Tag Archives: jazz

‘Summer in the Studio’ series at the SCA begins with Elden Kelly, July 10

Elden Kelly (photo supplied)

By Angela Peavey, Saugatuck Center for the Arts

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver St.) kicks off its Summer in the Studio concert series with guitarist Elden Kelly. Kelly will perform July 10 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available at sc4a.org, 269.857.2399, or by visiting the box office.

Elden Kelly is an improviser, bandleader, guitarist, composer and singer-songwriter. He is known for a type of classically influenced jazz and world music. Of a live performance, reviewer Lawrence Cosentino wrote, “He meandered from the Ganges to Delta blues, bluegrass, flamenco and a folk idiom so heartfelt it bordered on the devotional.”

After graduating from Boston’s prestigious New England Conservatory of Music with a degree in Contemporary Improvisation in 2008, Kelly accepted a full scholarship and teaching assistantship at Michigan State with Rodney Whitaker, earning a graduate degree in 2011 in Ethnomusicology.

Today Kelly’s sound is  influenced by genres such as jazz, neoclassicism, American Roots, Hindustani and Turkish music. Kelly is also known for playing the glissentar, an 11-string fretless guitar.

“The music I play on the fretless guitar is a combination of Indian music, Turkish music, and roots music, so I call it ‘Indo-Turkish Bluegrass’,” Kelly said.

Kelly processes a voice akin to Jeff Buckley, and technique that is the guitarists envy. But Kelly says he isn’t limited to just one genre such as folk. Instead he has experimented and blended many genres throughout his career to create his own powerful sound.

The Summer in the Studio series is an intimate, living room-style series hosted by the SCA. The next artist to be featured is Danika & the Jeb, a guitar and vocal duo who provide a unique blend of acoustic pop music.


International jazz musician Tim Warfield comes to the Van Singel Fine Arts Center

Tim Warfield

International Jazz Saxophonist Tim Warfield, Jr. joins the nationally recognized Byron Center Jazz Orchestra for COOL JAZZ on Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Van Singel Fine Arts Center as part of the  2016-2017 Chemical Bank Series.


Tim Warfield, Jr., a native of York, Pennsylvania, began studying the alto saxophone at age nine. He switched to tenor saxophone during his first year at William Penn Sr. High School where he participated in various musical ensembles winning many jazz soloist awards, including second out of forty competitors at the Montreal Festival of Music in Canada. After high school, Warfield attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. for two years before leaving to lead and co-lead groups in the Central Pennsylvania and Baltimore/Washington areas.


Warfield has made several television appearances including the “Today Show,” “Bill Cosby’s You Bet Your Life” (where he was a member of the house band until 1992), and Ted Turner’s 1998 Trumpet Awards. Additionally, he has made numerous stage appearances with such names as Donald Byrd, Michelle Rosewoman, Marcus Miller, Marlon Jordan, James Williams, Christian McBride, Winard Harper, Dizzy Gillespie, Leslie Burrs to name a few, along as having been on several Grammy-nominated recordings.


Most recently, Warfield was recognized as the Clef Club of Jazz and the Performing arts Tenor Saxophonist of the Year. His newest recording is “Spherical,” which is a Criss Cross Jazz recording, is dedicated to piano genius and jazz icon Thelonious Sphere Monk and features trumpet legend Eddie Henderson, pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Ben Wolfe and drummer Clarence Penn.


Warfield currently serves as a board member, and music committee chairperson, for the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz and also serves as “artist-in-residence” at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa, and an adjunct music faculty member at Temple University, in Philadelphia, Pa. Warfield recently joined the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia, under the direction of Terell Stafford.


Byron Center Jazz Orchestra

The Byron Center Jazz Orchestra, directed by Marc Townley, has competed at the Swing Central Jazz Festival in Savannah, Georgia every spring since 2014 and this year ranked third out of  12 high school bands from throughout the nation. This May will be the orchestra’s second time competing in New York at Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition and Festival at Lincoln Center in New York.


Reserved seats are $16.50 for adults and $11.50 for students. Reserve tickets in person at the Van Singel box office or by calling 616-878-6800, Monday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are also available at www.vsfac.com.


The Van Singel Fine Arts Center is located at the east end of the Byron Center High School complex, at 8500 Burlingame SW, located at 84th Street and Burlingame SW in Byron Center, just 1.5 miles west of US-131. The Van Singel features free, easy parking and curbside handicap parking is available.

Jazz, Concert Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble all part of the GVSU line-up for this week

Music and Dance
For more information about all Music and Dance Department events, call (616) 331-3484. All events are free and open to the public.



Recital for International Guests of Grand Valley State University
April 12, from 1:30-2:15 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

The Recital for International Guests promises to be a celebration of diversity at Grand Valley State University as several music majors from the U.S., South Korea and China will perform, including Da sol Um, Yushan Ying, Aileen Chung, Jinah Lee, Bryce Kyle, Anna Vander Boon and Grace Brylinski.


GVSU Concert Band Concert
April 12, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

During this April 12 performance, the Grand Valley State University Concert Band will perform “Euphoria” by John Frantzen, “The World is Waiting for the Sunrise” by Harry Alford, “Chester” by William Schuman, “Lights Out” by Alex Shapiro, “Four Scottish Dances” by Malcolm Arnold and “Stars and Stripes Forever” by John Philip Sousa. The ensemble will be joined by Dan Graser, assistant professor of saxophone at Grand Valley, as a solosit for “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair (La fille aux cheveux de lin)” by Claude Debussy.


