BWW Feature: THE JAZZ ECLECTIC CONCERT SERIES VOL. 4 at Myron's Cabaret Jazz At The Smith Center For The Performing Arts
Smooth notes that sing, the beat of the drum that pulsates, and moan of emotion from the horn create the American-made music of jazz. Fans, devotees, and music lovers will relish The Jazz Eclectic Concert Series Vol. 4 to be performed at Myron's Cabaret in the Smith Center on Nov. 27.
Acclaimed jazz artists will be featured including two-time Grammy Awards winner John Clayton (bass player). Founder of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, he has toured with the Count Basie Orchestra as well as composed and arranged for Whitney Houston, Diana Krall, Quincy Jones, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, and Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Grammy Award nominee Anthony Wilson (guitar, songwriter and bandleader) will present the new influences in an innovative genre. Wilson performs iconic jazz blending pop, folk, and country within the jazz genre. Jazz vixen Courtney Fortune and jazz lion and drummer Kevin Kanner will also share their talents on stage.
The concert series was co-founded by two respected jazz artists, Bijon Watson and Niles Thomas, who both admit it came to fruition over chips, salsa, and margaritas.
Jazz trumpeter Watson is the lead trumpet for the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra as well as Grammy Award nominee John Beasley's Monkestra. He has recorded with Justin Timberlake, Michael Bublé, Alicia Keys, Diana Krall, Natalie Cole, and Harry Connick Jr. In the Academy Award-winning movie La La Land, there are scenes with Watson playing the trumpet.
Thomas, known as The Duke of Jazz Noir, is a singer, songwriter, and composer. As a producer, Niles has co-produced and wrote for many major artists.
The 20-plus years of friendship Watson and Thomas inspired the concert series.
"We always wanted to do something together. When I moved to Las Vegas, we met some people and came up with the concert series," explains Thomas. "We wanted to do something different with jazz especially since the music I write is eclectic and not traditional. There are so many great artists performing cutting-edge jazz now."
"I have played Niles [Thomas] music for over 20 years," Watson adds. "His songwriting style incorporates elements of jazz from traditional artists as well as other artists who take jazz to another level."
Jazz is an American art form that allows artistic freedom. While there is a framework with a foundation, it can incorporate other genres such as rock, Latin, and blues with different elements.
"I want to get this music out there," states Watson. "I love Sinatra and others who play the great jazz standards but what we are trying to do is make this music accessible with the evolution of jazz. The biggest compliment we get is that audience members will tell us how much they enjoyed our show even though they don't normally listen to jazz."
There is a more profound message with its support by benefiting The Life's Second Chance Foundation. Thomas was diagnosed with cancer in 1997 and is a survivor today. When the founder of the organization reached out to Thomas about getting involved to build a hospital to treat cancer in Ethiopia, Thomas readily agreed. He was invited to Ethiopia to perform at the UN and speak on behalf of the organization. Sadly, his mother passed away from cancer two weeks before his trip, but he still traveled and performed with a new-found mission about reaching the public about the cancer epidemic in Ethiopia. The LSCF has also established a premium Ethiopian coffee company called WosCaffé to help fund the project.
The Jazz Eclectic Concert Series Vol. 4 will perform at Myron's Cabaret in the Smith Center on Nov. 27. For tickets and more info, click here.