.

• Nicki Mathis, MCW’s producer/performer, and WBGO 88.3 FM JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater’s 2012 Sweepstakes winner opened the first Pass of the North Jazz Festival in El Paso, Texas singing with Jerry Sandifer’s Modern Jazz Trio plus One; Pete Morris drummer, Bill Nelson bassist.  They opened for Dave Brubeck; Chico Hamilton with Eric Dolphy; Chris Conner; Lambert Hendricks and Ross; and Maynard Ferguson with Anne Marie Moss.  Mathis was hailed, …if the looking glass were asked, ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall who was the coolest of them all,’ the answer would be Nicki Mathis…

In Hartford, CT Nicki was first hired by Emery Austin Smith, and later formed her own Afrikan Amerikan Jazz Band with pianist Jim Argiro, bassist Paul Brown, the late drummer Emmitt Spencer, guitarist Lenzy Wallace Jr., and Jr. Ortiz on conga; played with Emery Austin Smith’s Trio, Norman Gage’s Quartet; the late Harold Holt Musical System, Kent Hewitt; recorded her debut album on own label with Chris White, Keith Copeland, Dave Jones, Jr. Ortiz, Ed Stoute, Mark Whitecage, the late Bill Hardman; a demo CD, Itapuã with Jennifer Clark, Mike Asetta, Mike Scott, Joey, Paulette, Frances Sharp and Christine Robinson.  Nick’s original, Make Some Kind of Magic received Billboard’s Certificate of Achievement award judged by Quincy Jones and Roberta Flack and others. Jazz critic Owen McNally says Nicki Mathis, the regal jazz diva has become Hartford’s avatar of soulful expression, a hometown version of Lena Horne, Billie Holiday and Abbey Lincoln wrapped in one.

For her life’s work, Mathis has numerous awards from her church choir in El Paso, TX; from the Mayor’s office, the Key to the city; In Hartford, CT, city and state official citations/recognitions; In New York City, International Women In Jazz’s Impact Award along with other awardees Vi Redd, Nancy Wilson, Jane Ira Bloom, Nnenna Freelon, Dr. Billy Taylor, Lil Hardin, Katy Rodriguez, Meryl Zimmeran, Vanessa  Azzarelli;

NMathis is winner of CT Statewide Urban Artists Initiative’s 2001 Best Performance; and Best Music prize; Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Individual Fellowship 2002 recipient; and was Master Artist of their Neighborhood Music Studio; this she is one of their New Boston Fund 2008 Individual Artist Fellowship awardees; Was honored by Hartford Magazine as one of their first Women of Achievement awardees during Black History Month;

Appeared in Dacades magazine’s What’s In Your Bucket article; Was part of Joe Standard’s Portrait of America street banners around the city, as well as Joe’s celebration of the people of Hartford 30 x 60 foot picture which draped the
Capitol Boulevard building, and was seen during the summer by 160,000 travelers on Interstate 84 West at the Asylum  Avenue Exit.

In the Spring of 2011 Nicki’s Afrikan Amerikan Jazz band was chosen for School Informance Residency, and Jazz History performance portion of FirstWorks’ 50 year Celebration of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre – kicked off by Sweet Honey in the Rock, Providence, RI.…also chosen by Paul Arslanian to join his Best Band In the Land performance at Jacob’s Pillow, Becket, MA.

The Many Colors of a W*O*M*A*N  Free Jazz Festival will provide such a remarkable cultural  experience that it’s organizers and supporters have continued the generous, as well as thoughtful tradition of placing no price on its value. Co-sponsored by MCW, Inc.,  SAND, Inc. Free admission is made possible in part by The MCW, Inc.; the Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Trust Fund, Bank of America,Trustee; George A. & Grace L. Long Foundation. Supported by Smith Whiley & Co.; Carla & Byron Dean; BeatNik Entertainment; EdJohnetta Miller Fowler; Anoinette Montague, MCW banner courtesy Jim Fentress.

The show maintains its unique repertoire of jazzwomen’s original compositions; while evoking an unforgettable array of something old, something new, something African. The new, creative, innovative works are timeless, lyrical, and delivered with a sense of beauty. The artists play their music with a deep understanding of tradition as well as with a passionate exhibition of their virtuosity. The history and longevity of The Many Colors of a W*O*M*A*N is a testament to organization’s desire to widen the audience of rarely seen artists, to maintain the universality of the art form, jazz, and to continue the legendary origin of Africa – African Americans, our culture.


This FREE, uplifting event will be held on 8 September 2012, 8:00 pm, Liberty Cristain Center International, 23 Vine St/Ella Cromwell Way, Hartford, CT 06112, 860.522-3296.
Sponsors Invited 860.231.0663/233-4230


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