Student Label Reprises Outdoor Series

By
Katherine F. Myers
May 21, 2008
Carmen Spada
Zilli Misik
Keppie Coutts
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist

Jazz Revelation Records presents the fourth-annual Kendall Square Concert Series and the second-annual Harborwalk Sounds: Berklee at the Institute for Contemporary Art. The series offers two opportunities for free live music in both Cambridge and Boston every Thursday throughout the summer (complete schedule of dates and times below). Performers include Berklee students and alumni playing original jazz, Latin, r&b, and funk music.

The Kendall Square Concert Series takes place at 300 Athenaeum Street, Kendall Square, Cambridge, every Thursday, noon to 2:00 p.m., June 5 through October 2. The series is sponsored by the Kendall Square Corporation. For more information, call 617 577-7354.

Harborwalk Sounds: Berklee at the ICA takes place at the museum's Putnam Investments Plaza, 100 Northern Avenue, on Boston's waterfront, every Thursday, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., June 19 through September 11. For more information, call the ICA at 617 478-3100.

Jazz Revelation Records (JRR) has released five compilation CDs featuring Berklee musicians since its formation in 2003. The student-run label celebrated its most recent release, Common Ground, in April. The label plays host to Berklee's finest jazz musicians as an outlet for what its president, Michael Borgida, calls a "new way" of jazz. Along with the summer concert series, JRR artists have a chance to tour in Costa Rica each year.

June 5: Chloe and the Pappas at Kendall Square
Chloe and the Pappas, an r&b/neo-soul band fronted by vocalist/guitarist Chloe Pappas, also includes guitarist Jacob Michael, bassist Jon Dusoe, keyboardist Tolga Haan Sursal, and drummer Tyler Brooks. A native of Minneapolis, Pappas is a senior at Berklee, finishing up a degree in professional music. Chloe and the Pappas has been playing at venues throughout Boston and the East Coast, earning stellar reviews from the Urban Critique, the Boston Globe, and Performer Magazine for its blend of funk like John Legend and Jill Scott, and folk like Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez. The group plans to release a sophomore album, Backs of Thieves, in June, followed by a tour in the fall.

June 12: Carmen Spada at Kendall Square
Carmen Spada, from Toronto, started playing piano at age seven, but didn't discover jazz until singing with a vocal jazz ensemble in high school. After studying at the Humber College Community Music School in Toronto, Spada was accepted at Berklee, where he studied with Danilo Perez, Hal Crook, Joe Lovano, Greg Hopkins, and Scott Free. He was a recipient of the 2007 Herb Pomeroy Award in Jazz Composition and his music was performed in the Best of Jazz Composition 1 concert, and the Jazz Co-Operative Big Band concert. In 2007, Spada was chosen to have his music critiqued in a master class by visiting composer Maria Schneider. Spada's tune "Lullaby" appears on the new Jazz Revelation Records CD, Common Ground.

June 19: Maeve Gilchrist at Kendall Square and the ICA
Harpist Maeve Gilchrist was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. She began playing piano at age seven and soon picked up the clarsach (Celtic harp). Gilchrist studied at the Edinburgh Music School before winning a scholarship to attend Berklee. She has played and recorded with artists including Matt Glaser, Kathy Mattea, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Jamey Haddad, and has performed around the world. Gilchrist is currently performing with bassist Andres Rotmistrofsky and percussionist Marcelo Woloski, both from Argentina. Blending Scottish roots and jazz influences with Latin American rhythms, the trio creates a unique multicultural sound.

June 26: Zili Misik at Kendall Square and the ICA
Zili Misik-led by Kera Washington and featuring Joanna Maria; Berklee student Hinako Sato; and alumnae Rajdulari, Krystal Johnson, Joy Roster, Lexi Havlin, and Jobeth Umali-creates music that bridges cultures, generations, and continents. With captivating sounds that evoke the African continent, Zili retraces routes of forced exile and cultural resistance through rhythm and song. Powerful Haitian, Brazilian, and West African rhythms infuse Zili's original and traditional folk songs. Reconnecting Haitian mizik rasin, jazz, roots reggae, samba, Cuban son, and neo-soul, Zili honors its influences while creating a sound that is uniquely its own. Zili's songs are sensual, political, self-reflective, and positive, with lyrics that glide seamlessly from English to Creole to Portuguese to Spanish.

July 3: Jelena Bracika at Kendall Square and the ICA
Jelena Bracika is a talented vocalist and actor from Serbia. She graduated with an acting degree from the Academy of Arts in Belgrade, and has been an active performer in both the theater and music scenes. After earning a Berklee scholarship, she relocated to Boston and enrolled as a performance major. She graduated from Berklee in spring 2008, after refining her gifts as a vocalist and beginning to write songs. Bracika's original compositions are a captivating blend of world music and jazz, heavily influenced by Latin and Balkan music and featuring her evocative lyrics and sultry voice. She sings in an array of languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese and Serbian.

