ACANSA Arts Festival of the South - An Evening of Jazz

*CANCELLED DUE TO COVID*
Refunds will be processed for all tickets purchased to this event.

An Evening of Jazz

Presented in partnership with the ACANSA Arts Festival of the South

September 23, 2021

7:00pm

301 Main Street
North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

In collaboration with Jazz at The Joint, ACANSA presents an evening of jazz with four renowned artists:

Acclaimed seven-string jazz guitarist Ted Ludwig has been a part of the jazz scene in New Orleans since 1997. He has performed with notable contemporaries such as Ellis Marsalis, Peter Bernstein, Bob Dorough, Larry Coryell, Nathan East, Nicholas Payton, Howard Alden, Mundell Lowe, Rick Margitza, Julian Labro, Steve Masakowski, John Ellis, Tony Dagradi, Mike Pellera, Jason Marsalis, Ron Escheté, Johnny Vidacovich, Herlin Riley, and many more. In 2016, Ludwig performed an original Jazz Guitar Concerto entitled “Katrina,” composed by D.J. Sparr and commissioned by The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. ​That same year, he became the youngest inductee into The Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame.

Khari Allen Lee (Saxophone) has performed with dozens of luminaries, including Alvin Batiste, Ellis Marsalis, Edward ‘Kidd’ Jordan, Aaron Neville, Aretha Franklin, Dr. John, Branford Marsalis, Allen Toussaint, DeeDee Bridgewater, and Stevie Wonder. He is lead saxophonist & touring member of Delfeayo Marsalis’ Uptown Jazz Orchestra as well as the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra directed by Adonis Rose. Khari Allen Lee & the New Creative Collective have released three albums. Lee is also on the faculty at the University of New Orleans and Loyola University following tenure at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA).

Peter Slavov (Bass) is a New York-based Grammy-nominated bassist and has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious festivals and venues in more than 40 countries on five continents. He discovered American jazz while studying classical music at the Pipkov Music School in Sofia, Bulgaria, and has performed and/or or recorded with such artists as Joe Lovano, Quincy Jones, George Garzone, Danilo Perez, Chucho Valdes, Kevin Mahogany, Simon Shaheen, Elio Villafranca and Rudy Royston among many others. Slavov is a member of Grammy award-winning saxophonist Joe Lovano’s Classic Quartet and Us Five band. His debut album, Little Stories, was released in 2019.

Geoff Clapp (Drums) has toured the U.S., Europe, Asia, Africa, Canada and performed as a United States Artistic Diplomat in North Africa and Eastern Europe. He currently performs with Khari Allen Lee & the New Creative Collective. Clapp moved from studying classical music in New York to jazz at the University of New Orleans with Ellis Marsalis after meeting Wynton Marsalis and Herlin Riley at a concert in Chapel Hill, NC. He has performed, recorded and toured with multiple members of the famed Marsalis “first family of jazz” as well as dozens of other premier artists, including Nicholas Payton, Dianne Reeves, Eric Reed, Aaron and Charmaine Neville, Picnic and Norah Jones.


Tom Vaitsas

Tom Vaitsas

November 14, 2022

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

Tom started playing professionally in Chicago in 1992 while working on his B.A and Music Education degrees at NIU.

Although school was a great experience, nothing compared to the knowledge and inspiration received from Chicago’s south side scene and musicians where he often got to be around and learn from legendary jazz saxophonist Von Freeman.

2000-2008 was a period of European tours with blues legends Lurie and Carrie Bell while also performing in Chicago in between trips.

He has performed concerts with jazz greats Von Freeman and Dee Dee Bridgewater and continues to perform at concerts and clubs in and out of Chicago with various groups.


Tim Fitzgerald

Tim Fitzgerald

October 10, 2022

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

Tim Fitzgerald is a Chicago based guitarist and bandleader. He is also author of the book 625 Alive: the Wes Montgomery BBC Concert Transcribed, which has been hailed as the “Ultimate Study of Wes Montgomery’s music” (Just Jazz Guitar Magazine) and “One of the 50 greatest guitar books of all time” (The 50 Greatest Guitar Books). He has written columns for Downbeat Magazine, Just Jazz Guitar Magazine and Chicago Jazz Magazine and performed clinics at the Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival.

Tim leads two bands in Chicago — Tim Fitzgerald’s Full House and the Tim Fitzgerald Quartet — and is a sideman in a multitude of other projects.

