As the son of two musicians, Davis Whitfield's early years in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, were filled with music. He began playing guitar at age five and moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, at eight, where he began studying piano. While attending high school, Whitfield was accepted by the Jersey City University Visual and Performing Arts Program and served as the principal pianist in its jazz ensemble for four years. In 2008, Whitfield became the assistant director for the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra, writing arrangements and performing weekly at the Jazz Standard in New York City.
Whitfield received a scholarship from the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts and attended the 2011 YoungArts Week in Miami, Florida. He also received full scholarships to attend the Berklee Summer Jazz Workshop in 2009–2010 and a presidential scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music for his undergraduate degree.
At 21 years old, Clifton Williams is an accomplished pianist from Washington, D.C. In the spring of 2010, Williams was invited by the U.S Ambassador to Vienna to perform a series of concerts in Vienna, Austria, and Paris, France. He is a graduate (valedictorian) of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts High School and now attends Berklee College of Music on a presidential scholarship. While at Berklee, he has taken full advantage of its prominence, accompanying numerous concerts, vocal classes, and recitals.
Recently, Williams has toured with the Harlem Gospel Choir both nationally and internationally. He is a dual major in music education and contemporary writing and production. He aspires to be a well-rounded musician and an inspiration to all who encounter him.
Vocalist and pianist Ella Joy Meir presents an improvisational journey, titled "Sewing Skylines to Shores," that will showcase her skills as a songwriter, composer, and arranger. Her music combines different styles, including jazz, folk, rock, and world music.
This performance will feature the music of the Grammy Award-wining jazz composer Maria Schneider. With their true respect to Schneider's artistic achievements, three Berklee students majoring in jazz composition will present their new arrangement, performed by four vocalists and 12 other great instrumentalists. Mark Walker, a Berklee professor and renowned drummer in contemporary/world jazz and scene, is also featuring for host drummer Jinho Choi's composition, dedicated to Schneider.
This is the third and final installment in Tammy Ying's senior recital series at Berklee. Ying and her band will be performing an array of originals songs and covers in the genres of jazz, rock, funk, fusion, pop, and R&B.
Watch Ying play keys on a cover of Justin Timberlake's "Pusher Love Girl" below: