Capital Jazz Fest, Saturday

Capital Jazz Fest, Saturday

Each year in early June, tens of thousands of music lovers from throughout the country flock to the suburbs of Washington, D.C. to attend this weekend of hot fun and cool jazz — The Capital Jazz Fest. This multi-day, multi-stage outdoor music festival, which attracts music lovers from 44 states, is more than just a concert, it's an event! It's a place to people-watch, eat, drink, shop, mingle, relax, soak in the rays, and of course hear some of the coolest music performed by artists whom you won't see anywhere else in the Washington-Baltimore area this summer.


In-between musical sets, enjoy fine art and crafts at the Festival Marketplace, culinary treats at the food court, plus artist workshops and meet & greets. And after the show, check out the late night after-parties.


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There will be four ADA parking lots available for the Capital Jazz Fest, one near each entrance.

· ADA North (closest to MARKETPLACE/SOUL STAGE/TENT CITY) with marked ADA spaces in the parking garages and surface lots across the street from the North Entrance; 10462 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD 21044. Vehicles should enter this site from Little Patuxent Parkway.

Please note all individuals seeking access to the following accessible parking locations should use the Broken Land Parkway/Hickory Ridge Road access to the site. The vehicles will then be directed to park in the appropriate ADA lot. These lots will be serviced by golf carts.

· ADA West Gate (closest to SOUL STAGE/MARKETPLACE/TENT CITY) for wheel chair accessible needs only located at coordinates 39.210668, -76.865844.

· ADA West Auxiliary (closest to SOUL STAGE/MARKETPLACE/TENT CITY) with spaces available in the lot closest to the West Entrance, off Broken Land Parkway near the intersection of Broken Land Parkway and Hickory Ridge Road

· ADA South (closest to PAVILION STAGE) with spaces available in the main parking lot closest to South Entrance Road and past the entrance to the ADA East wheelchair lot.

Click here for a map - http://g.co/maps/3w5ae

For two decades, the contemporary jazz quartet known as Fourplay has enjoyed consistent artistic and commercial success by grafting elements of R&B, pop and a variety of other sounds to their unwavering jazz foundations. In the course of a dozen recordings – six of which have climbed to the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album charts – the supergroup has continued to explore the limitless dimensions and permutations of jazz while at the same time appealing to a broad mainstream audience.


The Fourplay story begins in 1990, with keyboardist Bob James, who had already established himself as a formidable figure in keyboard jazz – not just as an instrumentalist but as a composer and arranger as well – with solo recordings dating as far back as the mid 1960s. In 1990, James reunited with his old friend, session drummer, producer, composer & recording artist Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand, Notorious B.I.G.), during the recording of James’ Grand Piano Canyon album. Also involved in the project were guitarist Lee Ritenour (Sergio Mendes) and bassist/vocalist Nathan East (Barry White, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins).


The Grand Piano Canyon sessions marked the genesis of the group that eventually came to be known as Fourplay. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1991, and included a blend of jazz, R&B and pop.


The original lineup of James/Ritenour/East/Mason stayed together for three successive albums, including Elixir (1994), a set that features some high-profile guest vocalists: Phil Collins, Patti Austin and Peabo Bryson. East also delivers some noteworthy vocal contributions on Elixir, and has continued to do so throughout most of Fourplay’s subsequent studio outings.


Ritenour, whose guitar work in tandem with James’ keyboards served as the cornerstone of the early Fourplay sound, left the lineup in the mid-1990s and was replaced by Larry Carlton (The Crusaders, Joni Mitchell, Quincy Jones). Carlton made his first studio appearance with the band with the release of 4 in 1998. 4 included compositions by all four members, as well as an impressive crew of guest vocalists: El Debarge, Babyface Edmonds, Kevyn Lettau and Shanice.


SnowboundFollowing the 1999 release of Snowbound, a mix of traditional and contemporary holiday songs, Fourplay shook things up a bit with Yes Please!, an album that challenged the standard definitions of contemporary jazz by incorporating elements of blues, funk and even Celtic music. JazzTimes critic Hilarie Grey called Yes Please! “an expansive album that incorporates each artist’s strengths, and in the process travels in some unexpected directions.” Grey added: “Yes Please! works where similar projects fail simply because it lets its artists play, without imposing artificial boundaries.”


The sense of experimentation continued with the 2002 release of Heartfelt. The material in this set emerged from a series of improvisational performances that were assembled into full compositions. As a result, the tunes have less clearly defined melodies, but the overall album is both exploratory and accessible at the same time.


JourneyJourney, released in 2004, is a laid-back affair, but complex at the same time. Consistent with Fourplay’s eclectic philosophy, Journey incorporates a range of stylistic elements – as evidenced by such high points as the delicate cover of the 1993 Sting hit “Fields of Gold” and the Mason bossa nova flavored “Rozil.”


X followed in 2006, with guest vocals by blue-eyed-soul icon Michael McDonald, who delivers an inspired rendition of Steve Winwood’s “My Loves Leavin’.” JazzTimes called X “a softly funky, superbly crafted and unapologetically low-key album.”


XFourplay joined the prestigious roster of artists on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, with the 2008 release of Energy, which spent three consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart. The album grafts a variety of sounds – R&B, pop, African and more – to Fourplay’s unwavering jazz foundations. In addition to vocals by East, Energy features a vocal track by bassist Esperanza Spalding.


