Six of San Diego's best female jazz artists come together for a special evening celebrating the feminine side of jazz and the work of female composer from around the world. Featuring vocalist Allison Adams Tucker, flutist Lori Bell, pianist Melonie Grinnell, contrabassist Evona Wascinski, drummer Laurel Grinnell, and percussionist Monette Marino.
San Diego native Allison Adams Tucker began singing before she could speak. Allison was raised by classically trained musical parents, and began performing in front of audiences at age 5. She studied piano, flute, violin, dance and voice from elementary school and earned her BA in Linguistics and Music Vocal Performance. Allison's vocal palette has been colored by her experience in a variety of musical genres throughout her life, from punk rock to Elizabethan a cappella. These experiences led her on a natural and steadfast transition to the world of jazz in 2005.
Allison's love for languages and world cultures also began at a young age, and she has studied and sings in 6 languages besides her own. She has lived in Japan and Spain and has traveled to over 15 countries. This "wanderlust" is evident in the music she chooses today. Her music reflects her passion for world cultures with rhythms, melodies, and lyrics of Brazil, Italy, France, Spain, Latin America, Japan, and the US.
Allison's debut CD "Come With Me" (Allegato Music 2008), co-produced by jazz guitarist Peter Sprague (Dianne Reeves, David Benoit, Chick Corea, Sergio Mendes) and arranged by Kamau Kenyatta (Hubert Laws, Earl Klugh, Patti Austin), has received international acclaim, was nominated for Best Jazz Album 2009 by the San Diego Music Awards, and continues to receive airplay on radio stations in 18 countries. As a session vocalist, her voice can be heard around the world on jingles, video games, and CDs, and as an international artist, Allison has done tours in Japan and Europe with performances on national television, radio, festivals, and clubs.
Allison has shared festival billing and musical collaborations with jazz greats such as Kenny Burrell, Poncho Sanchez, Mindy Abair, Pete Escoveda, Sheila E, Ivan Lins, Tommy Campbell (Carmen McRea, Ella Fitzgerald, Branford Marsalis, Manhattan Transfer, Dizzy Gillespie), Gene Jackson (Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Christian McBride), as well as Japan's Sony Music artist Toku and Universal Jazz artist Ken Ota.
Brooklyn native Lori Bell is a flutist and composer of admirable depth and broad musical sympathies. A resident of San Diego, she has contributed to the development of higher standards of performance while earning acclaim from both peers and critics for her artistry on stage and in recordings.
Lori has studied with such esteemed pedagogues as Frederick Baker, Damian Bursill-Hall, Judith Mendenhall, Claude Monteux, and Phil Cohen.
Her debut on Discovery Records, "Love Will Win" with pianist Dave Mackay and bassist Andy Simpkins, received warm praise and four and a half stars (out of five) from the esteemed Leonard Feather and was selected on the Grammy list for Best New Artist in 1983. A second Discovery disc, "Take Me To Brazil", demonstrated her ability to maintain a high level of inspiration. This album featured the first of several fine original compositions and was enthusiastically given four stars by the Los Angeles Times in 1989.
Over the past 20 years, Ms. Bell's many performances in venues such as the Wadsworth Theater, The Neurosciences Institute, and the Kennedy Center, established her reputation, among musicians and audiences alike, as a remarkably vital interpreter.
In 1998, this artistic maturity was delightfully demonstrated with her stellar work with Dave Mackay and guitarist/vocalist Ron Satterfield in the trio INTERPLAY. Their self-titled first album was selected on the 1999 Grammy ballot in four categories, including Best Jazz Solo by Ms. Bell on Pat Metheny's, "It's Just Talk."
Ms. Bell conveyed her special talents to a wider audience with her first solo endeavor, her eponymous CD. Released in 2002 on the Beezwax label, the "Lori Bell" album featured several fine arrangements of original compositions and standards. The Grammy Award panelrecognized the album's comprehensive excellence with selections in five categories, among them Best Instrumental Arrangement, Best Composition, andBest Instrumental Solo.
