The Ritz Amateur Night: Step Up 2 The Mic--Finals
Get ready for the new season of The Ritz: Amateur Night—Step Up 2 the Mic! This season, we’re bringing the party to amateur night with a DJ! Each month we’ll have special guest performances from local artist; jaw-dropping dance crews; you never know what to expect from show host—Octavius Davis! and—you—the liveliest audience, in the south, can still applaud or boo contestants as they compete for prizes. this isn't just a talent show…it’s The Ritz: Amateur Night …STEP UP 2 THE MIC!
Nicholas Payton Trio
Saturday, December 5th @ 8 PM
Trumpeter, composer, and bandleader Nicholas Payton was raised in New Orleans, a town chock-full of trumpet players and he originally followed in the footsteps of a mile-long line of tradition-based players including Buddy Bolden, Louis Armstrong, Al Hirt, and of course, Wynton Marsalis. Payton is the son of Walter Payton, a well-known bassist on the Crescent City jazz scene. His mother played piano. Given his upbringing in a musical family, Payton often spent upwards of ten hours a day practicing trumpet in his youth. He began playing trumpet as a four-year-old, after asking his father to get him one. He began accompanying his father to shows at clubs in his youth and had the chance to hear many great trumpet players.
Through the years, Payton has recorded and performed with Wynton Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, Christian McBride, Joshua Redman, Roy Hargrove, Doc Cheatham, and Joe Henderson, among others. He began his recording career with Verve Records, and his first album, From This Moment, was released in 1992. Two years later he performed on the soundtrack for the movie Kansas City, and in 1997 he received a Grammy Award for his playing on a collaborative album with then-nonagenarian trumpeter Doc Cheatham, Doc Cheatham & Nicholas Payton. He also released 1995's Gumbo Nouveau, 1997's Fingerpainting: The Music of Herbie Hancock, 1998's Payton's Place, 1999's Nick@Night, and 2001's Dear Louis.
Jazz Discovery Series: Warren Wolf
Friday, December 11th @ 8 PM
Writing for the New York Daily News on October 15, 2011, Greg Thomas said of his CD "Warren Wolf": "To say that Warren Wolf's Mack Avenue debut is auspicious would be an understatement. No doubt, this is one of the best of the year in jazz." His other notable recordings as a leader are “Incredible Jazz Vibes” (2005) (featuring Mulgrew Miller on piano, Vicente Archer on bass, and Kendrick Scott on drums), and "Black Wolf" (2009) (featuring Mulgrew Miller on piano, Rodney Whitaker on bass, and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums).
Sunday, December 20th @ 5PM
TDE Presents: 'Something Miraculous'
Dee is engaged to David (played by Rodney Staten). Marcus is Dee and David's attorney and longtime friend whom David admires. Come to find out Dee and Marcus were once together 17years ago and supposedly conceived a child together.
David is just finding out that his longtime friend and attorney slept with his fiancée Dee.
The truth will come out in this episode because the daughter is fighting for her life and in need of a liver transplant and the father can save her…if we can find him.
Jazz Discovery Series - Jon Irabagon
January 15th @ 8 PM
The winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, Irabagon has since topped both the Rising Star Alto Saxophone and the Rising Star Tenor Saxophone categories in the DownBeat Magazine Critics’ Poll and been named one of Time Out New York’s 25 New York City Jazz Icons. Jon was also named 2012 Musician of the Year in The New York City Jazz Record. An integral member of such high-profile ensembles as Mostly Other People Do The Killing and the Mary Halvorson Quintet, as well as an established bandleader in his own right, his list of current projects includes the bands Bryan & The Haggards and Mike Pride’s From Bacteria to Boys as well as a longstanding partnership with legendary drummer Barry Altschul and Dave Douglas’ new quintet.
Jon’s own record label, Irabbagast Records, has currently released five of his efforts, including I Don’t Hear Nothin’ but the Blues Volume 2: Appalachian Haze (with Mike Pride and Mick Barr), Outright! Unhinged (with Ralph Alessi, Jacob Sacks, John Hebert and Tom Rainey) and It Takes All Kinds (featuring Mark Helias and Barry Altschul), and most recently, the dual release of Behind the Sky (featuring Tom Harrell, Luis Perdomo, Yasushi Nakamura and Rudy Royston) as well as Jon’s first solo saxophone recording.
Saturday, January 16th @ 8 PM
Bassist extraodinaire, composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator, Christian McBride, has been one of the most important and most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years. Sometimes hard to believe considering this man is barely in his 40’s.
For over 20 years, McBride has appeared in numerous musical settings with just about any musician imaginable in the jazz as well as R&B and pop worlds. From playing with the likes of Milt Jackson, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny; to playing with and/or arranging for the likes of Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Lalah Hathaway, Sting and the legendary James Brown—what has always been unique about McBride is his versatility.
