The Chad Lefkowitz-Brown Quartet at the Underbrook

Join us for the first installment of our Winter Underbrook Series on Friday, February 9. This week features the highly acclaimed saxophonist and international recording artist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown and his quartet.

There will be a masterclass at 7pm before the 8pm concert. Both are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The Saybrook Underbrook is located in Saybrook College (242 Elm Street), Entryway H.

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THE CHAD LEFKOWITZ-BROWN QUARTET

Chad Lefkowitz-Brown – Tenor Saxophone
Steven Feifke – Piano
Tamir Shmerling – Bass
Bryan Carter – Drums

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“At 27-years-old, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown is already a renowned jazz saxophonist and international recording artist. He is currently a member of the multi Grammy award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and he has made internationally televised appearances with pop icons like Taylor Swift, Don Henley and Phillip Phillips. Chad has toured across the globe as a soloist and with many esteemed jazz artists, including Arturo O’Farrill and Clarence Penn.

A native of Elmira, New York, Chad established himself as a jazz prodigy at age 11, performing throughout New York State under the mentorship of local jazz hero, George Reed, who was known for backing legends like Teddy Wilson, Buddy Tate, and Marian McPartland.

Chad went on to pursue a formal education in the arts at the Brubeck Institute, a prestigious fellowship program created by jazz legend Dave Brubeck. While studying at the institute, he performed regularly with Brubeck and was a member of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet.

Chad received many accolades during his scholastic career, including 15 DownBeat Magazine Student Music Awards for categories such as “Best Jazz Soloist” and “Best Original Song.”

Since graduating from the Brubeck Institute, Chad has performed throughout four continents, and has appeared at venues including Carnegie Hall, the Super Bowl, and Madison Square Garden. His debut album, Imagery Manifesto, was named “Debut Album of the Year” by jazz critic and author, Doug Ramsey, and his forthcoming album, “Onward,” features jazz legend, Randy Brecker.

In fall 2017, Chad will join the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as a visiting artist for their new Roots, Jazz and American Music program.”

-Chadlefkowitz-brown.com

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For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page:https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

The E.J. Strickland Trio at the Underbrook

Join us for the second installment of our Winter Underbrook Series on Friday, February 23. This week spotlights drum legend E.J. Strickland, one of the most frequently recorded drummers of the 21st century who has appeared on over 60 albums, performing with his trio.

Concert starts at 8pm and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The Saybrook Underbrook is located in Saybrook College (242 Elm Street), Entryway H.

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THE E.J. STRICKLAND TRIO

E.J. Strickland – Drums
Victor Gould – Piano
Barry Stephenson – Bass

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“Enoch Jamal “E.J.” Strickland is the world-class, world-traveled drummer, composer, educator, and artist you’ve heard on over 60 albums in the last 10-plus years. The Miami native grew up in a creative household, where his dad was a percussionist in the Ft. Lauderdale Orchestra; his twin brother Marcus played the saxophone; and where E.J. beat on pots, pans, and tables until he finally got his hands on the drums. He was only in middle school, yet E.J. knew then that jazz was his calling.

Where does one go as a young jazz musician, serious about the work? New York City, of course. Like so many talented artists before him, E.J. chose the New School to further his jazz education, a course of study that would introduce him to greater technical ability, but really, to the meat of any jazz program: teachers and peers. Reggie Workman. Buster Williams. Billy Harper—just to name a few of the living legend, caring instructors who guided E.J. during his tenure. And the peers? Friends who would spend almost every moment together, growing as young musicians and future leaders of the sound: Mike Moreno, Robert Glasper, Brandon Owens, and Marcus Baylor. Together, they formed a group that would shape their voices, and establish their careers.

E.J. quickly graduated into New York’s gigging jazz scene, playing early on with Russell Malone and Ravi Coltrane. Both artists proved to be big brother types for E.J., gently guiding him as he established his voice. “Russell really stressed the point that as a drummer, you’re supposed to make the music feel good,” he says. “I always try to remember what he instilled in me.” Ravi Coltrane lent a similar kind of open-ended guidance, telling E.J. to simply “find something” in the music. Just what that would be was up to him.

Since then, Strickland has built a successful career as a composer, bandleader, educator, and sideman. He’s toured, performed, and recorded with some of the greatest names in contemporary music: Cassandra Wilson, Terence Blanchard, Lizz Wright, Wynton Marsalis, George Colligan, David Gilmore, Vincent Herring, and Nnenna Freelon, to name a few. As an instructor, he’s taught alongside some of the world’s best jazz educators: Dave Douglas and Vijay Iyer at the prestigious Banff International Workshop in Jazz & Creative Music, Steve Kirby at University of Manitoba, and Earl MacDonald at University of Connecticut.

As a leader, he’s released two albums: 2009’s In This Day featuring Marcus Strickland, Jaleel Shaw, Luis Perdomo, and Hans Glawischnig in a blend of musical settings. His most recent release, The Undying Spiritpositively glows…its success comes largely from the leader’s ability to inspire the best in his fellow musicians,” says Brian Zimmerman,Downbeat Magazine. Nick Bewsey in Icon Magazine calls E.J. “an artist with a clear and sensible vision: that a drummer-led jazz record should give listeners an opportunity to get their groove on.”

Variety—of influence and interest—might be the key word for E.J. in his creative approach. He studied both classical and Latin percussion, working early on with the great Cuban drummer Ignacio Berroa. “Growing up, we listened to all kinds of music in the house,” he says. “Miles, Stevie; just good music.” He’s applied his wide-ranging tastes to the artists he plays with today: funk and fusion with pianist Manuel Valera’s Groove Square; Latin jazz with tenor player David Sanchez; soul and R&B with harpist Brandee Younger; straight-ahead with alto player Sharel Cassity.

In 2015, E.J. brings his eclecticism to a new group, Transient Beings. Founded in the spirit of the present moment, Transient Beings celebrates the one thing we all share: limited time on Earth. With insightful and uplifting lyrics, and a unique instrumentation—vocals and effects by Sarah Elizabeth Charles, two guitarists, Nir Felder and Tom Guarna, Rashaan Carter on electric bass, and Strickland pulsing throughout—he hopes to unite his listeners through funk, hip-hop, Afrobeat, and fusion, pairing the complexity of jazz solos with the textured guitar sounds of rock.

The openness that E.J. brings to his creative work is the same trait that makes him a successful educator. A private teacher, coach, master class and clinic instructor, he focuses on the individual student, their personality and interests, in order to best guide them. “I never tell them, You have to do this, or that. I try to show them that music is a wide, wide world of possibility. And I try to make it fun. I always try to remember that music is fun.”

-Smallslive.com

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For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page:https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

The Immanuel Wilkins Quartet at the Underbrook

Join us for the final installment of our Winter Underbrook Series on Friday, March 9. This week features Immanuel Wilkins, the young saxophone phenom from The Julliard School, and his trio.

Concert starts at 8pm and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The Saybrook Underbrook is located in Saybrook College (242 Elm Street), Entryway H.

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THE IMMANUEL WILKINS QUARTET

Immanuel Wilkins – Alto Saxophone
Micah Thomas – Piano
Daryl Johns – Bass
Kweku Sumbry – Drums

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“Immanuel Wilkins is an American Saxophonist, Composer, Arranger, and Band Leader. While growing up in the Philadelphia area, he played in his church and programs dedicated to teaching jazz music such as the Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. Immanuel has had the opportunity to play in Japan, Europe, South America, The United Arab Emirates, and the United States, working and/or recording with Jason Moran, the Count Basie Orchestra, Delfeayo Marsalis, Aaron Parks, Hubert Laws, Gretchen Parlato, Lalah Hathaway, Solange Knowles, Bob Dylan, and Wynton Marsalis. He currently attends The Juilliard School where he studied with saxophonists Bruce Williams and the late Joe Temperley. By being emerged in the scene at a young age around various masters, he continues to pursue his goals of being a force in music and society today. His mission is to create a sound that has a profound spiritual and emotional impact and to become a great leader in the lineage of jazz musicians throughout history. Through studying the human pathos of the music and the culture of jazz, he aspires to bring people together through the commonality of love and belief in this music.”

-Smallslive.com

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For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page:https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

Eyehear at the Underbrook

Join us for the final installment of our Fall Underbrook Series on November 17. This week spotlights Eyehear, a student group from Columbia University that boasts a complex, hybrid sound and features the emerging trumpeter David Acevedo.

Concert starts at 8pm and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The Saybrook Underbrook is located in Saybrook College (242 Elm Street), Entryway H.

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EYEHEAR

David Acevedo – Trumpet
Joseph Freund – Electric Guitar
Sean Kim – Piano
Conner Duke – Electric Bass
Daniel Mesko – Drums

Check out Eyehear here:

https://dacevedomusic.tumblr.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjum5sxPnos&feature=youtu.be

https://soundcloud.com/david_acevedo_music/sets/eyehear

 

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For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page:https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

The Steven Feifke Trio at the Underbrook

Join us Family Weekend for the fourth installment of our Fall Underbrook Series on November 3. This week features a concert and masterclass by a renowned “monster-talent,” the pianist and composer Steven Feifke.

