Jazzaar Artists 2008 | Jazzaar Festival

Featured Jazzaar Artists 2008

Michael Baker – Drums (USA)

For the past seven years, Michael Baker has worked with World Renowned Superstar’ Whitney Houston as her Music Director and drummer. Michael was also the producer/musical director on a Whitney Houston event featured only in Germany , the Divas Tour, also featuring Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole. Over the years he has worked with many stars including, Missy Elliott, Sting, Cristina Augulera, James Taylor, Elton John, Shaggy, Wycliff, Aretha Franklin, Mary J., Ricky Martins, Usher, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, and many others. Michael also played with jazz artists such as Al Jarreau, The Zawinul Syndicate, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Childs, Dianne Reeves, Clark Terry, The Ellington Orchestra, as well as being the drummer in the Broadway Musical Sophisticated Ladies in LA Shubert Theater.

Reggie Hamilton – Bass (USA)

Stanley Clark and George Duke embraced Reggie like a little brother, mentoring him in the subtleties and nuances of music and the pros and cons of the music business. In short order Reggie amassed a substantial discograpy and list of touring credits due in part to the generous insight of Stan and George along with his own capacity to absorb different musical styles free from any predisposed notions

Vernon “Ice” Black – Guitar (USA)

An accomplished guitarist and vocalist, Vernon Black spent most of the past 20 years touring, recording and film tracking with music legends like Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Chakka Kahn and Lionel Richie. More recently, he’s performed and recorded with contemporary artists including Ashanti, Mariah Carey, India Aire, Busta Rhymes and Celine Dion. His work can be heard in films like “The Bodyguard,” “License to Kill,” and “Beverly Hills Cop II;” in advertising jingles for Jaguar, Chevrolet, Toyota, Nissan, Mattel and Levi’s; and in songs and sound effects on video games for Sony Play Station, Nintendo, Sega and EA Sports (Electronic Arts). And at the Jimi Hendrix Festival at Bumbershoot Stadium in Seattle Washington he was the co-music director and opened the show with the legendary “Experience” (Jimi’s Hendrix’s original band) – Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Noel Redding (bass). Vernon is also a producer, composer and music director. Credits include; The Spice Girls (music director), Regina Belle (composer), Phillip Bailey (composer), Lenny Williams (composer, producer) and his 1st solo record “Sneak Previews” (composer, producer) {guest artists including Herbie Hancock, Steve Smith, Tom Coster, Phillip Bailey} and for multiple artists on his “Ice Black Productions” production company / independent record label.

Shedrick Mitchell – Piano & Hammond B3 (USA)

Shedrick Mitchell is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He started playing the piano at the age of 9. His first formal lesson was the music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven besides playing gospel at his grandfather’s church. At the age of 14 he heard his first jazz recording – of the legendary trumpeter Miles Davis. Upon hearing this recording he knew that he wanted to become a professional jazz musician. After high school he left on a music scholarship to Mannes School of Music in New York City. While a student by day he played professionally at night with top jazz artists such as Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, Betty Carter, and Jimmy Heath to name a few. After touring extensively with such artists he started reworking his craft in music to deal with the rapid change that was taking place in commercial music. These days you may see Shedrick on tour with Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, rapper Jay-Z or producing such artists such as soul singer Maxwell, Allure, or Bill Cosbys cartoon ‘Fatherhood’. No matter where you see him he strives for perfection in his music. 2008 will mark the release of his sophomore project, so be on the lookout on whats to come.

Christian Jacob – Piano (USA-France)

Jacob toured with the introspective Gary Burton from 1987 to 1989, then joined ebullient big-sound trumpeter Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau Band as Music Director in 1990. He’s spent most of the ’90s writing and arranging for Ferguson and working on various free-lance projects, as well as playing the occasional trio gig, and dates with Bostonian Friends, a sextet featuring trumpeter Herb Pomeroy and drummer Adam Nussbaum….In recent years, Christian has concentrated on taking his personal style to a new level with his recordings with The Christian Jacob Trio. He has also continued to tour and record with some great ladies of jazz, Flora Purim and Tierney Sutton. His tours include Europe, Asia, and the USA.

Tierney Sutton – Vocalist (USA)

Sutton was born in Wisconsin and was educated at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She was a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Vocal Competition in 1998. Her first solo album Introducing Tierney Sutton was nominated for Indie Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Her albums since then have been released under the Telarc jazz label. Dancing in the Dark, debuted in the Billboard Top 10 Jazz Albums and remained on the charts for over 15 weeks. Sutton performed to rave reviews and commercial success at New York’s legendary Oak Room. She debuted at Carnegie Hall in February 2005, soloing with the New York Pops Orchestra. In December 2005 I’m with the Band was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Jazz Vocal Album and won JazzWeek’s Vocalist of the Year Award.

