2021 – 2023 ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE
Vincent Stemmler is an interdisciplinary artist from St. Louis, Missouri whose work is often a contemplation on the interplay between identity, place, and loss. Vincent received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Vincent is currently an adjunct professor at Florissant Valley Community College and University of Missouri, St. Louis, teaching ceramics, sculpture and drawing classes. Vincent’s most notable recent exhibitions include two solo shows : “Sticks In the Mud” and “The Garden of the Void” and a nationally juried group exhibition at Miami University as a finalist in the 2019 Young Sculptors Competition.
B. J. Parker is a contemporary figurative painter, teacher, and dog dad living in Tower Grove South. Fascinated by myth and always practicing the visual language, he completed his PhD in ancient religion at Baylor University and trained in the visual arts at the Texas Academy of Figurative Art. He has also studied painting closely with Sadie Valeri and Patricia Watwood. He has taught art and religion at Baylor University, Greenville University, and most recently at the Gateway Academy of Classical Art. His work explores human relationships, the experience of the sublime, and forgotten stories. He plans to use his residency to visually explore the meaning and re-construction of myth in a post-modern context by way of large scale narrative paintings.
Raised in Kirkwood, Missouri, Sarah Paulsen is an artist, filmmaker and community organizer whose artwork has been exhibited widely in local and national exhibitions, and whose prize-winning films have been featured in the St. Louis International Film Festival, the True/False Film Festival, the Black Maria Film Festival, the Motivate Film Festival and the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, among many others. She was the recipient of the 2018 Great Rivers Biennial, which culminated in an exhibit at Contemporary Art Museum- St. Louis. A 2010 C.A.T. Institute fellow and 2015 Regional Arts Commission Artist Fellow, she has garnered numerous awards for her work and also completed several residencies – including the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris. A dedicated advocate for social change, a key aspect of Paulsen’s practice has always involved the orchestration of large-scale community projects, such as participatory public murals, thematic round-table discussions and the now-annual People’s Joy Parade on Cherokee Street. Paulsen holds a B.F.A. in visual art from the University of Missouri, Columbia and an M.F.A. from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Art at Washington University. She lives and works in St. Louis, where she teaches art and animation at Marian Middle School and St. Louis Community College.
Emily Elliott is a multidisciplinary artist from Columbus, Georgia. She received her Bachelors in Fine Art in 2011 from Columbus State and received her Master’s in Fine Art from the University of South Florida in 2014. She has worked as a studio assistant and fabricator for several artists in LIC, NY. It was there that she fell in love with the multi layered process of mold making, which she utilizes in her personal studio practice, as well as through mold making courses and workshops. Elliott has been living and working in Saint Louis, MO. since 2017. She has taught at multiple institutions in the greater Saint Louis region, and currently teaches sculpture and 3-d design as a contingent faculty member at Webster University. She acted as the visiting artist in sculpture at Webster University in fall of 2020, and was invited to act as the coordinator and host of the Webster DADAH visiting artist lecture series for the 2020-2021 school year. During that year she committed herself to bringing in a wide variety of artists, many whom were living and working in Saint Louis area, to speak to the Webster Student body about their professional practice and experience working in the arts.
Elliott has exhibited regionally and nationally. Selected exhibitions include: the 28th Cedarhurst Biennial Exhibit at the Cedarhurst Center for The Arts in 2019, as well as the 59th Mid-States Art Exhibition at the Evansville Museum in Evansville, IN. in 2018. She was invited to exhibit and give a visiting artist lecture at the AAHD Gallery at Notre Dame University in 2019, and created an immersive experiential installation called Objectively Speaking at the Cecille R. Hunt Gallery at Webster University in the fall of 2019. Emily Elliott currently lives in Dutchtown, and can often be seen walking her dog, Clementine in Tower Grove park.