GVSU Jazz Concert
April 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

The GVSU Large and Small Jazz Ensembles will perform during this free concert that is open to the public.


GVSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble Concert
April 14, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus 

This Grand Valley State University Symphonic Wind Ensemble concert will feature this year’s Concerto Competition Winners with Morales’s “Concerto for Two Trumpets” played by a euphonium duo. The concert will also include “English Dances Set II” by Malcolm Arnold, “Sketches on a Tudor Psalm” by Fisher Tull, “Barnum & Bailey’s Favorite” by Karl L. King, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pineapple Poll.”


Piano and Clarinet Studios of Helen Marlais and Arthur Campbell Recital
April 15, from 2-6 p.m.
Sherman Van Solkema Hall (room 1325), Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

Grand Valley State University students of Helen Marlais, associate professor of piano, and Arthur Campbell, professor of clarinet will perform during this free concert. This event is free and open to the public.


GVSU Symphony Orchestra Concert featuring Concerto Competition Winners
April 15, at 7:30 p.m.
Louis Armstrong Theatre, Performing Arts Center, Allendale Campus

During this performance, Grand Valley State University will present its finest solo work with the Symphony Orchestra. The final concert of the season will begin with Nicolai’s delightful “Merry Wives of Windsor Overture” and will conclude as Henry Duitman, GVSU Symphony Orchestra director, conducts the ensemble in one of Richard Strauss’ monumental tone poems, “Death and Transfiguration.”

Review: Cécile McLorin Salvant brings big jazz voice to St. Cecilia

Cécile McLorin Salvant. (Supplied/Mark Fitton)

By K.D. Norris



60-second Review


Cécile McLorin Salvant, Dec. 8, at St. Cecilia Music Center, Grand Rapids, Mi. 


Cécile McLorin Salvant, the season opening performer for the St. Cecilia Music Center’s 2016-17 Jazz Series, brought a spectacular voice and mesmerizing presence to the stage Thursday for a 90-minute set.


Accompanied by the very tight Aaron Diehl Trio — with Diehl on piano, Paul Sikivie on bass and Lawrence Leathers on drums — McLorin Salvant opened her set with just Diehl’s piano and  singing “Lucky to be Me.” From that moment on, you were lucky to be in the audience.


The singer showed her versatility — heartbreaking to humorous; booming to a whisper — throughout the night,  with her set including a trio of Cole Porter songs, both well-known and little-known, and a hauntingly theatric song from the 1946 jazz-opera “Street Scene”, with lyrics by Langston Hughes.


My favorite song of the night was a stark, stripped-down version of the classic folk song “John Henry”, with special note given to Sikivie’s unique work on the base. My only disappointment was that all the songs were in English, which the native French speaker sings perfectly — S’il vous plaît, Cécile, un peu de Français.


McLorin Salvant ended the night as mesmerizingly as she started it, with “Tell Me What They are Saying Can’t be True.” It left you wanting more.


May I have more, please?


Having never heard McLorin Salvant before, I suspected a little hyperbole when some reviewers compared her to Ella Fitzgerald. But, listing to a local public radio jazz program before the concert, my wife, TJ — who knows her jazz —  remarked “I wonder who that is? She sounds like Ella.” Sure enough, the DJ confirmed the song was by the songstress we would see shortly.


Good enough recommendation for me.


It may still be a little early to compare the 27-year-old to Ella, but she does have an impressive resume: youngest winner the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010, her debut recording, “WomanChild”, nominated for a Grammy in 2014, and her follow-up recording, “For One to Love”, winning the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album this year.


And did I mention that she has a set of pipes? (Her singing voice is astounding.)


St. Cecilia opens jazz series with Grammy winning vocalist

Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant is the season opening performer for the St. Cecilia Music Center’s 2016-17 Jazz Series,
Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant is the season opening performer for the St. Cecilia Music Center’s 2016-17 Jazz Series.

By K.D. Norris



You might say that songstress Cécile McLorin Salvant, the season opening performer for the St. Cecilia Music Center’s 2016-17 Jazz Series, wasted no time in adding Grammy winner to her already melodic name.


infoOn the heals of being the youngest winner the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010, McLorin Savant’s debut recording, WomanChild, was nominated for a Grammy in 2014 and her follow-up recording, For One to Love, won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album this year.


St. Cecilia executive director Cathy Holbrook, in supplied material, was not overstating facts when she said:  states, “At 27 years old, Cécile is already a sensation.”


So expect a sensational night of vocal jazz when McLorin Salvant takes the stage Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are still available.


Cécile McLorin Salvant

McLorin Salvant’s repertoire includes interpretations of little-known and scarcely recorded jazz and blues compositions, as well as unique takes on jazz standards, and original music and lyrics sung in a variety of different languages – English, Spanish and French, her native language.

For a video of McLorin Savant, click here.



The rest of this season’s St. Cecilia Jazz Series includes young — as in 13-year-old — pianist phenom Joey Alexander on March 23, and the SFJAZZ supergroup performing the music of Miles Davis as well as their own compositions on May. 4.


At the McLorin Savant concert, there will be a free post-concert “Meet-the-artist” reception for all ticket-holders. A pre-concert reception with wine and hors d’oeuvres is available for $15 per person in addition to the ticket cost.


For more information and tickets, call 616-459-2224 or visit scmc-onlilne.org.