Kevin Axt – Bass (USA)

Bassist Kevin Axt is a 20-year veteran of the LA music scene. He has performed, recorded and toured with artists as diverse as Natalie Cole, Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Hank Jones, Phil Woods, Toni Tennille, Lalo Schifrin, Vinx, Kitaro, Bobby Shew, Chuck Mangione, Jack Jones, Barry Manilow, Dave Koz, David Benoit, Bob Florence, Jack Sheldon, and Melissa Manchester to name just a few. A resident of the San Fernando Valley, Kevin continues to be one of the busiest bassists in LA.

Ray Brinker – Drums (USA)

Ray Brinker is an alumnus of North Texas State University’s Jazz Studies program, having performed with the school’s Grammy Award nominated One O’Clock Lab Band before joining trumpeter Maynard Ferguson on a multi-year world tour. Residing in Los Angeles since 1986, Ray is active in the LA studio scene. His recording and touring credits include a diverse list of artists: Michel LeGrand, Joe Pass, Jack Sheldon, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, Randy Brecker, Diane Shure, Johnny Mathis, Steve Allen, Frank Gambale, Brian Setzer, David Lee Roth, Cinderella, Pat Benatar, Phil Woods, Natalie Cole. Ray’s most recent credits include the Christian Jacob Trio CD, Styne and Mine, Ray Charles’ 2005 8-time Grammy Award winning Album of the Year, Genius Loves Company, and Joe Cocker’s 2005 CD release Heart and Soul, as well as film soundtracks Shrek, Chicken Run, The Alamo, Brother Bear, and Ray: The Ray Charles Story.

Dennis Montgomery III – Hammond Organ B3 (USA)

Professor Dennis Montgomery III has been leading Berklee’s gospel ensembles since 1983, when he was still a student. The nine-member gospel ensemble Overjoyed has a local and international following having raised hundreds of audience members to their feet at the Berklee Performance Center, at venues in Switzerland, and the Blue Note clubs in Japan.

Kamaria Ousley – Vocalist (USA)

Grace Taylor – Vocalist (USA)

Rashad McPherson – Vocalist (USA)

Rashad McPherson is a composer and musician who became involved in music at a very young age. He began playing the drums at age two, taking piano lessons at age four and wrote his first song at age six. Over his music career, McPherson has formed several groups and ensembles, been associate musician and youth choir director at Salem Baptist Church, competed musically around the country and traveled to Switzerland. On August 26, 2006, McPherson and New Vision recorded their first live album at the Salem Baptist Church in Omaha… Rashad attends Berklee College of Music as is a member of Berklee’s Gospel choir – Overjoyed.

Kevin Ross – Vocalist (USA)

Originally from Washington D.C., Kevin Ross has the next meaningful voice of this generation. Kevin’s rich tone, creative run ideas, youthful look and piano skills, humbly places him into the category of some of the greatest performers of all time. As a trained vocalist and performer, his engaging stage presence and personality gives him the edge, while industry insiders find the freshness of his voice to be something special, comparing him to artists like Stevie Wonder and the late great Donnie Hathaway. To top it all off, he’s extremely charismatic and a true gentleman. Kevin currently resides in Boston, where he is a Songwriting major at Berklee College of Music.

Steve Reid – Lead Trumpet (USA)

Steve Reid has been playing professionally for more than 20 years in many bands and orchestras of varying musical styles. From 1990-1994, he played lead trumpet for Disneyland and Walt Disney World backing up and working with artists such as Bobby Shew, Maynard Ferguson, Della Reese, Joe Williams, Jerry Hey, Matt Harris, Diane Schurr, Rosemary Clooney, Billy Taylor, Mercer Ellington and Lionel Hampton. He has worked with Columbia Artists Management and played solo trumpet for the touring Tribute to the Artie Shaw Big Band featuring the Ink Spots, Julius La Rosa and Abe Most. Steve has completed his second year with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. While on tour, this band has been featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, The Tonight Show, The Today Show, The Rachel Ray Show, and The Tony Danza Show among others.

Tia Fuller – Alto Sax (USA)

Tia Fuller, born March 27, 1976 in Aurora, Colorado is a saxophonist, composer, and educator. She is a member of the all-female band touring with R & B star, Beyoncé. As a bandleader, Fuller has released three albums: Decisive Steps, Pillar of Strength and her debut album on the Mack Avenue Records label, Healing Space.The dynamic saxophonist has been featured in Jazz Improv Magazine, Rocky Mountain News, Philadelphia Tribune, The Star-Ledger, Down Beat magazine and many other print and online publications. In addition to receiving numerous awards and marks of distinction, as an educator Fuller was honored to be the keynote speaker at the Jazz Institute of New Jersey’s 2003 graduation ceremony, where she presented her “Journey to Success” speech.

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