The Joye of Jazz
The smash-hit daylong jazz festival returns to The Willcox! This year’s lineup features another best-of-the-best crop of up-and-coming jazz artists, all frequent performers at Lincoln Center and other famous New York jazz venues.
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM - Jazz Brunch with the Shenel Johns Trio
2:00 PM - 4:50 PM - Mona's Hot Four
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM - Headline Performance:
Sammy Miller and the Congregation
Join artists Sammy Miller and Alphonso Horne (of Sammy Miller and the Congregation), Shenel Johns, and Dennis Lichtman and Nick Russo (of Mona’s Hot Four) in rotating discussions of their favorite jazz artists and compositions.
*Handful of Keys:
Pianists David Linard (of Sammy Miller and the Congregation), Gordon Webster (of Mona’s Hot Four), and Chris Pattishall (of the Shenel Johns Trio), will perform and provide commentary in these rotating sessions.
About the Artists
The Shenel Johns Trio
With a voice that embodies grace and passion and a personal style that sways effortlessly from jazz to R&B to gospel, Shenel Johns has emerged as one of the shining stars of her generation. A native of Hartford, CT, Johns has been performing since she was fourteen years of age, and has developed a distinctive, eclectic style that has increasingly caught the attention of her peers and some of the industry’s top performers. Johns received a bachelor’s degree in music management from the Jackie McLean Institute at the Hartt School of Music and studied performance with such jazz legends as Rene McLean, Jimmy Greene, and Nat Reeves. She has shared the stage with music royalty including Curtis Fuller, Hank Jones, Dionne Warwick, and Sheila Jordan, and has performed and recorded with an impressive array of leaders in the field including Dominic Farinacci, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ulysses Owens, Jr., Ronnie Burrage, and Eddie Palmieri, among numerous others.
In 2016, Johns completed a musical residency at Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha in Qatar and, several months later, honored Billie Holiday as part of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s New York production of “Billie and the Boys.” She has also performed a tribute to another of her idols, Lena Horne, at New York City’s famed Appel Theater, and toured throughout Russia in 2015 and 2016. Most recently, Johns was the winner of the Riga Jazz Stage Competition this past April in Riga, Latvia, and was featured in the Hartford Jazz Festival in July with the Harford Symphony Orchestra as part of an Ella Fitzgerald Tribute. Johns has also premiered works at New York’s Museum of Modern Arts (Jacob Lawrence Installation of Northern Migration) and is a member of the George Gee Swing Orchestra that performs regularly in-and-around New York City.
Mona's Hot Four
2017 marks the 10th anniversary of Mona’s Hot Four's weekly Tuesday night gig, which the Wall Street Journal described as "...Ground zero for an emerging late-night scene of young swing and traditional jazz players..." From 11pm until the wee hours of the morning, the band hosts a bustling trad-jazz jam session at the New York City dive bar known as Mona's. After a modest beginning, the session grew to become the central meeting point in town for younger musicians interested in early-era jazz, pros cutting loose after their evening gigs, new musicians in town, touring acts passing through, jazz veterans, college music students, an occasional Grammy winner, and a veritable breakfast club of onlookers.
Mona’s Hot Four, led by clarinetist Dennis Lichtman, has appeared in countless concerts and festivals outside of Mona’s, including two appearances on Good Morning America and a co-hosting role in the “Jam Session of the Millennium” at Symphony Space in 2013 and 2014. All four members are busy bandleaders on their own, but when they hit the bandstand together at Mona’s to kick off another Tuesday night session, it’s clear to see how they came to find themselves at the epicenter of the current resurgence of early jazz in New York. The 2-disc set Tuesdays At Mona’s (on Triple Treble Music) contains a DVD featuring the documentary of the same title, produced by Hi Tide Films, and a live CD recorded in a single night at Mona’s, featuring Mona’s Hot Four plus twenty guest musicians. Both Tuesdays At Mona’s and Live At Mona’s, the band’s first CD, are available at www.monashotfour.com.
Sammy Miller and the congregation
Sammy Miller and The Congregation ARE ON A MISSION TO PUT THE GENEROSITY BACK INTO JAZZ AND BRING ART BACK TO THE PEOPLE.
WE PLAY JOYFUL JAZZ—MUSIC THAT FEELS GOOD. IT IS A STYLE THAT ENTERTAINS, ENRICHES, BUT MOST OF ALL UPLIFTS.
A native of Los Angeles, Grammy® nominated drummer Sammy Miller has become known for his unique maturity and relentless focus on making music that feels good as a drummer, singer and bandleader. Upon completing his Master’s at The Juilliard School, Sammy formed his ensemble, The Congregation. As a band, they are focused on sharing the power of community through their music—joyful jazz.
Ars Nova selected The Congregation for the ‘Makers Lab’ in 2017 to produce their original theater jazz show, “Great Awakening.” While independently the band members have performed and recorded with notable artists including Wynton Marsalis, Iron and Wine, and Jason Mraz at venues including the White House, Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl, they have opted to stick together to spread joy throughout the world.