W.M.J.S. is pleased to announce Dr. Robin Connell as the 2017 Musician of the Year!
Check out the interview with Robin!
Dr. Connell's career has spanned over 30 years; she is a pianist, a vocalist, an educator and a composer. After growing up in Detroit and Northport, MI., she lived and studied in New York, Kansas and Colorado, then after 20 years of travel, lucky for us, landed in Grand Rapids in 1999. She is constantly on the lookout for jazz venues both to promote and to play the music she loves. She held an eight week concert series at the Harris Building last year. Her latest endeavors include a jazz concert series at Fountain Street Church, she co-directs the St Cecilia Youth Jazz Ensembles, and gives lecture-performances on the Great American Songbook.
220 Front Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
We proudly present our 17th season of free Monday night concerts!
June 12 – NORTHVIEW HIGH SCHOOL JAZZ BAND
WMJS is pleased to open this concert series with the multi-award winning Northview High School Jazz Band. This awesome band is led by Greg Wells. The have received 1st division ratings at the MSBOA State Jazz Festival since 1975. Northview has won “Best Band” awards at many college invitationals, they have performed at the Ford Detroit Jazz Festival over 19 times and Montreux Switzerland Jazz Festival twice as well as at National Festivals in D.C., and Savannah. They are excited to present their 2017 program for us.
June 19 - The MARK KAHNY GROUP
Led by pianist, vocalist (2012 Musician of the Year) Mark Kahny. The group will feature Eddie Eicher on drums, Mike Hyde, guitar, James Sawyer on trumpet and vocals and Charlie Hoats on bass. Along with jazz standards they will throw in some of the classic gems they play from the Pat Metheny Group, Sting, Michael Buble and Dr. John. Mark has been spent the winter months performing in Palm Springs, CA and has returned with some new twists and tunes to entertain you with.
June 26 - NOEL WEBLEY & HIS JAZZ FRIENDS
Noel A. Webley II has been a band leader and has been playing bass since the early 1970s. Noel will be joined by keyboardist Blois "JR" Simmons, guitarist Rick Hicks, sax man John Gist, and drummer Paul B. Smith. Noel will be introducing a new vocalist Rashaunda “Shug” Davis, to our audience. The group will play straight ahead jazz standards as well as contemporary jazz such as smooth and urban jazz styles.
July 3 - THE LAKESHORE BIG BAND
Led by Brian and Karen Obits, has been entertaining audiences throughout West Michigan for over 25 years, developing into one of the area’s finest concert and dance ensembles. Based in Spring Lake, MI, the LBB is a full-size (17 piece) traditional big band. The music they perform comes from a large library of tunes from the early days of jazz to present day, including great hits from the big band era by Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and more, as well as contemporary jazz, ballroom dance and popular music.
July 10 – Edwin IMER SANTIGO
Imer Santigo has spent years performing in Nashville, Tenn. A town not widely known as a jazz town and the history of jazz in Nashville has been largely hidden. But with the release of trumpeter Imer Santiago’s debut CD, Hidden Journey, the vibrancy of the Tennessee city’s current jazz scene comes into shining focus. Santiago steps out of the shadows as a trumpet stylist and composer to be reckoned with in the jazz world at large, and provides additional evidence of the exciting new jazz movement that’s emerging in the country music capital.
July 17 - KEVIN JONES BAND
Kevin Jones is a recently transplanted talent to Grand Rapids who relocated from the New York/New Jersey area. Kevin is a veteran of the Jazz and R&B scene who has numerous performance and recording credits. This exciting percussionist has worked with Whitney Houston (1986 to 1990), The Isley Brothers (1979 to 1992) among others. Band leader Kevin Jones will play congas and percussion. His band includes Steve Talaga (Musician of the Year 2008) on piano, Damon Warmack on bass, Rob Mulligan on drums and percussion, Tom Lockwood on saxophones and flute and Michael Doyle on tenor and soprano saxophones.
July 24 – JIM COOPER & ORGANIC VIBES
Organic Vibes features Jim Cooper on vibraphone, Jim Alfredson on Hammond Organ and Jeff Shoup on drums. The inception of Organic Vibes started when Alfredson asked Cooper to record on his CD, Dirty Fingers, A Tribute to Big John Patton. They later added Jeff Shoup on drums and have performed in concerts, clubs, and fundraisers all around Michigan including the Lansing Jazz Festival. Their includes the quirky, soulful and groovy music of jazz organist Big John Patton, music from Grant Green's Blue Note recordings and original music from Cooper.