After 12 years with the group, Carlton left in April 2010 to delve further into his solo career, and the band welcomed its newest member, multi-faceted virtuoso guitarist, Chuck Loeb. His musical contributions undoubtedly enhance the creativity and pursuit of excellence Fourplay has enjoyed in the studio and on the stage.


Let's Touch The SkyLoeb makes his highly anticipated debut with the quartet on Let’s Touch The Sky, the band’s new recording scheduled for release in October 2010. The album also includes thrilling performances by guest vocalists Anita Baker and Ruben Studdard.


The infusion of new blood into the Fourplay lineup creates an opportunity to bring an even higher level of energy and inspiration into a band that is already known for taking chances and pushing the limits of contemporary jazz. “All four of us have been in this business long enough to know that there’s always pressure to compromise, and we don’t want to do that,” says James. “We don’t want to end up in the middle of the pack. We always aim to be leaders, and take the music to another level and raise the standards higher. I think the music on this new record, thanks in large part to Chuck’s early contributions – and to the ongoing team spirit of the band as a whole – is very much a reflection of that philosophy.”

"One of a handful of neo-classic soul artists to emerge following the late-'90s success of artists like D'Angelo and Lauryn Hill, Atlanta's India.Arie stood poised at the beginning of 2001 to make a major impact. A studied songwriter and guitar player rooted in the R&B, soul, Motown, and blues of the past, but grounded in the post-hip-hop urban world of today, Arie's debut, Acoustic Soul, was rich with textured songs, hooks, and impressively mature lyrics, considering the artist had only been writing songs for five years.


Born in Denver, CO, to parents from Memphis and Detroit, music was always in Arie's life. The family moved to Atlanta when India was 13 and after high school she began playing guitar at the encouragement of her mother. Involvement in the fertile Atlanta urban music scene led to the formation of an artist's collective called Groovement and an independent label, EarthShare, which released a compilation CD featuring Arie's first songs. A second-stage slot on the 1998 Lilith Fair tour garnered major-label interest, but Arie eventually signed with Motown after being assured of having full artistic control.


Work on Acoustic Soul dragged out over nearly two years, but Arie's relentless pursuit of perfection and musical integrity yielded very pleasing results: as successful a graft of classic soul and modern hip-hop-style productions yet attempted. The album's first single, "Video," received strong radio and club play early in the year, and the full-length followed in March. Just over a year later, Arie had completed her second record, Voyage to India, and it appeared in September 2002. Four years later the singer hit number one on the Billboard charts for the first time with Testimony: Vol. 1, Life & Relationship, which also netted her three Grammy nominations. Testimony: Vol. 2, Love & Politics was released in February 2009." - John Duffy, AllMusicGuide

"Smooth jazz-styled soprano saxophonist Marion Meadows was born in West Virginia and raised primarily in Connecticut; after adopting the classical clarinet at age nine, he moved to the saxophone as a teen, later studying composition and arranging at Boston's Berklee College of Music. A protege of Joe Henderson and Eddie Daniels, Meadows later served a long stint as a member of Norman Connors' Starship Orchestra; after a series of session dates and sideman gigs, he made his solo debut in 1990 with the RCA release For Lovers Only, followed in 1992 by Keep It Right There. Resurfacing two years later with Forbidden Fruit, after 1995's Body Rhythm Meadows jumped to Discovery to issue 1997's Pleasure. He then moved to Heads Up for Another Side of Midnight (1999), Next To You (2000), and In Deep (2002)." - Jason Ankeny, AllMusicGuide

"Paul Taylor grew up in Denver, where he took up the saxophone at the age of seven. He played in school bands, and in high school joined a Top 40 band called Mixed Company. Jazz keyboardist Keiko Matsui and her husband, producer Kazu Matsui, discovered him playing at the Catalina Island Jazz Festival and hired him to play in their band. He spent two years with them, and then Kazu Matsui produced his 1995 debut album, On the Horn, which reached the jazz charts and spawned a radio hit in "Til We Meet Again." Pleasure Seeker, his second album, followed in 1997 and was equally successful. Taylor released his third album, Undercover, on Peak/N-Coded Music in February 2000. Also in 2000, he toured as a special guest artist with the Rippingtons. Subsequent albums Hypnotic (2001), Steppin' Out (2003), Nightlife (2005), and Ladies' Choice (2007), all issued by Peak Records, figured high in the contemporary jazz charts, with Ladies' Choice going all the way to number one. Peak released Taylor's eighth album, Burnin', in 2009. Two years later, Taylor returned with the album Prime Time." - William Ruhlmann, AllMusicGuide

"Jazz saxophonist Jessy J was born Jessica Spinella in Portland, Oregon to parents who had emigrated from Mexico. She grew up in Hemet, California and began playing the piano at age four, spending her childhood studying and performing in musical competitions. At 15, she was named Piano State Champion at the Béla Bartók Festival in California. Later, she switched instruments to the saxophone. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in jazz studies, she turned professional, finding work backing Michael Bublé in the recording studio and playing in the touring bands for the Temptations, Jessica Simpson, Michael Bolton, Gloria Trevi, and Armando Manzanero. In 2004, she joined the touring cast of the off-Broadway musical Blast! as a singer/actress/dancer/saxophonist and toured with the show in the U.S., the U.K., and Japan. Producer/guitarist Paul Brown first gave her a featured spot in his show on February 14, 2006, after which she began to make appearances on her own, her first major show occurring at the Catalina JazzTrax Festival later in 2006. She issued a self-titled album in 2007, then signed to Peak Records for her second CD, Tequila Moon, released on March 4, 2008. True Love followed a year later in 2009, with Hot Sauce, featuring guest spots from Joe Sample, Paul Brown, Harvey Mason, Ray Parker Jr., and Saunders Sermons, appearing in 2011." - William Ruhlmann, AllMusicGuide

"Founded in 1974 by saxophonist Jay Beckenstein, Spyro Gyra have consistently been one of the commercially successfully pop-jazz groups of the past 30 years. The band became a full-time venture in 1976 and has been touring ever since. Critics love to attack this band's music, which combines R&B and elements of pop and Caribbean music with jazz, but its live performances are often stimulating -- unlike many of its records, which emphasize the danceable melodies.

