Dee Dee Bridgewater, vocalist, has ascended to the upper echelon of singers, putting her unique spin on jazz standards. A fearless voyager, explorer, pioneer and keeper of tradition, and now three-time GRAMMY Award-winner, recently won the GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee. Throughout the 70’s she performed with such jazz notables as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie. After a foray into the pop world during the 1980s, she relocated to Paris and began to turn her attention back to jazz. Signing with the Universal Music Group as a producer (she produces all her albums), Dee Dee released a series of critically acclaimed titles beginning with Keeping Tradition in 1993. All but one of Dee Dee’s self-produced albums have received GRAMMY nominations. As a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, Dee Dee continues to appeal for international solidarity to finance global grassroots projects in the fight against world hunger. Bridgewater is the recipient of an NEA Jazz Masters Fellows Award with honors to be bestowed at the Kennedy Center in April 2017.
Lewis Nash, drummer, is the drummer of choice for an incredible array of artists from the masters of the music to the hottest young players of today; he is equally in demand as a clinician and educator. “Rhythm Is My Business” is the title of his debut recording as a leader, and rhythm is a booming business as far as Lewis is concerned. Currently, while he continues to perform and record with a wide variety of artists, Lewis leads several of his own exciting groups, from duo to septet. Outside of his many touring and recording accomplishments, thanks to the sponsorship of Sonor drums, Zildjian cymbals, Remo drumheads and Regal Tip drumsticks, Lewis has become a sought after jazz educator. His lectures, clinics and workshops are as much in demand as his bandstand and studio work. Lewis Nash: Rhythm is indeed his business!
Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band, directed by Doug Tidaback, comprises high school musicians from southern Arizona who study at this award-winning community music school. This big band (one of six at the TJI), loved for their swinging, diverse and energetic big band sounds, was the #1 High School Big Band winner two years in a row (2013 and 2014) of the prestigious national Jazz at Lincoln Center Essentially Ellington Competition presided over by Wynton Marsalis. They were in the top three in 2015 and 2016. Other recent awards include first place in the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival (2012) earning them a spot to perform at the festival and they were named the Best Community Jazz Band in the 35th Annual Student Music Awards in DownBeat magazine in 2012 and 2013. Their alumni attend some of the most prestigious schools in the nation (many on scholarship) including Julliard, the Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory, Princeton, USC and Swarthmore and have gone on to major careers in jazz music.
Tower of Power, funk, R&B, soul and jazz band, originally formed as The Motowns in 1968 by members Emilio Castillo (saxophone and vocalist) and Stephan “Doc” Kupka (baritone sax), performed around Berkeley and Oakland, Calif. By 1970, Tower of Power, had grown to include Greg Adams (trumpet/arranger), Mic Gillette (first trumpet), Skip Mesquite (first saxophone), Francis “Rocco” Prestia (bass), Willie Fulton (guitar) and David Garibaldi (drums). East Bay Grease, their first album, debuted in 1970. In ‘72, Tower of Power’s sophomore album, Bump City was released. By this time, the continuously growing band roster had expanded to include Rick Stevens (lead vocalist) and Brent Byars (percussionist/conga/bongo). Tower of Power, the band’s eponymous third album, was released in 1973 peaking at number #15 on the Billboard Pop Album Chart and was certified gold and it produced the Billboard Hot 100 singles “So Very Hard to Go” “This Time It’s Real” and “What Is Hip?” In 2013, Ray Greene joined the band as new lead vocalist. Tower of Power has recorded with artists such as Elton John, Smokey Robinson, Rod Stewart and Dionne Warwick.
Opening for Tower of Power: ArcoIris Sandoval and Lonnie Plaxico
ArcoIris Sandoval is a jazz pianist, composer and Fulbright award recipient currently residing in New York City. She obtained her Master’s degree in jazz piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and has won several ASCAP young composer awards as well as being a semifinalist at in the Montreux Solo Jazz Piano competition, a participant in the Mary Lou Williams Festival, Betty Carter Jazz Ahead, and the Metropole Orkest Arrangers Workshop featuring Richard Bona. One of her arrangements was recently performed by the Metropole at the 2016 BBC Proms tribute to Quincy Jones. She has also performed at major festivals throughout the world including a tour in China, the Telluride Jazz Festival, the Tucson Jazz Festival, the Vancouver Summer Festival, and many others throughout Europe, India, South America and Mexico. She is currently the co-founder and co-director of The DOME Experience and is actively performing with several ensembles including with Human Kindition, Lonnie Plaxico, the Mimi Jones Band, The Erica Seguine/Shannon Baker Big Band, the Greg Ruvolo Big Band, the Camille Thurman 4tet, as well as her own ensemble, Sonic Asylum.
Lonnie Plaxico, bassist, composer and producer, was the middle child in a family of Chicago musicians. By age 12, he had taught himself to play the electric bass and was soon venturing into Chicago’s jazz, funk and blues scene, turning professional at age 14. In 1980 Lonnie moved to New York and soon began to appear with such artists as Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon and Wynton Marsalis. His first extended tenure was with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, performing on 12 of Blakey’s albums in four years. In 1986 he joined Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition, continuing with that group until 1993. Presently, Plaxico is the musical director and featured bassist for Cassandra Wilson. Plaxico’s recording and performance catalog is equally impressive. He has appeared with such luminaries as Sonny Stitt, Junior Cook, David Murray, Alice Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Sample, Abbey Lincoln and Dizzy Gillespie. He has also recorded five critically acclaimed albums as leader.
Not to be confused with our new hockey team, the Tucson Roadrunners, The Arizona Roadrunners is a jazz ensemble comprising the faculty, students and graduates of the Tucson Jazz Institute and they perform the music of Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, King Oliver, Duke Ellington and others.
Members of the Roadrunners:
Doug Tidaback: trombone/leader
Max Goldschmid: saxophones/clarinet
Miranda Agnew: trumpet
Gavin Tidaback: trumpet/vocals
Simeon Roth: saxophone
Scott Black: bass
Sly Slipetsky: piano
Nathan Hooker: drums