LEOPOLDO F. FLEMING
Afro–Caribbean Jazz Ensemble
As a musician, composer, lyricist, and arranger Leopoldo is a great personality with a rich and multicolored palette. His inspiration stems from his Latin–Afro–Indian roots, his childhood in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, his many years as highly active on the jazz and beyond music scene of New York, and his international experience from since his youth collaborating and touring with US, Caribbean, and African stars all over Europe, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Orient and Australia. Since 1951 Leopoldo’s home is New York, however, from 1987 to 98 he had residence in Vienna, Austria, and since 2006 he has a base in Copenhagen, Denmark, too.
Though mainly a jazz musician, Leopoldo goes about well versed in several musical genres – jazz, funk, R&B, Caribbean, Cuban, Brazilian, African, gospel and spirituals. He is a brilliant accompanist, a fascinating soloist, has a special melodic gift in his playing, and his performances sparkle with surprises, sophistication, grace, and exquisite timing.
Besides his own music and theater projects, Leopoldo has played, recorded, toured with a cornucopia of other great artists such as Nina Simone (for 31 years off and on), Miriam Makeba, in recent years “Sing The Truth” (w. Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright, Angélique Kidjo, Simone Kelly, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stacey Kent and more), The Symphony of the New World, Harry Belafonte, Monica Zetterlund, The String Reunion, Eartha Kitt, The World Bass Violin Ensemble, Beaver Harris, Novella Nelson, Lonnie Liston Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Sonny Stitt, Richard Grove Holmes, Queen Esther Marrow, Leon Thomas, Randy Weston (in big band format and in a trio including Ron Carter), Archie Shepp, Bob Cunningham, Kenny Barron, Horace Parlan, David Murray, The Boys’ Choir of Harlem, a number of local world class musicians in Vienna and Copenhagen respectively, the all–stars Lou Caputo Not So Big Band, and once a year he tours the Far East with the New York Harlem Singers.
Learn more about Leopoldo F. Fleming
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DR. MAMBO and the EXPERIENCE ENSEMBLE
Dr. Mambo and the Experience Ensemble weaves a polyrhythm paradise not often heard in the western Hemisphere, covering the bases from Caribbean sounds, Reggae, Salsa, Latin Jazz to Soukous and High Life as the rhythmic engines that drive the Experience Jazz extravaganza.
Learn more at tropicalcaribbeanjazz.com
Jazz Vocalist extraordinaire, artist and teacher Betty Shirley is blessed with all the range and tonal control one might expect from a first–class Jazz singer. Ms. Shirley can scat, propel, coax and hang on to a note. She improvises with unerring instincts and delivers exactly what a song needs, spinning notes like silk.
Her extensive repertoire ranges from original compositions, Jazz (modern and traditional) and Blues to R&B, and Bossa Nova. She has sung with some of the best Jazz musicians in the world: Ellis Marsalis, Art Blakey Jr., Benny Green and Bross Townsend, to name a few and her tours have included Europe and Brazil. Her credits include the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Pensacola Jazz Festival, Essence Fest and the Women in Jazz Series.
As a recording artist, Shirley has 3 critically acclaimed CDs to her credit as a leader. Unveiled (1995), Betty Shirley Sings (with the Chuck Chaplin Trio, 2002), and Close Your Eyes (released March 2007). Her latest work, Close Your Eyes, was completed just at the time Hurricane Katrina was rolling in.
A 2012 inductee to the NYC Blues Hall of Fame, Karlus Trapp has been playing music since he was 5 years old, and has been teaching guitar and making a living playing music for over 30 years. His music has been featured on network TV, as well as international markets around the world. In 2012, Karlus produced and released his latest CD, S’Allright. Last year, he contributed guitar and vocals to the debut recording by singer/songwriter, Gina Catalino. He’s shared the stage and played in bands with members of renowned groups like Bon Jovi, The Modern English, The Band and The Paul Shaffer Band. He’s opened concerts for Richie Havens, Tuck and Patti, and was the 2008 winner of the Bob Dylan competition at the New York Guitar Festival. His CD WOW Karlus Trapp with Magumbo, was co–produced by Grammy–winning producer, Bob Cutarella (Les Paul).
As a music educator, Mr. Trapp has been bringing his music and talents to Staten Island schools for over 20 years. One of his most notable accomplishments was in 2002, when he worked with the education department of Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the New York Times School Arts Rescue and over a half–dozen schools, which resulted in close to thirty original songs co–written with school children directly affected by September 11th.
A multi–instrumentalist and producer, Karlus recently co–produced several tracks on the new CD of New York songwriter, Joan Nerlino Caddel. His music melds together pop/rock songs with bluesy guitar and the rhythms of New Orleans, Jamaica and Africa. A solo performer as well as band leader, Karlus regularly performs across NYC, is currently producing new young artists, and is collaborating once again with Kenyan songwriter, Kahoro Kibochi. Learn more at karlustrapp.com