Gretchen Parlato

“Gretchen is a singer with a deep, almost magical connection to the music. She takes a lot of chances with her understated style, and it works. Every note is expressive, powerful, and pretty. And most important, her heart is in the right place.”—Herbie Hancock

In the ten years since her arrival in New York City, Gretchen Parlato has emerged as one of the most inventive and mesmerizing vocalists of her generation. In an artful communion of space, texture and a genre-bending repertoire, she has introduced a musical sea-change, making the power of subtlety front and center in jazz. Winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition, Parlato has appeared on a bevy of other artists’ albums, including recordings by bassist Esperanza Spalding, pianist Kenny Barron, and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, among others.

Joel Ross ‘Good Vibes’

“The vibraphonist Joel Ross is already widely known as contemporary jazz’s top prospect. Kingmaker, his major-label debut, out now on Blue Note, shows that he has what it takes to build something vital.”—New York Times

“I never had a doubt that I was going to do music,” says Joel Ross, the most thrilling new vibraphonist in America. The Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based player and composer has performed with historic and seasoned artists—Herbie Hancock, Louis Hayes, Christian McBride, and Stefon Harris—as well as with cutting-edge contemporaries like Ambrose Akinmusire, Gerald Clayton, and Marquis Hill. In 2019, Ross joined the Blue Note Records roster and added his name to an illustrious jazz vibraphone legacy on the label that extends from Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson to Stefon Harris and now Ross. At ArtPower, he will be performing with his newly minted Good Vibes ensemble.

Sean Jones’ Dizzy Spellz

Trumpeter, musical director Sean Jones and choreographer, tap dancer, and vocalist Brinae Ali 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.

Inspired by the music and life story of Dizzy Gillespie, Dizzy Spellz offers an Afro-futuristic lens to explore the intersection of cultural and spiritual dilemmas with the African Diaspora. From Dizzy’s coming of age through the racial and social dynamics in the Deep South, to his creating and curating the bebop movement in New York, to his spiritual journey to Africa, and, finally, his delving into Afro-Cuban music and the Baha’i Faith, Dizzy was a complex man well ahead of his time and with plenty of stories to tell.

Harold López-Nussa

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 in Havana, where he still lives. “I need the kind of relaxed life that Havana gives me,” he said.

“Every time I return to Cuba, I feel something special—not just a connection with my family and friends, but with the place itself. This is where my music comes from, what it talks about.” His second release for Mack Avenue Records, Un Día Cualquiera, is grounded in the island’s cultural tradition and lifestyle, representing this musical vantage point with force and innovation. López-Nussa tells this story—his story—with drama, heartfelt emotion and consummate skills.

Alicia Olatuja

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.

Jamison Ross

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.”

Theo Croker

“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).

Matthew Whitaker

“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.

Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition
With Rez Abbasi & Dan Weiss

“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.

Cancelled: Harold López-Nussa

This event has been cancelled. Our Box Office will be calling to process refunds. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the UC San Diego Box Office at 858-534-8497 or email artpower@ucsd.edu.

 

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.