New York-based saxophonist and composer Sam Newsome works primarily in the medium of solo saxophone, an approach for which he gained world-wide critical acclaim. Many of the notes and sounds that comprise his compositions and improvisations are derived from his own personal sound palette of extended techniques. Newsome sees himself more along the lines of a visual artist who paints with notes and sounds rather than shapes and colors. “My music, “says Newsome, is a type of improvisatory art music in which jazz functions more as a resource than a musical genre to be interpreted with stylistic specificity. As a performer, Newsome often performs solo saxophone concerts around New York and across the country as well as leading his own trio with bassist Hilliard Greene and drummer Reggie Nicholson. He is a frequent collaborator with Andrew Cyrille, Fay Victor, Jean-Michel Pilc, David Liebman, and pianist Ethan Iverson. Newsome is also an associate professor of music at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, where he is the music program coordinator, and teaches courses in jazz improvisation, music theory, and directs the University’s jazz ensemble.
Michael Marcus is a jazz clarinetist/multi-woodwind player, composer and arranger. Since releasing his debut recording as a leader, Under the Wire for Enja Records in 1991,he has appeared on more than 35 records and composed over 125 original/recorded compositions. Marcus was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Grant. His first professional gigs were with Albert King and Bobby “Blue” Bland. Marcus has recorded and toured with the Saxemble (Frank Lowe and James Carter) and with the great Mr. Jaki Byard. With Sonny Simmons, he is the co-leader of The Cosmosamatics w/ 9 recordings and multiple domestic and international tours. Marcus performed in a duo context with master drum legend Edgar Bateman. Marcus and Ted Daniel comprise Duology, which has collaborated with Andrew Cyrille. Marcus continues to record and tour with his own group.
New York born bassist Alex Layne began his musical career in 1959 at Count Basie’s Night Club. He went on to become a major player on the New York scene, where Alex performed with many great musicians, including Coleman Hawkins, Max Roach, Freddy Hubbard, and Sonny Stitt. The bulk of Alex’s career was spent accompanying top vocalists, including Billy Eckstein, Carmen McRae, Gloria Lynn, Johnny Hartman, and Miriam Makeba to name a few. Alex Layne’s knowledge of music theory and its application to solo and group performance is of the highest order. He is a formidable performer both as a soloist and as a member of a jazz rhythm section. Alex’s skills are evident on both the acoustic bass and the electric bass guitar. In addition, his experience also includes time spent performing with folk, blues, and rhythm and blues artists. Currently employed by the Jazz Foundation of America, Alex performs in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes, as well as working with his own group in prominent New York City jazz clubs.
Ms. Cumberbatch is a native of Brooklyn and has toured extensively in such places as the Caribbean, Europe, Canada, West Africa, Russia, Japan, and the United States. She has worked extensively with trumpeter Hannibal Loukumbe as the featured vocalist in two of his symphonies and also performed his suite “Fannie Lou Hamer” with the Kronos Quartet and “Love Poems to God” with dancer/choreographer, Dianne McIntyre and his ensemble. Ms. Cumberbath has performed with John Hicks, the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra, Diedre Murray, Lonni Plaxico, Onaje-Alan Gumbs, Curtis Lundy, Cecil Brooks III, Steve Wilson, Andy Bey, Al Harewood, Cecil Payne, and Romero Lubambo, to name a few. She currently works with the Baritone Saxophones, the Ray Abrams Big Band, the Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble, and her own Magnificent Trio. Ms. Cumberbatch has produced three recordings on Ki-Ki Records and is soon to release the recording “Seasoned Elegance.” (www.tulivu.com)
Sugar Hill Mornings is a summer musical performance series presented by the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling in collaboration with the Jazz Foundation of America celebrating the longstanding history of musical genius inherent to Sugar Hill. The series has been devised to foster inter-generational exchange and reiterate themes present in the Museum’s exhibitions, amplifying the power of listening, memory, and the human voice as a tool for societal uplift.
This edition of Sugar Hill Mornings features neighborhood legend and a muse of exhibitions at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum, Marjorie Eliot who exemplifies “playing from the heart.” She is best known for welcoming listeners into her apartment every Sunday since 1992, in celebration of life. Marjorie’s piano performance at Sugar Hill will tell the story of jazz.
“Sweet” Lee Odom has been playing clarinet for years, along with other woodwind instruments, including flute and bass clarinet. A native of North Carolina, Lee ventured to New York City in 2011 where she quickly found her way into various musical communities. First, she studied the music industry then clarinet performance at Appalachian State University. The music by Sweet Lee and her accompanying bands has been sending lighting vibes throughout the boroughs of New York. With a fusion of Jazz, Hip-Hop, Classical, and free improvisation, “Sweet” Lee keeps the groove groovin’.
Jason Marshall is a highly sought after and established fixture on the global music landscape. A rare specimen even among the highly competitive New York City music scene, the Washington D.C. born saxophonist can be seen playing soul music with Aretha Franklin, Latin jazz with Arturo O’Farrill, pop with Desi Di Lauro, avant garde jazz with the Charlie Mingus Big Band, and rock music with the Young Presidents. In addition, the graduate of the New School and Aaron Copeland School of Music can also be found performing weekly with the iconic NYC hip hop band, Nickle & Dime Ops, and with his own, The Jason Marshall Organ Trio in Harlem. Also a highly sought after composer and arranger, Mr. Marshall wrote and arranged the modern day classic “Miss Garvey, Miss Garvey!!” which was nominated for a Grammy in 2009. He has also written and arranged music for the Taipei Jazz Orchestra and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. His work for large ensemble can be heard most regularly performed by his critically acclaimed orchestra, the Jason Marshall Big Band. The jazz orchestra will release its debut album Order of Magnitude this fall.