July 10: The Berklee Latin Jazz All-Stars at Kendall Square and the ICA
The Berklee Latin Jazz All-Stars, six top scholarship students at the college, came to Berklee from Puerto Rico, Israel, and the U.S., and coalesced around their love for the polyrhythm and joyful precision of the Latin jazz form. The group was named this year's Best College Jazz Band in Down Beat, under the name La Timbistica, and recently performed as part of the Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Festival in Monterey, California. The All-Stars are led by conguero Paulo Stagnaro and include trumpeter Niv Toar, flutist Enrique Trinidad, pianist Abraham Olivo, bassist Juan Maldonado, and timbalero Marcos Lopez. They will headline the Tito Puente Latin Music Series in Boston this summer and also perform at the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival in Washington, D.C.

July 17: Juan Chavez at Kendall Square and the ICA
Born in Dallas, Texas, Juan Pablo Chavez began his musical studies as a violinist. He attended the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where he studied classical, jazz, and Afro-Cuban performance and composition, and received many awards for his talents. At Berklee he is studying with violinist Rob Thomas (Mahavishnu Project, String Trio of New York). Chavez is widely recognized for his knowledge of Afro-Cuban music and has taught many classes and workshops, including the 2004 Afro-Cuban Strings Seminar in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to leading 10-piece Latin dance band Díle, he is currently working on his first album, Salsa for Strings, and is writing a book on contemporary Afro-Cuban violin.

July 24: Tantanakuy at Kendall Square and the ICA
Tantanakuy is led by Argentinean composers Marcelo Woloski (percussion) and Andres Rotmistrofsky (bass), and features Italian vocalist Eleonora Bianchini. Their music blends Argentinean, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Peruvian, and Uruguayan rhythms with jazz harmonies. The band's versatility has placed them in high demand on and off campus, where they have performed in numerous shows at the Berklee Performance Center, as well as at Cambridge's Ryles and Regattabar nightclubs. Woloski's composition "Mundo Por Conocer" appeared on the 2007 Jazz Revelation Records release, The New Old School.

July 31: Sol Melodiq at Kendall Square and the ICA
Sol Melodiq aspires to create new sounds that touch, examine, and uplift the soul. Sol Melodiq is comprised of skilled musicians fluent in jazz, rock, hip-hop, funk, classic soul, and world music. The band was formed at Berklee with Stacey Wade (keyboard and organ for Al Green), James Richardson (keyboard and synthesizer), and Jamaal Moore (saxophone and percussion) making up the core of the band. Additional members include Berklee students Gabe Jones (drums/vocals), Clynton Cox (guitar/vocals), and Freddy DeBoe (tenor saxophone). The band plays bi-weekly shows at the Beehive, Good Life, Park Ave Lounge, and the Mission Bar & Grille, and recently performed at the Boston Urban Music Awards. Sol Melodiq is currently working on an album due this fall.

August 7: Zach Hillyard Band at Kendall Square and the ICA
The Zach Hillyard Band [ZHB]-made up of vocalist/keyboardist Hillyard, bassist Wesley Cole, guitarist Niklas Karlsson, and drummer Francesco Basile-offers a unique blend of quality musicianship, songwriting, and danceable grooves. With an intermingling of pop, funk, soul, and r&b, ZHB has an appeal that stretches far and wide. The group recently won OurStage.com's College Clash Competition, earning the title Best College Band in New England and a $5,000 grand prize, and took top honors in the BMI John Lennon Songwriting Competition. ZHB has performed at clubs in Boston and New York, and toured southern California last year, where they recorded their debut album with producer Michael Woodrum. The CD has gained attention with national radio airplay, and the band is planning a nationwide tour for the summer of 2008.

August 14: Cole DeGenova at Kendall Square and the ICA
Cole DeGenova is a pianist, vocalist, songwriter, percussionist, and poet from Chicago. He began studying music at age four, and was working as a professional musician by 15. He studied classical, jazz, blues, Cuban, and Brazilian percussion, but was also influenced by neo-soul and hip-hop. He has performed with or opened for some of Chicago's top artists, including Kurt Elling, Patricia Barber, Jon Faddis, and Corey Wilkes. DeGenova was chosen by the Jazz Institute of Chicago to perform at the world-famous Auditorium Theatre and, in 2005, performed with the Illinois Music Educators' Association's All-State Honors Jazz Band. Now attending Berklee, DeGenova is spreading his music to a wider audience. He toured the Midwest with Hal Reed and the Mob, and in Switzerland with his original funk/r&b band Apollo Jones. His latest project is a funk, neo-soul, blues, and jazz group called the People's Republic. The group plans to release its debut EP this summer.