In 2008, Lori signed a multi-album deal with Resonance Records. The first CD, entitled "The Music of Djavan" was released in the fall and features such superb artists as pianist Tamir Hendelman, bassist David Enos, and drummer Enzo Todesco. The disc also received a 2009 San Diego Music Award nomination for Best Jazz Album. The newfound sympathy and inspired music making of this collaboration was most recently rendered in live performances in Los Angeles at Catalina Jazz Club, Crown Plaza LAX Jazz Club, and Vitello's.
Melonie began studying piano at the age of four, and has since been recognized not only for her skills as a pianist but also for her abilities as a musical director, piano instructor, vocalist, and music educator. Melonie received a Bachelor of Music (Education/Jazz Emphasis) from the University of Miami in 1996. In 2003, she received a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from SDSU.
Melonie has an extensive list of musical performance experiences, both at the collegiate level at SDSU and in the free-lance field. She plays jazz, Latin jazz, salsa, classical, and musical theater. Additionally, she has performed in well-known San Diego venues, including Dizzy's and Croce's Jazz Bar. Melonie is active as a performer in the jazz community and has worked with Lori Bell, Ron Satterfield, Gilbert Castellanos, Rob Thorsen, Tim McMahon, Duncan Moore and the Benny Holman band. She has done extensive work as musical director and pit keyboardist for Starlight Civic Theater, the San Diego Repertory Theater and the Lawrence Welk Theater. Additionally, she has been employed by Royal Caribbean International Cruises, both as a pianist and musical director for shows featuring major headliner acts.
Her teaching experience extends to Southwestern College and Miramar College where she teaches courses including: World Music, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Introduction to Music and Music for Elementary Teachers and Class Piano. Melonie is also a member of Local AFM 325.
Evona earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music with an emphasis in Jazz Studies and Classical Performance from the University of California, San Diego. She had the honor of studying for a number of years with world renowned double bassists, composers and professors Bertram Turetzky and Mark Dresser, as well as jazz studies with Kamau Kenyatta. Upon her graduation she was the recipient of the first ever Bertram Turetzky Award in Recognition of Exceptional Musical Achievement.
Evona has been a long stand member of The La Jolla Symphony Orchestra as well as other community orchestras. She is well versed in a large number of genres and has professionally worked in many musical configurations including Classical Music, Big Bands, Jazz, Latin jazz, Salsa, Brazilian, Gypsy Jazz, Funk, Tango, Acid Jazz and R&B.
Evona has attended a number of jazz clinics including the Stanford Jazz Workshop in the San Francisco area and the UCSDJazz Workshop (University of California, San Diego) in which she's been on staff for the past 4 years. Evona has also had the opportunity to study Brazilian music at the internationally acclaimed California Brazil Camp studying Brazilian jazz with pianist Marcos Silva (Airto, Flora Purim, Dori Caymmi, Guinga to name a few) for three years. In 2011 she also had the great opportunity to study Brazilian jazz with Helio Alves and perform with Brazilian pianist/composer Ivan Lins.
Some other musical accomplishments includeperforming at the Academy of Motion Picture Awards (OSCARS) pre-show in Hollywood, California from 2007-2010. She recorded on Allison Adams Tucker's debut CD "Come with Me", and performed in clubs and festivals throughout California, New York City and Europe.
Evona is very active in the Southern California jazz scene working regularly on musical projects and as a freelance bass player with some of the regions top jazz musicians including Gilbert Castellanos, Daniel Jackson, Mikan Zlatkovich, Irving Flores, Kamau Kenyatta, Josh Nelson, Russell Bizzett, Chuck McPherson, Joe Marillo, Lynn Willard and Dave Millard, to name a few.
Evona currently lives in San Diego, California performing and teaching privately.
Laurel Grinnell is a versatile percussionist who has been performing professionally since 1996. With extensive training and experience on drum set in various musical styles such as Jazz,Latin, Afro-Cuban, Rock, Funk, and Reggae, she has performed throughout California in a variety of contexts. She has shared the stage with artists such as Mel Graves, Allison Adams Tucker, Nathan Hubbard, and Justin Grinnell. In addition, Laurel also regularly performs as a percussionist in musical theater productions and orchestras.