Concert starts at 8pm, masterclass at 7pm. Both are free and open to the public and will take place in the Saybrook Underbrook, located in Saybrook College (242 Elm Street), Entryway H. Refreshments will be served at the concert.

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STEVEN FEIFKE TRIO

Steven Feifke – Piano
Raviv Markovitz – Bass
Bryan Carter – Drums

Steven Feifke, born June 21 1991, is a sought after performer, orchestrater, and educator based in New York. An avid composer and arranger, Feifke leads three regularly performing ensembles: a piano trio, a septet, and a full 17-piece big band, each of which plays music from Feifke’s own repertoire. When not composing for his own bands, Feifke can often be found working in a wide variety of settings ranging from stage to screen. In addition to writing for musicians like Michael Dease, Ulysses Owens, Chris Norton, and Chad Lefkowitz-Brown, some select TV appearances of Feifke’s music include Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars” with President Obama, and the hit show “Impractical Jokers” on TrueTV. As a pianist, Feifke maintains an active performance schedule both in and out of New York City at venues like The Blue Note, Smalls Jazz Club, and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Feifke currently resides in Manhattan, and holds a bachelors degree in music and a minor in economics from New York University.

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For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page:https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

The Tarun Balani Collective at the Underbrook

Join us for the next installment of our Fall Underbrook Series on October 3rd. This week spotlights Tarun Balani, a composer and drummer coming to us all the way from New Delhi, India. His four-piece Collective will be performing works from their boldly modern yet deeply spiritual album, Dharma, to be released this September.

Concert starts at 7pm and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The Saybrook Underbrook is located in Saybrook College (242 Elm Street), Entryway H.

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TARUN BALANI COLLECTIVE

Tarun Balani – Drums
Adam O’Farrill – Trumpet
Olli Hirvonen – Guitar
Sharik Hasan – Piano
Noam Wisenberg – Bass

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For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page:https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

The Braxton Cook Quintet at the Underbrook

Join us for the next installment of our Fall Underbrook Series on September 29. This week spotlights the Braxton Cook Quintet, a modernistic band featuring the genre-bending young saxophonist/vocalist Braxton Cook.

Concert starts at 8pm and is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. The Saybrook Underbrook is located in Saybrook College (242 Elm Street), Entryway H.

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BRAXTON COOK QUINTET

Braxton Cook – Vocals, Saxophone
Andrew Renfroe – Guitar
Mathis Picard – Keyboard
Joshua Crumbly – Bass
Jonathan Pinson – Drums

In addition to being one of this generation’s emerging voices on the alto saxophone, Braxton Cook is a talented vocalist and songwriter whose sound blends Soul, R&B, and Jazz. A graduate of Juilliard, Braxton has toured with Grammy Award-nominated trumpeter Christian Scott, The New Century Jazz Quintet, and Tomohiro Miro Quartet, among others. Braxton released his debut album, Somewhere in Between, in April 2017.

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For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page:https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

Luques and Zaccai Curtis at the Underbrook

Join us for this year’s first installment of our Jazz at the Underbrook Series on September 1. This week features Luques and Zaccai Curtis as a masterful bass-piano sibling duo with roots in blues, swing, and Afro-Caribbean jazz.

Concert starts at 8pm and is free and open to the public. This event will be held in the Morse Head of College House (Morse College, 06511). Refreshments will be served.

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For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page: https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

Emmet Cohen Trio

Join us for the next installment of our Jazz at the Underbrook Series on April 8. This week features a concert and masterclass by virtuosic piano powerhouse Emmet Cohen.

Concert starts at 8pm, masterclass at 7pm. Both are free and open to the public and will take place in the Saybrook Underbrook. The Saybrook Underbrook is located in Saybrook College (242 Elm Street) Entryway H. Refreshments will be served at the concert.

