Newton Piano Summit

If Music were an Olympic sport, all of the artists presented at the Newton Piano Summit would be gold medalists. From Cuban phenomena Dayramir Gonzalez to Downbeat poll winner vocalist Dominique Eade, the Newton Piano Summit is a new tradition presenting professional world-class artists in an intimate setting – entirely free to the public. 2018 marks our third year.

In conjunction with the Artful Piano Project where 9 decorated pianos grace Newton Villages during the month of May, The Waban Improvement Society presents the Newton Piano Summit for 3 Saturday afternoons in the Waban Library Center. Join the Summit Facebook page to keep alerted to videos and performances.  Performers are selected from an A-list of recognized artists from the New England and New York Area. Their reputations often include decades of experience performing at International Festivals and venues as headliners and/or with other recognized performers, numerous awards and recordings, and availability. Sometimes someone new is highly recommended and we are lucky to catch a rising star! If you would like to help out and donate to the event, please contact Chris Pitts anyone with the WIS.

Videos of all previous performance are available here. 

2018 performers: 

Vocalist Dominique Eade with Tim Ray

David Hajdu wrote in the New York Times Magazine, “I already knew who the Next Thing in jazz singing would be: Dominique Eade. An impossibly versatile vocalist, composer, lyricist and instrumental arranger…”
Tim Ray is the first call internationally prominent artists make when they come to town. Perhaps best known as long-time pianist for Lyle Lovett, Tim Ray’s wide-ranging skills as a soloist and accompanist have afforded him the opportunity to perform with legendary performers from Aretha Franklin, and Bonnie Raitt, to Phil Woods and the Boston Pops. Here they are performing at last year’s Summit.

Dayramir Gonzalez

Dayrarmir moved to New York after graduating from Berklee recently – he was the first Presidential Scholar from Cuba – and has been recording and touring extensively. He just released a critically acclaimed video from his new release. He had such a great time performing last year that he agreed to return. Here he is performing at last year’s Summit.

 

Mark Copeland Trio

Pianist and organist Mark Copeland grooves so strong, no wonder he has shared stages with Patti Labelle, Al Jarreau, Kirk Whalum, Marcus Miller, George Duke, and Gerald Albright. When he’s not performing, he can be found teaching ensembles at Berklee College of Music. For his performance, he was joined by Alexander Toth on bass and Coran Henley on drums.


 

Wes Wirth and the Global Music Ensemble

“Wewh! That Bass player is great” said Carlos Santana with a smile as he listened to a recent recording of Wes who regularly performs, teaches, and records in the Boston area. Fluent in many styles including jazz, gospel, reggae, calypso, and afro-pop, his Global music ensemble performs music that is a unique blend of haunting melodies, intricate and pulsating rhythms, vocal effects, loops, and improvisation. All that interpreted by world-class musicians including:

Joh Camara a master drummer, dancer, and Griot, from West Africa. When Joh is not touring North America or Europe, he’s often found working with the Boston Ballet, Boston Symphony Youth Orchestra and Choir, Upward Bound, Planet Aid, and teaching classes at  BU, Brown, and Harvard.

Keyboardist Yuki Monolog Kanesaka, when he was 4 years old, he asked his Mother how to become a NINJA. And his mother said “First you better take piano lessons, then you can be a NINJA?!! His reputation as a creative force has him running a studio and working with musicians who play with the likes of Jazz legend Elvin Jones, and superstar Prince.

David ‘Fuze’ Fiuczynski on double-neck microtonal guitar, best known as the leader of the Screaming Headless Torsos and as a member of Hasidic New Wave. He has played on more than 95 albums as a session musician, bandleader, or band member.

Drummer Josh Raymond had just joined the group to round out the ensemble.

 

George Russell Jr.

His playing is filled with passion, fire, soul and, most of all, spirit. As George continued studying music in college, he discovered jazz and the harmonies that were used in jazz. It was then that he began to understand what exactly he was playing, both in church and from his classical repertoire. In that period of time, George’s unique fusion of Gospel and Jazz was beginning to form. Currently, George is the Chair of the Harmony Department at the Berklee College of Music. Prior to becoming Chair, He served as a Professor of Harmony and Piano at Berklee. George will often refer to himself as “a drummer who happens to plays the piano.” This is made clear when you hear the strong sense of rhythm that envelops each and every performance. He was joined by drummer Sean Skeete and bassist and Summit headliner, Wes Wirth.


