2017 CAMBRIDGE JAZZ FESTIVAL | JUL 30, 2017 | 12 NOON - 6PM | DANEHY PARK, CAMBRIDGE, MA
HEADLINER | PIECES OF A DREAM
Once upon a time, a trio of teenage jazz prodigies began turning heads in Philadelphia. Hailing from the ‘City of Brotherly Love,’ the all-star unit Pieces Of A Dream stands alongside an impressive lineage of musical wonders who have made Philly proud including Gamble and Huff, Patti Labelle, Grover Washington Jr. Jill Scott and The Roots. Proclaimed a “tough act to follow” by the iconic Count Basie, Pieces Of A Dream was discovered while in High School and was mentored by Mr. Magic, pioneering saxophonist Grover Washington, Jr. 2016 marks a milestone for Pieces Of A Dream as they will celebrate their 40th Anniversary. The all-star band has built an impressive legacy of their own with their melting pot of influences that have catapulted them to the top of the charts more than a few times. The band’s newest release is their 21st recording, All In on Shanachie Entertainment, which beautifully illustrates why the band has stood the test of time. They made their label debut in 2013 with their CD In the Moment.
Founding members James Lloyd (keyboards) and Curtis Harmon (drums) both use words like “thankful,” “blessed” and “grateful” to describe how they feel about their career longevity and their fans, who have continued to make it all possible. Curtis confesses, “Not many groups get to reach 40 years and 21 albums! I feel very fortunate and blessed to be in the music industry this long and to have this kind of success.” James adds, “That’s crazy isn’t it?! Twenty-one albums and the first one came out in 1981 when I was a senior in high school, 16 years old. We were out on the road with Grover Washington, Jr. the following year and I basically grew up on the road with him. We would open for him as Pieces and then play as part of his rhythm section.”
And Grover Washington, Jr. was indeed their guiding light, a mentor who took Pieces of a Dream under his wing as the first group he signed with his brand new production company. James and Curtis were the nucleus of the band, having played together as members of the Ada Lewis Middle School jazz ensemble along with former member bassist Cedric Napoleon. Danny Harmon, Curtis’ father and a jazz musician himself, became their manager and had the guys listening to the Modern Jazz Quartet, Ahmad Jamal and Oscar Peterson as they developed their unique sound, blending their jazz roots with R&B, soul and funk. Pieces released three albums in quick succession, establishing its place in the world of smooth jazz with the CDs Pieces Of A Dream (1981), We Are One (1982) and Imagine This (1983). Those albums include some of their biggest early hits, including Warm Weather, “Mount Airy Groove” and Fo Fi Fo. In The Moment was Pieces of A Dream’s first new release for Pieces since the 2009 album Soul Intent and featured eleven tracks, ten originals and a cover of the 1942 Harry Warren/Mack Gordon jazz standard “There Will Never Be Another You.”
The new single on All In is the title track and a favorite of Harmon’s. "All In is one of those songs that was years in the making but that shows off our true funk ability.” Harmon also wrote album standouts. Caribbean Nights and UP Til Dawn Pianist James Lloyd states, “There is something for everyone on this album."
Full 2017 Festival Line Up Coming Soon!
Join our mailing list to receive information and updates about our 2017 performers!
Over the past three decades, saxophonist, Walter Beasley, has artfully and dynamically redefined the phrase “musical Renaissance Man” for the modern generation. Considered by fans and critics alike as the “heir to Grover Washington, Jr.’s Throne,” Beasley is the acclaimed saxophonist, vocalist, educator, and entrepreneur of the decade. As the highest selling full-time Professor / Recording Artist in history, the Boston-based musician has long mastered an exhilarating high wire act of balancing a successful career as a contemporary jazz recording artist and performer with an equally thriving presence in the field of music education.
A leading alto and soprano saxophonist and prominent vocalist all the same, Beasley is hailed by fans for his thrilling performances along the East Coast and throughout the U.S. and Caribbean. Notable performances include the all-star tour To Grover, With Love, performing alongside Chuck Loeb, Buddy Williams and Andy Snitzer and performing as the headlining act for the 2011 Playboy Jazz Festival.
An adept jazz guitarist with a clean attack and fluid, lyrical style, Russell Malone often plays in a swinging, straight-ahead style weaving in elements of blues, gospel, and R&B. Born in Albany, Georgia in 1963, Malone first began playing guitar around age four on a toy instrument, quickly graduating to the real thing. Largely self-taught, he initially drew inspiration listening to the recordings of gospel and blues artists including the Dixie Hummingbirds and B.B. King. However, after seeing George Benson perform with Benny Goodman on a television show, Malone was hooked on jazz and began intently studying albums by legendary guitarists like Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery. By his twenties, Malone was an accomplished performer, and in 1988 joined organist Jimmy Smith's band. Soon after, he also became a member of Harry Connick, Jr.'s big band, appearing on Connick's 1991 effort, Blue Light, Red Light. With his growing reputation as a sideman, Malone next caught the attention of pianist/vocalist Diana Krall, with whom he would work throughout much of the '90s and 2000s. Also during this period, Malone appeared with a bevy of name artists including Branford Marsalis, Benny Green, Terell Stafford, Ray Brown, and others.