The roots of Spyro Gyra lay in Buffalo, NY, in 1974. Beckenstein and his longtime friend, keyboardist Jeremy Wall, had been leading a group with a revolving membership; every one of the many members in the band were loosely involved in the local jazz and rock scenes. Around 1974, the group was beginning to gel and cultivate a following. A club owner who wanted to advertise an upcoming appearance by the band asked Beckenstein for the group's name. The saxophonist told him "Spirogyra," a word he learned in a college biology course. The owner misspelled the word as Spyro Gyra, and the band fell into place, featuring Beckenstein, Wall, Jim Kurzdorfer, and Tom Walsh. Not long afterward, the group added keyboardist Tom Schuman. Electric guitarist Chet Catallo, drummer Eli Konikoff, and percussionist Gerardo Velez all joined in 1978 (with Wall dropping out) and bassist David Wofford was added in 1980.

Spyro Gyra independently funded and recorded their debut album, releasing the record on the local independent label Amherst in 1976. The record slowly became a success and Amherst sold the rights to the band to Infinity Records, a division of MCA. Wall left the band in 1978, leaving Schuman as the group's main keyboardist. Morning Dance, their first album for Infinity, was released in 1979. The record became a major hit, spawning a Top 40 single with "Morning Dance" and going platinum. Morning Dance firmly placed Spyro Gyra as one of the most popular artists in contemporary jazz, and throughout the '80s, their popularity continued growing. Their albums were consistent best-sellers, and their concerts often sold out. In 1983, vibraphonist and marimba player Dave Samuels -- who had played on several of the group's albums -- became a full-fledged member of the band. Over the course of the '80s, the membership of Spyro Gyra fluctuated, but Beckenstein and Schuman remained at its core, keeping the group's signature sound intact.

In 1990, MCA's jazz roster was absorbed by GRP, so Spyro Gyra switched labels, releasing Fast Forward, their first album for GRP, later that year. In 1993, Samuels left the touring band, but he continued to play in the studio. By the late '90s, the band featured Beckenstein, Schuman, Julio Fernandez, Joel Rosenblatt, and Scott Ambush, and released Got the Magic in 1999. Two years later the band moved to the Telarc-affiliated Heads Up label and released In Modern Times in 2001, followed by Original Cinema in 2003. Drummer Rosenblatt left the band and was replaced by Ludwig Afonso for 2004's Deep End. A fourth Heads Up album, Good to Go-Go, was issued in 2007. The holiday album A Night Before Christmas followed in 2008." - Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AllMusicGuide

"Naturally 7 came into being in 1999 in their home city of New York. Seeking to revolutionize the a cappella music genre, the seven vocalists not only created beautiful harmonies, but broke new ground by creating the rhythm tracks (including guitar, drum, bass, and horn sounds) with their voices alone. Calling their new approach to instrument-free music "vocal play," the band wowed audiences all over the States, leaving concert-goers in disbelief. Witnessing their hard-hitting live performances and hearing the band's full-bodied sound on their independently released debut, Non-Fiction, caused record execs and fans alike to consistently ask one question, which ultimately became their major-label debut record's title. What Is It? was released in 2003, featuring the single "Music Is the Key" with Sarah Connor. The song became a significant hit throughout Europe, which quickly became the group's home base. Naturally 7's members (Garfield Buckley, Rod Eldridge, Warren Thomas, Jamal Reed, N'glish, Dwight Stewart, and Armand Hutton) first toured all over Germany, later taking the stage in neighboring nations like Austria, Switzerland, France, and Hungary, to name a few. Record sales continued to rise as their fan base grew. Their third original release, Ready II Fly, was met with almost instant success, appearing on R&B charts all over the continent. Naturally 7 maintain a strong presence on European charts while shifting significant attention to the U.S. market in hopes of enjoying similar success on their native soil." - Evan C. Gutierrez, AllMusicGuide

Over the past two decades, saxophonist Walter Beasley has artfully and dynamically redefined the phrase "musical Renaissance Man" for the modern generation. Considered by fans and critics alike as "the heir to Grover Washington Jr.'s throne," the Boston-based musician has long mastered an exhilarating high wire act of balancing a successful career as a contemporary jazz recording artist and performer with an equally thriving presence in the field of music education.


Since 1998, Beasley has been one of the ten highest selling saxmen in the world while continuing his highly influential work as a full professor of music at his alma mater, The Berklee School of Music, where he began teaching in the mid-80s. In 2007, Beasley— also the highest selling full-time teacher ever—celebrated his 20th year as a best selling artist in the grand style to which he's accustomed, adding to his extraordinary total of over 800,000 units sold. His second Heads Up release, Ready For Love, peaked at #2 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart and reached #1 on Smoothjazz.com. His 2005 label debut For Her reached the Top Five.


