Amber Underwood Project
Sep
28
7:00 PM19:00

Amber Underwood Project

Amber has been a presence in the Kansas City jazz scene making a place and a voice for her instrument. In the beginning of 2014 the Amber Underwood Project was formed with original members Drew Davis, DeAndre Manning, and Tyree Johnson with the mission to showcase an instrument that is normally used as an auxiliary instrument in jazz but now as a solo instrument. AUP is a modern and fresh take on smooth jazz and R&B sounds. AUP uses the rich tones and colors of the flute to interpret the various styles and genres of jazz.

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Charles Williams Quartet feat. Eboni Fondren
Sep
27
7:00 PM19:00

Charles Williams Quartet feat. Eboni Fondren

Charles D. Williams, is a native of Kansas City, Kansas. Mr.Williams has played piano for over 40 years. As a trombonist, he studied under Mr. Leon Brady at Sumner High School and supplemented this training with musical studies under the tutelage of the late Mr.Reginald Buckner. Mr.Williams was a member of the award-winning Sumner Jazz Band that also attended the Paris International Jazz festival in Paris France in 1972, and was auspiciously judged to be “the best High School Band in the World. Mr. Williams also had the pleasure of participating in the Turner House Jazz series in the 70’s – having opportunity to play with such great jazz artist as: Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Roy Ayers, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, Frank Wess, Clark Terry, Ernie Wilkins, Rich Matteson,and many more.

Today, Mr. Williams performs as the pianist for The Kansas City Jazz Orchestra (Clint Ashlock, director). The orchestra just recently performed in Hanover, Germany (May 2018) at the Hanover Jazz Festival, and also in Szczecin, Poland at several major jazz events. This orchestra has backed many artist such as, The New Your Voices, Wycliffe Gordon, Ernie Andrews, Houston Person, Harold Jones, The Four Freshmen, Randy Brecker, Bobby Watson, Deborah Brown, Kevin Mahogany, and many more. www.kcjazzorchestra.org …. Mr Williams also plays for THE Louis Neal Orchestra (Louis Neal director), Charles has just launched his newest group “GENRE”. This group consist of four guys playing smooth jazz, funk, also we perform as a MOTOWN REVUE BAND, and many more genres. Musicians in the group are, Larry Thomas (guitar), Justin McCoy (drums), and Blair Bryant on (bass). 

Mr. Williams has accompanied many legendary local Kansas City jazz artist such as: Ida McBeth, Angela Hagenbach, The McFadden Brothers, Dr. Wayne Goins (Jazz Director at KSU), and many more. He toured in Brazil in 1998, where he accompanied jazz singer Queen Bey and the internationally acclaimed jazz saxophonist, Arthur Blythe.

As a Gospel Artist and Minister of Music for several local churches in the greater Kansas City area, his work over the years includes serving as Musical Director for the gospel group, “Blessed Through Christ” under the leadership of Mr. Randall Fears. This group had an opportunity to appear on The Bobby Jones Gospel Hour in 2008 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. In 2003 at the Women of Worship GMWA Choir of Tampa, Florida, Mr. Williams was chosen to feature one of his original composition works titled: “JESUS, WE GIVE YOU THE PRAISE” at The 36th Annual National Convention of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Inc.

In the supplemental areas of music education, community service and artistic outreach, Mr. Williams has established a Keyboard Academy where he teaches students to play keyboard during various weekly music instruction programs. He also produces, makes custom soundtracks, work with vocalist, and mentors young musicians. Mr. Williams just released his third CD entitled “Flavors Of Jazz” in February of 2018. 

“I believe in sharing my gift with others so that it will be passed on with the hope that they would do the same thing.” ~ Charles D. Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio PlayerCharles D. WilliamsWonderful World

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Stephen Martin Quartet
Sep
21
7:00 PM19:00

Stephen Martin Quartet

Stephen Martin has established himself as a uniquely gifted, and intensely spirited jazz saxophonist. Born in Champaign, IL and raised in St. Louis, MO, Martin began playing the saxophone at age 10 and thrived in a community with a musically rich tradition, particularly in jazz. He has been recognized early and often in his career for his excellence in music, most recently being named a finalist for the 2018 Carinthian International Jazz Award.