Tim’s larger group, Full House, is a seven piece, three horn ensemble inspired by the music of jazz great Wes Montgomery. The band features new original arrangements of Wes’ music — not just Wes Montgomery songs, but Wes’ famous chord solos and octaves solos as well.

His smaller group, The Tim Fitzgerald Quartet, features a mix of straight ahead jazz and soul music, including Tim’s original compositions, the music of Wes Montgomery, and the music of soul jazz greats such as Dr. Lonnie Smith.

Tim has performed at venues from Chicago’s Green Mill to the Luxor in Las Vegas, from NYC to Homer, AK. TV and film musical appearances include PBS’s Art Beat, the Sony film “The Myth of Fingerprints” and the animated film “Hoodwinked, Too.” The many luminaries he has performed with include Von Freeman, Wycliffe Gordon, Ron Perrillo, Makaya McCraven, Marquis Hill, and Denis Charles.


Dave Stryker

Dave Stryker

August 8, 2022

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker leading his own group (with 30 CD’s as a leader to date), or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and many others, you know why the Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.”

Hot House magazine awarded him Best Guitarist Fans Decision for 2017. He was recently voted once again as one of the top Jazz Guitarists in the 2019 Downbeat Critics and Readers Polls for the 10th time.

Dave’s CD “Eight Track III” stayed at #1 on JazzWeek Radio chart for 6 straight weeks. “Strykin’ Ahead” featured the same lineup as “Eight Track II”- Steve Nelson, Jared Gold and McClenty Hunter, and received great reviews. “Messin’ with Mister T”, is a celebration of the man he worked with for over a decade — Stanley Turrentine, “Mister T” — with ten of the greatest tenor sax players on the scene today. It went to #1 on JazzWeek Radio and stayed in the Top 50 for 20 weeks and has received great reviews including 4 1/2 stars in Downbeat magazine. Dave’s last CD “Eight Track” was #9 for 2014 on the Jazz Week Radio Charts where it stayed for 20 weeks topping off at #3 for 3 weeks. Downbeat magazine picked it as one of the Top CD’s of 2014, and ran a feature article in the June 2014 issue on Dave.

“I have followed Dave Stryker’s playing since his early days in Omaha through his long stay with Stanley Turrentine and his longstanding relationship with the great alto player Steve Slagle (another undersung heavy out there) and he just gets better and better with one of the most joyous feels around.” –Pat Metheny

Dave Stryker grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and moved to New York City in 1980. After establishing himself in the local music scene, he joined organist Jack McDuff’s group for two years 1984-85. When McDuff wasn’t on the road (literally traveling by van all over the country) they worked a steady four-night a week gig at Dude’s Lounge in Harlem. His first break, this turned out to be an invaluable experience, paying his dues night after night with the soulful jazz organist. It was at Dude’s Lounge that Stryker met tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, who would occasionally sit in. After leaving McDuff, Turrentine asked Stryker to join his quintet. From 1986-1995 he played with the legendary saxophonist at all the major festivals, concert halls, and clubs throughout the world. He is featured on two Turrentine CD’s (Stanley recorded Stryker’s tune “Sidesteppin”). With Turrentine, Stryker was able to play with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. The ten years playing alongside the tenor legend helped Stryker realize the importance of having his own sound. Dave continued to work with Stanley and was with him during his final week at the Blue Note in NYC, when he passed in Sept. 2000.

Early on Stryker realized that as much as he loved playing standards and the jazz repertoire he had to have something of his own to give to the music. He feels that his writing combined with his playing is what shapes his musical expression. He has recorded and published over 150 of his own compositions and has released “The Dave Stryker Songbook” with most of his original music. Also 18 of the compositions (from the first five SteepleChase CD’s) are compiled in the book: “The Music of Dave Stryker” (SteepleChase Music) which can be ordered on this website.

Some of the other artists who have recorded Dave’s music are: Stanley Turrentine, Kevin Mahogany, Victor Lewis, and Steve Slagle. Dave continues to perform with The Dave Stryker Organ Trio, his Blue to the Bone Band, and The Stryker/Slagle Band. Recent gigs for The Stryker/Slagle Band have included a recent week at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Monterey Jazz Festival, The Blue Note in Las Vegas, The Jazz Bakery in LA, and a 2003 tour of Japan.