Beasley also added to his growing legacy of creating instructional DVDs for young players who are not able to afford a traditional music education with his latest project, 14 Steps To Maximizing your Performance, which is also currently available for download on his popular website. His other best selling videos released through his affable Publishing include Sound Production for the Saxophone, Hip Hop Improvisation, and Performance Workshop.


This past year, Beasley has also begun reaching out to the younger generation, sharing his experiences and educational expertise through "saxtalk blogs" on his MySpace page and clips on YouTube . In addition, in February 2008 he begins online saxophone lessons live via web cam, and he is offering on his website tracks of his recent chakra meditations on sax. The saxophonist has done all this while enjoying throughout 2007 his busiest touring itinerary in years, doing dates up and down the east Coast (from Miami to Boston), atlanta and Ohio, among other locales.


He recently hooked up for a handful of dates with the all-star tour To Grover, With Love, helmed by Grammy winning keyboardist/producer Jason Miles and featuring Gerald Veasley, Chuck Loeb, Buddy Williams and Andy
Snitzer. The ensemble will be playing the world famous Berks Jazz Festival in Spring 2008.


Amazingly, Beasley has partaken in all of these exciting activities while maintaining a full teaching schedule at Berklee. Currently, he teaches vocal and rhythm section ensembles (in both classroom and performance settings), private sax lessons, vocal delivery for singers and improvisation for instrumentalists, both on campus and at home. He has also developed an active side business as a career consultant for aspiring musicians. His areas of expertise include: maximizing musical performance and skills; overcoming performance anxiety; jazz/R&B improvisation; vocal delivery; saxophone technique/sound production; and R&B/jazz ensemble performance.


Speaking about his ongoing commitment to education in the face of numerous temptations to leave and become a full time recording and touring musician and artist, Beasley says, "I like to say I do not need to teach, and that is why I teach. What I have learned is that I am responsible for molding the next generation of musicians, and that is a wonderful responsibility that nothing can take me away from. all my life, I've heard professors say that you cannot teach all people to be soul-ful musicians. I have consistently tried to change that myth, dedicating my life and career to the reality that a good professor can indeed teach soulful performance. That's become a specialty of mine that I am very proud of. a plant may grow regardless of whether you take care of it or not, but if you trim it and shape it every few months, it will flourish beyond what you could have imagined. I like to think I am shaping, molding and trimming those who will become the musical greats of tomorrow."


One of the secrets of Beasley's success as an educator is his seven-day a week work ethic, which includes his belief that Monday is his favorite day of the week—a bold philosophy that he imparts to his students who may at first feel otherwise. "I'm in love with my work and this wonderfully crazy work ethic," he says. "I truly love the challenge of being able to transform a rhythm section that has nothing to offer up front into a section that comes to believe in itself as a unit. That's the most gratifying feeling a professor can have, making that kind of difference. I love playing my own music live, but no moment I've ever had onstage matches the excitement of discovering this kind of success in the classroom. But that's the beauty of my dual career—I love doing both!"


One of the top five best-selling African-American saxophonists in the world since the late 90's, Beasley— while establishing himself as a regular presence on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart--has performed over the years with contemporary jazz and R&B icons Brian McKnight, Gerald albright, Ronnie Laws, Kirk Whalum, Bob James, norman Brown, George Howard, art Porter, Stephanie Mills, Vanessa Williams and Rachelle Ferrell. He has also opened concerts for traditional jazz legends art Blakey and Dexter Gordon.


As an educator and consultant, he has worked with Lalah Hathaway, Jeremy Ragsdale, Christina Watson, Carmen Algarin, Walter Smith, and Ian Rapien, offering guidance and helping them to find their creative flavor. Renowned artist and former classmate Branford Marsalis describes the saxman as "an anomaly; a successful performing musician who possesses the rare skill of understanding the musical process beyond the intuitive. This special ability enables Walter to communicate with aspiring musicians in a way that removes the sense of mystery that sometimes enshrouds our profession."


Walter Beasley's musical journey began in the early 1970s in his hometown of el Centro, California. When his aunt gave him his first Grover Washington, Jr. record at age nine, it opened Beasley's young ears and mind to the limitless possibilities of the sax. Before long, he bought a copy of Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway's 1972 collaboration album. These two classic recordings became the foundation of the young saxman and vocalist's musical awakening.


By his early teens, Beasley was playing saxophone in various bands around Southern California. "I started singing in Spanish at around 14," he says. "I was like an anomaly – the black kid in southern California, singing in Spanish. People got a kick out of it. I learned from playing Latin music how important romance was, and is, in music. Singing and playing those songs, I think, forever shaped the way I wanted to convey messages to people."


Beasley graduated from Berklee College of Music in the early '80s, alongside future superstar classmates like saxophonist Branford Marsalis and vocalist Rachelle Ferrell. He took a teaching position at the school a year later – initially as a short-term gig, but one that has lasted more than 20 years. "I was only planning on staying for a year or two, getting a record deal and then moving back to California," he says. "But once I saw musicians move an audience through the use of techniques that I showed them, I was a sucker for teaching.

Jackiem Joyner is ready for his Hollywood close-up. It’s already been a big year for the multidimensional sax player both professionally and personally. Dramatic events offstage have inspired his work in the spotlight while his passion for movies has influenced the songs, sounds and textures used in the creation of his third album, a self-titled disc that arrives as Joyner is poised to become a top-of-the-marquee smooth jazz star.