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EMMET COHEN TRIO
Emmet Cohen – Piano
Yasushi Nakamura – Bass
Joe Saylor – Drums

Multifaceted American jazz pianist and composer Emmet Cohen is one of his generation’s pivotal artistic figures. Downbeat praised the “nimble touch, measured stride and warm harmonic vocabulary” he employs to communicate with other musicians and audiences at what he terms “the deepest level of humanity and individuality.” Cohen plays with the command and passion of an artist fully devoted to his medium. Leader of the “Emmet Cohen Trio,” Cohen presents jazz performance lectures through the YoungArts Foundation and Lincoln Center’s “Jazz for Young People” program. He has appeared in the Monterey, Newport, North Sea, Bern, and Edinburgh jazz festivals, among others, and at many famous music venues, including Rose Hall and the Kennedy Center. Cohen has also played in legendary international nightspots, such as Birdland, the Blue Note, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Jazzhaus Montmartre, and Ronnie Scott’s. He is Hammond B-3 organist-in-residence at Harlem’s Smoke jazz club. A Suzuki piano student at age three, Cohen holds jazz piano degrees from the Manhattan School of Music (M.M.) and the University of Miami (B.M.). He was finalist in both the American Pianists Association’s Cole Porter Fellowship (2015, 2011) and the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition (2011). Cohen has performed or collaborated with Debbie Allen, Jimmy Cobb, Lea DeLaria, Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, Ali Jackson, Bill T. Jones, Brian Lynch, Christian McBride, and Herlin Riley.

For more updates on jazz related events at Yale and in the greater New Haven area, please like our page: https://www.facebook.com/yalejazzcollective/?ref=br_rs

Be sure to check out the facebook event!

2017 Festival

Announcing the Fifth Annual Jazz Festival at Yale!


We’re thrilled to announce the Fifth Annual Jazz Festival at Yale, a student-organized celebration of jazz, to be held April 22-23. All concerts and talks are open to the public and free of charge with no tickets required.

All events are funded by our sponsors, the University, local New Haven businesses, and the Yale University Art Gallery. The Jazz Collective would like to particularly thank our Platinum Sponsor the Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme, CT, one the country’s best clubs which programs amazing music all year round, as well as our Gold Sponsor, WPKN (89.5 FM), listener supported community radio.

Learn more about the incredible artists in our lineup below!

Poster: Adam Turkel

Parking Information:  Nearby parking lots can be found on Elm Street (272 Elm), on the median on Broadway, or near The Shops at Yale (255 Crown).  Limited street parking is also available on Chapel and York street.


2017 Lineup

Christian Scott


Poster: Adam Turkel
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is a two-time Edison Award winning (2010 and 2012) and Grammy Award nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and music executive.  Christian’s Grammy nominated international recording debut, Rewind That was called “arguably the most remarkable premiere the genre has seen in the last decade” and more recently he has been heralded by JazzTimes magazine as “Jazz’s young style God” and “the Architect of a new commercially viable fusion.”
Christian is known for developing the harmonic convention known as the “forecasting cell” and for his use of an un-voiced tone in his playing, emphasizing breath over vibration at the mouthpiece, widely referred to as his “whisper technique.” Christian is also widely recognized as one of the progenitors of “Stretch Music,” a jazz rooted, genre blind musical form that attempts to “stretch” jazz’s rhythmic, melodic and harmonic conventions to encompass as many other musical forms, languages and cultures as possible.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is set to soon release three albums to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the very first Jazz recordings of 1917. Collectively titled The Centennial Trilogy, the series is at its core a sobering re-evaluation of the social political realities of the world through sound. The first release in the trilogy, Ruler Rebel, vividly depicts Adjuah’s new vision and sound – revealing Adjuah to the listener in a way never heard before via a completely new production methodology that Stretches Trap Music with West African and New Orleanian Afro-Native American styles.

Over the past decade Christian has also scored award winning films, designed an interactive media player called the Stretch Music App, and has collaborate with McCoy Tyner, Prince, Marcus Miller, Mos Def (Yasin Bey), and Solange Knowles among others.

RULER REBEL  PREMIERES FRIDAY 2/17.

You can learn more about Christian Scott and his music on his website: http://christianscott.tv/

M’Balia


Poster: Adam Turkel

M’Balia is a singer who approaches jazz standards with a “fiercely individualistic style and a generous dollop of gospel grounding”, and an “ace” songwriter with a caustic wit and piquant attitude born of lived experience.

M’Balia Singley grew up in Philadelphia as “the youngest daughter of two hard working Black folk from the South,” where piano, voice and guitar lessons were simply facts of life in the Singley household.  She studied history at Yale and law at Temple University, but never completely turned away from music. She sang in rock and a cappella groups by night while studying during the day, writing and performing on the singer-songwriter scene during a brief stint in New York City at places like the Nuyorican Poet Café. She played in wedding and party bands and recorded demos with a pre-fame John Legend – one of which, “Stay With Me,” made it onto his debut album and garnered a Grammy nomination.

