Workshop Alumni Happenings June 23 – July 6, 2023

By Vail Jazz

Alumni Happenings

June 23 – July 6, 2023


Congratulations to 2007 Workshop alum Bryan Carter (drums), who last week won a Tony Award for Best Orchestrations, with his musical collaborator Charlie Rosen. The pair took the win for co-orchestrating the music for the Tony-nominated musical “Some Like It Hot,” capping a first-ever “hat-trick” of sweeping all three of the major orchestration awards in a single season: the Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Tony Awards. Check out Carter’s initial reaction to the win in this video with Broadway World moments afterward. Way to go, Bryan!




Pianist James Francies (2012) performs with saxophonist Immanuel Wilkins, bassist Gerald Cannon, and multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey at Nublu 151 in NYC on June 23.


A quintet performance with Anthony Hervey (2014) on trumpet is scheduled at The Circuit/Sistrunk Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale FL on June 23.


Trumpeter Keyon Harrold (1997) performs at the Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in Rodney Square, Wilmington DE, on June 23.


Was Fest, a new music festival curated by musician, producer, and Blue Note Records president Don Was, debuts at the Wang and Shubert Theatres in Boston on June 23, with 1997 piano alum Robert Glasper playing The Best of Black Radio 1, 2 & 3,” selections from his highly acclaimed albums. The Gerald Clayton (2002 piano) Quintet also appears there, on June 24, with Ambrose Akinmusire (2000) on trumpet, and they will perform saxophonist Wayne Shorter’s iconic album Speak No Evil. That day, Glasper is accompanied by rapper Anderson.Paak and record producer Knxwledge’s NxWorries project during the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival and the Blue Note Jazz Fest, at the Prospect Park Bandshell in NYC.


Celebrating the forthcoming release of his new album (see Recordings, below), trumpeter and vocalist Benny Benack III (2008) and his group make performance stops on June 23 at Blue Llama in Ann Arbor MI, on June 24 at Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis IN, at Dizzy’s Club In NYC on June 26, at Lighthouse Artspace in Chicago on June 29, at the Iowa City Jazz Festival in downtown Iowa City IA on June 30, and at Noce in Des Moines IA on July 1.


Chris Fishman (2014) continues playing piano/keys with guitarist Pat Metheny’s Side-Eye project, which continues its nationwide tour. On June 23 they headline the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival’s opening night in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, Rochester NY. On June 24 they are at The Beacon Theatre in NYC. They then take the stage at Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs NY on June 25 and take the show to Washington DC’s Kennedy Center on June 26.


You can catch Grace Kelly (2008 saxophone) in concert on June 23 at the Elkhart Jazz Festival in Elkhart IN, on June 30 at Jimmy’s in Portsmouth NH, on July 1 at the Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem NH, and on July 6 at MCG Jazz in Pittsburgh PA.


Trumpeter Dominick Farinacci and his band Triad perform with Braxton Cook (2009 saxophone) during the Tri-C Jazz Fest on June 24, at the Allen Theatre in Cleveland.


Gerald Clayton (2002 piano) performs at the Wang Theatre in Boston on June 24.


The band led by drummer Cindy Blackman Santana (guitarist Carlos Santana’s wife and his own band’s drummer) includes piano alum Zaccai Curtis (1999) on keyboard at the Saratoga Jazz Festival on June 24.


1998 piano alum Jed Wilson teams up with vocalist Heather Masse for a performance at The Hayloft at Dragonfly Barn in Bridgton ME on June 24.


2019 alum Joey Ranieri is the bass player in the Emmet Cohen Trio’s performance at the Saratoga Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs NY on June 24, and again at Jazz Alley in Seattle WA on June 27 and 28.


2001 trumpet alum Curtis Taylor performs at Improv in Hollywood CA on June 25.


Saxophonist Khris Royal (2004) fronts his band The Point in two New Orleans performances, June 25 at the Spotted Cat and June 29 at Le Bon Temps Roule.


1996 saxophone alum Tia Fuller, with her quintet, is in the lineup for the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival in Rochester NY on June 27 and 28.


Pianist Sullivan Fortner (2002) performs with his trio at the Village Vanguard in NYC, July 4-6.


2018 bass alum Dario Bizio performs at Sam First Bar in LA on July 5.


Coby Petricone-Berg (2018) has a trio performance at Nublu in NYC on July 5.


1996 piano alum Scott Coulter accompanies vocalist Jesse Garland and her band at the Sandstone Park Summer Music Series in Lyons CO on July 5. Coulter is also among the musicians set to perform in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s tribute concert, “Simply the Best: The Music of Tina Turner,” on July 8 in Detroit.




Bassist Vicente Archer’s first album as a leader, Short Stories, which came out earlier this month, features Gerald Clayton (2002) (see Performances, above) on piano; listen to “Space Acres.” 


Saxophonist Chris Potter’s new album, Got The Keys To The Kingdom: Live At The Village Vanguard, releases June 23 and features Marcus Gilmore (2002) on drums. Listen to “Nozani Na.”


2008 trumpet alum Benny Benack III (see Performances, above) has a new album, Third Time’s the Charm, due out June 30, and it features pianist Emmet Cohen, drummer Kyle Poole, and Benack’s 2010 Workshop colleague Russell Hall (bass). Listen to “Gary, Indiana,” the most recently released single off the album.


Vocalist Tatiana Eva-Marie’s June 30 release, Two at the Most, is a duo rendition of tunes from the Great American Songbook and features 2012 alum Jeremy Corren on piano.


Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (fka Christian Scott) (2001 trumpet) has announced the forthcoming (July 28) release of his album Bark Out Thunder Roar Out Lightning. Its lead single, “Xodokan Iko – Hu Na Ney,” is out now.


Pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa’s forthcoming (August 25) album, Timba a la Americana, features 2000 alum Luques Curtis on bass. The album’s opening track, “Funky,” can be heard here.


Recognitions, Awards & Other Items of Note


Pianist William Schwartzman (2022) is a 2023 YoungArts award winner, recognized for the caliber of his artistic achievement in the competition for young musicians. A Bachelor of Music candidate at The Juilliard School, Schwartzman tours this summer with the National Youth Orchestra Jazz, a program for musicians aged 16-19 created by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute.  Congratulations, William!

Workshop colleagues Brandon Lee (2000 trumpet) and David Wong (1999 bass) are among the faculty for four weekly sessions, July 3-29, of the Jazz Arts Collective’s Summer Jazz Workshop at Fordham College at Lincoln Center in NYC.


[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!]