Sideman work has included vocalist Kevin Mahogany’s group, with Dave writing and arranging music for Kevin’s Telarc release “Pride and Joy” and “Another Time, Another Place” on Warner Bros and tours of Europe, Japan, Brazil, Poland and Carnegie Hall. He also has worked with Blue Note saxophonist Javon Jackson and pianist Eliane Elias. He has appeared on over 50 CD’s as a sideman. As a producer, Stryker compiled the CD “The Guitar Artistry of Billy Rogers” which is the only existing record of the brilliant jazz playing of the late underground legend who was his friend, former teacher and member of the Crusaders. He has also produced “A Tribute to Grant Green” on Evidence Music.

Dave is the Adjunct Professor of Jazz guitar at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and at the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. He is passing along his experience by teaching privately and at The Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshop, and The Litchfield Jazz Camp. His book “Dave Stryker’s Jazz Guitar Improvisation Method Vol. III” is available here on his website at www.davestryker.com.


Peter Slavov

Peter Slavov

June 13, 2022

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

Peter Slavov is a New York-based, Grammy® nominated bassist, composer, session musician, arranger, and educator. Since he started performing professionally in the mid-1990s, Peter has performed at some of the most prestigious venues and festivals in more than 40 countries on 5 continents.

Born to the family of legendary Bulgarian drummer Peter Slavov Sr., Peter (sometimes credited as Petar) has been playing bass since the age of twelve.

While studying classical music at the Pipkov Music School in Sofia, Bulgaria, Peter discovered American jazz and soon after became the busiest bassist on the scene in Bulgaria, playing with the country’s finest musicians and touring around Europe.

In 1998 Peter received a scholarship from Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music, and in 1999 moved to Boston to attend Berklee. In 2001, he was awarded the Berklee Bass Department’s John Neves Memorial Scholarship Award for Outstanding Musicianship, as well as a full scholarship.

Since graduating from Berklee in 2002, Peter Slavov has performed and/or recorded with world-renowned artists, such as Joe Lovano, Quincy Jones, George Garzone, Danilo Perez, Chucho Valdes, Kevin Mahogany, Simon Shaheen, Elio Villafranca and Rudy Royston among many others.

Peter is a member of Grammy award-winning saxophonist Joe Lovano’s Classic Quartet and Lovano’s Us Five band. In 2012, Us Five received the Award for Best Small Group by the Jazz Journalists Association of America.

Peter Slavov is also featured on the most recent album by Joe Lovano and Us Five – “Cross Culture”, which was released on the historic Blue Note label.

Peter has performed with legendary producer/arranger/composer Quincy Jones’ Global Gumbo Project. Peter has also recorded for Jones. He is featured on Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez’ critically-acclaimed, GRAMMY-nominated album The Invasion Parade(released in 2014), which Quincy Jones produced.


Reuben Rogers

Reuben Rogers

April 11, 2022

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

Reuben Rogers was imbued with both groove and spirit from birth. Raised in the Virgin Islands by parents who were both ministers, Rogers grew up playing gospel in church while absorbing the calypso and reggae rhythms of the islands. The discovery of jazz in his teens added the elements of freedom and improvisation to those innate qualities, creating the unique chemistry that would make Rogers one of the most distinctive and indemand bassists in modern jazz. Rogers’ versatile mastery of both the acoustic and electric bass has led to opportunities on stages around the world alongside some of the music’s most renowned artists, including Charles Lloyd, Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Tomasz Stanko, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Roberts, Nicholas Payton, Mulgrew Miller, Jackie McLean and Dianne Reeves, among many others. The range of styles and approaches represented by that partial list reflects the diversity and adaptability of Rogers’ virtuosic and communicative gifts. Whether laying down a window-rattling groove, painting lush harmonic colors or whispering with delicate lyricism, Rogers’s passion and singular voice shine through in any setting. While he is constantly adapting his always-recognizable voice to new settings, styles and challenges, Rogers’ career is remarkable for the longevity of many of his artistic relationships. He maintains musical partnerships reaching back to his earliest mentors, and enjoys rewarding long-term collaborations with several other artists, including notable tenures with Joshua Redman, Charles Lloyd and the Aaron Goldberg Trio that have lasted for a decade or more. That blend of long-lasting relationships with novel encounters has led to an entrancing richness in Rogers’ playing, an evolution that is the extraordinary result of deep exploration combined with fresh surprises. Over the last two decades, he’s been featured on more than 100 recordings and countless international tours. In addition, in 2015 he released his first upright bass loop and sample collection, Reuben Rogers Volume 1. Rogers’ sole release as a leader is the 2006 all-star session The Things I Am, which features Redman, Payton, Goldberg, drummers Gregory Hutchinson and Adam Cruz, percussionist Kahlil Kwame Bell, saxophonist Ron Blake, and guitarists Mark Whitfield and David Gilmore. Embracing new challenges while continuing to evolve the profound bonds he’s formed with his most long-lasting associations has provided such a rich avenue of self-expression that he thrives in his role as, to use his own joking term, “Super-Sideman.” Born in 1974, Rogers was always drawn to music and dabbled with the clarinet, piano, drums and guitar before discovering his true passion in the bass – a love of low end that he attributes to the earth-shaking sounds of bass-driven calypso and reggae that emanated from nearly every car driving around his native Virgin Islands. His natural abilities were nurtured by his high school music teacher, Georgia Francis, who would continue to provide support and encouragement even after Rogers left the Islands to study at Berklee College of Music. He was introduced to jazz by saxophonist Ron Blake and drummer Dion Parson, with both of whom Rogers continues to work in the Afro-Caribbean tinged 21st Century Band, bringing his life and music full circle whenever he returns to the Islands. Both there and around the world, Rogers continues to give back with educational opportunities, leading workshops, clinics, private lessons and master classes to encourage the next generation of jazz musicians.


