July 29/30: FIVE PLAY/DIVA Double-Header in Vail, CO

We’ll be in Vail, CO for the Vail Jazz Festival on July 29 and 30:

Wednesday, July 29, 9:00 pm: FIVE PLAY at the Lodge at Vail. Click for info and tix: http://www.vailjazz.org/events/five-play/

Thursday, July 30, 6:00 pm: DIVA at Vail Square. Info and tix: http://www.vailjazz.org/events/diva/


July 25: A Triple Scoop of DIVA in NJ

A rare opportunity to hear all three DIVA groups in one event!2015_July_Rutherfurd_Hall

2015 Stanley Kay Scholarship co-winner Nick Kepron

NICK kepron sk scholarship 2015 copyNick Kepron is thrilled to be a recipient of the 2015 Stanley Kay Scholarship. Nick, 16, is a drummer, abstract artist, composer and bandleader. An Honors student entering his Junior year at Cherry Hill High School East in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, he has been the drummer, co-leader and co-director of “Inspiration East,” a 17-piece funk and fusion band at his school. For the past two years, he has been the drummer for the award-winning CHE Jazz Lab Band, and played the Rowan Jazz Festival and Deptford Jazz Festival in 2015. Also during the past two years, he has been a selected member of the Creative Music Program at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, under the direction of Anthony Tidd and Brent White, and has played numerous concerts with the CMP at the Kimmel Center, Chris’s Jazz Cafe as part of Philadelphia’s Center City Jazz Festival 2015, the Brad Schoener Music Festival, “Sittin’ In” with Orin Evans at the Innovation Studio at Kimmel, and the Cheltenham Music Festival 2015. 

In 2014-15, he was the drummer for Rowan University’s Honors Jazz Band. Since 2014, Nick has played weekly in a sextet led by Philly sax legend Larry McKenna.

From a very young age, Nick showed an uncanny passion for music, jazz, and percussion. Ever since he got his first drum set at the age of 8, he has been exploring and playing jazz, funk, R&B, rock, fusion, Latin, hip-hop and progressive metal. He has enjoyed gigging with the best young musicians in South Jersey and Philly, playing coffeehouses, festivals and jazz clubs. 

In recent years, he has begun exploring composition and music production, and, to date, has composed more than fifty songs, most of which are part of an instrumental progressive metal solo album he has been working on as well as a trip-hop jazz ensemble project. 

He had the great privilege of studying with many masters of percussion over the past few years, including Dennis Chambers, Giovanni Hidalgo, Horacio Hernandez, Zoro, Ocie Davis, Chris Beck and DIVA big band leader Sherrie Maricle. His musical influences include Tony Williams, Eric Harland, Chris Dave, Elvin Jones, Philly Jo Jones and Mike Mitchell.

Last year, he combined his music and art by hand-painting one of his drum sets. He is preparing for his first two Art Shows later in the summer in New Jersey and Montreal. www.nickkepronart.com.

Nick’s other interests include yoga, meditation, cooking, reading jazz history, and teaching music. He enjoys jamming and composing with his brother Ben who plays jazz piano. Nick is very much looking forward to attending NYSMF 2015. 

2015 Stanley Kay Scholarship co-winner Maya Stepansky

Maya StepanskyMaya Stepansky is greatly honored to receive the 2015 Stanley Kay Scholarship and attend the NYSMF.

A 10th grade student at Montclair High School, Maya’s passion for drumming took off at age 9 when she was selected as drum majorette for Hillside School’s Drums of Thunder, a nationally-touring precision drum corp for professional sports and civic events. Early studies with Chuck Speicher and John Castiglione led to a growing love for jazz and an introduction to big band playing through the JazzHouseKids program in ensembles led by jazz masters Ed Palermo and Oscar Perez, with performances at Dizzy’s at Lincoln Center and Montclair Jazz Festival.  She subsequently attended the Juilliard Jazz Summer Workshop, Litchfield Jazz Camp and NJPAC’s All-Female Jazz Residency, where she was inspired by exposure to such drum legends as Carl Allen and Terri Lyne Carrington. In 2013, she was accepted to NJPAC’s Jazz for Teens Program and honored to take part in a faculty-student combo for 3 special NJPAC concert events with faculty artists Lauren Sevian and Jazzmeia Horn. She was also thrilled to perform original compositions by legendary saxophonist Oliver Lake with the composer himself in a special jazz education concert at the Renaissance School, and recently served as drummer for several MHS musicals (“Hair,” “Rockin’ Out”).

An MHS honor student, NJ state champion rower and MHS Crew Team varsity letter recipient, Maya is active in MHS Math League, National Latin Honor Society, and co-president of the National Art Honor Society. Her music and film collaborations with her brother Jeremy have received 2 awards in the Montclair Film Festival’s annual youth filmmaking competition and led to the creation of a full-length CD, Notes From Home, which raised over $5000 for homeless aid organizations. With Jeremy, her rock/jazz band, The Frontiers, were most recently featured guest performers at a special event sponsored by the International Rescue Committee.

2015 Stanley Kay Scholarship winners

Congratulations to Maya Stepansky and Nick Kepron, winners of this year’s Stanley Kay Scholarship. Check back for photos and bios of these two talented young artists.

Visit the Stanley Kay Scholarship page for information on the program, how to donate, and how to apply for next year.

Unsung Audio #17: The Diva Jazz Orchestra – Community Soul

Unsung Audio is a subjective, independent space for singing the praises of lesser-known bands, musicians, and songwriters that are true masters of their craft in hopes that you will be inspired to investigate and discover new music.

Michael Hahn says: “THE DIVA JAZZ ORCHESTRA is an incredibly talented group of musicians.  Their music is well-arranged, passionately performed, and honors the historic tradition of the big band sound.  Hopefully, one day, critics and listeners will enjoy DIVA’s music without qualifying their praise by saying, ‘AND they’re all women.'”

