August 17, 2014 - The Topeka Jazz Workshop Band with Bill Watrous
Again we open our season with the swinging Topeka Jazz Workshop Band, under the direction of Ryan Simpson. This concert will feature one of the most exciting trombonists alive, Bill Watrous, who is noted for his “mellifluous sound and as a master technician.”
Bill has played for us at least 5 times and we’re excited to welcome him back to Topeka!
August 17, 2014 - The Topeka Jazz Workshop Band with Bill Watrous
We are very excited to welcome our guest soloist for the opening concert, Bill Watrous, who will kick off the season with the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band, under the direction of Ryan Simpson!
September 28, 2014 - DENISE DONATELLI and MAX HAYMER
Denise has been described as a “ premiere vocalist with a voice of exceptional nuance, agility, and unerring pitch.” Up-and-coming pianist Max Haymer has an adventurous style, impressive technique, and his own fresh chord voicings . Max and Denise are both based in the L.A. area and both have received many awards and honors. It’s quite an honor to have them both headlining the front-end of our season.
October 26, 2014 - THE BUCKY PIZZARELLI/ ED LAUB GUITAR DUO with K.C guitarists DANNY EMBREY and ROD FLEEMAN
Four guitarists ending up on the stage together – Voila! Bucky is one of the most loved guitarists of all time. For the past 12 years, he and his former student, Ed Laub, have been performing as a Duo. Of course, Danny and Rod are well known to our TJW audience. They both shared the stage with Bucky at the 2000 Topeka Jazz Festival, so this will be a reunion of sorts.
November 16, 2014 - CHUCK REDD and NICKI PARROTT with TODD STRAIT and ROGER WILDER
We’re always excited to have a great vibraphonist back on our stage. Chuck Redd is an excellent vibes player and drummer who began his professional career playing with Charlie Byrd and the Great Guitars in 1980. Nicki is an Aussie who moved to New York in 1994. She plays double bass and sings. Todd Strait is a world-class drummer familiar to the Kansas area; and KC pianist Roger Wilder is a perfect fit to round out this group.
December 7, 2014 - THE ROGER WILDER QUINTET
Continuing a tradition of featuring our talented “backup” pianists, we are pleased to present KC’s Roger Wilder this season with a talented list of K.C. musicians – David Chael and Matt Otto on tenor and soprano saxes; Seth Lee on bass; and Sam Wisman (a TJW 2000 and 2001 scholarship winner) on drums. Roger is much in demand these days and we feel very fortunate to have him frequent our stage.
January 18 , 2015 - PBT plus MEGAN BIRDSALL and DANNY EMBREY
A long-time favorite K.C. Trio returns – Paul Smith on piano, Bob Bowman on bass, and Todd Strait on drums. This trio has been entertaining us for years. We asked Paul to pick two more for this gig and his choices were vocalist Megan Birdsall and guitarist Danny Embrey. It will be a first appearance here for Megan, but certainly not for Danny who will be returning from his encounter with Bucky Pizzarelli and the other guitarists in October.
February 22, 2015 - THE NEW VINTAGE BIG BAND from Kansas City
Our TJW Band leader Ryan Simpson has been touting this group under the direction of Jack Taylor for a long time, and with Ryan’s blessing we are excited to present a second big band sound on our stage this season. By the way, it is not just coincidence that we are presenting so many K.C. musicians this season. We have long felt blessed to have so many fine musicians just a few miles down the pike and are delighted to be able to showcase them.
March 8, 2015 - DIEGO FIGUEIREDO, Brazilian guitarist, with STAN KESSLER’S SONS OF BRASIL
What, you say? Another guitarist? You bet! This one was discovered by two of our Board members – Jerry Goodell and Jim Beardmore – at the Vail Jazz Festival last summer and we can still hear their praises ringing in our ears. It seemed a perfect opportunity to bring back the Kansas City SOBs who have been long time favorites of many of our members. This one is bound to get toes tapping and garner rave reviews!
April 12, 2015 - HARRY ALLEN, tenor sax, JOHN ALLRED, trombone, and ROSSANO SPORTIELLO, piano, with GERALD SPAITS, bass
We like to end our seasons on a high note and they don’t get much higher than this threesome. Harry loves the Topeka audience as much as we love his smooth, swinging style. John and his dad Bill, also a trombonist, are long time friends of TJW, and we are eternally grateful to Harry for introducing this marvelous piano player, Rossano, to us.
DENISE DONATELLI has become one of today’s premier jazz vocalists. She was honored as 2012 Jazz Vocalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Jazz Society, and several of her albums have won Grammy nominations.
Growing up in a rural area of Allentown, Pennsylvania, Denise credits her parents ‘ musicality and the relative seclusion of their home as reasons for her pursuing a musical career, first on piano. After college, she set aside her musical career for marriage and family and didn’t start singing professionally until her sons were in their teens. After divorcing in the late 80s and relocating to Atlanta, she got her big break singing at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Atlanta, with encouragement from Russell Malone, the region’s top guitarist. Later, she relocated again to Los Angeles where she produced four albums between 2005 and 2012.
Here are a few comments about Denise::
“Hers is a perfect vocal instrument – emotionally evocative, yet not saccharine or overly melodramatic.” - Jazz Times, Nick Mondello
“She’s a keeper for my collection.” Audiophilia, Anthony Kershaw
“Denise Donatelli would stand out on any city’s jazz scene.”
MAX HAYMER was born and raised in L.A. He began classical piano studies at age 7 and was introduced to jazz piano at age 14. Throughout high school, Max studied with the great Tamir Hendelman, best known to our audience as Jeff Hamilton’s pianist, and Max went on to continue his music education at the UC Irvine, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors and a bachelor of Music degree in 2007. In 2006, Max debuted his Trio at the world famous Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood and he has played at numerous other Southern California venues. From 2008 to 2012, he relocated to New York City but returned to L.A. in the summer of 2012, picking up where he left off. He looks to continue composing, performing and working on both the East and West Coasts.
We are also excited about two other musicians performing with Denise and Max to complete the foursome: A NEW DRUMMER FOR US – JOHN KIZILARMUT of Kansas City, and a favorite regular to our stage, bassist GERALD SPAITS of K.C.
The third concert of TJW’s 46th concert season will feature FOUR guitars: two from New Jersey and two from Kansas City. The BUCKY PIZZARELLI/ED LAUB DUO has been performing for the past 12 yeArs. Their lifetime association as teacher/student and their close friendship for over 45 years is evident in their sound and the way they interact on stage.
Born in Paterson, New Jersey in 1926, Bucky is a world renowned jazz guitarist.. His career spans over 70 years from the Vaughn Monroe Orchestra to the Johnny Carson Tonight Show. He has played hundreds of jazz concerts including White House performances with Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, and Claude “Fiddler” Williams., and worldwide tours with Stephane Grapelli,
Slam Stwward, Tal Farlow, Rosemary Clooney, Zoot Sims, Benny Carter, Michael Feinstein, and Charlie Byrd, to name a few jazz greats including his son John.
Ed Laub, also a New Jerseyite born in 1952, is a locally renowned guitarist and vocalist whose style has been compared with a blend of Kenny Rankin, Chet Baker, and James Taylor, all while accompanied by Bucky Pizzarelli! He is sought after by many top guitarists in the NYC area to back them up with his 7 string guitar which can make a duo sound like a trio. Bucky and Ed travel all over New York and major cities in the U.S. playing clubs, concert venues and jazz festivals.
Although they don’t often play as a duo, DANNY EMBREY and ROD FLEEMAN are two of Kansas City’s top guitarists who have also established world wide attention.
Danny toured during the 1980s with Sergio Mendes and Clare Fisher’s Latin Band and traveled the globe. While living in the L.A. area, Danny toured and recorded with such notables as Gary Foster, Alan Broadbent, Bob Brookmeyer, Shelly Manne, Annie Ross, and LeRoy Vinegar. After two years in the Seattle area, he returned to Kansas City and began touring with Karrin Allyson, Interstring, Frank Mantooth, Sons of Brasil, the PBT Trio, and Angela Hagenbach.
Rod Fleeman hs been a professional guitarist over 30 years, developing a love of jazz while a freshman at Southwest High School in K.C. He attended the University of Utah for one year, then returned to K.C., working 6 nights a week at various jazz venues. He then attended the University of Miami, moved to NYC, and returned to K.C. in 1981. He has toured and/or recorded with Marilyn Maye, Karrin Allyson, Jay McShann, Claude Williams, and Interstring.. He teaches jazz guitar at Missouri Western State College and UMKC, and plays regularly with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.
Danny and Rod both played with Bucky in May 2000 at the Topeka Jazz Festival. Rod also played with him there in May 2002.
The concert will be Sunday October 26, 3 to 5, at the downtown Ramada’s Regency Ballroom. Admission is by season memberships which will be available at the door for $145 per adult for seven concerts October through April. Payment by cash, check or credit card.
Topeka Jazz Workshop, Inc. is one of the nation’s longest, continuously running jazz concert series, dating from 1969. As we begin our 46th annual concert series in August of 2014, we invite you to join us as we continue our journey to “keep jazz alive and well through a live jazz concert series and a youth jazz scholarship program”.
- Click on History of Topeka Jazz Workshop, Inc. (under About Us) to learn more about our organization.
- Click on Concerts to see our current season artists, and
- Click on Membership to download our membership application.
Be sure to bookmark this website and check back often so you can stay current on our jazz happenings.
Keep Swinging!- Topeka Jazz Workshop, Inc, Board of Directors
A Note from Steve Waugh, President of TJW, Inc., Board
Dear TJW Members and Friends –
School’s starting, the weather is beautiful and we’ve got JAZZ! It doesn’t get any better than that.
Our 46th annual TJW Concert Season begins this coming Sunday, August 17, at the Downtown Ramada Inn and Convention Center at 3pm. We’ll be kicking off the season with the Topeka Jazz Workshop Band and their special guest artist, trombonist Bill Watrous.
You won’t want to miss out on any of the other great artists we have coming in for this 2014-15 season. If you don’t yet have your Season Tickets, you will be able to buy them at the door with cash, a check or a credit card.
I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on Sunday for our opening concert.
Steve Waugh, President
Topeka Jazz Workshop
The Topeka Jazz Workshop Inc 46th Concert Season Announced!
All Concerts 3-5pm at the Topeka Ramada Hotel and Convention Center
420 SE 6th Street, Topeka, Kansas (click here for directions)
Check out Steve Waugh from the Topeka Jazz Workshop visiting with Chris Schultz on Talk About Topeka.