The Jazz at the Arsenal series that features Berklee faculty artists continues with a concert of songs that personify the civil rights movement as well as songs that are directly related to the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Vocalist Jeff Ramsey and pianist George Russell Jr. will bring in a band to honor King's memory. The band will include Winston Maccow on bass and Anthony Steele on drums.
An alumnus of Berklee, Jeff Ramsey has toured the world for such artists as Lalah Hathaway, Al Jarreau, Tina Arena, Patrice Rushen, and Maxwell. In 2011, he added Anita Baker, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Jill Scott on the roster of artists for whom he's sung background at Mary J. Blige's MJB Honors concert, a benefit for her Fawn Foundation. He has sung on recordings for artists such as Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, and Barbara Streisand, just to name a few. He’s done commercials for radio and television for Burger King, Levi 501, Dryel, Mountain Dew, and Michelob. In addition, he has lent his voice singing lead for many different projects including famed Tower of Power bassist Rocco Prestia’s Everybody on the Bus and several James Day albums including Remember When and Better Days. Now an associate professor in the Voice Department, Ramsey shares his experiences on the road and in the studio with Berklee students and continues to sing and perform. His debut, My Best, was released in 2009 and his second album is due for a 2016 release.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, inspirational jazz pianist George W. Russell Jr. is a performer, composer, and educator. He grew up playing piano at his local church and has been teaching private piano lessons since the age of 16. In college at Duquesne University, he discovered jazz and the harmonies that were used in jazz, and began to understand from a theoretical viewpoint what exactly he was playing, both in church and from his classical repertoire. That’s when Russell's unique fusion of gospel and jazz began to form. He continued his study of music at the New England Conservatory, receiving a Master of Arts in Jazz Studies. Currently the chair of the Harmony Department, Russell has also taught harmony and piano at Berklee and worked at Tufts University, the New England Conservatory Extension Division, and the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts. He has been awarded the Ted Pease Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Curriculum Development Award for the Writing Division, and the Most Distinguished Faculty Award. His performances range from solo piano to a groove-oriented jazz trio to a soulful, fresh-sounding larger ensemble that arouses the listener's intellect and, most importantly, touches the soul.