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!
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!
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, WARREN VACHÉ, trumpet, 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's smooth, swinging style pairs nicely with Warren's trumpet and Rossano ivories. We look forward to seeing you there!