2016 Performer Bios

Gary Motley : an award-winning  pianist, composer, arranger and educator, that has been featured on National Public Radio’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland.He has worked with an impressive list of jazz greats, including; Dave Brubeck, Clarke Terry, Kenny Baron, Jon Faddis, Eddie Daniels and Benny Golson.Gary is currently Director of Jazz Studies at Emory University in Atlanta.

Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra w/Edye Evans Hyde
The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra is West Michigan's premier Big Band Jazz Ensemble
Edye Evans Hyde:Ms. Hyde has been sharing her talent globally for over 30 years.  She has shared the stage with pop singer Michael Bolton, vocalist Maria Muldaur, the late Ray Charles, and Cuban trumpet player Arturo Sandoval.

Ben Williams & Sound Effect
Ben is a Jazz Studies alumnus of both MSU and Juilliard . He also won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition, and was awarded the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album  as a member of guitarist Pat Metheny’s Unity Band. Ben also ppears with actor Don Cheadle in the forthcoming film about jazz legend Miles Davis, Miles Ahead, and recently performed at the White House for International Jazz Day.

Tumbao Bravo
Formed in August 2003 by reedman Paul VornHagen and conguero Alberto Nacif, this exciting Cuban jazz combo has released four critically acclaimed CDs, have been featured on all the major jazz public radio stations throughout the U.S., and are winners  of the 2005,2007 and 2013 Detroit Music Awards for Best Jazz Recording and Best World Music Band.


JAMM Scholarship Quartet w/Abigail Zerbe:
2016 Sandy Izenson Scholarship winner Abigail Zerbe, backed up by 2 former scholarship winners, directed by the very talented local guitarist Doug Fritch.

East Lansing High School Jazz Band:
Our hometown high school jazz band under the direction of David Larzelere.

Vocal Summit w/ the Jeff Shoup Trio:
Shoup hosts the weekly jam session “Jazz Tuesdays” at Stober’s Bar in downtown Lansing. He can be found performing jazz music at area restaurants, night clubs, and special events. He has performed at the Lansing JazzFest, Summer Solstice Jazz Festival and the East Lansing Art Festival.Jeff  hasshared the stage with such notable jazz musicians as Jim Alfredson, Rodney Whitaker, Diego Rivera, Wess “Warmdaddy” Anderson, and Ralph Tope.
Danielle Blanchard: Danielle is a versatile vocalist, that is as comfortable on stage with a Big Band, as she is in the studio recording commercial jingles. During the day she is an award-winning public school teacher, that was named Newsweek WDIV Teacher of the Year.
Nashon Holloway Nashon Holloway is where Amy Winehouse meets Corinne Bailey Rae. Performance credits include features on The Oprah Winfrey Show with David Foster, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Nashon is a soulful songstress set to release her first studio album, “The Palace” & the Hut. In addition to teaching private voice to young children, she also collaborates with students of all ages on using music for healing and artistic therapy.
Beth Stalker, is a  Detroit native, Beth Stalker, started her professional music career at the age of four. She currently has a total of 7 Detroit Music  Awards , and had an original song she wrote , ”Hold Me”,receive the Grand Prize in "Peavey's 40th Anniversary Song Contest".  In 2008, Beth competed and became a finalist in the vocal competition American Idol.
 Nicole New, a passionate and provocative singer that allures crowds with her sensitivity and soulfulness.. Nicole’s eclectic style of singing, drawing from her early influences of performing Jazz, Pop, Opera and musical theatre has transformed into a sound all her own. She has performed such highly-regarded venues such as The Jazz Cafe at Music Hall, Cliff Bells, London Chop House and Steinway Jazz Café.
Evangeline Soul Jazz Singer

Bobby Murray Band
Guitarist Bobby Murray’s roots with the blues run deep, back to high school when he and band mate Robert Cray saw Albert Collins perform at their high school graduation. From there he went on to perform in Etta James’ backup ensemble, the Roots Band, for over two decades.Bobby performed with Algert Collins off and on for 20 years and has performed with or recorded with many other blues greats - including Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Taj  Mahal.Mr. Murray also recorded with Cray and B.B. King on the song “Playing with My Friends,” from King’s Grammy Award-winning album “Blues Summit.”

George Delancy Quintet
 George is another MSU Jazz Studies alumnus shaking things up on the East Coast. He has worked with notable bandleaders Johnny O’Neal, Wessell Anderson, Willie Jones III, Philip and Winard Harper, Christian Howes, Tia Fuller, Bria Skonberg, as well as many others in New York and throughout the Midwest. He is active nationally as a bandleader and educator, and has worked with programs including Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People and Christian Howes’ Creative Strings Workshop. He is also the director of the Midwestern arts initiative Appalachian Muse.

Tomeka Reid Quartet:
Ms. Reid is a Chicago based cellist, composer and educator, that is equally adept in classical and jazz contexts. As a musician most comfortable in experimental and improvisatory settings, Ms. Reid has found her niche playing with groups like; Dee Alexander's Evolution Ensemble, Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble/Strings, , the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and as a co-leader of the internationally recognized string trio Great Black Music Ensemble. Joining her for today’s performance are the very talented Chicago musicians Dave Rempis (saxophone), Keefe Jackson (bass clarinet) and Tollef Ontvang (drums/percussion).

Ken Kozora Quartet:  Ken Kozora, composer, improviser, educator, thinker, doer and restless explorer that  is always eager to push boundaries. He’s performed/collaborated/composed and/or recorded with a wide roster of local and international musicians, including; Roy “Futureman” Wooten, Don Was,  Peter MadCat Ruth and more. Ken’s compositions have been commissioned for art installations all over the State and have been featured at Art Prize, Alden B. Dow Museum Science and Art and the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum.