Tom Guarna

Tom Guarna

March 7, 2022

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

Grammy-nominated guitarist, composer and arranger Tom Guarna began his musical studies at age fifteen, rapidly demonstrating a natural ability to play and compose. After studying classical guitar and composition at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in 1986, he played local gigs in New York and fine-tuned his education with John Abercrombie. He earned a Bachelor Degree from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in 2008, and a Master’s Degree at The Juilliard School in 2010.

After working with several jazz bands, he joined Blood Sweat and Tears in 1995 and toured extensively with them for the next three years. Since then, he has forged his own voice as a modern jazz guitarist, performing with a wide range of artists including Wallace Roney, Stanley Clarke, Mark Turner, Branford Marsalis, Randy Brecker, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Mulgrew Miller, Fred Wesley, Mike Clark, Uri Caine, The Allman Brothers, The Yellowjackets, and Gary Bartz.

Guarna has toured five continents with his own quartets and as a top sideman in several exciting groups led by Lenny White, E.J. Strickland, and Les McCann. He was a featured artist on over thirty albums, and composed “If You Dare,” a funk-rock song on Lenny White’s 2010 Anomaly CD. Guarna also toured the United States with pianist Manuel Valera, after playing on the Grammy Award-nominated 2012 album, New Cuban Express.

As composer and leader, Guarna has recorded: Get Together (2005), Out from the Underground (2007), Wingspan (2008), Major Minor (2009), Bittersweet (2011), and the hard-grooving Rush (2014), which garnered wide acclaim. His seventh album, The Wishing Stones (2017), featuring an all-star quartet of drummer Brian Blade, bassist John Patitucci and pianist Jon Cowherd, was lauded a 4-star rating in DownBeat Magazine.

Tom Guarna, a guitarist whom DownBeat magazine has praised for the “emotion, tension, surprise and passion” in his playing on Rush, assembled what he calls “a dream team” for The Wishing Stones. The album, his first for the Destiny Records label, was released in November of 2017. The 11 hook-laced Guarna originals, produced by the guitarist and performed with warmth and élan by his all-star quartet, were masterfully engineered by George Shalda. It was recorded at Sear Sound, the New York site of historic studio sessions for artists such as David Bowie and Wynton Marsalis.

The Wishing Stones was inspired by his accidental discovery of Aruba’s Rock Wish Garden, a peaceful beach featuring stone structures that visitors have built over the years as totems. Guarna explains: “Each of these stacks of stones has a story, representing the desires, aspirations and memories of many people. I’d like my songs – my stacks of stones, as it were – to have a similar resonance with listeners. That’s been a goal as I evolve, to convey life’s emotions in music, whether it’s in my writing or the textures I create on the guitar. I want to get to the heart of the matter.”

Guarna incorporates many styles (jazz, funk, latin, soul, pop, R&B, world music) into his own blend of unique and engaging music, as he forges ahead within his forte: modern jazz with a touch of classical influence.


