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Posted on: June 28, 2018

Mayor Brown Announces Artist Lineup For The Colored Musicians Club (CMC) International Jazz Festival

Colored Musicians Club 2018

Buffalo, NY – Today, at the historic Colored Musicians Club (CMC), located at 145 Broadway, Mayor Byron W. Brown announced the official Artist Lineup for the 2018 CMC International Jazz Festival, presented by M&T Bank.  This festival honors the historic club’s 101-year history with a ground-breaking roster of internationally acclaimed artists spanning the globe, as well as resident artists, for six full days of music and events for the entire family. 

“Our beloved Colored Musicians Club is the longest continuously operating African-American Musicians Club in the United States and the CMC International Jazz Festival celebrates the club’s rich history,” said Mayor Brown, noting his Administration’s continued support, including over $366,000 in City funds since 2009.   “The week-long musical lineup takes place at some of our City’s top venues and there truly is something for everyone.”

The 2018 festival year will be celebrated citywide in the area’s most sought-after venues from Monday, July 23rd through Saturday, July 28th 2018.  Asbury Hall at Babeville, Pausa Art House, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, Downtown’s Buffalo Place and the Historic Colored Musicians Club will serve as the host locations for this wonderful jazz music and entertainment event.

The festival features the following highly-sought after international jazz line up:

“Francisco Mela Crash Trio” at Asbury Hall at Babeville on Saturday, July 28th 

Cuban-born drummer Francisco Mela is a favorite amongst jazz's elite instrumentalists, among them, Joe Lovano, John Scofield, JoAnne Brackeen, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, Bobby Watsonand McCoy Tyner, all of whom cite his charisma, sophistication, and life-affirming spirit as an extension of his incredible talents as a composer and drummer. After earning a degree at the acclaimed Berklee College of Music, he was quickly recognized as an artist with much to offer students, and was promptly hired him to teach at the school. Mela rapidly made a name for himself on the Boston scene, becoming the house drummer at the legendary Wally’s Café Jazz Club. It was at Wally’s that Mela began developing a concept for his own band, one that would feature the sounds of modern jazz with the traditional music he grew up with in Cuba. He will be joined by an all-Latin ensemble consisting of Kenneth Jimenez of Costa Rica on bass, and Santiago Liebson of Argentina on piano.

“Mwenso & the Shakes” at The Historic CMC Stage on Friday, July 27th 

Mwenso and the Shakes are a unique troupe of global artists who present music that merges the highest form of entertainment and artistry while commanding a formidable timeline of jazz and blues expression through African and Afro-American music. Immigrating from Sierra Leone, London, South Africa, Greenwich Village, Madagascar, France, Jamaica, and Hawaii the Shakes all now call Harlem their home.  Taking from the stylings of Fats Waller, Muddy Waters, James Brown and many other American musical legends - Michael Mwenso leads an electrifying show the New York Times calls “intense, prowling, and ebullient.” Experience a multitude of musical surprises with this one-of-a-kind musical ensemble.

“Let Me Be Free: A Piano Tribute to Free Jazz Pioneer Cecil Taylor” featuring Italian pianist Simona Premazzi, with George Caldwell, Walter Kemp 3, and Michael McNeill at Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center on Thursday, July 26th 

Four pianists, in a "round robin" format, Simona Premazzi, George Caldwell, Walter Kemp 3 and Michael McNeill will survey the works of Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman, in the spirit of the great Cecil Taylor. From Howard Mandel: "The groundbreaking music of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor-three Black Americans known to a broad-based audience by their first names alone-have impacted successive waves of musicians, not only in jazz but across the musical spectrum. Born within four years of each other, but with dissimilar family backgrounds and distinctly different personal temperaments, Miles, Ornette, and Cecil are individually and collectively American originals. Each has transcended the musical field to influence African-American culture."

