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.
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.
The 4th concert in the TJW Inc ‘s concert season will be Sunday November 16 and will feature Chuck Redd on vibes and drums and Nicki Parrott on bass and vocals. Accompanying them will be K.C. pianist Roger Wilder and another drummer, Todd Strait, of Portland Oregon who will take over on drums when Redd is on vibes.
CHUCK REDD is an accomplished performer on both drums and vibraphone. He began performing internationally when he joined the Charlie Byrd Trio in 1980 at age 21. That year he also joined the Great Guitars ( Charlie Byrd, Barney Kessel, and Herb Ellis) and in 1983 he came to Topeka with that group for an appearance on the TJW Inc. Concert Series.
In the 1990s, Chuck was featured vibraphonist with the Mel Torme All Star Jazz Quintet and in 2007 he was featured with the prestigious Milt Jackson Tribute Band. Other collaborations include stints with Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Ken Peplowski, Dizzy Gillespie, Tommy Flanagan, Dick Hyman, Ray Brown, Monty Alexander, Laurindo Almeida, Tal Farlow, Red Norvo, Scott Hamilton, and Harry Allen.
In addition to leading his own groups, Chuck was a member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra for 15 years. He performs frequently in NYC, is on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Music, and presents master classes, workshops, and lectures around the country.
NICKI PARROTT hails from Australia where she started her musical training at age 4 on the piano, followed by the flute , then switched to double bass at age 15. Today, she is considered a premier jazz vocalist and string bass player. After graduating high school, Nicki studied jazz at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music in Sydney and started playing with Australian musicians and visiting bassists including Ray Brown and John Clayton. She came to New York in 1994 thanks to funds granted by the Arts Council of Australia.
In June 2000, Nicki began performing at the Iridium Jazz Club with the legendary guitarist Les Paul and his Trio. Other notables she has played with include Michel Legrand, Joe Wilder, Randy Brecker, Clark Terry, Jose Feliciano, Bucky and John Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Patti LaBelle and the New York Pops Orchestra, Harry Allen, Warren Vache, Ken Peplowski, Ann Hampton Calloway, Bill Mays, Scott Hamilton, and Houston Person.
Nicki was here on our series in 1997 with the Sherrie Maricle Septet.
Accompanying Redd and Parrott will be K.C. pianist Roger Wilder and drummer Todd Strait, now of Portland, Oregon. This same group will appear in Clay Center on Saturday November 15, thanks to TJW Inc. and a grant from the City of Clay Center.
The concert will be Sunday November 16, 3 to 5, at the downtown Ramada’s Regency Ballroom. Admission is by season memberships which will be available at the door for $100 per adult for six concerts November through April. Payment by cash, check or credit card.
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’”!
A Note from Steve Waugh, President of TJW, Inc., Board
Dear TJW Members and Friends –
It just doesn’t get any better than this! Following a terrific concert by west West Coast vocalist Denise Donatelli and pianist Max Haymer, we have another jazz legend gracing our stage in the name of, jazz guitarist, Bucky Pizzarelli on October 26. He’ll be bringing his manager, touring partner and former student, Ed Laub, with him. Additionally, we’ve created a “jazz guitar summit” by adding KC guitarists Danny Embrey and Rod Fleeman to the mix.
This jazz guitar quartet is sure to be a special event that you will not want to miss.
You still have a chance to purchase your season membership to enjoy the remaining 7 concerts in this season’s series by visiting our membership page here. Just print off the membership application and mail it in with your check or credit card info. It’s just that easy to be able to get up close to the well known jazz talent that comes to our stage every month.
Hope to see you at our October 26 concert.
Steve Waugh, President
Topeka Jazz Workshop
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.