Like a silent film, Jackiem Joyner tells a story without words, with an instrumental voice that for the first time in the artist’s recording career includes a tenor sax in addition to his trademark alto and soprano horns. He also plays most of the other instruments on the album. As on his previous releases—Lil’ Man Soul and babysoul—Joyner wrote, produced, recorded and mixed the record aside from a few select cover tunes.


Sonically and compositionally, the collection reflects artistic progress and evolution while remaining true to Joyner’s core sound. Thematically, the moods and tones are varied, yet at their essence they are deeply rooted in the rich soil of soulful expression and raw emotion. Rhythmically, Joyner audaciously explores complex, astute and frenetic beats. Joyner explains, “Ever since I was 12 in my mom’s house, I’ve been drumming on walls, tapping out rhythms with spoons and beating on anything that I can. I still have that habit today. I always hear beats in my head; it’s intriguing to see where they take me.


“The whole record is about writing and making the type of record that I wanted to make. It’s me putting whatever I want on the album. I’m happy working with Mack Avenue because they gave me complete freedom to create. You can really hear me right upfront and my music. My first two albums were titled after my nicknames, but now it’s just me front and center for the entire world to see, which is why I decided to go with a self-titled album.”


The two things that shaped Jackiem Joyner most of all were an unexpected family reunion and the artist’s desire to write film scores. An energetic man who left his twenties behind earlier this year, Joyner recently reunited with his father and two older sisters whom he had not seen or talked to since he was seven years old. “One night my wife handed me the phone and told me to say hello. A voice on the other end asked if I knew who I was talking to. I had no idea. On the line were my father and sisters. I was blown away. It was a really emotional moment. My wife found them through some kind of a computer program. Subsequently, we reconnected in person. Very emotional,” reveals Joyner. As for the cinematic influence Joyner shares, “I’d like to get into film scoring and I’ve already started writing material. I listen to a lot of [film scores], which influenced the sounds and samples on the new record.”


Jackiem Joyner arrives hot on the heels of Joyner’s 2008 sophomore release, Lil’ Man Soul, which spawned two #1 singles. Topping the smooth jazz radio charts for an incredible 12 weeks, “I’m Waiting For You” was the longest-running #1 single in 2009 and is up for Song of the Year at the inaugural American Smooth Jazz Awards. In 2010 the album’s “Take Me There” climbed to the summit position and setup camp. Babysoul, Joyner’s first album, debuted at #15 on the Billboard chart in 2007 led by the single “Stay With Me Tonight,” a duet with iconic smooth jazz guitarist Peter White. While both albums were warmly received at smooth jazz—Smooth Jazz News named Joyner the Debut Artist of the Year—they were essentially urban jazz collections.


Around the time Joyner launched his solo career, he became a featured musician in keyboardist Keiko Matsui’s touring band and continues to tour internationally with her, for whom he plays sax and flute. One memorable experience with Matsui was performing with live orchestras in Ukraine and Washington DC. In DC they played with the Air Force Band—the same band Joyner performed with once during high school. “It was pretty cool to go back now as a professional [musician] to play with the Air Force Band in Constitution Hall,” Joyner recalls fondly. “It’s challenging playing with orchestras. It really keeps you on your toes. There are so many moving parts to listen to and keep track of.”


Born in Norfolk VA and raised in a single-parent household in Buffalo NY, Joyner came through the church choir where he also played drums before taking up the saxophone in high school. He competed for and won three NAACP youth achievement awards for contemporary instrumental, composition and classical music. After high school Joyner returned to Norfolk and was employed by the church as head of the music department. The stint included a 2002 missionary trip to perform in Africa.


An introduction was made to keyboardist Marcus Johnson, which led to Joyner landing a three-year sideman gig in Johnson’s band along with tours accompanying Bobby Lyle, Angela Bofill, Ronnie Laws and Jean Carne. Along with Matsui, in recent years Joyner has performed onstage with Peter White, Gerald Albright, Joe Sample and the late Wayman Tisdale.


Joyner says, “In 2009, I saw a big pickup in the opportunities to tour as a headliner. I’d like to do more touring and more recording, including producing and inspiring other artists. As a live performer, I want to do more center-stage work as well as more collaborations. And of course, there is my love for movies and interest in writing film scores.”


As an artist Joyner is maturing, yet he continues to exude youthful enthusiasm. Hitting his stride, he is bolstered by the confidence to take risks, pushing the envelope creatively. He’s hungry yet his humility is admirable. Although he’s topped the charts, he’s equally comfortable as a sideman as when commanding the stage solo. However it’s evident that his days in supporting roles are fleeting fast. Versatile and blessed with a visceral gift, Joyner is a rising star that has yet to reach its zenith.

Bass Guitar Impresario, Al Turner, affectionately called “The Burner” returns with his latest record “Sunny Days”, his third album in 7 years. Sunny Days finds the gifted producer, expanding his iconic style – a smooth album with an inspirational message - no matter how dark or difficult your situation seems you can always look forward to Sunny Days.


Produced by Al Turner, Sunny Days is the latest addition to Al’s diverse catalog. A strikingly balanced record, the album finds Al skillfully blending Jazz, Funk and R&B, making an eclectic melodic statement. The album opens up with the track “Zo”, a collaborative groove that sets the stage for the rest of the record. The album features all-star collaborations with the likes of Bob James, Nelson Rangell, Marlon McClain, Dave McMurray, Maurissa Rose and Herschel Boone.