Jobs and family briefly derailed M’Balia’s pursuit of a career in music, but it was also her two children that inspired her to rededicate herself to her first love in recent years. “Telling your children to go after their dreams is a cliché; I thought they should see me going after my dreams. They’ve seen that it’s not easy and there have been sacrifices, but it’s been honest. And that’s who I want to be.”

“Honest” is as good a one-word summation as one could come up with for the music on her latest release, Halfway There. Produced by her mentor, pianist Orrin Evans, the album boasts a gritty looseness and a daring spontaneity, with M’Balia’s soaring, potent, dauntless voice leading the way. The band features an all-star line-up of Philly stalwarts, including Evans, bassists Mike Boone and Madison Rast, drummers Gene Jackson and Byron Landham, organist Luke Carlos O’Reilly, and guitarist Tim Motzer.

Standards include her stealthy, grooving take on “Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise” and an intimate ballad rendition of “There Is No Greater Love,” which is later reprised in a brisk, uptempo version with the full band. M’Balia’s originals include the album’s title track; “You Don’t Need & I Don’t Have,” a tart commentary on financial hardship; and the stirring gospel-soul song, “Don’t Bet Against Me,” described in JazzTimes as a “towering self-actualization anthem.”

2016 saw M’Balia adding her guest vocals to two songs on Orrin Evans’ latest record, “#knowingishalfthebattle.” The album also features the work of guitar dynamos Kurt Rosenwinkel and Kevin Eubanks. Of that experience, M’Balia recounts, “It was an honor to hang out with those guys, and to come up with something really special on the David Bowie song, ‘Kooks’.”

M’Balia performs with the Sarah Slonim Project at their bimonthly residency at Smalls, NYC, and continues to lead her own band and compose.  And in March 2017, her first musical theatre collaboration, “Anansi, The Story King”, premiered at the Arthur Wagner Theatre, at the University of California, San Diego.

You can learn more about M’Balia and her music on her website: http://www.mbalia.com/

Adam O’Farrill’s Stranger Days


Poster: Adam Turkel

Adam O’Farill (b. 1994) was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Born to a deep musical legacy- his grandfather, the legendary Afro-Cuban composer/arranger, Chico O’Farrill, his father, the GRAMMY award-winning pianist/composer/activist Arturo O’Farrill, and his mother, pianist and educator Alison Deane- O’Farrill has been surrounded by music since he was very young. He began studying piano at age 6, and trumpet at age 8, while starting to compose around the same time. Since then, O’Farrill has made numerous artistic accomplishments.

With his brother, Zack, a drummer/composer, they released two well-received albums under the O’Farrill Brothers Band: Giant Peach (2011) and Sensing Flight (2013), both on ZOHO Music. They primarily featured Adam’s original compositions. In 2016, he released his first album under his own name, called Stranger Days (Sunnyside Records), which features Zack on drums, Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor sax, and Walter Stinson on bass. The album has been critically acclaimed with Nate Chinen of the NY Times writing “Marshaling a sharp band of his peers — Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor saxophone; Walter Stinson on bass; and Zack O’Farrill, his older brother, on drums — Mr. O’Farrill establishes both a firm identity and a willful urge to stretch and adapt.”

In 2015, O’Farrill was featured on two of the year’s most acclaimed albums. He was featured on Rudresh Mahthappa’s Bird Calls, which won the Downbeat Critics Poll for Best Jazz Album, and was named one of the Best Jazz Albums of 2015 by NPR, New York Times, Observer Chicago Tribune, and more. Later that year, O’Farrill was featured (along with Mahanthappa, and Zack O’Farrill) on Arturo O’Farrill’s Cuba: The Conversation Continues, was was nominated for the GRAMMY Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and won the Latin GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. In 2016, Adam was featured on several new releases. He was featured on Stephan Crump’s Rhombal, along with Ellery Eskelin and Tyshawn Sorey, which also released to critical acclaim. O’Farrill was also featured on Evergreen (Canceled World), from rising composer-pianist Gabriel Zucker and his large ensemble, The Delegation, as well Kadawa, the debut album from the Israel-born experimental trio of the same name. In addition to these, Adam has also performed with Vijay Iyer, Mulatu Astatke, Steve Lehman, Christian McBride, Jason Lindner, and more.

Recently, O’Farrill completed his Bachelor’s Degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Laurie Frink, Cecil Bridgewater, Reiko Fueting, Thomas Smith, Greg Gisbert, and Tony Kadleck.

