ConFunkShun has carried the torch of funk music for over four decades, and continues to be one of the most recognized bands in the genre today. Their chart-topping discography has influenced scores of artists and lives on through the new generation.
Just out of her teens when first introduced to the jazz world, warm-toned vocalist Jane Monheit can toggle between that early innocence and a time-crafted maturity. Those qualities alone make her an ideal artist to explore some of Ella Fitzgerald’s lesser-known repertoire at 2018 Summer Fest.
Listeners can’t help but be wrapped up in and in awe of vocalist / songwriter / producer Lalah Hathaway’s tremendous singing and borderless, cross-genre musical concepts. Her infectious blend of R&B, gospel, jazz, pop and rock has, in turn, been embraced by multiple generations.
In drummer Yissy García’s Bandancha, trumpet and acoustic percussion meet keyboards, bass guitar and turntables for an exhilarating fusion. While the Bandancha sound is rooted in the bandleader’s native Cuba’s indigenous, African and jazz traditions, it expands to R&B, funk and electronic music while held together by dynamic virtuosic performances.
From Perth and Melbourne to Boston and Paris, swinging vocalist / pianist Sarah McKenzie’s geographic journey reflects the international nature of jazz. After graduating from Perth’s West Australian Academy of Performing Arts with a Bachelor’s degree in jazz, she toured as a backing vocalist on Michael Bublé’s Irresponsible Tour from 2007–2008.
As house organist for the Stax Records label in the ’60s and leader of the MG’s, keyboardist, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger Booker T. Jones is familiar to countless music fans for his own hit “Green Onions” as well as his support for the likes of Aretha Franklin and Bill Withers.
Vocalist Barbara Morrison was voted one of the 50 Greatest Jazz Vocalists by NPR in 2010, an achievement she upholds with every performance. Her soulful interpretations of jazz and blues classics are backed by a masterful quintet, pairing Morrison’s astounding three-and-a-half octave range with tenor sax and a swinging rhythm section.
Blessed with abundant soul and fluent in hip-hop’s rhythms and flows, singer-songwriter-producer Goapele’s warm singing captures listeners’ hearts like a fond childhood memory. Since Closer, her debut release from 2001, the Oakland native has been known as a wise storyteller as well as an imparter of wisdom.
Kaoru “Kishi Bashi” Ishibashi studied film scoring at the Berklee College of Music before developing his own shimmering non-movie-related (but still cinematic) musical aesthetic. Incorporating live looping, he’ll be collaborating with an equally fearless string quartet at 2018 Summer Fest.
Multi-platinum R&B icon Johnny Gill has dazzled listeners worldwide for over three decades. From his solo career to his spotlight role in New Edition, Gill’s soul-stirring vocal performances have stood the test of time, and continue to grow stronger with his latest album and national tour.
With every decades-encompassing performance, Herb Alpert brings multiple lifetimes of experiences to the bandstand. Founder and leader of the Tijauna Brass and a veteran producer, the famed trumpeter is the only artist to boast numerous vocal and instrumental singles: “This Guy’s in Love with You” and “Rise.”
“There’s a party going on right there / a celebration to last throughout the years.” With those lyrics, shouts of “Yahoo!” and that opening snare drum salvo, Kool & the Gang’s dancefloor hymn makes any occasion a “Celebration.” With scores of other timeless hits, they’ll close 2018 Summer Fest in style.
One of the premier jazz pianists of his generation, Marcus Roberts is familiar with playing solo and with big bands and even symphony orchestras. For 2018 Summer Fest, he leads the Modern Jazz Generation, a lush-sounding medium-sized multi-generational ensemble that will perform his always thoughtful original compositions.