Turner is certainly no stranger to the industry and many artists. A bassist since age 12, Turner has played with some of the brightest luminaries in the business. Al plays regularly with Kem as well as Jazz greats, Earl Klugh, and Bob James and has performed with some of the top names in the music industry. You can hear his cleverly and meticulous bass lines on recordings by Kem, Aretha Franklin, Oleta Adams, Anita Baker, Nancy Wilson, Randy Crawford, and Gladys Knight to name a few. In addition, Al has written and produced songs for recording artists Earl Klugh, Bob James, Tim Bowman, Edgar Wallace, Jr., Guy Ensley & Ron Otis. Always in demand, Al has toured with Cheryl Lynn, Oleta Adams, David Benoit and Everette Harp. Al’s artistry exceeds category and has been featured on many television and radio commercials.


Driven by artistic mastery, Al Turner "The Burner" is an A-List side man and has performed hundreds of live shows nationally and internationally and continues to amaze and thrill audiences who will undoubtedly find themselves grooving to "Sunny Days".

Hosted by Will Downing

Women love Will Downing. And men love the women who love Will Downing. In his two decade recording career, the Brooklyn native has carved for himself a solid career as one of the leading purveyors of unapologetic, unabashed romantic music. And while this has not translated to crossover success – or even to broad urban radio success – it has gained for Downing a solid musical legacy and a rabidly loyal following of, well…women.


Downing had his first national exposure as a popular backing vocalist in the 80s before signing with Island Records. He recorded two modestly successful albums and had a minor hit with a cover of “A Love Supreme” before releasing his breakout 1991 album A Dream Fulfilled. It was a marvelous disc that showed Downing not only possessed a fine baritone voice but that he was also was an excellent song stylist, deftly handling such diverse songs as War’s “The World Is A Ghetto” and Paul Davis’s “I Go Crazy” and providing a stunning, definitive version of Angela Bofill’s “I Try.” Both the “I Try” single and the album hit the Urban top 25, and critical acclaim for the disc abounded.


A Dream Fulfilled began a period where Downing found his musical identity and was the first of a string of successful albums that focused on smooth, romantic music, mostly ballads. Sometimes unfairly lumped with his friend Luther Vandross, Downing was actually creating his own brand of love music that was less urban and much jazzier. And though Downing’s songs were also more sensual than Vandross’s, he shared Luther’s sensibilities, singing to women on a truly romantic level that clearly went beyond the physical.


In the 90s and early 00s, Downing recorded frequently on multiple record labels. He became a regular at the top of the contemporary jazz charts and released a number of solid albums (perhaps the best of which was his album of duets with saxophonist Gerald Albright, Pleasures of the Night) with only one miscue (All the Man You Need, his lone album on Motown and an ill-advised attempt at an “urban” sound).


In early 2007, Will contracted a rare muscular disease, Polymyositis, which sidelined him for most of the year. It was a devastating attack, forcing Downing into a wheelchair for most of the year, and causing him to lose nearly 100 pounds. Despite the setback, he was determined to complete his debut album for Peak Records, After Tonight, for which he had recorded four songs prior to his illness. During the Spring of 2007, Will worked from his home putting down vocals despite severe weakness and fatigue. He would say it was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” occasionally moving from chair to bed to complete a vocal piece. But out of this situation came another five wonderful songs, including the album’s gem, “God Is So Amazing,” a simple, melodic testimony of faith during difficult times. After Tonight became another fine addition to Downing’s growing discography, and “God Is So Amazing” stood as one of the year’s best songs.


In 2009, fully recovered, Downing began work on Classique, a new album of originals and three cover songs, with producer Rex Rideout at the helm. The disc was released in June 2009 to positive reviews. And in 2010, he issued one of his most ambitious projects, an “audio novel” called Lust, Love and Lies, that detailed a relationship going through various stages, with spoken interludes between a very strong batch of songs. It was released to enthusiastic reviews.


Looking back over the last two decades, Will Downing has established himself as one of the most consistent, soulful singers of his era and arguably, with the unfortunate death of Luther Vandross, as today’s leading provider of romantic, soulful music.

"As lead singer for the Gap Band, Charlie Wilson sang on four number one R&B hits: "Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)," "Early in the Morning," "Outstanding," and "Addicted to Your Love" -- as well as the classics "You Dropped a Bomb on Me," "Yearning for Your Love," "Party Train," and "Big Fun." The band had three platinum albums and two gold certificates, and supplied hit singles for the movie soundtracks to Penitentiary III ("Sweeter Than Candy") and Keenan Ivory Wayans' I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (the title track, which reached the R&B Top 20). After a long hiatus, Wilson returned in 2000 with Bridging the Gap, issued by Interscope and sporting appearances by Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg (the smooth "Big Pimpin'") and Case (on the duet ballad "Another Man"). The album became an R&B hit and brushed the Top 200 album chart as well. His 2005 LP Charlie, Last Name Wilson hit the Top Ten thanks to the success of the title track and "Magic." Uncle Charlie followed in 2009, with Just Charlie landing in 2010." - Ed Hogan, AllMusicGuide

K.C. and the Sunshine Band

Whose music has been featured at EVERY major sporting event in the world including the Super Bowl, World Series, Conference Championships, The NBA, Collegiate Bowl Games National Championship Games, the NASCAR racing Circuit and Championships, The World Cup, The Indianapolis 500, The Kentucky Derby, EVERY Holiday Parade include the famous Macys Thanksgiving Day parade, and the Tournament of Roses Parade, Political Party Conventions, Presidential Campaigns and nearly EVERY wedding, confirmation, and bar mitzvah in the world?