Martin studied music under Grammy-Nominated jazz legend Bobby Watson, and world-renowned classical saxophonist Tim Timmons. Stephen often cites St. Louis underground sax legend Dave Stone as having had a substantial influence on his early development.

 

Martin has developed a personal sound on saxophone characterized by a relentless energy and particularly adventurous ideas. He is a highly emotional player, and the vibe of his music ranges widely from sensitive and inviting to thunderous and enraged - inspired by perhaps his deepest musical influence, John Coltrane. Martin's debut album, Vision, was released under his independent artist label SubtleStreet Records on July 27th, 2018. It debuted in the top 40 of the iTunes Jazz Charts, and as an Amazon best-seller. He is currently working on his second album set to be released mid-late 2020.

Currently based in Kansas City, Martin maintains a regular performance schedule, and is on faculty at The Conservatory of Music & Dance at The University of Missouri - Kansas City (UMKC). He contributes to a thriving, exceptional local music scene as well as performing throughout the country and abroad. Check below for upcoming performances.

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Adam Larson Quartet
Sep
7
7:00 PM19:00

Adam Larson Quartet

Originally from Normal, IL, Adam Larson is an American saxophonist, composer and author. An endorsed artist for P. Mauriat saxophones, Boston Sax Shop “Heritage” necks and Vandoren reeds, mouthpieces and ligatures, Adam began playing saxophone at the age of 11. 

Described by critic Howard Reich of The Chicago-Tribune as “a player for whom the word ‘prodigious’ was coined”, by Peter Hum of the Ottawa Citizen as “a saxophonist who brings Donny McCaslin and Mark Turner to mind”, and by Nate Chinen of The New York Times as “the sort of jazz musician who gets flagged early on as a promising talent and then hustles to meet every requirement for success”, Larson has garnered numerous awards that distinguish him as one of the most promising artists of his generation. As a student, Larson was a member of virtually every national program dedicated to showcasing excellence in young jazz talent including The Grammy Band, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, YoungArts Jazz Fellows, Telluride Student All-Stars, Jazz Band of America among others. Upon graduating high school in 2008, Adam moved to New York City to pursue his BM and MM in Jazz Performance on full-scholarship from The Manhattan School, where he graduated with honors as a Master's student as the recipient of the William H. Borden Award for Outstanding performance in Jazz in 2014.  

Larson has released four albums; two under the Inner Circle Music label and two produced independently. Larson’s most recent recording “Second City” received a four-star rating from Downbeat magazine, was listed as one of the best releases of 2017 in both Downbeat and Jazziz Magazine, and was prominently featured in several publications. Larson keeps an active schedule with his own groups and as a sideman, having performed at several venues across the U.S. including The Jazz Standard, Birdland, The 55 Bar, The Jazz Gallery, The Blue Note, The Village Vanguard, Smalls, Jazz at The Bistro, The Jazz Estate, The Jazz Showcase, and several others.

Adam has been a part of several tours that have allowed him to see more of the world than he once thought possible. He was a guest artist at the 2017 Sopot Jazz Festival in Sopot, Poland and has toured India,Taiwan, Holland, and Germany as well much of the United States. In 2015 Larson’s quartet was selected as one of ten ensembles to tour on behalf of the U.S. State Department's "American Music Abroad" program and toured Africa for 35 days visiting The Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Benin and Ghana.

Beyond maintaining an active touring and recording schedule, Larson continues to be a sought after clinician and master class presenter at several high schools and Universities across the Midwest and beyond, including appearances at HKU Conservatory-Utrecht, University of Iowa, Drake University, University of Northern Iowa, Temple University, Yale, Manhattan School of Music, and University of North Texas among many others. Adam is currently on faculty at University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, where he teaches saxophone and music business. 

