Workshop Alumni Happenings March 1 – March 14, 2023

By Vail Jazz

Alumni Happenings

March 1 –  March 14, 2023


Congratulations to 2001 Vail Jazz Workshop trumpet alum Chief Adjuah (aka Christian Scott),
who has received the 2023 Doris Duke Artist Award for jazz! The awards program supports up
to six performing artists annually across the fields of contemporary dance, jazz, and theater.
This year’s award was announced and presented at the 10th anniversary celebration and
inaugural awards ceremony at Lincoln Center in NYC. For Chief Adjuah, well-deserved!




Drummer Jimmy McBride (2008) performs in pianist David Kikoski’s trio on March 1 at Roost
Restaurant in the Union Arts Center in Sparkil (near White Plains) NY.


Sullivan Fortner (2002 piano) performs with saxophonist Ben Wendel’s quartet on March 1 at
the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College in Durango CO. Sullivan and trumpeter
Ambrose Akinmusire (2000) then join guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel’s quartet in back-to-back
performances, on March 10 at the Logan Center for the Arts in Chicago and on March 11 at the
Arts for Humanity EpiCenter in Boston. Fortner then performs with the Peter Bernstein Quartet
at the Village Vanguard in NYC, March 12-14.


Drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s Social Science sextet, with 2014 saxophone alum Morgan
Guerin playing bass and saxophone, performs at Carnegie Hall in NYC on March 2.


With a brand-new album out (Who Are You When No One Is Watching?), 2009 saxophone alum
Braxton Cook embarks on a headlining U.S. tour, starting on March 2 at the Lodge Room in
Highland Park CA. Then on to the Soda Bar in San Diego on March 4, the Great American Music
Hall in SF on March 5, the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz CA on March 9, the Jack London
Revue in Portland OR on March 10, and Madame Lou’s in Seattle on March 12. Here’s “Indie,” a
track from the new album. And if you want more of Braxton, here is an in-depth podcast
interview of him on wbgo.org.


2008 trumpet alum Benny Benack III has a jazz jam residency at Smalls NYC on March 2. The
following night (March 3) he performs with singer Dave Damiani & the No Vacancy Orchestra at
Catalina’s in Hollywood CA. And on March 12, Benack accompanies pianist Emmet Cohen at the
Lied Center in Lawrence KS.


Khris Royal (2004 saxophone) performs with the No Boss Band at Bullet’s Sports Bar in New
Orleans on March 2 and March 9. Royal then appears at Above the Grid in New Orleans on
March 10.


Saxophonist Natalie Barbieri (2019) performs in an eight-piece band tribute show to Billy Joel
and Elton John at Windows on the Lake, in Lake Ronkonkoma NY on March 3.


The Sean Jones Quartet, with Luques Curtis (2000) on bass, performs March 4 at the Columbia
University School of the Arts’s Miller Theatre in NYC.


Trumpeter Anthony Hervey (2014) joins drummer Ulysses Owens Jr. & Generation Y in a gig at
the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville AR on March 4.


1998 trumpet alum Jumaane Smith performs on March 4 at The Wilcox Hotel in Aiken SC.


Pianist Isaiah J. Thompson (2014) takes the stage with the John Pizzarelli Trio and singer
Catherine Russell on March 4 at the Fox Tucson Theatre in Tucson AZ, and again on March 5 at
the Chandler Center for the Arts in Chandler AZ.


1997 piano alum Robert Glasper headlines the first weekend of free Jazz Sundays in
Emancipation Park on March 5 in Houston TX. Then Glasper’s Dinner Party group, with 2009
classmate Terrace Martin (saxophone) and saxophonist Kamasi Washington, does two shows at
NYC’s Terminal 5 on March 9.


On March 6 and continuing on Monday nights thereafter, 2005 piano alum Calvin Brown is in
the house band and coordinates the Roots Jam at The Black Iris in Richmond VA.


Lakecia Benjamin (1999 saxophone) performs as a special guest with the West Hartford Hall
High School jazz band, in its Pops ‘n Jazz program, on March 10 in Hartford CT.


Jazz at Lincoln Center presents “Songs We Love,” with Gabe Medd (2008) on trumpet, on
March 10 at the Grunin Center in Toms River NJ.


Drummer Chris Beck and his quartet, with Esteban Castro (2018) on piano, perform at Chris’s
Jazz Café in Philadelphia on March 10.




The Steven Feifke Big Band’s latest single, “The Promised Land,” features Bryan Carter (2007)
on drums, Jeffery Miller (2013) on trombone, and 2008 Workshop classmates Benny Benack III
and Gabe Medd on trumpet. Watch here and see if you can spot them!


The sophomore album, Prime, by bassist Christian McBride’s New Jawn, with 2002 alum Josh
Evans on trumpet, has just been released. Here’s the title track.


The band Mr. Chair, with special guest Eddie Barbash (2005) on saxophone, releases Better
Days on March 3. In the last installment of “Alumni Happenings” we provided a link to the only
pre-released track from the album; listen here, though, to “Information Age” from the band’s
previous album, Nebulebula.


2014 alum Nick Lee plays trombone in this NPR Music Tiny Desk concert led by
producer/drummer Kenny Beats, following the recent release of Beats’s debut solo album,


Guitarist Tomer Cohen’s debut album, Not the Same River, features Obed Calvaire on drums.
Here’s the title track.


Keyboardist Nigel Hall has released the single “When I Die (Live),” featuring Corey Fonville on
drums. Check it out here.


Frank LoCrasto (2001 piano) is the keyboardist on the Fruit Bats’ upcoming album, A River
Running To Your Heart (due out April 14), and the band has released the preview single, “It All
Comes Back,” which you can check out here.


Poet aja monet’s new single, “The Devil You Know,” was created in collaboration with
Workshop alumni Chief Adjuah (Christian Scott) (see lead item, above) and Marcus Gilmore
(2002 drums). Take a listen.


Recognitions, Awards & Other Items of Note


Film producer/director Jim Burns will show excerpts from his documentary film “She’s Got
Jazz,” about four rising young stars who are changing the face of jazz in the 21st century, on
March 5 at the Madison Community Arts Center in Madison NJ. It’s part of a New Jersey Jazz
Society program on the importance of women in jazz, and the film features electrifying
performances by jazz musicians including 2008 saxophone alum Grace Kelly.


Best of luck to 2003 bass alum Lauren Falls, whose A Little Louder Now album has been
nominated in the Juno Awards’ Jazz Album of the Year category. The awards will be presented
on March 13 in Edmonton Canada.