Universal Indians w/ Joe McPhee:
Universal Indians is a trio comprised of Amsterdam-based, American saxophonist John Dikeman and the resourceful and powerful rhythm section of Wegnorian bassist Johnny Rundersteak and Talsiman Oosterpark. This trio presents its own definition of contemporary freely improvised jazz: muscular, passionate, raw and intense music created on the spot, with no distinct leader and with tight, immediate and supportive interplay.
Joe McPhee: He emerged on the creative jazz and new music scene in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Joe McPhee is a composer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist, with a career spanning nearly 50 years and over 100 recordings. He continues touring internationally, forging new connections while reaching for the music’s limits.

Gabriel Brass Band
a family tradition that has been passed down for six generations, Beginning with patriarch Narcisse Gabriel, a bass player whom migrated to New Orleans from Santo Domingo in 1856.Cousins Dameon Gabriel (trumpet), Larry Gabriel (banjo and grand marshal), Marcel Gabriel (bass drum), Darryl Johnson (grand marshal), and a few friends have picked up the baton, continuing the exciting fun-filled brass band second line tradition in the metro Detroit area.The Gabriel Brass Band honors rich history of New Orleans music while delivering a joyful sound that excites the modern ear.

Marcus Elliot Quartet
Marcus Elliot is a saxophonist/composer/educator of the metro-Detroit area.He began playing professionally in the Detroit Jazz scene when he was 15 years old. His talents led MSU Jazz Studies to award him a scholarship, and provide him with the opportunity to study with Wes "Warmdaddy" Anderson, Diego Rivera and Rodney Whitaker.  Since graduating, Marcus has performed across the globe with his own quartet and as a sideman to jazz greats such as;  James Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Marcus Belgrave, Johnny O'neal, Mulgrew Miller and many others.

Karrin Allyson
She has thirteen albums, four Grammy nominations, and a recent self-produced holiday album that won four stars from Downbeat.The warmth, depth and versatility of her voice will let you know that Karrin is not just singing a lyric, she’s telling you her story. And then that becomes your story. You hear the music from the inside out.

Marcus Roberts
Marcus  hit the road at age 21, with Wynton Marsalis. Six years later he went on to tour with his own jazz group, and also was very successful performing jazz and classical material with both large and small ensembles, (including a well‐received collaboration with Béla Fleck) Roberts is an accomplished composer who has received numerous commissioning awards, including ones from Jazz at Lincoln Center, Chamber Music America, and ASCAP. He continues to be an advocate and educator of music, as the Director of the annual “Swing Central” high school band competition and as a faculty member at the School of Music at Florida State University. In May 2014, Roberts many contributions to the field of music were acknowledged through the awarding of an honorary Doctor of Music degree from The Juilliard School.

Michael Dease Quintet
Dease is a sought-after, two- time GRAMMY-award winning lead, section and bass trombonist with today’s leading jazz orchestras, including those led by Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Charles Tolliver, Rufus Reid, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band.
This year Dease takes a brave step forward and becomes a “Father Figure” on his third album for Posi-Tone and seventh overall.

The Chicago Jazz Orchestra, featuring Paul Marinaro
The Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Under the direction of Artistic Director, Jeff Lindberg, this 17-piece premiere jazz ensemble is Chicago’s oldest professional jazz orchestra in continuous operation and one of the oldest jazz repertory orchestras in the country. The group has garnered both national and international recognition, and has performed with such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Nancy Wilson, Herbie Hancock, Jon Faddis, and many more. The CJO’s recording –Clark Terry and Jeff Lindberg’s Chicago Jazz Orchestra: George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Americana Music, 2004) – received widespread critical acclaim, including  a rare “Five Star” rating by DownBeat magazine, which also named it one of the top recordings of the previous decade.
Paul MarinaroChicago-based jazz vocalist, dubbed as having "one of the most beautiful vocal instruments in the business today" by Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune, is a modern classic. Paul has quickly made a name for himself, becoming one of the most in-demand and respected male vocalists. 

Diego Rivera
Diego has been teaching Jazz Studies at Michigan State University since 2002.  He is an avid composer and arranger, and has written arrangements  for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and  The Carl Allen-Rodney Whitaker Project’s critically acclaimed Mack Avenue Records recordings entitled, Get Ready (2007) and Work To Do (2008). Diego has toured with Juno-Award winning Canadian Vocalist, Sophie Milman, The Rodney Whitaker Quartet and the MSU Professors of Jazz, and R performed with Christian McBride, Jon Hendricks, Clark Terry, Ellis Marsalis, and  Jon Faddis.

Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp International Jazz Band
The 2016 International Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. James Sawyer, is comprised of the instrumentation found in a traditional 18 piece jazz big band. The group’s repertoire will range from the classic big bands of Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones and Woody Herman to more contemporary composers such as Gordon Goodwin, and John Fedchock.

Lydia Harrell
Lydia Harrell aka The LovelySinger is one of Boston’s finest musical treasures. She was a finalist in the 2013 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, has performed with the Boston Pops and serenaded Boston Celtics fans with America’s National Anthem. Sony Music Latin recently selected Lydia from over 200 talented vocalists to provide lead vocals for the Bob Marley tribute album, “Is This Love”.

Lady Sunshine and the X Band
Lady Sunshine was born to sing the blues on a plantation near the Mississippi Delta in West Helena Arkansas. She grew up singing gospel music and is definitely the 'real deal'! Sunshine is the consummate entertainer whose deep soulful southern hunger drives her both on and off the stage.  The LSX Band has had the honor to share the stage with Blues notables Koko Taylor, Bobby Rush, Little Milton, Roomful of Blues, War and many others. The group has competed twice in the International Blues Challenge finishing as a Semi Finalist and 2nd Place Winner.