Jazz Vocalist extraordinaire, artist and teacher Betty Shirley is blessed with all the range and tonal control
one might expect from a first–class Jazz singer. Ms. Shirley can scat, propel, coax and hang on to a note. She
improvises with unerring instincts and delivers exactly what a song needs, spinning notes like silk.
Her extensive repertoire ranges from original compositions, Jazz (modern and traditional) and Blues to
R&B, and Bossa Nova. She has sung with some of the best Jazz musicians in the world: Ellis Marsalis, Art
Blakey Jr., Benny Green and Bross Townsend, to name a few and her tours have included Europe and Brazil.
Her credits include the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Pensacola Jazz Festival, Essence Fest
and the Women in Jazz Series.
As a recording artist, Shirley has 3 critically acclaimed CDs to her credit as a leader. Unveiled (1995), Betty Shirley Sings (with the Chuck Chaplin Trio, 2002), and Close Your Eyes (released March 2007). Her latest work, Close Your Eyes, was completed just at the time Hurricane Katrina was rolling in.
Jeannine Otis /Jahneen has an eclectic array of experiences as a performer, educator and music director. She has performed all over the world as a vocalist, including the Pori Jazz Festival with Heikki Sarmanto. Her segment at the Pori Jazz Festival was recently included in a film about that festival with Jazz greats such as Miles Davis, the Brecker Brothers and Maynard Ferguson. Her recording with Mr. Sarmanto and the Helsinki Philharmonic entitled Magic Songs, is available on Warner European Records. In addition, Ms. Otis has a long–standing collaboration with jazz great Vishnu Wood, working on music education projects under the auspices of the United Way as part of Safari East Cultural Productions, founded by Vishnu Wood.
She is the Director of Music at the historic Saint Marks Church in the Bowery, as well as Theaterworks USA’s yearly production of Freedom Train, a piece about the young Harriet Tubman that travels all over the country including TownHall, the Fox Theater in Atlanta, and The Grand Ole Opry. Ms. Otis is the only black recipient of the Presser Music Foundation Award from Wellesley College as well as a Teaching Fellow award from Emerson College, Boston. She continues to collaborate internationally, nationally, and locally as a consultant with arts programming while performing and teaching.
SYLVESTER "SLY" SCOTT
Sylvester “Sly” Scott is a multi-instrumentalist who is versed in a wide array of musical genres. Sylvester first began his music studies at Curtis High School on Staten Island, where his first instrument was the clarinet. He later played the alto saxophone before switching to the tenor sax and flute. Under the tutelage of Isaac Commerchero, he began studying jazz. Sylvester went on to the College of Staten Island and studied Jazz Harmony and performance with Professor Joseph Scianni. He also studied at the Charlie Washington Stapleton Jazz Workshop. He eventually earned a scholarship to study with saxophone legend Caesar DiMauro at the Jewish Community Center. His jazz studies continued at the Castellano Music Studios in New York City, where he played baritone sax, and at the Harlem Jazzmobile, he studied jazz theory with such greats as: Charles Davis, Stanton Davis, Jimmy Heath and Frank Foster while playing tenor sax in the big band.
Sylvester has performed at the Cool Jazz Festival; The JVC Jazz Festival; the Cactus Festival in Bruges, Belgium; the first annual Nubian Festival in Egypt; The Tanjazz Festival in Morocco and many others. He has played at the legendary Blue Note as well as Jazz at Dizzy’s at Lincoln Center, The Cutting Room and The Somethin’ Jazz Club. In Paris he has played at the notable clubs LeReservoir and New Morning. He has also performed at special events such as the Philosopher’s Conference at UNESCO in Paris, France, and many other venues.
Sylvester has performed and toured with the hip hop group The Force MD’s. He was a featured player in the James Brown Tribute World Tour, organized and lead by Bootsy Collins, and appears in the YouTube videos. Presently, he is a member of The Eric Person Big Band, in which he received a favorable mention in Downbeat Magazine. He performs with the multi-genre band Circular Time, also serving as writer, musical consultant and arranger. He has performed and written an arrangement for Rhonda Ross, the daughter of the legendary Diana Ross. You can see Sylvester in numerous YouTube videos playing anything from Jazz to R&B to Peruvian music by searching for Sly Scott is the saxophone soloist on a recording for Fred Schneider of the B52's and can be heard on numerous others. And he is expanding his musicianship as he delves into the world of composing.
Sylvester “Sly” Scott is in the formative stages of his band The Brahma Collective and is writing music for that world project. Follow him at Sly at the MC Squared.
David Jones has been playing piano almost every day for the last 30 years in his home in St. George, that
overlooks Curtis High School and, beyond that, New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. He comes
from the avant garde wing of the great experiment, known as American Jazz. David played on the West
Coast with bass clarinetist Patrick Wallace and the late drummer Joe Kelly in the group New Bay Ensemble,
and on the east cast with Philadelphia-based group, Image. In his travels, from east coast to west and back
again, David has enjoyed playing all kinds of music in every setting.