Felia K. Davenport is an Associate Professor in the Communication and Media Department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She holds a B.F.A. in Costume Design from Virginia Commonwealth University and an M.F.A. in Costume Design from University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Felia has designed costumes for theatre and dance companies in St. Louis, New York, London, Nigeria, and South Africa. Felia’s biggest inspiration is her daughter, Kaleesi Rose. It is because of her that Felia was inspired to create her exhibition, Torn Mixology which explores her multi-racial identity versus how society tries to identify her. Torn Mixology, is re-connecting her to her roots in fashion and art. Now, only the clothing will speak for itself on this exploration of personal and social identity.
Mario Farwell is a native of St. Louis Missouri. He attended the University of MO at Kansas City and received a B.A in Theater. While in Kansas City, he founded The Black and Avant-Garde Theatre. After graduating college, he moved to New York City and lived there for twenty-six years. His plays and musicals have been produced off-off Broadway in NYC, San Diego, CA, Minneapolis, MN, St. Louis, MO, Boston, and Africa. Mario Farwell is the founder and current director of the St. Louis Writers’ Group in St. Louis, MO. The group’s mission is the development of local scriptwriters’ works. Mr. Farwell also studied ballet and dance with the Kansas City Ballet.
Mario has been writing plays, musicals, and screenplays for over thirty years. He has written 12 full-length play, numerous short plays, three musicals and two screenplays. His play The Seamstress of St. Francis Street won the Inaugural E. Desmond Lee Playwriting Competition, and the award-winning play was turned into a feature film entitled Pennies for the Boatman. The film has won several awards which includes Best Film and Screenplay at the Madrid International Film Festival. The movie, Pennies for the Boatman, has been featured on Amazon Prime Video. The Seamstress of St. Francis Street was produced in 2010 in Ghana, Africa by the University of Ghana at Legon.
Mr. Farwell has won The Emerging Playwright Awards at Urban Stages in NYC. His play The Seamstress of St. Francis Street was selected for the Summer Play Festival at Jungle Theatre in Minneapolis, MN. He has won Best Play at Scripteaser in San Diego, CA, and nine of his plays have been produced at First Run Theatre in St. Louis, MO. Mario’s musical Starfest was part of the Santa Fe Musical Festival. Starfest was also a semi-finalist in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Recently, his musical Ebenezer was selected as a semi-finalist at the 2021 National Music Theater Conference. In 2013, Mr. Farwell received an RAC grant to complete his musical Starfest.
Recently, Mr. Farwell produced and directed a showcase production of his musicals Joan of Arc and Starfest at the Chapel in St. Louis. During the COVID-19 shutdown, he completed two full-length plays Rain Dances and Astoria. In June 2021, Mr. Farwell play Don’t Hate Me “Cause I’m Beautiful was produced in Denver. He is currently developing a new play Broom, putting the final touches on his musical Ebenezer , and contemplating starting work on a new musical based on his play Last Days of Café Cafe.
Deborah Taffa’s writing can be found at Salon, LARB, The Boston Review, A Public Space, and other places. She is the Director of the low residency MFA in Creative Writing at IAIA and has taught for Washington University’s Summer Writer’s Institute for almost a decade. An enrolled member of the Quechan (Yuma) Nation, she is working on a memoir about her coming of age.
Lizzy Petersen is a poet from St. Louis, MO, where she works in public media and directs a student-run, after-school literary magazine, OutsideLitMag.com, through a partnership with St. Louis Public Schools. Her poetry has recently appeared in or is forthcoming in december, Image, Ninth Letter, Pinch, and Southern Humanities Review, among others. She has been recognized for her writing by the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission’s Artist Support Grant, the Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Interchange Fellowship, the River Pretty Poetry Scholarship, and the Dairy Hollow Writers Residency, and she was a 2019-20 Community Arts Training fellow at St. Louis Regional Arts Commission. She currently serves as a contributing editor for $: Poetry is Currency and has previously served as the Managing Editor of River Styx and Co-Poetry Editor for Sycamore Review at Purdue Univerisity, where she received her MFA in Poetry.
