2021 Falmouth Jazz Artists
Mr. Allen is generally acclaimed as one of the leading swing players in jazz today. While other saxophone players have adopted the contemporary sound of John Coltrane, Mr. Allen has remained true to swing with a sound reminiscent of Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster.
He has over 40 recordings under his own name, including three that have won Gold Disc Awards from Swing Journal Magazine. He has appeared on countless other recordings with jazz and pop legends such as Tony Bennett, Dave McKenna, John Pizzarelli, James Taylor, Ray Brown, Tommy Flanagan, Sheryl Crow, and Kenny Barron. Mr. Allen last performed in Falmouth three years ago with Woods Hole favorites Rossano Sportiello and Frank Tate. Pianist Mike Renzi won seven Emmy awards for his music direction and composition on Sesame Street and One Life to Live. He has performed with jazz stars Peggy Lee, Mel Torme, Gerry Mulligan and Frank Sinatra over his decades long career. Bassist Pat O’Leary has toured internationally with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and the Illinois Jacquet Orchestra. He recently appeared at the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and he regularly appears at New York jazz clubs such as The Blue Note, the Village Vanguard and the Iridium.
When describing this unique vocalist and arranger Paul Jost, two words come to mind “passionate storyteller”. To Paul, each lyric offers a message and a story, and he conveys his own interpretations through his arrangements along with the honesty of his performances. Paul is a multi-instrumentalist and composer whose vocal style makes him a standout. Both critics and contemporaries alike say he is one of the best male jazz vocalists since Mark Murphy. Paul has been performing worldwide with recent tours in Europe, Asia and soon in Pakistan and Lebanon for the U.S. State Dept’s American Music Abroad series. In the U.S, Paul regularly performs on the New York Club scene at venues such as the 55 Bar, Blue Note, Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club, Mezzrow and Kitano to name just a few. He regularly performs on festival stages including recent performances at Exit Zero, COTA and the Rochester and Pittsburgh International Jazz Festivals, as well as guesting with colleagues including Joe Locke, Orin Evans and Houston Person.
Whether playing jazz classics or one of his own compositions, Abate is known for his hard-driving and energetic approach. Known as the “Prince of Bebop” throughout the club scene, reviewers describe him as an “absolute powerhouse” and his music as having a “feverish intensity,” full of “verve and swagger”. One reviewer described his sound as “the distillation of swing’s easygoing vibe and bop’s more animated groove. Abate studied at the Berklee College of Music and then played lead alto saxophone for the Ray Charles Orchestra for two years. In 1978, he founded the sextet Channel One, performing across New England and New York. From 1986-1987, he played tenor sax with the revived Artie Shaw Orchestra under the leadership of Dick Johnson. In the 1990s, he ventured out as a post-hard bop soloist, playing festivals, jazz societies and jazz clubs throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, the U.K. and Russia. Abate has more than 18 acclaimed recordings. His most recent release, Kindred Spirits: Live at Chan’s, pairs him and Phil Woods with the Tim Ray Trio. Abate was inducted into the Rhode Island Musical Hall of Fame in 2016. He performs around the globe, touring 225 days per year and has been a New England favorite for more than 25 years. He is an adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at Rhode Island College and leads jazz clinics in the U.S. and abroad, sponsored by Conn-Selmer.
Ms. Zuraitis blends clever songwriting skills, an effervescent presence and a dazzling voice in a consummate package. She is the vocalist for the world-famous Birdland Big Band and the Dan Pugach Nonet, the winner of the New York Coffee Music Project Songwriting Competition, ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award recipient and was a finalist in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Her 2017 Album HIVE MIND won Best Jazz Album in the International Music and Entertainment Awards and she was awarded the Johnny Mercer and People’s Choice Award in the American Traditions Competition. Ms. Zuraitis and her drummer Dan Pugach were co-nominated in the 2019 Grammy awards for their arrangement of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. Her quartet includes Pugach on drums, Idan Morim on guitar and Alex Smith on bass. She recently won a gold medal in the 2001 American Traditions Vocal Competition.
Detroit native Johnny O’Neal is the real deal. He’s a legendary pianist having performed with Clark Terry, Milt Jackson Lionel Hampton and performed with Art Blakey in the Jazz Messengers. He gained wide recognition when he was selected to play the legndary pianist Art Tatum in the 2004 film, Ray. With a deep raspy voice and a wonderful touch on the keys, Mr. O’Neal’s performances are engagin and entertaining.