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Saturday, Dec. 9
8:00 pm (sharp!) - 9:30 pm
CD release party: "Pretty Blues"
Antoinette Montague with the
Bill Easley Quartet
A Winter Celebration at the Jazz Caf
Miller Branch Library
489 Bergen Ave. (at the corner of Clinton)
Jersey City, New Jersey
Community Awareness Series
with the Mike Longo Trio
The Bahaí Center
The John Birks Gillespie Auditorium
53 East 11th Street, NYC
Tickets: $15 (doors open early)
Master reed player, band leader and renowned session player Bill Easley is joined by Antoinette Montague, a Jazz singer who electrifies audiences wherever she performs, for a swinging night of Jazz and Blues celebrating the release of Antoinette's debut CD, "Pretty Blues."
Bill Easley has had a diversified career, as a professional musician, spanning more than forty years. His arsenal of woodwind instruments includes; Tenor, Alto and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet, and Bass Clarinet, Flute, Alto Flute and Piccolo. In recent years he has played in bands led by such notables as Ruth Brown, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Bobby Short, Louie Bellson, Nicholas Payton, Charles McPhearson, James Williams, Roland Hanna, Earl May, Illinois Jaquett, Ron Carter, Frank Foster, Mercer Ellington, Panama Fransis and Grady Tate among many others.
After 42 years as a New York-based jazz pianist with 17 albums under his own name and 22 years of performing with Dizzy Gillespie, Mike Longo started his musical career with piano lessons when he was three. At fifteen he began to play professionally, and while still a high school student in Ft. Lauderdale, he got the chance to play with Cannonball Adderley.
Mike Longo later worked with both Red Allen and Coleman Hawkins in New York. He next spent a year in Toronto where he studied with Oscar Peterson. But he perhaps best known for work with another Master of Jazz: Mike was the pianist and music director for Dizzy Gillespie from 1966 to 1973.
Mike Longo's CD releases include New York 78, Like a Thief in the Night, Dawn of a New Day. The Mike Longo Trio: Still Swinging and Live: The Detroit International Jazz Festival 2003. The New York State of the Arts Orchestra: Explosion and Oasis.
For PRETTY BLUES, Montague assembled a top band of some of the best jazz masters in the country with a wealth of credits -- pianist Mulgrew Miller (Woody Shaw, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves), tenor saxophonist and flutist Bill Easley (Duke Ellington Orchestra, Benny Carter, Ruth Brown, George Benson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Isaac Hayes, Dakota Staton), drummer Kenny Washington (Lee Konitz, Betty Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Joshua Redman, Phil Woods), and bassist Peter Washington (Art Blakey, Benny Green, Lionel Hampton, Marlena Shaw, Freddie Hubbard, Michal Urbaniak). Montague co-produced with musical director Kenny Washington while Miller contributed arrangements.
On the CD, Antoinette covers some classic material. She shows her blues roots on the opening medley, "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water/Everyday I have The Blues." Following that full-throated blues number, Montague comes right back with the delicately-sung sweet love song "Unless It's You" ("We're never completely free of people we have loved and this song reminds me of doubts I had when leaving relationships"). Antoinette also shows what she can do with standards - three by Irving Berlin ("How Deep Is The Ocean," the top-speed "From This Moment On" and "Blue Skies") and a pair by Sammy Cohn ("Dedicated To You" and "Teach Me Tonight"). The album title comes from her version of the Joe Williams tune "Pretty Blue." Among other tunes, Antoinette sings "Miss Celie's Blues (Sister)" written by Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie for the movie "The Color Purple." "That song is for all my 'sistuhs' out there. It acknowledges the lonesome, scuffling road, but encourages women to raise their self-esteem and believe in themselves."
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