Adam has authored two jazz etude books; “Leaps & Sounds: 12 Contemporary Etudes for Jazz Saxophone” Volumes I and II , that have been sold in over 30 countries and States. He is also the author of “Conversation Starters: 180 pieces of Jazz Vocabulary” and created and released a successful online masterclass dedicated exclusively to developing great technique, called “Lighting-Fast and Crystal- Clean”. He maintains an impressive portfolio of commissioned ensemble writing for school jazz ensembles, having written more than thirty original works to date. Adam was commissioned by the Illinois Music Educators Association to compose the All-State composition for the 2020 convention. Larson is a Teaching Artist for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s “Let Freedom Swing” program, The New York Pops Ed education programs, and has a diverse private lesson studio of Skype students from the U.S. and abroad. 

With a vested interest in giving back, Larson has also worked in various capacities with organizations that showcase exceptional young talent in the United States. Adam has served as a mentor for the Grammy Foundation and as an adjudicator for the YoungArts organization. Serving in the role of creative director of the YoungArts New York regional show, Larson has presented multiple genre-bending, interdisciplinary performances held at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City. Larson currently resides in Kansas City with his beautiful wife, Tierney and sons Jack and Clark. 

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James Ward Band
Sep
6
8:00 PM20:00

James Ward Band

The James Ward Band, a.k.a. The JWB, is a contemporary jazz and smooth jazz band. Their compositions also infuse elements of latin, R&B, fusion, funk, jazz, and gospel. The band formed in January 1997 at The Blue Room and continue to play across the greater Kansas City area.

Bandleader James Ward is a Kansas City native. He attended Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, where he studied Tuba, and played acoustic and electric bass. He has performed alongside Nat Adderly, Bobby Watson, Patti Austin, Jonathan Dubose, Claude "Fiddler" Williams, Lisa Henry, and a host of other artists.  James also toured South Africa with Oleta Adams.

On May 12, 2007, the band released "In Perspective", which debuted on the Smooth Jazz Indie Charts at #42 and quickly soared to the top 20 and stayed for a number of weeks. In Perspective was followed by "Groove Axis" released July 2010, which is still available on CD Baby, iTunes, eMusic, and amazon.com.

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Charlie Parker's 99th Celebration feat. David Valdez & friends
Aug
31
8:00 PM20:00

Charlie Parker's 99th Celebration feat. David Valdez & friends

An evening of live music in tribute to Kansas City's greatest legend of jazz music, Charlie Parker. Featured musicians are David Valdez (saxophone) Brian Ward (piano) Seth Lee (bass) & John Kizilarmut (drums) with specials guests throughout the night playing and celebrating the music and life of Charlie Parker. You will be able to enjoy fine food and drink from the incredible menu at Soiree Steak and Oyster House.

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Will Matthews Trio
Aug
30
7:00 PM19:00

Will Matthews Trio

Kansas City native Will Matthews is the guitarist for the world famous Count Basie Orchestra, joining the group in 1996 under the direction of trombonist Grover Mitchell to fill the coveted chair of the late legendary guitarist and composer, Freddie Green who was with the band for over fifty years. Matthews has traveled and toured all over the world and has played on many studio recordings with the group, including two Grammy-winning recordings, Count Basie Orchestra Live at Manchester Guild in 1997 and Count Plays Duke 1999, as well as the Grammy-nominated recording Swing Shift in 2000.

Matthews has played every major festival, concert hall and theatre in the world and has also had the opportunity to play one-nighters with a variety of artists coming through Kansas City such as Charles Earland, Freda Payne, Arthur Prysock, Jimmy Witherspoon, Carmen Bradford, Kevin Mahogany, and Bobby Watson. In 1996 Matthews was invited to perform at the Royal Palace in Bangkok, Thailand for King Bhumbibol, along with other members of the Basie Orchestra, Benny Carter and Frank Foster. In 1997 he performed with the group for President William J. Clinton's second inaugural.

During his tenure with the band, Matthews has performed with a who's who of artists such as Joe Williams, Frank Wess, Curtis Fuller, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, Milt Jackson, Jimmy Cobb, Hank Jones, Rufus Reed, John Faddis, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Lou Donaldson, Dorothy Donegan, Tom Scott, John Pizzarelli, Regina Carter, Nancy Wilson, Patti Austin, Rosemary Clooney, Dianne Reeves, Nnenna Freelon, Marlena Shaw, and Ledisi to name a few.

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