Sun Ra Arkestra
Saturday, February 20th @ 8 PM
Famed jazz musician, composer, poet and bandleader Sun Ra was born on May 22, 1914, in Birmingham, Alabama. He began performing professionally as a teen and, after moving to Chicago in 1945, immersed himself in jazz and the blues. Along the way, Sun Ra was influenced by space, religion and radical social movements—all of which found their way into his music. A prolific composer and record label owner, he took to wearing colorful, outlandish costumes with his band members.
After Sun Ra left the planet, the Arkestra was led by tenor saxophonist John Gilmore. The spirit of Sun Ra is alive and well in the present day manifestation of the Sun Ra Arkestra with Marshall featuring a mix of classic Sun Ra compositions and arrangements alongside Marshall's own compositions and arrangements that are deeply rooted in the spirit of Sun Ra. Along with leading the Arkestra, Marshall plays the alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, oboe, kora, and EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument). He is internationally recognized as the premier avant-garde saxophonist on the planet.
Jazz Discovery Series - Jazzmeia Horn
Friday, February 26th @ 8 PM
The winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition is Jazzmeia Horn. Originally from Dallas, Ms. Horn, 23, is a singer with a smart, steadfast connection to the jazz-vocal tradition, as defined by predecessors like Betty Carter and Sarah Vaughan. Since moving to New York in 2009 to attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, she has been a regular presence on the club scene, often with her band, the Artistry of Jazz Horn.
Two years ago Ms. Horn won the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, in Newark. As the winner of the Monk Competition she will receive a $25,000 music scholarship and a recording contract with the Concord Music Group.
Thursday, March 3rd @ 7 PM
It’s hard to think of another African-American violin player to make their mark in popular music, so classically trained South Florida twosome, Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester, who go by the name Black Violin are a welcome revelation for their ability to meld highbrow and pop culture, “Brandenburg” and “Breakdown,” into a single genre-busting act.
The band’s most recent album, Classically Trained, is the follow-up to their 2007 self-titled debut on their own Di-Versatile Music Group label, which is as good an introduction to their groundbreaking blend of classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B, and even bluegrass music.
The N.Y. Times describes them as, “Black Violin works hard, but makes it all look like play… Sometimes they play with the intense seriousness of orchestral soloists; at others they fiddle as if at a hoedown; at still others they strum the violin and viola like guitars.” In 2013, they were voted Top 5 New Band at SXSW.
Cecile McLoran Salvant
Thursday, March 31st @ 7:30 PM
Cécile McLorin Salvant was born and raised in Miami, Florida of a French mother and a Haitian father. She started classical piano studies at 5, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at 8. Early on, she developed an interest in classical voice, began studying with private instructors, and later with Edward Walker, vocal teacher at the University of Miami.
Cécile performs unique interpretations of unknown and scarcely recorded jazz and blues compositions. She focuses on a theatrical portrayal of the jazz standard and composes music and lyrics which she also sings in French, her native language as well as in Spanish. She enjoys popularity in Europe and in the United States, performing in clubs, concert halls, and festivals accompanied by renowned musicians like Jean-Francois Bonnel, Rodney Whitaker, Aaron Diehl, Dan Nimmer, Sadao Watanabe, Jacky Terrasson (she was the guest singer on his latest album, Gouache), Archie Shepp, and Jonathan Batiste. She is the voice of Chanel's "Chance" ad campaign for the third consecutive year. In August 2012, Cécile recorded WomanChild for the Mack Avenue Label with Aaron Diehl, Rodney Whitaker, Herlin Riley and James Chirillo. Cécile's WomanChild was nominated for the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album.
Saturday, April 9th @ 8 PM
One of the best-selling instrumentalists of the late '80s to mid-'90s, Najee has been a consistent favorite in the quiet storm and so-called "smooth jazz" markets. Often compared to Kenny G, George Howard, and Dave Koz, the New Yorker has been greatly influenced by Grover Washington Jr. -- although he hasn't been nearly as adventurous. Heavily produced and quite formulaic, Najee's albums have tended to avoid improvisation and strive for commercial radio airplay above all else. Debuting in 1987 with Najee's Theme, Najee was an immediate hit in the new adult contemporary (NAC) market.
Similar pop/urban jazz dates like 1988's Day By Day and 1990's Tokyo Blue did nothing to jeopardize his niche on smooth jazz radio. Onstage, Najee takes some risks and stretches out more. Morning Tenderness was released in 1998, followed by Love Songs (2000), Embrace (2003), My Point of View (2005), True Spirit (with John Grant, Victor Williams, and Dennis Chambers in 2006), Rising Sun (2007), and Mind Over Matter (2009). In 2012,Najee released his 14th studio album, The Smooth Side of Soul, featuring the track "First Kiss," a collaboration with R&B vocalist Phil Perry. Najee returned in 2013 with The Morning After: A Musical Love Journey which included the song "Shinjuku," a tribute to the late jazz keyboard legend George Duke.
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