Read the whole article here: Unsung Audio #17: The Diva Jazz Orchestra – Community Soul.

FIVE PLAY Live at the Deer Head Inn coming soon

Sherrie and FIVE PLAY have finished mixing their latest CD, recorded live at the Deerhead Inn in Delaware Water Gap, PA. Look for it early summer!
FIVE PLAY at the Deerhead Inn

Band Ambition, by Richard J. Salvucci

Richard J. Salvucci writes about DIVA for All About Jazz. Read the article here: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/band-ambition-sherrie-maricle-and-diva-sherrie-maricle-by-richard-j-salvucci.php

International Women in Jazz Festival 2015

IWJ Festival 2015 postcard2

American Jazz Museum Presents Women In Jazz Programming In March

American Jazz Museum Presents Women In Jazz Programming In March | A month-long celebration featuring a stellar line up of musicians, entertainers, music and art scholars in a wonderful cultural setting.

Kansas City, MO – “Women have always played a significant role in developing the music through creative compositions, stellar performances and their work behind the scenes in presenting the music. Unfortunately, these contributions have gone either unrecognized or were written out of the history books. The American Jazz Museum takes pride in shinning the light on their fabulous efforts,” states Gregory A. Carroll, Chief Executive Officer of the American Jazz Museum.

The American Jazz Museum pays tribute throughout March to Women in Jazz and their incalculable contributions to the music through showcase performances at its award-winning Blue Room Jazz Club, its celebrated subscription series (Jammin’ at the Gem), panel discussions, film screenings and educational programs. Carroll and the museum staff have assembled a great line up of performances and activities to celebrate women in the music and are always looking to expand the notable conference of existing sponsors to help with program underwriting.

Sponsors including Sprint, Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation, Neighborhood Tourism Development Fund (NTDF), Richard J. Stern Foundation, ArtsKC and others are helping bring top caliber talent and programs to the museum to celebrate women in jazz. Call 816.474.8463 for more information about American Jazz Museum sponsorship opportunities.

Aside from a month of dedicated programming in the Blue Room jazz club, our women in jazz programs will feature a stellar line up of musicians, entertainers, music and art scholars in a wonderful cultural setting. Highlights of this year’s programs include:

o Kick Off Celebration panel discussion with noted scholars Millie Edwards, Dr. Sherrie Maricle, and Lisa Hittle.

o Multiple education workshops and clinics with celebrated jazz drummer Sherrie Maricle.

o DIVA Jazz Orchestra in two unique performances in the blue room. DIVA is one of only 2 total all-women big bands in existence today and is celebrated around the globe.

o VIP Reception honoring Women in Jazz exclusive for our guest artists (DIVA Jazz Orchestra), scholars, and event sponsors.

o American Jazz Museum’s complete events calendar is available online at: http://americanjazzmuseum.org/events/

The American Jazz Museum Celebrates Women in Jazz | March, 2015 * Program Highlights

March 5 – Kick Off Celebration, Gem Theater – Free

5:00 pm: Friends University Big Band Performance, Lisa Hittle Director
6:00 pm: THE GIRLS IN THE BAND tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 30s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continued to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. Today, there is a new breed of gifted young women taking their rightful place in the world of jazz, which can no longer deny their talents. Panel: Millie Edwards (moderator), Sherrie Maricle & Lisa Hittle

March 7 – AJM Presents Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra

9:30 am: Metro Jazz Workshop Big Band Open Rehearsal w/ Sherrie Maricle, Atrium – Free

10:30 am: Big Band Drumming Masterclass w/ Sherrie Maricle, Atrium – Free

12:00 pm: Lunch & Chat w/ Sherrie Maricle, Atrium – Free
Sponsored by Carroll Studios & Midnight Blue Jazz Quartet

2:00 pm: Sherrie Maricle & DIVA Jazz Orchestra Rehearsal/ Sound Check, Blue Room – Free (students)

7:00 pm: Salute to Women in Jazz Reception, Lester Young Lobby – By Invitation ONLY

8:00 pm and 10:00 pm: Sherrie Maricle & DIVA Jazz Orchestra Performance, Blue Room – $20 (one show), $30 (two shows)

o Limited seating. Tickets at Ticketmaster.com or 816.474.6262

2 Shows – Featuring 15 of the finest musicians of our time, DIVA lights up the stage with their music and personalities, riveting audiences and commanding standing ovations. Critics have called this gifted, rowdy, tour de force —“vibrant,” “magnetic,” “electrifying,” “smokin’, ” and “timeless.” DIVA takes the traditional boundaries of jazz and swing and pushes them to the outermost limits.

About | American Jazz Museum

Located in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in Kansas City, MO, the American Jazz Museum showcases the sights and sounds of jazz through interactive exhibits and films, the Changing Gallery exhibit space, Horace M. Peterson III Visitors Center, Blue Room jazz club and Gem Theater.

Since its inception in 1997, the Museum hosts thousands of students, scholars, musicians and fans of the arts for over 200 performances, education programs, special exhibitions, community events and more each year, providing an opportunity to learn about the legends, honor their legacy, or simply enjoy the sounds of modern day jazz.

Our mission is to celebrate and exhibit the experience of jazz as an original American art form through four pillars: research, exhibition, education and performance – at one of the world’s greatest jazz crossroads – 18th & Vine.

As the only museum in the world solely focused on the preservation, exhibition and advancement of jazz music, the American Jazz Museum is dedicated to public service and collaborative efforts to expand the influence, awareness and appreciation of jazz among the widest demographic of people across the Kansas City region, as well as among those based in various locations worldwide.

For more information, please visit http://AmericanJazzMuseum.org.