Workshop Alumni Happenings June 9 – June 22, 2023

By Vail Jazz

Alumni Happenings

June 9 – June 22, 2023


Guitarist Pat Metheny’s Side-Eye trio, now with Chris Fishman (2014) at the piano, has a busy touring schedule the next couple of weeks: They’ll be at Nashua Center for the Arts in Nashua NH on June 9, the Grand Opera House in Wilmington DE on June 10, The National in Richmond VA on June 11, Memorial Hall in Cincinnati on June 13, the Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries in St. Louis on June 14, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City MO on June 15, Virginia Theatre in Champaign IL on June 16, Cain Park in Cleveland Heights OH on June 17, the Midland Theatre in Newark OH on June 18, the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park IL on June 20, and Carnegie of Homestead in Munhall PA on June 22.




Bassist Katie Thiroux (2005) is in the lineup at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Experience, June 22-25 in Aspen CO.


1997 trumpet alum Keyon Harrold and his Acclaimed Quintet perform at Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club in Portsmouth NH on June 9.


Another trumpet alum, Anthony Hervey (2014), performs with the Eyal Vilner Big Band, featuring tap dancer Caleb Teicher, on June 9 and 10 in Philadelphia. Then Hervey has a three-night album release party, for Words from my Horn, at Dizzy’s in NYC, June 15-17.


The Immanuel Wilkins Quartet, with Micah Thomas (2013) on piano, performs during Spoleto Festival USA on June 9 and 10 at the Queen Street Playhouse in Charleston SC.


2019 alum Joey Ranieri plays bass in the Emmet Cohen Trio performance at Appalachian Theatre of the High Country in Boone NC on June 10.


Saxophonist Khris Royal (2004) performs in a Prince birthday celebration on June 10 at Bud Rips in New Orleans.


Drummer Cindy Blackman Santana is joined by keyboardist Zaccai Curtis (1999) at the Blue Note in Napa CA on June 11, and again on June 14 at the San Francisco Jazz Festival. Pianist 

Gerald Clayton (2002) and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (2000) also perform at the Festival, on June 12 at SFJAZZ Center’s Herbst Theatre in San Francisco. And Curtis is at the piano again, with the Avery Sharpe Quartet, on June 19 in a free Juneteenth concert by the Springfield (MA) Symphony Orchestra at Springfield Symphony Hall.


Maurice “Mobetta” Brown (1999 trumpet) performs on June 14 at Elsewhere in Brooklyn NY.


Grace Kelly (2008 saxophone) performs with her quartet on June 15 at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Venable Theatre in North Adams MA, on June 16 during Jazz in June at the Camden Opera House in Camden ME, and on June 17 at the Nashua Center for the Arts in Nashua NH.


Trombonist Jeffery Miller (2013) performs at Public Records in Brooklyn NY on June 15.


Trumpeter and vocalist Benny Benack III (2008) has a big band performance on June 15 at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden in Pittsburgh PA, and a series of Third Time’s the Charm album release parties: June 16-17 at Con Alma in Pittsburgh, June 18 at Blu Jazz in Akron OH, and June 19-20 at The Refectory in Columbus OH.


Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin (1999) performs during the Madison Jazz Festival on June 17 at
the University of Wisconsin campus in Madison WI.


1997 piano alum Robert Glasper performs at the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit on June 17 and at The Hyde Park Summer Festival at Midway Plaisance Park in Chicago on June 18. Then he has a couple of East Coast gigs: June 20 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Philadelphia and June 22 (with vocalist Samara Joy) at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. 


2011 drums alum Blaque Dynamite (aka Mike Mitchell) performs with the Payton Taylor Project and bassist Juuwah at the Deep Ellum Art Company in Dallas on June 17; and then he’s on stage at Antone’s in Austin TX on June 18.


Braxton Cook (2009 saxophone) performs at Schubas Tavern in Chicago on June 22. Then he’s at the Tri-C Jazz Fest, where’s he’s Artist-in-Residence, conducting workshops and putting in a performance at Playhouse Square in Cleveland on June 23.




2010 trumpet alum Josh Shpak plays on vocalist and former Genesis front-man Peter Gabriel’s forthcoming album, i/o, and will be joining him on an extensive performance tour through the UK, Europe, and North America this fall; stay tuned to “Alumni Happenings” for dates near you! Meanwhile, listen to him here on “Road to Joy,” the latest track released from the album.


2019 saxophone alum Nico Colucci, who just finished his freshman year at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, has released Introducing Nico Colucci, his debut album of all original tunes. Here’s a track from the album, “Snake Charmer.”


Terrace Martin (1997 saxophone) announced his forthcoming new album, Fine Tune, scheduled for release later this month; here’s the official music video of its lead single, a cover of SZA’s “Snooze.”


The poet aja monet’s debut album, when the poems do what they do, is due out June 9, and it includes Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott, 2001) on trumpet and Marcus Gilmore (2002) on drums. Listen to “why my love.”


The reissue of 1997 piano alum Robert Glasper’s (see Performances, above) 2007 acoustic trio album, In My Element, is due out on June 16 as part of Blue Note Records’ Classic Vinyl Reissue Series. Here is “Of Dreams To Come,” from the original album.


Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (2000) (see Performances, above) is among the special guests on bassist Meshell Ndegeocello’s The Omnichord Real Book album, scheduled for release on June 16.


Pianist Steven Feifke releases Catalyst on June 16, a trio album including 2007 alum Bryan Carter on drums. Listen to “My Foolish Heart.”


Unknown Mortal Orchestra, with 2007 alum Christian Li on keyboard and vocals, recently performed in an NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert; check it out here.


Recognitions, Awards & Other Items of Note


Several Workshop alumni have been selected for the Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2023 Next Generation Ensembles, directed by piano alum Gerald Clayton (2002) (see Performances, above) and featuring saxophone alum Lakecia Benjamin (1999) (see Performances, above) as Artist-in-Residence: Cosmo Lieberman (2022) on alto saxophone, Nick Caldwell (2021) on tenor saxophone, Luciano Soriano (2021) on trombone, Luke Ramee (2022) on trombone, and Ben Schwartz (2022) on drums. Congrats VJW alumni! 


Congratulations to 2007 alum Bryan Carter (drums) (see Performances, above) on winning a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Orchestrations for co-orchestrating, with composer/music producer Charlie Rosen, the score to the Broadway musical “Some Like It Hot.”


Ben Feldman (2017 bass) performed in the finals of the International Society of Bassists Jazz Competition at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor earlier in the week, and he took third prize in the competition. Congratulations, Ben!


[If you’re a Vail Jazz Workshop alum, do you know about the communication channel we created exclusively for alumni? It’s free on Slack, is a great way to network and keep in touch with your alumni colleagues, and enables you to stay current on more about what’s happening with all things alumni-related. To join, contact Alan Tanenbaum at alumni@vailjazz.org and he’ll send you the link!]