Prince Lyons is a professional freelance performing artist and creative from St. Louis, MO. Prince began his dance journey at Best Dance and Talent Center under the direction of Judy Best-Person and received his BFA from Webster University— Cum Laude with an emphasis on ballet.
Prince has danced for Visceral Dance Chicago, The Cambrians, Owen/ Cox Dance Group, and Rambert II. Throughout his performance career, Prince has performed works by Diane McIntyre, Kevin O’Day, Robyn Mineko-Williams, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Jermaine Spivey, Ohad Naharin, Sidi Larbi, Damien Jalet and worked with recording artists like Jessie Ware.
Prince has choreographed on Visceral Dance Chicago, Big Muddy Dance Company, is the 2018-2019 winner of Western Michigan University’s Department of Dance National Choreography Competition, and is the Co-Founded and premiered The K/P Project St. Louis in June of 2021. Additionally, Prince is Jaquel Knight Foundation Grant Recipient and a published model working with Nike, Kohls, JD Sports/Finishline, and Dicks Sporting Goods. His more artistic portraits have premiered in art galleries worldwide from Montreal, Canada, to Melbourne, Australia.
Catherine Dudley-Rose escaped to New York City at a young age, before cell phones and hashtags. With a backpack of plays, her violin, and $100, she started in the North Bronx in search of her creative voice. Invited by Academy Award winner Allison Janney, Catherine wrote, directed, and acted with the Red Earth Ensemble (sponsored by Joanne Woodward) focusing on presenting new work tackling subjects such as the Aids epidemic, censorship, and women’s issues. Her first feature length screenplay, Parallel Chords, received a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
She has taught at the renown NY Stage & Film program, and multiple guest artist residencies such as the Broadway Theatre Institute helping 90 kids in the Bronx write their own plays. Her short version of Parallel Chords (overture) won several awards, screened over 40 times in festivals and raised funds for Youth Emergency Services. She is a National Film Challenge winner, won the “Curator’s Pick” cash prize from Women in Film Seattle, been a kick-off speaker for the Citizen Jane Film Festival, and been on several regional film festival panels. She is a proud member of Film Fatales (the only Missouri member). Women and Hollywood highlighted her “Best Feature Writer” win at the LA Femme International Film Festival sponsored by the Writers Guild of America, West. She currently lives in St. Louis where her first feature won Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Narrative Feature, and was selected for the Emerging Director/New Filmmaker’s Forum at the St. Louis International Film Festival. She is a two-time RAC (Regional Arts Commission) grant recipient and she believes in building film community where you live.
Catherine has been commissioned to write three other screenplays, performed for an audience of 80,000 and has additionally created music for independent films, MTV, done string arrangements for Platinum selling Kate Nash, and has a lengthy music and acting bio. These skills inform her work as a director.
For more than twenty years Hegarty has been based in St. Louis where he performs with experimental musicians in performances on the New Music Circle series, at the St. Louis Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and numerous clubs including The Dark Room, Foam, Holmes Lounge, and the now-closed Tavern of Fine Arts. He has given full-length concerts at Eyedrum in Atlanta and the Kemper Museum in Kansas City.
Hegarty has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, The Illinois Arts Council, and the Elgin Arts Commission. His music has been performed in Europe, the Pacific Rim, and throughout the United States. He has performed at colleges, festivals, and clubs throughout the Midwest, California, and New York.
He was the head of the music department at St. Louis Community College Forest Park and is currently Professor of Music at Principia College. He founded the music technology programs at both institutions. He has served as chair of several departments, division head of arts and communication, and Director of Academic Special Programs.
Hegarty has recorded over thirty albums of free jazz and electronic music dating from the 1980s to the present.
His IDM album, Leaving Venice was cited as an “unassuming gem from an American artist with much to say. Unreservedly recommended….” on the website AmbientMusicGuide.com.