A 2012 inductee to the NYC Blues Hall of Fame, Karlus Trapp has been playing music since he was 5 years old, and has been teaching guitar and making a living playing music for over 30 years. His music has been featured on network TV, as well as international markets around the world. In 2012, Karlus produced and released his latest CD, S’Allright. Last year, he contributed guitar and vocals to the debut recording by singer/songwriter, Gina Catalino. He’s shared the stage and played in bands with members of renowned groups like Bon Jovi, The Modern English, The Band and The Paul Shaffer Band. He’s opened concerts for Richie Havens, Tuck and Patti, and was the 2008 winner of the Bob Dylan competition at the New York Guitar Festival. His CD WOW Karlus Trapp with Magumbo, was co–produced by Grammy–winning producer, Bob Cutarella (Les Paul).
As a music educator, Mr. Trapp has been bringing his music and talents to Staten Island schools for over 20 years. One of his most notable accomplishments was in 2002, when he worked with the education department of Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the New York Times School Arts Rescue and over a half–dozen schools, which resulted in close to thirty original songs co–written with school children directly affected by September 11th.
A multi–instrumentalist and producer, Karlus recently co–produced several tracks on the new CD of New York songwriter, Joan Nerlino Caddel. His music melds together pop/rock songs with bluesy guitar and the rhythms of New Orleans, Jamaica and Africa. A solo performer as well as band leader, Karlus regularly performs across NYC, is currently producing new young artists, and is collaborating once again with Kenyan songwriter, Kahoro Kibochi.
Learn more at karlustrapp.com
Over the course of his 18-year career, New York City native Darrell Smith has played drums with some of the most in-demand musicians across many of the world’s most famous stages. From humble beginnings in the basement of his home in Staten Island, to the halls of the esteemed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School (a.k.a. “The Fame School”), and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, Mr. Smith has been recognized for his prodigious talent with numerous awards and honors (including a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division and the Principal’s Award for Excellence in Contribution to LaGuardia High School). His educational foundation from some of the most prestigious institutions in New York, along with instruction and mentorship from acclaimed musicians like Kenny Washington, Ali Jackson, Dafnis Prieto, Bernard Purdie, and Billy Hart, has propelled him to success as one of the most sought-after young drummers in the city.
As a band leader, Mr. Smith frequently performs with his Dal Segno Trio at popular New York venues where they are celebrated for high-energy, spirited performances. His most recent tour in May 2015 brought him all the way to Bangalore, India where he played several shows to sold-out crowds with the Will Galison Quartet. He can also be spotted weekly at Smoke Jazz and Supper Club for their famous Sunday brunch with the Annette St. John Quartet.
As a composer and drummer, Mr. Smith also has extensive experience with musical theater in Off-Broadway and national productions. His original music for the New Orleans-themed play “Interludes” was featured in their performances at the 2015 San Diego International Fringe Festival. Over the past several years, Mr. Smith has also played drums and percussion for productions like “West Side Story”, “The King & I”, “Pearl”, and “Magdalene”.
In addition to working as a band leader and drummer, Mr. Smith is a highly-respected and gifted educator. His current tenure as an instructor at the world renowned education program at Jazz at Lincoln Center has given him a platform to spread his passion for jazz to hundreds of talented young musicians around the city. He also teaches privately at Staten Island Academy and Victory Studios in his hometown of Staten Island.
Recently, Mr. Smith graduated from New Jersey City University with a Master’s in Jazz Performance and is looking to further his education to ultimately obtain his PhD while growing as an elite musician among his peers.
“WaFoo,” which is made of two Japanese kanji-characters “Wa” and “Foo,” stands for “Winds of Japan” or “Japanese style.” The prototype of this music ensemble was formed in 2001 by four Japanese musicians, under the concept of “Beauty of the music across the East and the West.” After a numbers of performances praised by many audiences in New York area, in 2004, the ensemble added more talents to broaden the scope of artistry and became WaFoo.
WaFoo is not only a performance group but also a group of active award-winning composers with a variety of music careers and backgrounds, which makes this ensemble very unique. All the repertories of WaFoo are their compositions or new interpretations of Japanese folk music created under the one strong concept, “Blending Japanese philosophy, such as Zen, Shinto and Confucianism, into a variety of music styles to create lyrical, aesthetic and delightful sound for body and soul.”
Major Performances Include: Haruichiban Japanese Music Festival (Drom, Manhattan, Mar. 2008); White Plains Cherry Blossom Festival (White Plains, May 2005 ~ 2008); Nagasaki Hiroshima Reflections by SI OutLoud (Staten Island, Apr. 2005); Greenwich; SeptemberFest (Greenwich, CT, Sep. 2005); NYC Culture Fest 2004 at Battery Park (Manhattan, Oct. 2004); NYPL Concert Series
(Staten Island, Queens, (2008 ~ 2009); Talent on the Terrace by Greenbelt Nature Center (Staten Island, 2008 ~ 2009); WaFoo Seasonal Concerts at St. Peter’s Church (Staten Island, 2005 ~ 2009).
Learn more about WaFoo
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