You can learn more about O’Farrill and his music on his website: https://www.adam-ofarrill.com/

You can learn more about Stranger Days’s self-titled release here

Africa Into Jazz/Jazz Into Africa


Poster: Yale Department of Music

The incredible Cameroonian bassist, vocalist, and composer, Richard Bona, as well as the visionary pianist and composer, Randy Weston, will be performing at the closing event of the Festival. The two artists will perform consecutive sets on the evening of Sunday the 23rd at Toad’s place. This final concert is organized by the Yale Department of Music as part of the Africa Into Jazz/Jazz Into Africa series.

Richard Bona

Photo: Music Works International

Fans call him “The African Sting,” critics call him a pro, but it’s his unique and electrifying style of connecting with his audience that titles him what he really is—a true musician. Richard Bona’s seemingly effortless voice, fierce skills on the bass, unique songwriting/arranging expertise and ability to learn just about any instrument simply from watching, position him as a rare African artist to have established an unscalable reputation on an international platform.

Originally from Cameroon, Bona remains true to his roots, with African rhythms reflected in each of his seven albums; the first three, “Scenes from My Life”, “Reverence” and “Munia” display his unique approach to storytelling through sounds. Seeking inspiration from his origins, the themes of Bona’s albums address international issues which mirror his desire of using music to take a stance on issues affecting the oppressed. As an artist with a purpose, he expanded into new musical territories and teamed up with Congolese star, Lokua Kanza and Antillais singer/composer Gerald Toto to create the 2004 collective, “Toto, Bona, Lokua” on which Bona wrote four tracks.

The trio then hit the road and toured across France; however, Bono remained in Europe to tour with guitarist Mike Stern and guest star on Japanese guitarist Kazumi Watanabe’s album “Mo Bop 2.” Shortly after, the pair embarked upon a tour of Japan, providing Bona with the opportunity to incorporate the culture and sounds of a new territory into his work. Furthermore, he toured with Pat Metheny and appeared as a guest on two of Bobby McFerrin’s albums, along with numerous notable collaborations.

He later garnered recognition at the Victoires du Jazz Awards where he won the trophy for “Best International Artist of 2004;” such a prestigious award confirmed his ability to appeal to a multitude of audiences ranging from jazz, pop, bossa nova, traditional, afro-beat and funk. In 2005, Bona guest appeared on Mario Canonge’s album “Rhyzome” and contributed to the soundtrack for Pascal Plisson’s film “Massai, les guerriers de la pluie.” Also known for his role in the group, Steps Ahead, Bona has performed on many stages such as the Adelaide International Guitar Festival and with many luminaries such as John Legend for his album, “Tiki”, which was also nominated for a Grammy in 2007 for “Best Contemporary World Music Album.”

Despite the fact that he spent the entirety of 2008 and 2009 on a non-stop tour, Bona released “The Ten Shades of Blues”, which illustrates his experience with different shades of the blues that he interacted with during his tours throughout locations such as the Sahel, Brazil, India, United States and Cameroon. Shortly after, Bona was honored by the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal with the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award; as one of seven recipients, he is distinguished as an artist in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz is widely recognized. He also received the prestigious SACEM Jazz Award (Grand Prix Jazz SACEM) in 2012 for the Jazz Grand Prize. Additionally, his certified Gold 2013 album, Bonafied, demonstrates a fusion of cultures in which he is continuously developing into a new album that will be toured internationally. With numerous awards, performances, and years of expertise, Bona has become one of the most accomplished and sought-after musicians of this generation. As he continues to redefine his sound, Richard has released his Afro-Cuban project Mandekan Cubano on June 2016 with his new album “Heritage”.

You can learn more about Bona and his music at: http://www.richard-bona.com/home/

Randy Weston

Photo: Carol Friedman

After contributing seven decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world’s foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary.

Encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa, his global creations musically continue to inform and inspire. “Weston has the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk, as well as the richest most inventive beat,” states jazz critic Stanley Crouch, “but his art is more than projection and time; it’s the result of a studious and inspired intelligence…an intelligence that is creating a fresh synthesis of African elements with jazz technique”.

Randy Weston has been said to have “the biggest sound of any jazz pianist since Ellington and Monk, as well as the richest most inventive beat.” His long list of honors and awards include NEA Jazz Master (2001) and a spot in the “DownBeat Hall of Fame.”  

You can learn more about Randy Weston and his music here: http://www.randyweston.info/