Workshop Alumni Happenings Dec 14- Dec 27, 2022

By Vail Jazz

Alumni Happenings

Dec 14- Dec 27, 2022


2002 Workshop alum Sullivan Fortner (piano) is featured playing Hammond B3 on a new
holiday single, “O Holy Night,” just released by 2023 Grammy-nominated vocalist Samara Joy –
currently featured with guitarist Pasquale Grasso in Vail Jazz’s most recent “Jazz Interludes”
series– which you can enjoy here. On the single, Joy and Fortner perform with four
generations of the vocalist’s family: 92-year-old gospel singer grandfather Elder Goldwire
McLendon, bassist/vocalist father Antonio McLendon, uncle Laurone McLendon, and cousins
Tiera Lovell Rowe and Alana Alexander. Happy Holidays!




2011 drums alum Mike Mitchell (aka Blaque Dynamite) performs on December 14 at
PhilaMOCA in Philadelphia.


Saxophonist Grace Kelly (2008) traverses the country with South African singer-songwriter
Johnathan Butler in “Oh Holy Night” performances on December 15 at St. James Live! in
Atlanta, December 17 at the News-Journal Center in Daytona Beach FL, December 18 at Buena
Vista Live in San Antonio TX, December 20 at Musikfest Café in Bethlehem PA, December 21 at
Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis MD, December 22 at the Count Basie Center in Red Bank NJ,
and December 23 at Ludlow Garage in Cincinnati.


Sullivan Fortner (see lead item above) has trio performances on December 16 and 17 at the
Jazz Gallery in NYC.


Trumpeter Anthony Hervey (2014) performs December 16-18 with the Future of Jazz Orchestra
at Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City Center NY.


Alphonso Horne (2004 trumpet) is in the lineup for the December 17 Jazz at the Ballroom
concert, “Holiday In,” a swinging twist on holiday classics, at the Woodruff Arts Center in


2004 saxophone alum Khris Royal and friends perform at the Spotted Cat in New Orleans on
December 17.


2012 piano alum James Francies performs with his trio at Jimmy’s Jazz and Blues Club in
Portsmouth NH on December 18.


Saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (2007) has a multi-night gig with trumpeter Chris Botti at
the Blue Note in NYC, December 19-26.


Hailey Niswanger (2007 saxophone) fronts her band Mae.Sun in a performance at Mississippi
Studios in Portland OR on December 21.


Trumpeter Benny Benack III (2008) performs in a quartet at Con Alma Downtown in Pittsburgh
on December 23.




Drummer Aaron Seeber’s debut recording as a bandleader, First Move, features 2002 piano
alum Sullivan Fortner (see lead item above) with Seeber’s quintet. Listen to the title track.
Fortner also appears, with Workshop colleagues Obed Calvaire (1998 drums) and Matt Brewer
(2000 bass), on guitarist Mike Moreno’s recent album Standards from Film; listen to “Stella by


More Touch, a new album by vibraphonist Patricia Brennan and her quartet, includes Marcus
Gilmore (2002) on drums. Here is the title track.


Bassist Dan Horne has released two singles from his forthcoming (April 2023) studio album
Count The Clouds, including “Hedgehog’s Song” (listen here) which features Frank LoCrasto
(2001) on piano.


Recognitions, Awards & Other Items of Note


1997 piano alum Robert Glasper’s Black Radio III has been named one of The 20 Best R&B
Albums of 2022 by National Public Radio. Congratulations, Robert!