Laurel graduated from Sonoma State University in Northern California with a degree in Jazz Studies and with distinction in her class in 2004. After studying traditional music and dance in the Ewe Region of Ghana, West Africa in 2005, she began pursuing a Master's degree in Ethnomusicology. Laurel moved to San Diego to study West African drumming, Latin percussion, and Indonesian gamelan at San Diego State University. She completed her thesis and obtained a Master's degree in Ethnomusicology in Spring of 2010. Laurel currently teaches courses in music appreciation at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in Downtown San Diego, works as a freelance musician, and teaches private lessons on drum set.
Monette Marino began drumming in 1976 at the age of 8" when her father initiated her on his sparkle blue Ludwig drum set. In 1981 her father gave her a lesson on the congas and it was at that moment that she fell in love with the skin on skin contact and began to immerse herself into the world of hand drumming. She spent the next 12 years developing her skills on the congas with local San Diego percussionists.
In the spring of 1993, her interest in traditional West African drumming was sparked when she saw Malian drummer Yaya Diallo perform at UCSD with the ensemble "African Troubadours". That same year she was introduced to traditional Korean drumming by Mr. Kim Duk Soo, Founder/Director of "Samul Nori", who came to UCSD to complete a weeklong teaching residency. At the end of the residency, Kim Duk Soo invited her toattend their World Music Festival in Seoul, S. Korea in 1995 and to compete in a "Kyorugi", a traditional Korean drum competition, for which she placed 4th place in 1995 and 2nd place in 1997.
Her professional playing career began when she met local composer and musician Semisi Ma'u, originally from Tonga. Semisi encouraged Monette to express her musical talents by joining his band "Semisi and Fula Bula" (which translates to Semisi and a Big Hello). Semisi's music was the perfect blend of his native South Pacific island grooves with a little reggae, blues, rock and even Latin spice. This was Monette's first outlet for her reservoir of skill and knowledge that had accumulated over the last 15 years.
After a few months of shows with Semisi, Monette realized that she was destined for a career in music. Though she continued to study traditional drumming from Africa, Cuba, Brazil and Korea with Master Drummers from these respective countries and traveled to Guinea, Cuba and Korea to deepen her understanding, she was simultaneously building her reputation locally as a strong performer. She was a member of the folkloric ensembles "Afrekete", "Omo Ache", "Zinco" and "Sol e Mar", and she was quickly added to the roster of many local bands playing everything from Jazz to Salsa, Samba, Reggae, Funk, Disco, Soul, R&B, Rock and even Country music.
Monette began her apprenticeship with Master Djembe Drummer Mamady Keita, from Guinea, West Africa, in January of 1997 when she made a one-month trip to his home in Conakry to study the percussion of the Manding. After three years of intensive studies with Mr. Keita, she received a Certificate from his school of percussion, Tam Tam Mandingue in recognition of her knowledge andskill in traditional Manding percussion. Monette was then granted permission by Mr. Keita to open the 11th branch of his school Tam Tam Mandingue in 1998.
In 2001, Monette won the National Hand Drum-Off competition at Drum Day LA, sponsored by the Guitar Center. Participants competed all over the country and three finalists were chosen from New York, Miami and Los Angeles to perform at the House of Blues in Hollywood.
Since 2004 she has been touring with Master Drummer Mamady Keita teaching classes and performing with him and his band Sewa Kan around the world. Together they have visited over 20 countries on 6 continents.
She is now branching out as a Solo Artist. She has written and produced her first album titled "Coup d'Eclat" which blends African and Latin rhythms and melodies inside Funk and Rock grooves. Her all-star band includes Grammy Award winning guitarist Larry Mitchell and Grammy Nominated Producer/Arranger Allan Phillips on keyboards, James East on bass and National Drum-Off finalist Mike Holguin on drums. Also featured on her debut CD is her husband, Master Djembe Drummer Mamady Keita. Monette's music highlights traditional African instruments such as the Djembe, Kora (known as the African Harp) and Balafon as well as the Caribbean Steel Drum, and of course loads of Latin percussion instruments. It is truly World Music.
Monette continues to explore many drumming systems from around the world and has a deep respect for the cultural heritage preserved and passed on through the language of the drum.
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