Newton Piano Summit

In continuing our mission to enhance the quality of life in our community, the WIS began the Newton Piano Summit with the goal of bringing the finest artists available to perform concerts free to the public. Now in our 4th year, we are proud of our success and being joined by others including Advance Auto in Nonantum and the Village Bank to help underwrite this series. This year we have been awarded $1500 by the Newton Cultural Council. 

Saturdays May 4th, 11th, and 18th at 1 – 3 pm.

Auburndale Parish 64 Hancock St, Newton, MA 02466

May 4th: 1-3pm Yoko Miwa Trio and George Russell Jr. Trio

May 11th: 1-3pm Laszlo Gardony Trio and Daniela Schächter Trio

May 18th: 1-3pm  Wes Wirth Global Music Ensemble and Leo Genovese 

If Music were an Olympic sport, all of the artists presented at the Newton Piano Summit would be gold medalists. The Summit is a new tradition from the Waban Improvement Society presenting professional world-class artists in an intimate setting – entirely free to the public. 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 you can contribute online with the button below or you can contact Chris Pitts anyone with the WIS. Videos of all previous performance are available here. 



May 4th: 1-3pm Yoko Miwa Trio and George Russell Jr. Trio

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. Several videos of last year’s performance can be found here.

Geroge is joined by Sean Skeete, drummer, and educator from Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. Currently, Sean is the Chair of the Ensemble Department at Berklee College of Music where he has been teaching for more than 15 years. He teaches ensembles, hip-hop, r&b, and funk drumming courses. In addition, Sean travels extensively, presenting music workshops and clinics, both, domestically and internationally. 

Wes Wirth is George’s bassist for over a decade and his bio can be found below as he will be headlining on the 18th.

Yoko Miwa

“Pianist Yoko Miwa displays unpretentious melodies, elegant phrasing, and the lyrical sensibility of a jazz poet.”Jazziz Magazine
“She has the enviable ability to play in any context with authenticity, clarity, and spontaneity…” -Wilbert Sostre, JazzTimes
Internationally acclaimed pianist/composer Yoko Miwa is quickly becoming known as one of the most powerful and compelling performers on the scene today. Her trio – with its remarkable telepathy and infectious energy – has brought audiences to their feet worldwide. Of Miwa’s 2017 release Pathways, Dan McClenaghan of All About Jazz said, “4 stars–This is Yoko Miwa at her extroverted best…her finest recording to date.” Pathways – her seventh as a leader – which spent 4 weeks on the Jazz Week top 10 radio charts and is earning wide critical acclaim.
Miwa was the subject of a feature article in the September 2017 issue of DownBeat that referenced her “impressive technique and a tuneful lyricism that combines an Oscar Peterson-ish hard swing with Bill Evans-like introspection.”She plays regularly at major jazz clubs in their home city of Boston, as well as venues around the world. A favorite of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Miwa was chosen to play on “Marian McPartland & Friends.” Miwa also appears regularly at New York’s famed Blue Note Jazz Club and has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of jazz greats including Sheila Jordan, Slide Hampton, Arturo Sandoval, George Garzone, Jon Faddis, Jerry Bergonzi, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kevin Mahogany, John Lockwood and Johnathan Blake among others. In the late 1990s, the classically-trained artist auditioned for Berklee College of Music on a lark and ended up winning a full scholarship. She arrived at the school from her homeland of Japan in 1997, intending to stay for a year. In 2017, she’s still in Boston, enriching the city’s musical life and serving as one of the most popular professors in the Berklee piano department.

Dr. Brad Barrett is a Boston based bassist and has been a collaborator with Yoko Miwa since 2010.  Brad holds a BA in Music from Michigan State University, a Master’s in Jazz Performance from New England Conservatory Brad has recently completed his doctorate at New England Conservatory and has just released his first album as a leader called “Cowboy Transfiguration” with Tyshawn Sorey and Joe Morris.

