“A voice that could melt snow”—Prince
If Kandace Springs‘ new album Indigo sounds like something new, that’s because it is. Simple while funky. Classic but contemporary. Straightforward in the way it breaks down complex ideas and genres. And, at the end of the day, undeniably human. That said, it isn’t quite a rebirth for the Nashville-born artist, who after stints living in New York and Los Angeles has returned back home to Music City. She’s long had that lithe and smoky voice and an intensely expressive mastery over the piano.
She sings from her latest album, The Women Who Raised Me, a loving tribute to the great female singers who inspired her to begin her journey towards becoming one of the premier jazz/soul vocalists of our time. The album will feature her unique interpretations of songs that she first heard growing up in Tennessee, and ranges from such classic icons as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Carmen McRae, through 60’s legends Nina Simone, and Dusty Springfield, and up to modern masters such as Sade and Lauryn Hill.
Marc Ribot, who the New York Times describes as “a deceptively articulate artist who uses inarticulateness as an expressive device,” has released 25 albums under his own name over a 40-year career, exploring everything from the pioneering jazz of Albert Ayler to the Cuban son of Arsenio Rodríguez. His solo release,“Silent Movies”(Pi Recording 2010) has been described as a”down-in-mouth-near master piece” by the Village Voice and has landed on several Best of 2010 lists including the LA Times and critical praise across the board, and 2014 saw the monumental release: Marc Ribot Trio Live at the Village Vanguard(Pi Recordings), documenting Marc’s first headline and the return of Henry Grimes at the historical venue in 2012 and included onBest of 2014 lists such as Downbeat magazine and NPR’s 50 Favorites.
2021 is filed with a flurry of activity and releases including Ceramic Dog’s HOPE, recorded during the pandemic, plus two reissues on vinyl for the first time: 1993’s long out-of-print Marc Ribot Plays Solo Guitar Works of Frantz Casseus & Silent Movies (2010). Additionally, Marc’s first collection of writings, Unstrung: Rants & Stories of a Noise Guitarist, will be published by Akashic Books this August with an audiobook also in the works, and Marc’s original score for limited series documentary, Queen of Meth, will premiere on the Discovery Channel
Makaya McCraven is a beat scientist. The bleeding edge drummer, producer, and sonic collagist is one of Chicago’s savviest cultural players and a multi-talented force whose inventive process & intuitive, cinematic style defy categorization.
French-born but raised in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts by expatriate musician parents, McCraven studied Jazz at the University of Massachusetts Amherst under the mentorship of jazz luminaries Archie Shepp, Marion Brown, and Yusef Lateef, and eventually went on to develop his chops in Chicago’s burgeoning scene.
His breakthrough album In the Moment was released with International Anthem Recording Co. (IARC) in 2015 and received widespread acclaim, proving to be a dramatic statement by McCraven that quickly launched him into the vanguard of not only Internationally-known jazz artists, but also a niche genre of next-wave composer-producers blurring the boundaries of jazz & electronic music.
His recent releases, the DJ-style mixtape Highly Rare (IARC, 2017) as well as an internationally recorded Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape) (IARC, 2018) have been well received globally, leading to increased bookings in some of the world’s best clubs, theaters, and festivals alongside the likes of Corey Wilkes, Bobby (Baabe) Irving (Miles Davis), Ari Brown, and Bernie Worrell.
McCraven is currently on tour and most recently released Universal Beings, a 2xLP album featuring an A-list of “new” jazz players from New York, Chicago, London & Los Angeles.
Dizzy Spellz offers an Afro-futuristic lens exploring the intersection of cultural and spiritual dilemmas within the African Diaspora through the music of Dizzy Gillespie. From his coming of age through racial and social dynamics in the Deep South, creating and curating the bebop movement in New York, to his spiritual journey to Africa and his delve into Afro Cuban music and the Baha’i Faith, Dizzy was very much ahead of his time. Sean Jones (trumpeter/musical director) and Brinae Ali (choreographer/tap dancer/vocalist) have teamed up to create a piece that fuses elements of jazz, tap, Hip Hop, and BeBop to articulate the social vernacular of the African-American experience.
Once you have listened to acclaimed vocalist, composer, and arranger Alicia Olatuja, you won’t soon forget her. Praised in the New York Times as “a singer with a strong and luscious tone,” Olatuja combines the earthy with the sublime, bringing a grounded relatability to genres as lofty as classical, as venerated as jazz, and as gritty as R&B.