For more information on Jim Cooper and Organic Vibes, visit www.jimcooper.net.
July 31- METRO JAZZ VOICES
Metro Jazz Voices has been called "Detroit's answer to Manhattan Transfer," and are, according to allmusic.com, "one of Michigan's best and most ambitious Vocal ensembles." Having spent much of 2014-15 recording, "Wingin' It," MJV is poised to take the world of 4-part harmony singing by storm. The Voices are Meri Slaven (soprano/alto), Trish Shandor (soprano/alto), Carl Cafagna (tenor) and Jordan Schug (baritone); Cafagna also plays saxophone and flute, and Schug sometimes adds cello. www.metrojazzvoices.com
August 7- MARY RADEMACHER & THE FRED KNAPP QUARTET
Mary Rademacher Reed- Vocalist/Entertainer, (WMJS Musician of the Year 2006) is joined by the well-established and talented quartet of Fred Knapp, drums, Dave Rosin, bass, Mike Frost, saxes, and singer/pianist, Dave Proulx for a classic mix of jazz and American Songbook selections. Proulx and Rademacher will also be singing a few favorite duets in the style of Louis & Ella, Buble and Furtado, Bennett and Lady Gaga, and Broadway/movie standards.
August 14 - WMJS’s 2017 Musician of the Year, pianist and vocalist DR. ROBIN CONNELL
DR. ROBIN CONNELL will be the finale for the 2017 concert series. After spending much of the summer season playing in northern Michigan, Robin will be attempting to gather the band that accompanied her at the musician of the year award banquet in May. That band included husband Paul Brewer on trombone and vocals, Laurie Sears on sax/flute, Chris Kojorness on bass and Tim Froncek on drums.
Our 17th annual season of offering free weekly jazz concerts is fast approaching. But as we all know, NOTHING is really free. So once again we are reaching out to past and potential future supporters to fund this endeavor. Both individuals and Corporate sponsors are urged to please consider a level of support that works for you. We are a 501 (c) (3) organization therefore most contributions are tax deductible. So thank you in advance, we couldn't do it without you!
Click here for complete information and a form for applying for a sponsorship! Or use the form in the April-May Jazz Notes newsletter.
(Note: The scholarship monies referenced below are not a part of the general fund and can not be touched to 'help pay the bills.'
WE HAVE MONEY TO GIVE AWAY!
Click here for a scholarship app!
Part of WMJS's mission statement is to provide music scholarships for deserving students in pursuit of jazz education.The 2017 Music scholarships are ready to receive requests! PLEASE help us get the word out and direct worthy candidates here!
May 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm! A fundraising jazz concert featuring Edye Evans Hyde, Mark Weymouth and Mark Kahny!
New Day Church–on-the-Hill, 2965 Wycliffe Dr. SE , (corners Cascade Road, Thorncrest, Wycliffe)
Light refreshments at intermission, $20 at the door.
New Day wants to build a labyrinth* for the community as well as their members. If you don’t know about Labyrinths, do a little research! They have been in use for over 4000 years. Their basic design is fundamental to nature and many cultures and religious traditions. Whatever one's religion...walking the labyrinth clears the mind and gives insight. It calms people in the throes of life's transitions. What a wonderful gift for us all. Please support this concert!
April 29 at 7:30 PM! Spring Jazz Concert with guest saxophonist Chris Vadala.
The Max Colley Jr. Performing Arts Center will be the place to be on Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 PM! The program will include the Crossroads MS Jazz Band, the award winning Northview HS Jazz Ensemble with Mr. Vadala, and he will also perform in a combo with Steve Talaga-piano, Tom Lockwood-bass and Fred Knapp on drums.
Mr. Vadala is probably best known for his saxophone work with the Chuck Mangione Quartet. He currrently serves as director of Jazz Studies and Saxophone Professor at the University of Maryland and is one the country’s foremost woodwind artists in jazz and classical music. He has performance credits on 5 gold and 2 platinum albums, plus 2 Grammy, 2 Emmy, one George and one Golden Globe Award. He has either performed or recorded with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, BB King, Quincy Jones, Chick Corea, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Placido Domingo, Sarah Vaughn, Natalie Cole, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross to name a few.4451 Hunsburger Ave NE, $5 for students/senior citizens and $10 for adults.