His solo piano album Cut it/out was recognized by Corey Hall at JazzReview.com as “a very personal and original recording.” Stef Gijssels of Free Jazz exclaimed, “Nice album!”
Jessica Adkins is a multi-instrumentalist, instructional designer, philosopher, and filmmaker. Originally from Milwaukee, she moved to St. Louis in 2014 to pursue a PhD in Philosophy with a minor in Women and Gender Studies at SLU. Her dissertation focused on the public exhibition of anatomical bodies. She can most often be found around town playing accordion in The Opera Bell Band, Ryan Koenig and the Goldenrods, and The So Grand Polka Band. The pandemic allowed her the free time to concentrate on composing original polka scores, and she hopes to help keep polka music alive in St. Louis. In her free time, she creates stop motion videos out of paper and has placed 2nd in the City Garden Film Competition and has been screened at the St. Louis International Film Festival.
Eric Slaughter was born into a musical family in St Louis, Mo. He attended the Berklee College of Music where, in classes and in performances in and around the Boston, Mass. area, he was exposed to music and musicians from around the globe. After college he returned to the St Louis area where he began recording and performing with saxophonists Oliver Sain and Willie Akins, and jazz vocalist and multi instrumentalist Hugh “Peanuts” Whalum. An opportunity to tour the country with blues vocalist and producer Willie Clayton took him away from St Louis and in between tours he began working as a studio session musician for Ace records in Jackson, Mississippi. Later, his desire to get closer to the roots of jazz and a chance meeting with vocalist/trumpeter Jeremy Davenport prompted him to move to New Orleans, La. where, in concerts with Davenport’s group and with the help and mentorship of trumpeter Wendell Brunious, saxophonist Donald Harrison, drummer Shannon Powell, and many others, he was able to immerse himself in the music and history of this vibrant and diverse musical culture. Eric has had the opportunity to share the stage with Ronnie Burrage, David Sanborn, Houston Person, Russel Gunn, Eric Roberson, Johnny O’neal, Phil Perry, Mary Stallings and many others. His proliﬁc and eclectic musical career has afforded him the opportunity to record and share the stage with artists from all over the musical map.
Jeffery Dhoruba Hill
Jonathan Taylor is a percussionist, educator, and composer who has been based in St. Louis since 2003. After growing up in Northern Virginia and Little Rock, Ark., and doing all the band and orchestra activities possible, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in English (with a minor in Music) from the University of Central Arkansas and spent several years performing in Tulsa and Northwest Arkansas before finding his way to St. Louis. Working as a freelance musician has led to a wide array of gigs that have included orchestras, rock bands, Scottish bagpipe bands, small combos, and big bands. He has performed recently as co-founder of The Provels and as a sideman with Midnight Piano Band and Sean Canan’s Voodoo Players. He is also the percussion instructor at Northwest High School (Cedar Hill, Mo.), and he recently obtained his teaching license for high school English through the University of Missouri–St. Louis. During this residency, Jonathan plans to form a new ensemble to perform original works composed over the last 30 years and to fill the roles of pianist and music director for the first time. The suite of compositions covers a seemingly disparate range of styles, but it is unified by the exploration of characters, themes, and archetypes encountered during life in the Midwest and the Deep South. Jonathan currently lives in Maplewood with his wife and two sons, who swear that he makes the best blueberry pancakes ever.
2019-2020 MUSIC ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE
Andrew Stephen is a pianist, producer, and composer whose output comprises a variety of styles including jazz, pop, hip-hop, and futuresoul. He holds a bachelor’s degree in jazz piano performance from Webster University, and also used his time there to study at the Vienna Conservatory in Austria. His compositions have been featured on several major television networks, and he is also the owner of Eightfold Studios where he has produced records for some of St. Louis’ finest local talent. In addition, he leads his own piano trio and will release his debut nujazz/ futuresoul album “Sample Kulture” (with vocalist Chrissy Renick) this year. He hopes to use his time as a Resident Artist to elevate his profile not only as a performing artist, but also as a producer and composer.