Olatuja returns to ArtPower with her new project: Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women, celebrating the musical contributions of women composers by reinterpreting their songs through her own lens of classic, jazzy soul. Intuition is a dazzling journey through time, tempo, genre, language, and culture from some of the most respected artists of our generation, featuring songs by Sade, Angela Bofill, Brenda Russell, Linda Creed, Imogen Heap, Tracy Chapman, Kate Bush, and others.
Grammy–nominated and Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz award-winning drummer, bandleader, and vocalist Jamison Ross delivers the messages of humanity through the medium of jazz. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Jamison realized his passion for music while growing up in his grandfather’s church, where he felt the power of music. He began his study of jazz as a high school student and gained worldwide acclaim as a featured musician in the Tribeca Film Festival–winning documentary CHOPS.
His 2015 debut release, Jamison, introduced the world to his concept of rhythm and melody and also garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. His sophomore release, All For One, takes listeners a level deeper into Jamison’s ethos. The album is a result of a personal revelation that “we all have the capacity to love with empathy in a deeper way.”
“He has the tools, the intelligence, the ability, and the talents. The future looks bright for Croker.”— Wynton Marsalis
Trumpeter/composer Theo Croker, is hailed as one the great promises of Black American Music. Star People Nation (his upcoming LP on Sony Masterworks) isn’t a sonic departure from his critically acclaimed release Escape Velocity, but a continuation toward a much grander musical legacy that is pushing the realms of futuristic melody, rhythm, and vibratory enlightenment.
The grandson of legendary trumpeter Doc Cheatham, Crocker is a student of Donald Byrd, a protégé of Wynton Marsalis, and a veteran of performances with such jazz greats as Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jimmy Heather, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, and many more. Well-versed in the swing, bop, and modal styles of acoustic jazz, Croker’s own music reveals a love of organic funk, soul, and gooey, groove-oriented hip-hop. He is creating jazz that is both “timeless and of the moment” (Wall Street Journal).
“What I enjoy best is playing music. . . . I am a musician who happens to be blind. . . . I have been blessed with a God-given gift and my prayer is that I can continue to be a blessing and inspiration to others.”—Matthew Whitaker
Eighteen-year-old musical prodigy Matthew Whitaker grew up surrounded by music. A stunning talent on the piano and organ, he began playing music at the young age of three, after his grandfather gave him a small Yamaha keyboard. At age nine, Whitaker began teaching himself how to play the Hammond B3 organ, and four years later, he became the youngest artist ever endorsed by Hammond in its 80+ year history. At age ten, he performed at Stevie Wonder’s induction to the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame.
Whitaker has achieved international acclaim for his awe-inspiring talent. He has since toured the world and performed at hundreds of major events and jazz festivals, and appeared on The Today Show, Ellen, and CBS Sunday Morning, among other shows. A rising star, Whitaker will be making his San Diego debut at ArtPower.
“Jaw-dropping . . . one of the finest saxophonists going.”—Pitchfork
Few musicians share the ability of Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. He is an alto saxophonist and composer who materializes a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up as a second-generation Indian-American.
The Indo-Pak Coalition, featuring Pakinstani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and percussionist Dan Weiss, blends the sounds of jazz with Mahanthappa’s South Indian roots, creating a new and sublime complexity of sound. The result is a fiery jazz with Indian-Pakistani influences and a modern touch.
UC San Diego MFA student Sindhu Thirumalaisamy and UC San Diego economics professor Prashant Bharadwaj sits down with ArtPower artist Rudresh Mahanthappa to talk about how he fuses jazz and south Indian classical music, the name Indo-Pak Coalition, and what we can expect at his concert in San Diego.
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As a scion of an illustrious musical family, Cuban pianist Harold López-Nussa is one of the brightest lights on Havana’s thriving jazz scene. Son of drummer Ruy López-Nussa and nephew of pianist Ernan López-Nussa, López-Nussa was born into a musical household in Cuba and educated by his French grandparents. He took an early interest in classical piano before shifting his focus at age 20 to the fiery Cuban jazz of his homeland.
López-Nussa gained international attention when he won top honors at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Piano Competition in 2005 (a triumph that earned him a featured festival spot the following year). With his last album, New Day, the rising star refines his style and adds color to his artistic palette, asserting himself as a stylish composer whose technical abilities are matched only by his powerful playing.