Workshop Alumni Happenings July 7 – 20, 2023

By Vail Jazz

Alumni Happenings

July 7 – 20, 2023


Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah (fka 2001 trumpet alum Christian Scott) has been appointed the Grand Griot of the New Orleans Maafa Commemoration, bestowing on him the role of custodian of New Orleans’s stories and traditions. Here’s an OffBeat piece about it. Adjuah, a six-time Grammy nominee, is the progenitor of “Stretch Music,” a jazz-rooted, genre-blind musical form that attempts to “stretch” jazz’s rhythmic, melodic and harmonic conventions to encompass multiple musical forms, languages and cultures. The nephew of jazz saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr., Adjuah is also chieftain of the Xodokan Nation of the maroon tribes of New Orleans. You can catch him in performance at Revolution Hall in Portland OR on July 12, at Yoshi’s in Oakland CA on July 13, and at the Stanford (CA) Jazz Festival on July 15.




2002 piano alum Sullivan Fortner leads his trio, including his Workshop classmate Marcus Gilmore on drums, in consecutive night performances at The Village Vanguard in NYC on July 7, 8, and 9.


Saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (2007) has consecutive quartet performances on July 7, 8, and 9 at Birdland in NYC. Then he accompanies trumpeter Chris Botti on July 13 at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington MA, on July 14 at the Music Hall in Portsmouth NH, and on July 15 at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in Hyannis MA.


Summer Camargo (2018 trumpet) performs as a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist on July 8 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Westport CT, as part of the Music at MoCA 2023 Concert Series. Camargo is now a member of the Saturday Night Live House Band!


Grace Kelly (2008 saxophone) performs at SteelStacks in Bethlehem PA on July 8 and at the Festival of the Arts in Laguna Beach CA on July 15.


2004 saxophone alum Khris Royal performs at The Spotted Cat in New Orleans on July 8. Then, on July 15, he fronts The Point at The Foundation Room (also in NOLA).


The Charles Turner & Uptown Swing band features 2013 alum Jeffery Miller (trombone) in a July 9 performance at the Levitt Pavilion in Westport CT.


Jason and the Jazzerknots, with Josh Gallagher (2000) on piano, perform at Stevens Point Country Club in Stevens Point WI on July 11.


The Brubeck Jazz Summit presents The Brubeck Brothers with the All-Star Faculty concert on July 13 at the Classical Tahoe Ricardi Pavilion in Incline Village NV, with 2007 alum Bryan Carter on drums.


Saxophonist Natalie Barbieri (2019) is in a “Face-to-Face LI Live” performance at the Biergarten in Patchogue NY on July 14.


2009 alum Braxton Cook (saxophone) performs on July 16 at the Charles River Jazz Festival in Allston MA.


Trumpeter Anthony Hervey (2014) performs with a big band at DROM in NYC on July 17.




Ambrose Akinmusire’s new album, Beauty Is Enough, was recorded at the Saint-Eustache cathedral in Paris, France with just his horn – no audience or band. Listen to “Cora Campbell,” the last of the LP’s 16 tracks, which recently made the New York Times’s weekly list of most notable new songs released. Akinmusire is also featured on multi-instrumentalist and singer Cautious Clay’s forthcoming (August 18) album, KARPEH.


Terrace Martin (1997 saxophone) has released Fine Tune, his first solo record in nearly two years, with musical contributions from his 1997 classmates Robert Glasper (piano) and Keyon Harrold (trumpet). Martin also executive produced the album. Listen to “Frowning Smiles.” And Glasper, along with bassist Derrick Hodge, is composing the music for season two of the TV series Run The World (they curated the music for season one); their first offering is “What Love Can Do,” which you can check out here


2018 alum Michael Manasseh is at the drums in this recent video of the Columbia University Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program’s recent concert performance of “Chief Distortion.”


Kota The Friend’s new album, Protea, features collaboration with 2009 saxophone alum Braxton Cook. [See Performances, above]. Here’s the title track.


Trumpeter and singer Benny Benack III (2008) has released his much-anticipated album, Third Time’s the Charm, which features fellow Workshop alumni Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (2007 saxophone) and Russell Hall (2010 bass). Listen to Benack’s trumpet work and vocals, while Hall holds down the bass line, on “American Woman.” Here’s a WBGO.org interview of Benack discussing the album.


Recognitions, Awards & Other Items of Note


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



[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!]