Ben Wheeler is a bass player, teacher and father of three from University City. Hailing from a family in which his father and brother also played upright bass, he began playing jazz and orchestral music in high school and studied classical bass at Truman State and jazz bass at Webster University, eventually earning his Master’s in Jazz Bass Performance from SIUE. He currently teaches bass and music history at Webster and serves as the regular bassist for Dave Venn, the Kasimu-tet, Tango Underground, the Lustrelights and regularly performs with Dave Black, Tom Byrne, Paul DeMarinis, and many others. He plans to use his Residency as an opportunity to step out as a bandleader and composer.
Brady Lewis is a trumpet player from East Saint Louis, IL. Inspired by the prestigious lineage of trumpet players from his hometown, he has been a student of jazz and classical music since the 7th grade. He was a member of various high school and college jazz combos and big bands as well as programs such as Jazz St. Louis’ JazzU All Stars. His natural appetite for musical knowledge led him to find work with groups performing styles as disparate as blues, hip-hop, Motown-era soul, indie rock, and even bluegrass. He melds all of these lessons into his own style as a jazz artist, leading the Brady Lewis trio and Brady Lewis Sextet on top of his work as an in-demand sideman, and still finds time to collaborate with independent artists such as PRYR and Looprat. Through the Music Artist-In-Residence program, he hopes to gain a better understanding of marketing to help him promote all of his various projects.
Brianna “Be.Be” Brown
Brianna Elise Brown, who performs under the moniker “Be.Be,” is a vocalist and pianist whose repertoire spans styles from traditional jazz to neo-soul, R&B, and new jazz. Born in Queens, New York, she relocated to St. Louis in 2002, where she graduated from Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, and is currently a Jazz Vocal Performance student and Psychology major at Webster University. She regularly performs with her own jazz trio, shares vocal duties as a member of event band the Lustre Lights, and presents electric original compositions- her focus as a Music Artist in Residence- with her band Be.Be and the Neo-Souls.
Alto saxophonist Scooter Brown, is a native of East St. Louis, Illinois. From an early age, he was exposed to jazz and other styles through his father’s music collection, and began his playing career in the 6th grade. He continued to develop his skills throughout high school as a member of Jazz St. Louis’ JazzU program, and later as a member of the Northern Illinois University Jazz Orchestra and Latin Jazz Band. He has since spent several years touring and performing at regional festivals with Dirty Muggs and Brian Owens and the Deacons of Soul and is currently putting the finishing touches on his debut album. An avid vinyl record shopper, he also serves as the program director for the Jazz Academy Program at Jazz St. Louis. He hopes to use his Residency as a vehicle to learn the finer points of music business as well as an opportunity to network with new musical collaborators.
A native of Gloucester, England, Janet Evra is a jazz vocalist, bassist, and composer. Since relocating to western Illinois for college, she has made a home and a base for her musical endeavors in the St. Louis area. Singing in multiple languages, she performs standards from American, French and Latin jazz, while also blending bossa nova, samba, and pop influences to create her own original sound. She released her debut original album ‘Ask Her to Dance’ in 2018 and performs throughout St. Louis several times a week, along with shows throughout the region and festivals overseas.
Kaleb Kirby is drummer, teacher, and composer residing in St. Louis. Kaleb majored in Jazz Performance and Composition at Berklee College of Music, and attended the Marcel DeSautels Conservatory in Winnipeg, Canada. He holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Maintaining an active performance schedule locally around St. Louis with his own groups such as the Kaleb Kirby Quartet and Kleb, a one-man electronic project, he also accompanies other artists and works as a teaching artist for JazzSTL. He sees the Residency as an opportunity to showcase new jazz compositions with musicians he admires and to bring more attention to the St. Louis jazz community.