 

Jimin Park

Park was born and raised in a musical family in Seoul, Korea. Introduced to classical music by her mother, she began classical studies at the age of four. By age nine, she had already won five awards at prestigious classical competitions. While preparing to audition for Middle School, Park fell in love with the alluring sounds of jazz great Oscar Peterson. From that point forward, she knew in her heart that she wanted to pursue jazz studies. By age seventeen, Park was a veteran of the Seoul scene. Her audition at the famous Berklee College of Music resulted in a full-scholarship. She has been turning heads and wowing Jazz masters locally, quickly gaining a reputation as a formidable and talented pianist and vocalist. We also got her to sing one tune.

 

2017 performers

Vocalist Dominique Eade

David Hajdu wrote in the New York Times Magazine, “I already knew who the Next Thing in jazz singing would be: Dominique Eade. An impossibly versatile vocalist, composer, lyricist and instrumental arranger…”

 

Tim Ray

Perhaps best known as long-time pianist for Lyle Lovett, Tim Ray’s wide-ranging skills as a soloist and accompanist have afforded him the opportunity to perform with legendary performers notably Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Jane Siberry and Soul Asylum, Esperanza Spalding, Phil Woods, Dave Douglas, and Brian Blade. His classical credits include solo performances and concerts with Gunther Schuller, the Boston Pops, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Boston Classical Orchestra.

Alexei Tsiganov

At 17, Alexei was working at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall and by 1991 he had arrived in the USA to begin a career that now spans genres and continents. His prowess has made him a first call among top names in jazz including Claudio Roditi, Antonio Sanchez, Chico Freeman, Esperanza Spalding, Bob Moses and Greg Osby. This year Alexei was joined by vocalist Yoko Kawata.

 

Alan Rowe

He played for Kennedys, Rockefellers and Bushes and performed with major New England A-list artists for over 3 decades. His reputation for creative
interpretations of classics is well known and now we will see first hand why Alan is considered a Jazz Master. Alan is joined by bassist John Turner.

 

Nina Ott and Chris Lopes Trio

Nina was on the faculty at Berklee for 6 years before moving to San Francisco. Returning after years of performing in the vibrant Latin Jazz scene there, Nina and her husband Chris just released their second album.

 

2016 performers

Alexei Tsiganov

At 17, Alexei was working at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall and by 1991 he had arrived in the USA to begin a career that now spans genres and continents. His prowess has made him a first call among top names in jazz including Claudio Roditi, Antonio Sanchez, Chico Freeman, Esperanza Spalding, Bob Moses and Greg Osby.

Tim Ray

Perhaps best known as long-time pianist for Lyle Lovett, Tim Ray’s wide-ranging skills as a soloist and accompanist have afforded him the opportunity to perform with legendary performers notably Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Jane Siberry and Soul Asylum, Esperanza Spalding, Phil Woods, Dave Douglas, and Brian Blade. His classical credits include solo performances and concerts with Gunther Schuller, the Boston Pops, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and the Boston Classical Orchestra.

At 17, Alexei was working at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall and by 1991 he had arrived in the USA to begin a career that now spans genres and continents. His prowess has made him a first call among top names in jazz including Claudio Roditi, Antonio Sanchez, Chico Freeman, Esperanza Spalding, Bob Moses and Greg Osby.


Kevin Harris

A performer at festivals in Cuba, Panama, Italy, Denmark, Peru, Israel, and the USA, Kevin has just released his 5th album. He is on the faculty at Berklee College of Music and is a MIT affiliated artist. Downbeat Magazine: “Harris’ compositions deal with themes of strength, love, courage, and self-awareness.”


 

Nina Ott and Chris Lopes Trio

Nina was on the faculty at Berklee for 6 years before moving to San Francisco. Returning after years of performing in the vibrant Latin Jazz scene there, Nina and her husband Chris just released their second album.


 

Alan Rowe & John Lockwood

He played for Kennedys, Rockefellers and Bushes and performed with major New England A-list artists for over 3 decades. His reputation for creative
interpretations of classics is well known and now we will see first hand why Alan is considered a Jazz Master. Boston Bass legend John Lockwood
joins Alan.

Icli Zitella

Vertices, a piano & violin piece written as a unique tribute to Newton and inspired by the many cultures that converge in this city in a climate of peace, understanding and harmony. Composed by Icli Zitella, a composer and a philosopher!

Previous year’s performances can be found here and on the Waban Improvement Society’s facebook page.

This program is supported in part by grants from the Village Bank that has a long tradition of commitment to the Garden City, and the Newton Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

 

FOA