 

 

Drummer Scott Goulding has appeared as a sideman on over 50 CD releases on labels in the US, Europe and Japan, including 4 releases with tenor saxophone legend Jerry Bergonzi. He was a featured performer at the 2018 Atlanta Jazz Festival, the 2018 Litchfield Jazz Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2011 Coca-Cola Generations Jazz Festival recorded for Marian McPartland’s NPR show Piano Jazz. Scott has performed in such notable venues as The Blue Note in NYC, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC, Cotton Club in Tokyo, Japan, and The Blue Note in Nagoya, Japan. Additionally, he has toured throughout the United States and internationally, and has performed with Sheila Jordan, George Garzone, Larry Grenadier, Jerry Bergonzi, Joanne Brackeen, Michel Camillo, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Neville, Jeremy Pelt, Hiromi, Anat Cohen, Lionel Loueke, Avishai Cohen, Rudresh Manthappa, He also plays with piano legend Harvey Diamond in his trio. Scott is an endorser for Zildjian Cymbals and Canopus Drums. Since 2015, Scott has held the position of Music Director at Monkfish, one of the area’s top jazz venues.

May 11th: 1-3pm Laszlo Gardony Trio and Daniela Schächter Trio

Daniela Schächter

Daniela was already performing and doing studio session work in her mid-teens. After her classical studies, she received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. She won many prestigious awards and competitions including the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition, the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Competition, the Terri Lyne Carrington Endowed Scholarship and the Henry Mancini Institute. Daniela has performed international Festivals and concerts with the Boston Pops, the Count Basie Big Band, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, John Dankworth, the New York Voices, Terri Lyne Carrington, Patti Austin, Regina Carter, Christian McBride, Ingrid Jensen, Shirley Horn, among others. She has been conducted by Quincy Jones, Patrick Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, John Clayton Jr., Elmer Bernstein, Bob Brookmeyer, Justin DiCioccio and Phil Wilson. Her first CD Quintet is available on www.cdbaby.com. Her third CD entitled “Purple Butterfly” was released at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in NY. Daniela is Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music and Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University. website

 

Grammy Award–winning drummer, percussionist, author, and educator Mark Walker began playing drum set at age 10 and played his first professional club, concert, and recording gigs barely out of high school. He has performed on many Grammy Award–winning albums and earned several Grammy nominations for his work with various artists, including Oregon, Donato Poveda, Paquito D’Rivera, and the Caribbean Jazz Project.  He has performed and recorded extensively with Michel Camilo, Dave Samuels, Andy Narell, WDR Big Band, NDR Big Band, Eliane Elias, Lyle Mays, Dave Liebman, Cesar Camargo Mariano, Rosa Passos, and many more.

Walker is a professor in the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music. He also has served on the faculty at Drummers Collective in New York City and has conducted master classes, clinics, and workshops in South America, North America, and Europe, both as a solo artist and with various groups. His book World Jazz Drumming, which features recorded performances by Paquito D’Rivera, was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. He also wrote for the all-star instructional drum set book Killer Grooves.

Laszlo Gardony

 

“A formidable improviser who lives in the moment” – JazzTimes
Laszlo has performed in 27 countries and released a dozen albums during his distinguished decades-long career. Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Gardony has been called “a pianist worthy of praise within the highest pantheon of performers” by Jazz Review, and “a great pianist” by Dave Brubeck.
Born in Hungary, Gardony showed an early aptitude on the piano devising little tunes inspired by the blues, pop and classical music he heard around the house. Immersed in the European classical tradition while growing up, he was drawn to progressive rock as a teenager and spent countless hours improvising blues-based music at the piano. He investigated gospel and studied jazz, a passion that soon overshadowed his classical pursuits. “We had jazz and African music classes at the Conservatory,” Gardony recalls. “There were some very knowledgeable people and a lot of records. When it came to jazz it was a tiny community, but very inspiring.”A full scholarship to Berklee brought him to America in 1983, and a faculty position at the school upon graduation kept him stateside. He made his US recording debut with the acclaimed 1988 album The Secret (Antilles) featuring Czech bass great Miroslav Vitous and drummer Ian Froman, but it was his 1st place win the following year at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition that catapulted him into the national spotlight. The Boston Globe named Gardony’s latest solo piano recording, “Serious Play” one of the 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2017. His 2015 live sextet album, “Life In Real Time” was also on the 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2015 list of the Boston Globe. Laszlo has been living in Boston for the past thirty-four years, where he is a Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music. He continues to tour and record, attracting new fans and earning critical acclaim for his synthesis of many musical sources and for creating a joyous, powerful, insightful, and open-spirited music. website

Drummer Yoron Israel has a B.M. from Roosevelt University, and an M.M. from Rutgers University. He is a bandleader in his own right who has released quite a few recordings: Here Today, and Visions (Ronja Music), featuring High Standards; Basic Traneing (Ronja Music); Chicago (Double Time Records), featuring Organic; Live at the Blue Note (Half Note); and A Gift for You (Ronja Music), featuring Connection.