Singer, pianist, producer, and composer Katarra is a self-taught musician and classically trained vocalist. Her progressive style blends jazz, soul, R&B, hip-hop, from influences as diverse as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan to Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder. Katarra has performed across the country, most recently collaborating with the Owen Ragland Quintet and local electronic hip-hop collective Farfetched. Her goal as a Resident Artist is turn her focus towards her own compositions, and she plans to complete her debut solo album this year.
Mark Harris II
Bandleader, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Mark Harris II is a classically trained pianist with a background in gospel and jazz. While he is also an experienced drummer, his skill on the keyboard and as a musical director has led him to touring gigs with Chante Moore, the B.B. King All-Stars, and many others, taking him over the road not only in the United States but also throughout Canada and Australia. A true mover and shaker in the local scene, he frequently books and promotes events bringing outside artists to St. Louis, and his fresh take on smooth jazz adds a unique sound within the new group of Resident Artists.
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Ryan Marquez began learning piano at only five years old. Since that time, he has evolved into a competent composer, bandleader, and producer as well. A native of St. Louis since 2005, Ryan currently leads, writes and performs regularly with his jazz trio as well as pop-funk group Fresh Heir, The People’s Key, which performs jazz takes on popular favorites, and electronica duo The Belief Cycle. Already a successful working musician and sideman, he looks at the Music Artist-In-Residence program as an opportunity to play under his own name as a solo artist, focusing not only on his original composition but also his emerging skill as a vocalist.
2018-2019 MUSIC ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE
The Sound of St. Louis: Jazz Compilation Vol. 1 is the culmination of the first year of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s Music Artists in Residence program and features an original composition from each of the nine residents. Recorded and mixed at Clayton Studios by Tazu Marshall and Mike Silverman, the compilation is available as a CD (at Vintage Vinyl, Music Record Shop, and Euclid Records, as well as Kranzberg-affiliated venues including Sophie’s Artist Lounge and The Dark Room), digital download or on streaming services.
Listen to the Album:
Anita Jackson is a native of St. Louis who returned home after living in New York City for twelve years. She is a graduate of the American Music and Dramatic Academy in New York and has performed extensively nationally and internationally in theater productions, concerts and workshops.
She has recorded and performed as a background vocalist for such artists as Bette Midler (on her Grammy Award winning song for Song of the Year in 1991, “From a Distance”), Patti Austin on “I Can Move this Mountain”, Mariah Carey on “Anytime You Need a Friend”, recording artists Chico DeBarge, Joe, Erykah Badu and most notably Cissy and Whitney Houston. She is a vocalist on Cissy Houston’s Grammy award winning “Face to Face” album, as well as her 1997 Grammy award winning “He Leadeth Me” album.
As a gospel BGV, Anita has performed with Shirley Caesar, the late Albertina Walker, Dorothy Norwood and Tramaine Hawkins. Anita was featured vocalist on the 2014 Reach Week in New York City live recording for New Hope for the World Ministries recorded in Harlem, NY with Vickie Winans and Melanie Daniels.
In St. Louis, Anita has been a featured player with the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre under the direction of Ron Himes. She has performed in “Gospel at Colonus”, “Ain’t Misbehavin'”, “Caroline or Change” and “Blues in the Night” for which she was nominated for the St. Louis 2010 Kevin Kline Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Most recently, Anita performed as Bertha in “Hello from Bertha” at the first annual Tennessee Williams festival in St. Louis under the direction of David Kaplan. She is nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama by the St. Louis Theatre Circle – 2016/2017. Anita will reprise the character of Bertha in this year’s annual Tennessee Williams festival in a cabaret at the Curtain Call this May called “Bertha’s Back!”
She has appeared as a featured vocalist with several jazz, R&B, blues and gospel organizations in and around St. Louis: from Jazz at the Bistro to BB’s Jazz and Soups to the St. Louis Ethical Society to the Heman Park Starlight Concert Series to the Sheldon Concert Hall – as a solo artist as well as a collaborative artist with many of St. Louis’ finest musicians.