John Ellis

John Ellis

February 7, 2022

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

If that Dickens chap hadn’t already snagged it, “A Tale of Two Cities” would make the ideal title for the John Ellis story. The gifted, versatile saxophonist/clarinetist/composer occupies an imaginary (and extremely imaginative) space directly between the celebratory, welcoming spirit of New Orleans and the edgy, frantic streets of New York City. Both as the leader of his own eclectic projects and as an in-demand sideman for a mind-boggling number and variety of artists, Ellis expresses a keen intellect and easy virtuosity while maintaining a mischievous gleam in his eye and never letting tongue stray far from cheek.

That combination is best showcased in Ellis’ eccentric combo Double-Wide, which recently released its third album, Charm, on Ellis’ own Parade Light Records. While the title is an apt descriptor of the band’s inviting, joyous vibe, its soul is even better captured by the song that gives the album its name: “Charm is Nearly Always Sinister.” That dichotomy perfectly encapsulates Double-Wide’s split metropolitan personality, with a chainsaw-juggling balance of bayou brass, raucous gospel, and devil-may-care modern jazz. Ellis’ band of merry pranksters includes Gary Versace (organ/piano/accordion), Alan Ferber (trombone), Matt Perrine (sousaphone), and Jason Marsalis (drums).

Ellis also leads his own quintet of A-list players, whose most recent album was the 2012 Criss Cross release It’s You I Like. Featuring Mike Moreno (guitar), Aaron Goldberg (piano), Matt Penman (bass), and Rodney Green (drums), the album definitely leans more toward the NYC end of Ellis’ playing spectrum, though its two dedicatees still show off his “serious fun” duality: the repertoire includes songs by moody singer-songwriter Elliott Smith and legendary kids’ TV host Mr. Rogers.

An ambitious composer as well as an agile musician, Ellis in recent years has composed three large-scale narrative pieces commissioned by The Jazz Gallery in collaboration with playwright Andy Bragen. The most recent, MOBRO (released in 2014 on Parade Light), looks at environmental issues through the story of the infamous MOBRO 4000 trash barge.

As if those three wide-ranging projects weren’t enough to occupy his time and talents, Ellis also maintains an impossibly busy schedule as a first-call sideman. Having established himself as one of New York’s premier tenor saxophonists since his arrival in 1997, he’s since worked with artists as diverse as bass great John Patitucci, organ legend Dr. Lonnie Smith, MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón, the Brooklyn-bred big band led by composer Darcy James Argue, guitar groove master Charlie Hunter, and pop icon Sting. His discography lists more than 100 album credits as a sideman, with more than a dozen released in 2014 alone, including acclaimed albums by Zenón, drummer Otis Brown III, pianists Helen Sung and Edward Simon, and blues/gospel/soul trio The Holmes Brothers.

While New Orleans and New York are Ellis’ two spiritual (and, over the last 22 years, actual) homes, he doesn’t hail from either city – or any city at all, for that matter. He grew up in rural North Carolina, two and a half miles outside of a tiny town populated by only 200 people. But his mother, an English teacher at the local community college, insisted that her sons be exposed to culture, and the love of music took hold in young John, who pursued that love to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in the relatively big city of Winston-Salem.

In 1993, Ellis moved to New Orleans to study with renowned jazz family patriarch Ellis Marsalis, eventually playing in the pianist’s band while jamming with local peers like trumpeter Nicholas Payton. He released his debut album, The Language of Love, in 1996 and a year later relocated to New York City. Despite the move, the name of his 2005 album One Foot in the Swamp captures his continuing ties to the Bayou, which shines through in the southern-accented, gospel-tinged funk grooves of his music. Ellis has released nine albums as a leader, three of those featuring his urban carnival band Double-Wide, which has toured extensively and was featured on the Main Stage of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.

While his presence on countless recordings and stages attests to the esteem in which Ellis is held by his peers, he’s also received numerous more official accolades. Most prominently, he was the second place winner of the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition in 2002. He was the recipient of three composition grants through The Jazz Gallery for his collaborations with playwright Andy Bragen (“Dreamscapes”, “The Ice Siren”, and “MOBRO”) and was selected as the 2014 Make Jazz Fellow by the 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, leading to the composition of music for Charm.


Mike Moreno

*CANCELLED DUE TO COVID*
Refunds will be processed for all tickets purchased to this event.