As a solo artist, Malone made his debut with 1992's Russell Malone, followed a year later by Black Butterfly. In 1999, he released Sweet Georgia Peach, which featured a guest appearance from pianist Kenny Barron. Malone kicked off the 2000s with several albums on Verve, including 2000's Look Who's Here and 2001's orchestral jazz-themed Heartstrings. He then moved to Maxjazz for 2004's Playground, featuring a guest appearance from saxophonist Gary Bartz, followed by 2010's Triple Play. Over the next several years, Malone appeared on albums by Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride, and Ron Carter, as well as Krall bandmate bassist Ben Wolfe. In 2015, he returned to solo work with the eclectic small-group album Love Looks Good on You, followed in 2016 by All About Melody, both on HighNote.
Pierce has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a music educator and performer. He has been a Berklee faculty member for over two decades and has performed with some of the indisputable masters of jazz—Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Art Farmer, Hank Jones, James Williams, and Art Blakey, to name a few. Pierce's sinewy tenor and soprano saxophone lines can be heard on 70 albums on which he was a sideman and on 11 of his own recordings.
He was raised in Florida by parents who were both educators. The household valued music and Pierce and his siblings each learned an instrument. He took up the saxophone as a child and started out listening to records by Dave Brubeck. Later he was drawn to the music of John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley. Since he was only 16 when he graduated from high school, his parents steered him toward a college in the South so he wouldn't be too far from home. After he turned 18, he transferred to Berklee and has made Boston his home base ever since.
RON SAVAGE TRIO
Originally from Ahoskie, NC, Mr. Savage is a 1984 Graduate of Berklee College of Music. Mr. Savage has an extensive performance background in recording, television, movie soundtracks and performance.
He has performed and conducted workshops at hundreds of jazz festivals and music venues worldwide over the past 25 years including: Umbria Jazz Festival; Berlin Jazz Festival; Newport Jazz Festival; Jacksonville Jazz Festival; Montreux Jazz Festival; Monterey Jazz Festival; Chicago Jazz Festival; Savannah Jazz Festival; the Blue Note Jazz Club NYC; Lincoln Center; the Kennedy Center; Blues Alley Washington, D.C.; the Free Jazz Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Tri-C Festival; Atlanta Jazz Festival; Munich Jazz Festival; the Cape Verde Jazz Festival; and the Heineken Jazz Festival, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
He has performed with a wide array of performers including: James Moody, Clark Terry, Curtis Fuller, Joe Zawinul, Mulgrew Miller, Cyrus Chestnut, Lionel Hampton, Al Grey, Buddy Tate, Nnenna Freelon, Vanessa Rubin, tap dancers Jimmy Slyde, Diane Walker and Buster Brown, Cecil Bridgewater, Sam Rivers, bluesman Albert King, Gary Bartz, James Williams, Marian McPartland, Cecilia Smith, Michel Camilio, Johnny Griffin, Julius Hemphill, Christopher Hollyday, Steve Nelson, John Medeski, Mark Whitfield, Christian McBride, Bill Pierce, Bobby McFerrin, Gary Burton, Phil Woods and many others.
Mr. Savage currently leads his own group, Modern Impression, and is a co-founder of the annual Cambridge Jazz Festival. Mr. Savage currently serves as the Ensemble Department Chair at Berklee College of Music, and along with his wife-Lois Savage- directs the Ron Savage Music Academy in Cambridge, MA. The Ron Savage Music Academy is a nonprofit Saturday music school dedicated to providing inner city youth with affordable music lessons and instruments.
Nadia Washington is a singer songwriter hailing from Dallas, Texas who has performed with esteemed artist such as Esperanza Spalding, Lalah Hathaway and George Duke. Since the release of her EP singles, Nadia has toured Europe and Russia/Siberia. At the age of 26, Nadia had the pleasure of working as a background singer, songwriter for Dianne Reeves’ Beautiful Life Album this year, which received a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocals in 2014.
While she is creating her debut album as a solo artist, she awaits the release of the Blue Note compilation CD, Supreme Sonacy on which she is writer and performer along side Ray Angry of the Roots and Kendra Foster of Parliament-Funkadelic and D’Angelo’s Black Messiah. Nadia’s sound is a blend of Jazz, Soul, R&B, and World Music.
REBECCA CLINE TRIO
Rebecca Cline has performed or recorded in the US and Caribbean with such artists as Giovanni Hidalgo, Pedrito Martinez, Paulo Braga, Romero Lubambo, Jerry Gonzalez, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Charles Neville, and Alex Acuña. In 2007, she received a CMA grant to compose a suite for her quartet entitled Clay, Iron, Water, based on Yoruban-derived Afro-Cuban ceremonial music.
In 2005 she performed at the Kennedy Center as a finalist in the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Piano Competition. Her piano playing and compositions can be heard on Enclave (Zoho Music), Somos Obbini Tumbao (Tumbadora), It Never Entered My Mind (Jon Hazilla) and Havaianas: Vida do Paraiso (Rambling).
Rebecca co-leads two bands in the Boston area: the Latin Jazz quartet, Enclave, with saxman and percussionist Hilary Noble, and the dance band, Obbini Tumbao—Latin Groove, with percussionist Anita Quinto. Rebecca is an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, where she teaches Ensembles and Piano.