He has performed extensively and recorded over 200 recordings with such renowned artists as Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Ahmad Jamal, Abbey Lincoln, Art Farmer, Tony Bennett, Kenny Burrell, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, James Williams, Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Roy Hargrove, Shirley Caesar, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra.

He has been reviewed in publications such as Modern DrummerDown Beat, Jazz Times, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. Israel is a former faculty member of Rutgers University, William Patterson University, and the New School/Mannes College of Music. He teaches drum set, general percussion, vibraphone, ensembles, jazz history, and theory, and is the owner and president of the music publishing and production company Ronja Music.

Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, and Ray Brown, are just a few of the names that stand out in the history of bass players. Their artistry and craftsmanship make them indispensable to musicians wanting to perform their best and the reason they are on hundreds of recordings. In Boston, John Lockwood is considered the premiere bassist and it is no surprise he has turned up every year at the Summit. He has toured the U.S. and Europe with Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Burton, the Mel Lewis Big Band, and The Fringe. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, MIT Symphony, Pat Metheny, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Toots Thielemans, Stan Getz, and Art Farmer. He will be anchoring both groups on this doubleheader concert.

May 18th: 1-3pm Wes Wirth Global Ensemble and Leo Genovese

Wes Wirth and the Global Music Ensemble

Last year this ensemble floored everyone with unexpected mashups of familiar and unfamiliar sounds, rhythms, and melodies. We are excited to have them back this year. “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.
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.
Kenwood Dennard
He has enjoyed a multifaceted, star-studded career as a performer, recording artist, and educator. He has toured the world with such greats as George Clinton, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Whitney Houston, and Joe Zawinul. His numerous recordings include Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun, Vanessa Williams’s The Sweetest Days, and Live at Montreux with Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. He has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Pat Martino, The Manhattan Transfer, Dianne Reeves, Lew Soloff, Bob Moses, Stanley Jordan, Maceo Parker, Victor Bailey, Dave Bargeron, Hiram Bullock, and Marcus Miller.
Videos of last years performance can be found here
Leo Genovese 
Perhaps most well known of the Summit performers, Leo Genovese has been kept busy by bassist and vocalist phenomena Esperanza Spalding since he joined her group in 2005. Genovese was born in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, in 1979 and began playing the piano at the age of 5. He studied music and accounting at the University of Rosario, and lucky for us, he abandoned accounting. In 2001 he began studying at the Berklee College of Music and graduated in 2003. His first album, Haiku II, was released the following year. A reviewer for The New York Times commented on Genovese’s 2013 album, Seeds, that, “by refusing to privilege one historical style over another, he strengthens his claim as a polyglot”. Down Beat observed that Genovese’s compositions for the album “share an exploratory nature, whether the new terrain in question is a marriage of electronic and acoustic sounds, an unlikely use of chromatic scaling or the successful juxtaposition of otherwise disparate ideas.

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 Advance Auto in Nonantum, the Village Bank with 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.

Moving to the Auburndale Parish

We love our beautiful branch Library, one of only two left of the 16 original branch libraries, but as the popularity of the Summit has grown, we realize the capacity of the Waban Library Center is no longer enough. Additionally, we would also like to have a real grand piano for our performers so the choice of the Auburndale parish was perfect. It seats up to 200 comfortably but still offers an intimate ambiance.

 

 

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

Dayramir 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. He is currently up for a Grammy Award. 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 (see above)

“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. (see above)

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.

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 Advance Auto in Nonantum – providing quality service for everything automotive, the Village Bank which has a long tradition of commitment to the Garden City, Honda Village, and the Newton Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

 

FOA