Jazz’s best gather to honor Townsend at JAMS

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Born in Brooklyn, New York, Cunningham is a highly acclaimed bassist, composer, bandleader, and publisher. He began playing the piano at age 7, but discovered his true love, the bass, at age 12. Since then, he has traveled to many...

Bob Cunningham — bass

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Cunningham is a highly acclaimed bassist, composer, bandleader, and publisher. He began playing the piano at age 7, but discovered his true love, the bass, at age 12. Since then, he has traveled to many parts of the world, including Africa, the Caribbean, and North and South America, which have brought an international influence to his art.

His professional experience includes 40 years of performance with a wide variety of bands including the Dizzy Gillespie Band, the Freddie Hubbard Quartet, and the Illinois Jacquet Big Band. He has also played with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Georgia Symphony Orchestra, the Collective Black Artists Orchestra, and the Cologne (Germany) Radio Orchestra. Bob leads his own group, the Bob Cunningham Super Show, which combines music, singing, dancing and poetry.

Yvette Glover — vocalist

Glover is fast becoming one of the most sought after jazz vocalists and song stylists in the United States today. As mother of tap dance sensation Savion Glover, Yvette is a guest vocalist in many of his shows, and is often Mistress of Ceremonies at major U.S. tap festivals. She has also appeared in Germany and Brazil.

Like many other singers, she began her music career in the church, where she sang gospel under the tutelage of her mother, who was a minister of music. She has given a command performance for King Hassan in Morocco, and now, along with her trio, is making appearances throughout the United States. Her love of tap dancing has allowed her to travel around the country as guest vocal artist with tap legends. Yvette has just completed her soon-to-be-released CD, “Dreams Do Come True.”

Danny Mixon — piano

Born in Harlem, and a dance major at the famed School of Performing Arts, Mixon decided to play the piano, citing Roland Hanna as his most memorable teacher. At 17, Danny was invited to play with Sam Brown’s band, backing Patti Labelle & the Bluebells in Atlantic City. By 19, Mixon found himself in Europe with the Muse Quartet under the auspices of Chris White. Thereafter, he worked with Art Blakey, Kenny Durham and Cecil Payne.

Mixon, most well known as the accompanist to singer Betty Carter, has worked extensively with Charles Mingus, Yusef Lateef, and the Lionel Hampton Big Band and has played for many years with the Frank Foster Loud Minority and Non-Electric Company bands. Danny is an accomplished pianist and organist who has performed all over the world with Joe Williams, Marlena Shaw, Oscar Brown Jr., Dakota Staton, Chaka Khan, Lou Rawls and many others. Danny is the recipient of the Musician’s Award from the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.

Harold Ousley — saxophone

Born in Chicago, Ousley is a long-time Queens resident. After studying saxophone while in high school, Ousley became a professional musician, working with circus bands during the late 1940s. Concurrently, in the early 1950s he played with Gene Ammons, King Kolax and Miles Davis. His musical associations during this period included many artists of note including Billie Holiday, Machito, Clark Terry, Dinah Washington and Joe Williams, to name a few. In the 1970s Ousley had brief spells playing in the big bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Lionel Hampton. His eclectic versatility was also displayed during engagements with such varied performers as George Benson, Big Maybelle, Ruth Brown, Percy Mayfield and Jimmy Witherspoon. Ousley’s film and television appearances include “Cotton Come to Harlem” and as host of his own cable television show, “Harold Ousley Presents.”

Walter Perkins — drums

Perkins was born in Chicago, where he worked with many great musicians, including Ahmad Jamal, Dinah Washington, Muddy Waters, Memphis Slim, Sarah Vaughn and others. He later headed his own combo, recorded under the name MJT+3 then relocated to New York. Perkins was soon traveling and playing extensively with the renowned singer Carmen McRae. He went on to play with Billie Holiday, Della Reese, Art Farmer, Roland Kirk, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Teddy Wilson and Errol Garner, among others.

In addition, Walter had the honor of performing for the Queen of England at the Palladium in London. Throughout his career, Walter has taught music in the New York City public school system and has traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Caribbean. He has recorded 40 albums with different artists including Lucky Thompson, Yusef Lateef, Freda Payne, SunRa, Clark Terry, George Shearing, Milt Hinton and others.

Bill Saxton — saxophone

A Harlem native, Saxton is a perennial favorite of the JAMS Festival. He has traveled the world as the leader of his own band and as the featured saxophonist with the Roy Haynes Hip Ensemble, Randy Weston, the Mingus Dynasty Band, Mongo Santamaria, Freddie Hubbard, and Roy Ayers. He was a member of Clark Terry’s Big Band, the Count Basie Orchestra and the Frank Foster Loud Minority Band.

Saxton has recorded with Charlie Persip, Clifford Jordan, and Jimmy Ponder, to name but a few, in addition to having recorded several albums in his own name. He has also appeared with Aretha Franklin, Betty Carter, Tito Puente, Bobby Watson and George Benson. Saxton’s television and film credits include “The Cotton Club” and the PBS series “Reading Rainbow.”

The Bross Townsend Tribute Band will be joined by Greg Bobulinski (trumpet), John Dooley (bass) and Sista Mekea (vocals) who will sit in to celebrate the musical legacy of Bross Townsend.

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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