1997 Schedule

Jeanie Bryson

Saturday, January 18, 1997 $16/Person
Following graduation from Livingston College in 1981, Jeanie Bryson took her soft warm voice into a decade of freelance appearances, including a European tour with the Dutch Metropole Orchestra in 1991. After 1993, her first two Telarc albums, "I Love Being Here With You" and "Tonight I Need You So," presented the youthful singer to a wider American audience. Her 1994 vocal duet with Freddy Cole recorded on Grover Washington Jr's. album "All My Tomorrows" (Columbia) and her '94 appearance on Terance Blanchard's Columbia Records Billie Holliday tribute furthered Bryson's reputation as an excellent new voice in jazz.

With a subtle, appealing sound and often sensuous swing, Jeanie Bryson is at times reminiscent of Maxine Sullivan; at other times Bryson creates the frailness of Astrud Gilberto, or the kittenish charm of Susannah McCorkle. Bryson's likable, easygoing style reflects Peggy Lee's coolness on the new Telarc CD, "Some Cats Know (Jeanie Bryson sings songs of Peggy Lee)," where this confident melody singer is framed by Natalie Cole's cohesive rhythm section. Her ensemble's polish is applied by music director, guitarist John Chiodini.

Christian McBride

Sunday, February 2, 1997 $16/Person
Sought after by musicians, hyped by the media and musically authoritative in his own right, the premier young bassist of his generation is in today's straight ahead jazz revival, former Philadelphian, 23-year-old Christian McBride. An avowed devotee of James Brown, McBride's first solo album, "Gettin' To It" (Verve) is dedicated to the Godfather of Soul and spent three months in Billboard's Top Ten jazz chart by selling 21,000 copies, numbers comparable with sales by his good friend, saxophonist Joshua Redman.

With 1996's "Number 2 Express" (Verve), McBride was able to reunite Chick Corea and Jack DeJohnette in the recording studio for the first time since the two played together in Miles Davis's 1968 group.

Manifesting strong and expressive bass lines, this natural bandleader generates an economical, articulate walking bass style with voluptuous sound, bone-deep rhythms and a resounding command of the low end of the sonic spectrum. McBride's brawling, raucous ensemble features saxophonist Tim Warfield, pianist Anthony Wonsey and drummer Carl Allen playing twisty hard bop.

Jacky Terrasson Trio

Saturday, March 22, 1997 $16/Person
This 31-year-old Berlin-born, Paris-raised and American-educated jazz pianist never met a standard he didn't want to put his own quirky stamp on. Terrasson's group plays in a fluid style influenced by the mid-sixties Miles Davis Quintet as well as by the classic Ahmad Jamal Trio. Which is to say music of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern or Ram Ramirez is treated to rhythmic elasticity, jarring modulations, clever reharmonizations and carefully controlled dynamics via a resilient and flexible interplay among the trio. Terrasson's approach respects the time honored jazz tradition of extolling the beauty of creative freedom.

Winner of the 1993 Thelonious Monk Competition, Terrasson has played on tour with jazz giants Betty Carter and Arthur Taylor. Following the 1995 release of his Blue Note debut, "Jacky Terrasson," came a world tour of 150 concerts or club appearances. His current Blue Note recording, "Reach," features bassist Ugonna Okegwo and drummer Leon Parker.

Nicholas Payton Quartet with Jesse Davis

Saturday, April 19, 1997 $16/Person
The last time trumpeter Nicholas Payton's father Walter Payton, was in Grand Rapids as bassist with the Louisiania Repertory Jazz Ensemble, young Nicholas was on the road and recording as a soloist and music director in Elvin Jones Jazz Machine.

As a high schooler, Payton was championed by Wynton Marsalis, who recalls, "Nicholas is a great musician who was very serious about learning and developing all aspects of jazz musicianship." Payton has since become a regular member of Marsalis's Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and released his critically acclaimed CD "From This Moment On" in 1994. This year, Payton appears as Oran "Hot Lips" Page in Robert Altman's major motion picture "Kansas City." The bright new trumpet star mixes the hard bop influences of Freddie Hubbard and Wynton Marsalis with his New Orleans blues heritage to create a plush, warm sound.

Another cast member from the Altman film, alto saxophonist Jesse Davis, appears with Nicholas Payton in Grand Rapids. Together they create a formidable front-line. Davis just released his sixth CD since 1991, "From Within" (Concord), prompting veteran jazz writer Ira Gitler to observe that Davis plays alto saxophone with very welcome echoes of Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley and even a little bit of Sonny Stitt, but he says, "there's no doubt you're listening to the soul of Jesse Davis."
Past Performers in the Series
 

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