August 21: Pat Carroll at Kendall Square and the ICA
Pat Carroll, a saxophonist from Pleasanton, California, has been focused on music since age 12, when he began studying with noted San Francisco musician Dann Zinn. In his junior year of high school, Carroll was awarded the Jimmy Lyons scholarship at the 2004 Monterey Jazz Festival. In 2005, he was commissioned to write and perform original music as a member of the SFJAZZ Young Composers Project, a group that rehearsed with Ravi Coltrane, Miguel Zenon, Vijay Iyer, and Maria Schneider. At Berklee, Carroll has studied with Hal Crook, Ralph Peterson, and Joe Lovano. His composition "Mighty Aphrodite" appears on the new Jazz Revelation Records release, Common Ground.

August 28: Berklee Monterey Quartet at Kendall Square and the ICA
Each fall, Berklee chooses four of its finest students to perform at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where they perform to standing-room-only audiences. The group featured here performed at the festival in 2007. With graduation still ahead, the members of the Berklee Monterey Quartet are already highly sought after, with dozens of professional credits, major awards, and concerts. Leader Mika Nishimura, from Tokyo, holds the coveted piano chair in the IAJE Sisters in Jazz Quintet, and was chosen to perform at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center.

September 4: Manami Morita at Kendall Square and the ICA
Manami Morita, a native of Saitama, Japan, started playing classical piano at age four. At the time, she hated piano lessons because she wasn't attracted to classical piano. She loved to play but wanted more musical freedom. At 13, Morita discovered jazz and became addicted, even learning improvisation on her own. In 2004, Morita put aside thoughts of becoming a flight attendant or English teacher to follow her dream of playing jazz, when she received a scholarship to study at Berklee. She was recently awarded the Mary Jane Earnhart Endowed Scholarship. Morita appears on the latest Jazz Revelation Records CD release, Common Ground, with the track "Going Home."

September 11: Katie Thiroux at Kendall Square and the ICA
Katie Thiroux, from Los Angeles, California, is the recipient of the Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to Berklee, a rare, full-ride award. She has just completed her second year at the college. Thiroux performed at the 2004 and 2005 IAJE conferences as both a bassist and vocalist. For four years in a row, she was selected to be a member of the elite Gibson/Baldwin Grammy National Honor Jazz Ensemble. She has also received fellowships to the prestigious Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony, and the Vail Jazz Festival. In 2005 she was awarded the Los Angeles Jazz Society's "Shelly Manne New Talent Award," and also received the Down Beat magazine Student Music Awards for Outstanding Vocal Performance and Outstanding Bassist in 2006.

September 18: Keppie Coutts at Kendall Square
Keppie Coutts is an Australian-born funk-folkstress, submerged and reveling in the new wave of folk fusion-an eclectic melding of acoustic-based songs that step inside jazz and soul. Coutts started out spreading her words as poetry at local Sydney arts haunts and indie spaces. Very quickly, the words found a canvas of music, and almost as quickly she was thrust into the studio, where she recorded her debut album, On the Edge of a Dream. Since coming to Berklee in 2005, she has earned the praise of peers, audiences, and mentors. She won both the Performing Songwriter Competition and the Songwriter's Showcase Competition-two prestigious showcases that Berklee presents to display its best talent.

September 25: Dan Carpel

From Minneapolis, Dan Carpel started playing the tuba at the age of 10. Intrigued by the low end, he began playing the electric bass seriously at 15. Carpel came to Berklee as a performance major on the electric bass, but after seeing Dave Holland perform several times, he gravitated toward the upright instrument. He made a full-time switch to the upright in the fall of 2006. Carpel has studied with Whit Browne, Paul Del Nero, Ron Mahdi, and Bruce Gertz. He toured the Pacific Northwest during the summer of 2007 as a member of the Berklee Monterey Quartet, and currently plays with innovative string jazz band Dr. Magpie.    

October 2: Eleonora Bianchini at Kendall Square
Originally from Perugia, Italy, Eleonora Bianchini is a young singer whose voice creates a warm and charming atmosphere. She is inspired by many Brazilian and Latin American artists, including Rosa Passos, Caetano Veloso, Mayte Martin, and Eva Ayllon. Bianchini has collaborated with artists and Berklee faculty members such as Oscar Stagnaro, Leo Blanco, and Dan Moretti, and has also recorded with Danilo Perez's Big Band project. She is currently lead vocalist of Peru Mestizo Project with band leader Oscar Stagnaro, and is recording a project that features her own compositions in different South American styles, with lyrics in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian.