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 and John Kizilarmut, drums
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.
The sixth concert in the current TJW concert series will be on Sunday January 18, 2015 and will feature the PBT Trio plus Danny Embrey and Megan Birdsall.
The PBT Trio features Paul Smith on piano, Bob Bowman on bass, and Todd Strait on drums. They played their first gig together as the PBT Trio in 1990, backing mostly horns and vocalists. In 1992 they started backing an up and coming vocalist named Karrin Allyson and they helped her climb the stairway to stardom in the 90s, including a worldwide tour which included guitarist Danny Embrey. Smith, Bowman, and Embrey still reside in Kansas City. Strait moved to Portland Oregon but returns to Kansas City often to play with PBT and other gigs.
A recent count by TJW historian Marcene Grimes reveals that Bowman has performed 64 times in Topeka, Smith 60, Embrey 38, and Strait 25. This will be the first appearance in Topeka for vocalist Megan Birdsall, who also hails from K.C.
The concert will be in the Regency Ballroom at the Downtown Ramada on Sunday, January 18, from 3 to 5 p.m. Admission is by season memberships which can be purchased at the door by those not already members for $100 per adult (cash, check or major credit card). The ticket will admit the person to the January concert and also those on February 22, March 8, and April 12.
When the weather turns bad...
Winter weather seems to be just around the corner (AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!). Sometimes this does impact our TJW concerts. While we hope that doesn’t happen this year, if in doubt, tune in to your local TV stations and check here for the latest updates. We’ll also try to get an email blast out if any concerts need to be cancelled or postponed.
Steve Waugh, President
Topeka Jazz Workshop
TJW Members, we need your help. The great jazz that we enjoy every month doesn’t come cheap. Artist fees, travel costs, ballroom costs and administrative costs keep increasing. For us to keep pace, maintain quality and hold the line on membership costs, continually recruiting and converting guests to new members is critical to our long-term survival.
At this point in the season our membership stands at 301. By the end of our season, we need this to reach the 340 range. That means if just 1 out of 10 existing members can recruit a new member, we are able to meet our goal for the year.
Please use your guest tickets to invite and recruit potential new members for Topeka Jazz Workshop. By doing that, you’ll be doing your part to “keep the joint jumpin’”!
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
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.