Anita gives thanks to the family of Christ and praises God for HIS matchless goodness and mercy.
She dedicates her performances to her beautiful daughter Christian for helping her fulfill her purpose.
Ben is one of the top call jazz saxophonists in the St. Louis area playing with several local bands and working as a recording artist. He developed a deep appreciation for jazz at an early age, formalizing his passion by receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in jazz performance from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Ben has been a part of the St. Louis Music scene since the late 1990’s, with a deep passion for original music. He has been a woodwind instructor in both the private setting and in the public/private school sector. Ben can currently be heard performing with the Jazz St. Louis Big Band, the Phil Dunlap Quintet, the Saxquest Nonet Jazz Orchestra, The Sleepy Rubies, The Brothers Lazaroff, DJ Alexis Tucci, Kevin Bowers’ NOVA, Circus Flora as well as his own project, The Unity Quartet.
I grew up in Fort Worth, Texas in the 80s and 90s. In junior high I began studying drums and playing in the Leonard Music Institute after school program, which was a huge influence on me. There I learned about theory and sight-reading, as well as a beginning understanding of jazz music. I ‘evolved’ to the electric bass eventually and quickly grew in awe of Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, and Stanley Clark. After a few years of studying electric bass my teacher let me borrow Ornette Coleman’s “Shape of Jazz to Come”. This album had a huge impact on me and it clicked in my head that this is what jazz IS. Charlie Haden’s playing on that album is the main reason I started playing upright bass.
While actively playing around the Dallas/Fort Worth area I moved out to Denton to study at the well-known music institution, the University of North Texas. There I had the honor of studying with Lynn Seaton and Jeff Bradetich. Eventually I decided to move to New York to study at the New School in Manhattan, at the encouragement of Frank LoCrasto…who helped me get into the program. (Thanks again Frank!) At the New School I got my butt kicked thoroughly, but was lucky enough to get to play with great musicians regularly. I was blessed to study with such amazing people as Reggie Workman, Dennis Irwin, Cameron Brown, Ben Street, Michael Moore, and Johannes Weidenmuller.
Eventually I moved to Saint Louis, MO to begin a family with my amazing wife. Here I have met so many great musicians and grown exponentially. I currently play and teach often as well as enjoy time with my beautiful daughter Sophia and amazing wife Beth.
Songwriter/pianist/vocalist Jesse Gannon and his band, The Truth, combine the improvisational elements of soul, broken-beat, and post-bop grooves with a sophisticated harmonic palette, and garnish with introspective, unforgettably lyrical melodies. jessegannontruth delivers a shockingly fresh and dynamic show brandishing a cast of fearless and exciting musicians. “If you don’t want to be put into a genre, create one…”
As a pianist, vocalist, writer, producer, and arranger, Jesse Gannon is deeply involved in the St. Louis music scene and abroad. In addition to earning his bachelor’s degree in music performance at Webster University and performing in many of the top musical venues in St. Louis, he has traveled and shared the stage with such notables as The Temptations, The O’Jays, Steve Ewing of the Urge, The Four Tops, Najee, Mary Wells and the Supremes, India Arie, and others. Although well versed in many genres, Jesse’s true voice can be best heard sculpting songs in the studio or improvising live.
Along with staying busy recording and performing as a sideman, he is currently writing and recording his sophomore effort to be released on Yoruba Records. This follows the 2013 release of his debut studio full length album “Future Vintage”.
Kasimu Taylor, trumpeter from St. Louis, Missouri, has played across the U.S. with various bands and covering varied styles of music, including both local and national acts.
His latest project, The Kasimu-tet brings a unique blend of abstract and lush improvisation, infused with a fresh and intuitive ensemble interplay; their set encompasses standards and original music. Kasimu continues to branch out and offer his talents to artists of all flavors and varieties.
