Skylar Tang came through the Vail Jazz Workshop just last year (2021 trumpet) and, now at the ripe old age of 16, is the winner of the Dr. J. Douglas White Composition and Arranging Contest, for her composition “Kaleidoscope.” The contest fielded 17 entries for original music written and arranged for big band by a high school student, as part of the Essentially Ellington High School Jazz Band Competition and Festival in NYC. “Kaleidoscope” took about seven months to compose and has already been recorded by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Check out this National Public Radio story about it. Congratulations Skylar!
The Exit Zero Jazz Festival in Cape May NJ features a bevy of VJW alumni in its lineup. 1997 trumpet alum Keyon Harrold performs with his quintet at the Festival on May 13. 2010 bass alum Russell Hall performs with the Emmet Cohen Trio on May 14. 1999 saxophone alum Lakecia Benjamin performs with her band Pursuance on May 15. And Cape May Jazz Festival Foundation Music Connects Artist in Residence Alphonso Horne (2004 trumpet) performs on May 15, with his band The Gotham Kings.
The 15th biennial Irving S. Gilmore International Piano Festival stages two performances by the Emmet Cohen Trio, with Russell Hall (see above) on bass, at Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo MI on May 12. The Trio also appears at the Porch in Sugar Hill (NYC) on May 17 and presents two shows at the JAZZ ROOM in Charlotte NC, May 19-20.
The Billy Childs Quartet, with Ambrose Akinmusire (2000) on trumpet, has a two-night engagement May 12-13 at SAM First in LA.
Bassist Or Barekesh’s Sahar album is now out, featuring Morgan Guerin (2014) on tenor saxophone, electronic wind instrument (EWI), and organ, and Jeremy Corren (2012) on piano and keyboards. Listen to Guerin on sax and Corren on keys and clavier on “Soil.” Drummer Chase Elodia’s debut album, Portrait Imperfect, set for release on May 13, also features Guerin playing EWI on three tracks. Check out this video of Guerin on tenor saxophone in a live recording with Elodia and a quartet at the end of 2020.
Jazz in Times Square with Jazz at Lincoln Center presents 2018 trumpet alum Summer Camargo leading a quintet on the outdoor stage at Broadway and 46th Street in NYC on May 14. Camargo, along with her VJW colleague Bryan Carter (2007 drums), are in the band performing a series of “Songbook Sundays,” celebrating the American Songbook, at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club (NYC) beginning on May 22. Carter has a forthcoming album, I Believe, as a bandleader, due out on June 3; meanwhile, he’s released this take on the Burt Bacharach/Carol Beyer Seger song, “Making Love.”
The C.O.M.N. Funk Band, with Mike Mitchell (2011) on drums, performs on May 14 at Davidson’s Restaurant in Gilmore TX.
2008 trumpet alum Benny Benack III leads a jam session at Smalls in NYC on May 18.
Gerald Clayton (2002 piano) presents his multi-disciplinary project, Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation, May 19-20 at Harlem Stage (NYC) with Clayton’s nine-piece jazz ensemble, The Assembly, featuring vocalist Rene Marie.
2019 saxophone alum Natalie Barbieri fronts The Barbieri Project in a performance at Still Partners in Sea Cliff NY on May 19.
2007 alum Eliana Athayde plays electric and upright bass on vocalist Nataly Dawn’s soon-to-be-released Gardenview; listen to the track “Danny” here.
The Potash Twins (Adeev on trumpet and Ezra on bass trombone) have collaborated with Robert Glasper (1997 piano) on their newly-released album Hornography, which features Glasper at the keys on “Keep Doin’.”
Saxophonists Kirk Whalum, Jeff Coff, and Tia Fuller (1996) have teamed up to create The Sax Loft, a tutorial website and “live hangout” for those who want to learn how to play the saxophone.