Whose music has been featured on more than 200 motion picture film soundtracks?


He has been called the "Founder of the Dance Revolution."


He is Harry Wayne Casey, better known as the founder and leader of KC and The Sunshine Band.


The music that got people out of their seats and onto the dance floor originated with humble beginnings in Hialeah, Florida. KC has never moved farther than 10 miles away from his birthplace and the birthplace of his legendary music underlines the fact that he is proud that his "Sunshine Sound" has flourished continuously for over 37 years.


"I remember that I always wanted to do something that would make people forget about their problems and be happy,” recalls KC. “I always loved music and I was fortunate enough to grow up in a multi-ethnic area that exposed me to a lot of different cultures and music...from Pop to Reggae to Latin. I experimented at trying to put all three types of music together and the Sunshine Sound was born. Why move from an area that not only do I love, but owe so much to?'


Let's "rewind" back to 1973. The price of an average home was $32,500. The price of an average automobile was $2,900. The price of a gallon of gasoline was 40 cents a gallon. The United Stales was still involved in the Vietnam conflict, Richard Nixon was the target of the Watergate investigation, University Students were protesting and rioting, and there was discontent all over the world with rising unemployment and inflation. People were looking for something that would divert their attention from the negative aspects of everyday life surrounding them.


During this time, young Harry Casey did anything and everything that he could do to further his passion for music. He worked at a local record store, opened boxes at Tone Record Distributors and hung around a local recording studio just hoping that somebody would give him a chance to fulfill his biggest dream...to record a record.


That "dream" was answered by a man named Henry Stone who owned both Tone Distributors and TK Recording Studios. KC recalls the early days of TK Records: "It was like a big family and Henry was our Dad." Stone had recorded Ray Charles, John Lee Hooker and James Brown at the TK Recording Studios and took a liking to the energetic and optimistic Harry Casey and decided to give him a chance to make his dream come true...a chance to record.


Nobody would have thought that Henry Stone's insight and Harry Casey's talent and enthusiasm would make history and make Miami, Florida the hottest music city on the planet. The "birth" of KC and the Sunshine band was about to happen and nobody knew that its birth would not only bring the world legendary music, but influence a whole generation. From clothing to hairstyles to dance styles to new acceptable words in the English language, KC and the Sunshine Band had arrived! And what an arrival! Four Number one Records in a row, Grammy Awards, Peoples Choice Awards, American Music Awards, and the focus of the music world became Miami, Florida.


Things have changed drastically since 1973. One thing hasn't changed, though. The infectious, feel good happy music of KC and the Sunshine Band. What started out as a "dream" is now "legend."


Their first record, BLOW YOUR WHISTLE, made the top 15 on the R&B chart.


Their second album, KC & THE SUNSHINE BAND, was released in 1975, went triple platinum and contained the #1 hits GET DOWN TONIGHT, THAT’S THE WAY (I LIKE IT), BOOGIE SHOES and ROCK YOUR BABY. Also in 1975 he won the American Music Award for Best R&B Artist.


KC & The Sunshine Band became the first act to score four #1 pop singles in one 12-month period since the Beatles in 1964. Three of those singles crossed over to become #1 R&B, as well.


KC’s third album, PART 3, released in 1976, also went triple platinum and contained the #1 singles I’M YOUR BOOGIE MAN, SHAKE YOUR BOOTY and KEEP IT COMIN’ LOVE.


The band’s string of hit singles continued with BOOGIE SHOES, which was included on the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack, PLEASE DON’T GO, and YES, I’M READY, a duet with high school friend Teri DeSario.


He also received Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, as well as Producer of the Year in 1978 for his work on the SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER soundtrack.


In 2001, KC was honored with the NARAS Governor’s Award, the highest honor given by a chapter of the Academy.


In 2002 KC received the coveted Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


KC's music is now being sampled by rappers, and whole new generations of fans have been introduced to his music.


Harry Wayne Casey, a true icon of so many generations, gets people up and dancing, making everyone happy, his place at the top in the music world is secure and that is as it should be.


KC and the Sunshine Band have been entertaining audiences around the world for over 37 years, and have sold in excess of 100 million records and "That's The Way They Like It" uh-huh uh-huh!

Marsha Ambrosius

Already proven as a talented, sought after songwriter and revered platinum-selling artist, Marsha Ambrosius is meeting the next challenge in her already impressive musical career by reinventing herself as a solo artist with her J Records debut disc LATE NIGHTS & EARLY MORNINGS.


Hailing from Liverpool, England, fans first got a taste of Marsha’s talent as the singing half of the duo Floetry. Their 2000 debut Floetic produced signature singles like “Say Yes" and "Getting Late" as well as four Grammy nods. Following the 2005 release of their second studio album, Flo’Ology, the ladies veered creatively and personally. While the split was difficult, Marsha continued to build a name for herself as a songwriter and producer, creating “Butterflies” for the late Michael Jackson and other hits for artists such as Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, Jamie Foxx and Nas. She’s been nominated for a total of six Grammys and has been honored by BMI as their Songwriter of the Year.