Maurice “Mo” Egeston is a pianist, bandleader and educator from St. Louis, Missouri. He spends his musical time leading bands and writing music while also working as a collaborative artist, accompanist and educator in both the classroom and private studio.
Mo did his graduate studies in chamber music and accompanying at Southern Illinois University (Edwardsville) with Dr. Linda Perry. He currently runs his own Mo Egeston Piano Studio and is an instructor at Teipen Performing Arts. He has taught adjunct classes in the St. Louis area since 1996 (Applied Piano, Vocal Jazz Combo, Improvisation, Music Appreciation, Music of the United States, Masterpieces of Music).
He currently leads Mo E All-Stars and Mo E Trio and was a member of Brothers Lazaroff from 2008-2014. Past band work (1996-2008) includes Vargas (Swing), Urban Jazz Naturals and mo & dawn.
Jazz. Hip Hop. Electronic music. Normally you might expect a grouping of music this eclectic to come from inside a thirty something hipster’s iPod. On any other day, you would be right, but 17-year old Owen Ragland will prove you very wrong. Blending elements of music that, like oil paints, already mix well – Ragland crafts a piece of art like a master. Ragland is a prodigy. He’s been playing piano from the age of 3 and writing music since around the age of 5. Now in his teens, Ragland is making waves in the St. Louis music scene playing Loufest last year with rapper Mvstermind as well as releasing his debut album Soul Searcher. Ragland now delves deeper into his Jazz influence becoming a 2018 Kranzberg Music Artist-in-Residence. This success has meant the creation of the Owen Ragland Quintet, a group of highly skilled young musicians playing a wide range of jazz music.
Ptah Williams has performed with Freddie Hubbard, George Benson, James Moody, and many other household names of jazz. He has performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Chesterfield Wine and Jazz Festival, The Hermann Jazz Festival and many concerts and festivals throughout Europe.
Ptah is now performing concerts nationally for his new set of music entitled “The Gershwin Connection,” which is a celebration of the music of George Gershwin in a whimsical performance that shows how his ground-breaking jazz was elevated to the world of classical music.
His trio includes jazz icons Darrell Mixon on bass, and the legendary drummer Gary Sykes.
Tonina Saputo is a singer/songwriter, bassist, music journalist and poet from St. Louis, Missouri who performs her original music along with her arrangements of covers in both Spanish and English.
Tonina comes from a family of music lovers that exposed her to many music styles, from funk, soul, and jazz to classical music. She was born in San Diego, California but raised in St. Louis, Missouri from black and Sicilian backgrounds. All these components have given her an unparalleled musical scope playing many different genres yet making each her own. Her sense of rhythm, melody, and her extraordinary voice and song interpretation, make her performances a thrilling experience for all listeners.
Saputo began her musical journey when she was nine years old and was trained classically for 11 years, studying with multiple bassists from the St. Louis Symphony and attending various master classes with Grammy Award-winning bassist, John Clayton. She grew up participating in multiple music programs in the St. Louis area, eventually leading the bass sections of both the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra and The Missouri All State Orchestra. Tonina performed at Carnegie Hall in 2009 and Lincoln Center in 2012 as a member of her high school Symphonic Orchestra. At the age of 17, she was admitted to Berklee College of Music and went on to study bass performance, songwriting, and Africana Studies. In 2014, she was accepted to study bass performance at the Berklee Valencia campus in Spain, where she met and signed with Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter, Javier Limon.
In October of 2016, Tonina traveled to Spain to perform at the National Auditorium of Madrid. She also performed her first showcase on March 30th, 2017 at the Ellas Crean music festival in Madrid and shortly graduated from Berklee College of Music earning two degrees. In January of 2018, Tonina opened for Grammy-Award winning artist, Lalah Hathaway in St. Louis. In April of 2018, she will perform at the Catania Jazz Festival in Sicily. She now performs solo and with her quartet at local venues in St. Louis.