"Walter Kemp 3oh! Live DJ Vinyl Release Listening Set” at an undisclosed location on Thursday, July 26th 

For CMC Jazz Fest VIP Passholders and advance ticketholders ONLY! Blujazz artist Walter Kemp 3, pianist, composer, rhythmic vocalist, is the driving force behind the "Walter Kemp 3oh!." the trio is set to release a "Limited Edition" vinyl LP entitled "DarkRoom", which was recorded at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center This unique event, for presale album buyers and VIP passholders only, will be a Jazz DJ Listening Set, spinning the ensemble's live recording, along with expert jazz mixes. The 3oh!’s debut release, "Dark Continent," brought Kemp’s innate abilities to the forefront. Having joined forces with long-time musical collaborators, RiShon Odel Northington, recording and touring bassist for GRAMMY-nominated Najee, and percussive phenom David “Teaspoon” Hulett, the trio  features a live performance heralded as “the best...incredibly beautiful music.”

“Onaje Allan Gumbs featuring Sabu Adeyola Trio” at Pausa Art House Wednesday, July 25th 

Featured on Marian McPartlans’s Piano Jazz, Onaje Allan Gumbs was born in Harlem of Caribbean parents( Father from Anguilla, Mother from Montserrat) and raised in Queens, Onaje started playing piano at age 7. He graduated from Manhattan’s High School of Music and Art as well as SUNY at Fredonia. In 1971, a gig with master guitarist Kenny Burrell at Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit led to recording and sideman gigs with such artists as Norman Connors, Buster Williams, Cecil McBee, Betty Carter and Nat Adderley. He spent 2 years as pianist, composer, arranger in the band led by the late, great trumpeter Woody Shaw. As a producer/arranger/pianist, Onaje has worked with other artists such as Billy Cobham, Kevin Eubanks, Will Downing, Angela Bofill, and Cassandra Wilson. Producer of debut albums for vocalists Vanessa Rubin and Gregory Generet and for bassist Kenny Davis whose album featured among others, Geri Allen, Javon Jackson, Billy Kilson and Don Byron.

“Joel Ross | Good Vibes” at the Historic CMC Stage on Tuesday, July 24th 

Chicago native Joel Ross has performed with historic and seasoned artists - Herbie Hancock, Louis Hayes, Christian McBride, and Stefon Harris - as well as with cutting-edge contemporaries like Ambrose Akinmusire, Gerald Clayton, Jon Batiste and many more. Twice selected as a Thelonious Monk Institute National All-Star and a 2013 YoungArts Jazz Finalist - he has performed at the Brubeck, Monterey, Seattle, and Chicago Jazz Festivals. Playing the drum kit as early as three years of age, Ross took to the Vibes, he engaging both classical and jazz works, and did so throughout high school. Ross has just recorded his own debut album "Good Vibes," to be released in 2018. He will be performing, also, with his newly minted Joel Ross’ Good Vibes ensemble.

The week is filled with exciting events and must-see artists beginning with an Inaugural Festival-Month concert at Fountain Plaza, sponsored by Buffalo Place, on July 5th, 2018, and featuring the George Scott Big Band.  Festival week roars up with a “CMC Slow Roll Ride” with music provided by the polished sounds of vocalist Katy Miner, with her quintet. Food Trucks will be featured on Tuesday and Saturday, so come hungry! Tuesday features Joel Ross, vibraphone prodigy, and a special FREE presentation co-sponsored by PROJEX, with Zuri Appleby coming to us from LA, in a never-before seen light and video bass performance extravaganza, immediately following Joel Ross. Horn player Kevin Hall headlines Saturday’s outdoor stage and Explore and More provides youthful entertainment in the Kids activities.

All outside performances, children’s activities and Saturday’s indoor performances on the Historic CMC Stage from noon until 7PM are FREE.  The Historic Colored Musicians Club Museum Store will house T-shirts, postcards and other memorabilia for purchase. FESTIVAL PASSES grant access to CLUB PASS shows.  FESTIVAL PASS Holders are afforded hassle-free admission, and passes may be purchased on the festival website at:  or at Wegmans Markets.

In addition to our Presenting Sponsor, M&T Bank, the CMC International Jazz Fest also receives support Mayor Byron W. Brown and the City of Buffalo, KeyBank, Try-it Distribution, MixMusik&Media, PROJEX Visuals, Piano & Organ Center, Explore and More Children’s Museum, Hotel Henry, LP Ciminelli, Seneca Gaming Corporation, Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Babeville, Buffalo Place, Pausa Art House, Wegmans Markets and Slow Roll Buffalo.

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