Over the years, Marsha has stayed relevant as an artist via touring, writing/producing and mixtapes like 2007’s Neo Soul is Dead, 2008’s Yours Truly and 2010’s Yours Sincerely. She also appeared as a featured artist on projects from Patti Labelle, The Game, Busta Rhymes, Jamie Foxx and Earth, Wind & Fire, among others. Eventually, Marsha signed with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Records however a much-buzzed about solo debut never materialized due to creative glitches. Equipped with plenty of her own talent, she found herself being given songs from producers that were “great but not songs that made sense in relation to each other.” Marsha calls her sound “honest and consistent” and it was important for her to make an album with an overall cohesive sound. She explains, “I think with an album everything has to make sense, like ‘Where is this story going?’”


But that wasn’t the only situation posing a challenge for Marsha. A basketball player since childhood, when her music career took off, her diet remained the same as when she was regularly active. Constantly on the road touring and promoting wasn’t conducive to a healthy diet and resulted in her gaining 70 pounds in just one year. She finally got serious about her health and lost the weight safely and slowly over about a two-year period.


Now at a strong place mentally and physically, Marsha’s ready to present her sound to the world. The first single, “Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player),” is an anthem that women and men can relate to. Marsha explains, “It’s the reality of a bad break up. We wanna be decent human beings and say the right thing, you know, ‘I wish you well.’ But this is ‘Everything that could go wrong for him I want it to because my ego is bruised and I’m acting out.’” There’ve been many songs written about heartbreak, but Marsha’s approach to “Hope She Cheats on You” gets in your face rather than plays the victim.


LATE NIGHTS & EARLY MORNINGS is destined to be a classic, as Marsha offers a candid glimpse of her life and perspectives as a woman. Inspired by musical icons like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Prince, she concedes there is an overall male influence in her songwriting, such as the assertive sentiments heard on hits like “Say Yes.” She explains, “My pen and my point of view has a certain aggression to it because I’ve listened to a lot of male influenced music, which I think makes me one of the most outspoken writers out here. Sometimes as a woman you don’t wanna say what’s on your mind for fear of being judged. But why wouldn’t I say it like that if that’s how I felt?” Musical peers recruited to contribute to the project include Alicia Keys, a reunion with Dre and Vidal (producers of “Say Yes”), Just Blaze and Focus.


While her success in the industry is already solidified, Marsha knows it’s never easy to win over fans as a solo artist. Fortunately, she says, “It’s like being thrown in the deep end. ‘Okay I have to swim? Oh well.’ I’ve taken that attitude and it’s carried me forward.”

Jeffrey Osborne

"Jeffrey Osborne began his professional singing career in 1969 with a popular funk and soul group called Love Men Ltd. The band moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and changed its name to L.T.D. Osborne was originally brought on as the drummer and eventually became the lead vocalist. After more than ten years with the band, he decided to pursue a solo career, which produced such Top 40 hits as "Don't You Get So Mad," "Stay With Me Tonight," and "Love Power," which he performed with Dionne Warwick.


Born in Providence, RI, Jeffrey Osborne was the youngest of 12 children and was constantly bombarded with music as he was growing up. He had five brothers and six sisters, some of whom went on to have music careers. His father, Clarence "Legs" Osborne, was a popular trumpeter who played with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington, and died when Jeffrey was only 13. His mother, Wanita, is ancestored by a Pequot Indian sachem. His oldest brother, Clay Osborne, is a singer and pianist, and Billy, another brother, is a songwriter and producer in Los Angeles. But Osborne's father had the greatest influence on his musical career; Clarence "Legs" Osborne turned down many top band offers during his career to be with his family. It was only after receiving his mother's encouragement that Jeffrey left for Los Angeles to play with L.T.D. At the age of 15, he sat in with the O'Jays when the drummer was too tired to play, and went on to play with them for two weeks. It was at a Providence nightclub that fate brought him together with the band Love Men Ltd. in 1969.


Osborne's solo career has brought him five gold and platinum albums, including Stay With Me Tonight and Only Human. He also recorded an album of duets with popular singer James Ingram, and scored an international hit with "On the Wings of Love" in 1982. Osborne's touring and recording continue to keep him busy much of the time, but he also devotes some of his time to charity work." - Kim Summers, AllMusicGuide

Anthony David is a singer/songwriter from ATL GA. The single, "Words" ft India Arie from his album ACEY DUECY, was nominated in 08 for a Grammy and several NAACP image awards. He is currently touring internationally and promoting his new album, AS ABOVE SO BELOW released in Mar 2011. The first single, "4evermore", featuring R&B sensation, Algebra, and rapper/singer Phonte is in the top 5 of the Urban AC charts anc climbing.

The Foreign Exchange

Consisting of singer/songwriter Phonte and producer Nicolay, The Foreign Exchange came together via the online hip-hop community Okayplayer.com in 2002. After trading files through Instant Messenger for over a year, Nicolay (living in his native Holland at the time) and Phonte (a Raleigh, NC resident) completed their debut album before they ever met each other in person. The album, "Connected," was released in 2004 to positive reviews, and was praised by legendary DJ's such as Jazzy Jeff, King Britt, and DJ Spinna for its inventive mix of hip-hop, R&B, and electronica.

Their sophomore album, "Leave It All Behind" (2008) found The Foreign Exchange much closer in geography (Nicolay becoming a resident of Wilmington, NC), but located much further from their hip-hop origins. On the strength of their exhilarating live show and several nationally programmed music videos, "Leave It All Behind" became the group's most successful album to date, culminating in a Grammy-nomination for the album's first single, "Daykeeper".

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