Danny Mixon

Daniel Asbury Mixon was born in Harlem, New York. Danny began his artistic expression as a tap dancer. He was a student of the Ruth Williams Dance Studio and even at the tender age of ten was known as “the show stopper.” Danny attended the High School of Performing Arts with Dance as his major.

During an afternoon outing at the Apollo Theatre with his grandfather, Danny was inspired by the jazz musicians he heard. It was then that he decided he wanted to play the piano. At the age of fifteen Danny began piano lessons with Mr. Cecil. However, his most memorable teacher was Roland Hanna.

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At 17 years of age, while employed at a fabric company, Danny was invited to play with Sam Brown’s band backing Patti Labelle & the Blue Bells in Atlantic City at Reggie’s Cocktail Lounge. He never went back to the fabric business and Danny has never looked back.

By age 19 Danny found himself in Europe with the Muse Quartet under the auspice of Chris White. Then Danny worked with Art Blakely, next Kenny Durham, then Cecil Payne. His first professional organ gig was with Carlos Garnet at the Baby Grand in Brooklyn. Danny accompanied Big Maybelle at the Blue Coronet. The singer, Danny is most known for accompanying, is Betty Carter. After which Danny worked extensively with Charles Mingus. He ran the U.S. circuit with Yusef Lateef. Danny enjoyed a few years with the Lionel Hampton Big Band. Since Danny was in his 20’s he has worked continuously with Frank Foster as a pianist for the Big Band; Frank Foster’s Loud Minority, and his quartet – the Non–Electric Company.

Danny appears on many recordings, his most recent being with Hank Crawford on the CD’s “Tight” and “After Dark.” Danny’s most recent CD is “On My Way”. He is currently in the studio working on a few projects; his next CD, as well as producing others.

Danny Mixon is an accomplished Pianist and Organist who performs all over the world. Danny has also worked with Joe Williams, Mariena Shaw, Oscar Brown, Jr., Dakota Staton, Leon Thomas, Chaka Kahn, Lou Rawls, Gloria Lynn, Lysle Atkinson, Earl May and many others. The Danny Mixon Trio performs annually at the Jazz Mobile. He appears regularly at Showman’s as an Organist.

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Learn more at http://www.dannymixonsounds.com/

Betty Shirley

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.

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Jeannine Otis

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.

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Karlus Trapp

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.

More about Karlus Trapp at http://karlustrapp.com/bio/

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Son of the legendary jazz saxophonist Roland Alexander, Taru Alexander is master drummer in his own right. A Brooklyn native and graduate of the famed High School Music and Art, Taru has been playing drums professionally since the age of 13. While in high school, Taru played with renowned musicians Reggie Workman, Fred Houn, Branford Marsalis as well as with his father.

In addition to the aforementioned, Taru has worked with a phenomenal spectrum of jazz artists including Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Eric Alexander and Christian McBride. Taru’s recording credits include appearances on Carlos Garnett’s Resurgence and Rodney Kendrick’s We Don’t Die, We Multiply. Taru toured with Garnett last year at the INNtӧene Jazz Festival, Austria; and in Stockholm, Brussels Ukraine and Frankfurt with jazz notables Sonny Simmons, Mike Marcus and Cosmosamatics. In addition to performances abroad, Taru Alexander regularly performs here in New York City with the Williamsburg Music All Stars.

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