Mike Moreno

October 11, 2021

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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BIO

Originally from Houston, Texas, Mike began studying music formally at the Houston High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, a school renowned for its musical alumni, which includes such luminaries as Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Brian Michael Cox, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, Kendrick Scott, and Beyoncé.

After graduating, Mike moved to New York City with a scholarship to attend the New School University. While still in school he began garnering the recognition necessary to be called to perform and tour with some of the most venerable names in the Jazz world as well as rising stars of the scene.

Over the years, they have included The Joshua Redman Elastic Band, Lizz Wright Band, Nicholas Payton Quartet, Stefon Harris Sonic Creed, Me’Shell N’Degeocello, Jason Moran, Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, Gretchen Parlato, Aaron Parks, Claudia Acuña, Greg Osby 4, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Jeremy Pelt, John Ellis, Myron Walden, Kenny Garret, Yosvany Terry, Ralph Bowen, Will Vinson and more.

Additionally, Mike has recorded with numerous major artists, both inside and outside of the Jazz genre. 3 of these recordings were nominated for a Grammy. In 2010 both Q-Tip’s “The Renaissance” and Geoffrey Keezzer’s “Aurea” were nominated for Best Album in their categories, as well in 2008 Eldar’s “Re-Imagination” received the same nomination in the Jazz Category. Moreno’s discography also includes artists such as Bilal, Jeremy Pelt, Robert Glasper, John Ellis, Aaron Parks, Jimmy Greene, Myron Walden, Sam Yahel, Ralph Bowen, Marcus Strickland, Yosvany Terry, Kendrick Scott Oracle, Will Vinson, and Bob Reynolds.

Recognized as one of the leading voices in the Jazz guitar world, Mike has toured extensively and recorded as a leader of his own band, playing his original music to high critical acclaim. As Nate Chinen describes in his 2007 “The Gig†article in JazzTimes, “There are many other guitarists out there pushing towards a modern ideal, but none with the precise coordinates that Mike Moreno has charted.”

In 2007, Mike released his debut CD Between The Lines on the World Culture Music label, which Nate Chinen deemed in The New York Times as one of his top 10 Jazz albums of 2007. He recorded his second and third albums, Third Wish 2008 and First In Mind 2011, for European Jazz label Criss-Cross Records. He returned to World Culture Music for the release of Another Way 2012 which made the 25 “Best of 2012” Jazz Releases on itunes. And his most recent album Lotus has just been released.


Geoff Clapp

Geoff Clapp

August 10, 2020

7:30pm

 

301 Main Street

North Little Rock, AR 72114

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While Geoff was a high school student at the North Carolina School of the Arts (studying classical percussion and playing in the school’s jazz band), he had the opportunity to meet and hear New Orleanians, including trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, pianist Ellis Marsalis and drummer Herlin Riley (All-Star 1991). “I never knew drums could be played like that,” exclaims Clapp of Riley’s style and talents. “That really sparked my true interest in jazz.”

These events ultimately resulted in Clapp attending the University of New Orleans in the fall of 1989. He was among the first talented group of musicians, which included drummer Brian Blade (All-Star 1993), trumpeter Jeremy Davenport (All-Star 2000) and bassist Chris Thomas (All-Star 1999) in the new jazz studies program headed by Ellis Marsalis. “We were just a bunch of hoodlums trying to play jazz,” says Clapp with a chuckle.

Geoff Clapp

He soon immersed himself in New Orleans drumming, soaking up the style from the likes of Riley, Stanley Stephens and Shannon Powell (All-Star 1995).

The road called Clapp away from his studies and he headed out with some heavies, including saxophonist Donald Harrison, trumpeter Terence Blanchard, Ellis Marsalis and trumpeter Jeremy Davenport. Because Clapp has made a habit of often returning to New Orleans to gig, it might surprise some that he actually moved away from here in ’99 and was primarily based in Brooklyn until returning to New Orleans in the fall of 2007.

Beyond pursuing his jazz career (including tours presented by the State Department tour that took him to Africa), he did his share of teaching. He was active with Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center jazz educational program as well as bassist Christian McBride’s Jazz House Kids workshops in inner city schools. He continues to teach as an adjunct instructor at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and Dillard University, as well as teach privately.

​Clapp, who began beating Tupperware bowls with wooden spoons and moved from a rock to a jazz drum set, is back on the New Orleans modern jazz scene, playing what he describes as a mix of the “heady New York and soulful New Orleans” drum styles.