• 2022 Schedule

  • 6/30/2022 Jessy J

    Saxophonist Jessy J. Opens up the Branford Jazz Series on June 30
    With the release of her dynamic album Live at Yoshi’s – 10 Year Anniversary Special, Jessy J celebrates a remarkable decade since she brought her sizzling beats, dynamic Latin and samba rhythms and sensual melodies to contemporary jazz via her #1 hit debut album Tequila Moon. Following in the
    tradition of other jazz greats – including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Pat Martino, Joe Pass and Arturo Sandoval – who have released albums recorded at the historic Oakland venue, the charismatic saxophonist captures the excitement and spontaneity of her live performances with a set list featuring her classic hits and several songs fresh to her eclectic repertoire.
    Her previous releases include True Love (2009), Hot Sauce (2011), Second Chances (2013), My One and Only One (2015) and California Christmas (2016), which marked her debut on her own independent label Changi Records.
    After celebrating over a decade as one of contemporary jazz’s top saxophonists known for her trademark blend of sensual Latin tinged powerful horn playing, Jessy tapped into her longtime love for the vibrant soul and blues energies of the 60s and 70s to release her first studio album in six years, BLUE, an album of original songs totally stylistically different from her previous recording as evidenced by the cover art reminiscent of some of the great albums of that era. Driven by a fresh spark of creativity due to the isolation she felt during lockdown, Jessy set out to create an album full of James Brownesquedrums and tasty/bluesy Ray Charles organ showcasing some of her most passionate and robust tenor playing ever.
    A major part of capturing the essence of Jessy is experiencing the way she ensembles with her powerhouse band, which includes longtime members, drummer Iajhi Hampton, bassist Frank Abraham and guitarist Michael Angel. Rounding out her group at the Yoshi’s concert was veteran keyboardist/pianist Jay Rowe, who also contributed several arrangements and his otherworldly keyboard talents to
    California Christmas. Jessy and her band bring new life to her #1 Billboard hits “Tequila Moon” and “Tropical Rain,” her #1 Billboard Jazz Album “Hot Sauce,” her Top 10 hit “Tango Boy” and audience favorites like “Mas Que Nada” and “Sin Ti/Without You.” The saxophonist also debuts her twist on the timeless Antonio Carlos Jobim Brazilian classic “Agua De Beber” and original songs with an old school
    60’s styled jazz flair.

  • 7/7/2022 New London Big Band

    What originally started as a dream- to be part of a big band, an epic one at that, comprised of 17 talented and energetic musicians which he could call his own- turned into a reality for New London Big Band leader and director Sean Nelson.
    While walking along the historic streets of New London in 2016, Nelson and a friend noticed a new establishment opening up soon for business, “The Social Bar & Kitchen”, which would feature burgers and beers. With his intriguing nature and curious mind working at its best and approaching the owner of the establishment, Nelson sold his idea of bringing in a big band to perform there. After a few phone calls to the best musicians he knew and collecting the sheet music to all his favorite tunes, “The Social” had its entertainment, Nelson had his band and the rest as they say “is history.”
    Now with an unlimited amount of passion and talent in performing tunes ranging from the Roaring 20’s to brand new compositions, to a mix of classic jazz standards, upbeat dance tunes, and original music by band members, and regularly features instrumental and vocal soloists.
    New London Big Band

  • 7/14/2022 Kim Scott

    Known for her exceptional tone, intoxicating melodies and flawless techniques, Kim Scott is one of the most sought-after flutists in both the classical and jazz fields today.
    Now, the Branford Jazz Concert series crowd will have the chance of a lifetime to hear this global musical extraordinaire perform on the Branford Jazz Series stage.
    Scott has an ever growing fan-base garnered from her continued presence on the performance scene and from her visibility as radio host of the nationally syndicated, two-hour jazz program, “Kim Scott’s Block Party Radio”, which airs weekly across the world. Kim is continuously and rapidly growing as a fresh image and sound for today’s contemporary jazz scene.
    With four albums to her credit, Scott has proven to be a mainstay in the field and promise for the future as a soloist and collaborator. Her recordings and collaborations include fellow jazz greats Jonathan Fritzen, James Lloyd, Jazmin Ghent, The Peet Project among others.
    Kim Scott

  • 7/21/2022 Isabella Mendes & Flavio Lira Quintet

    Pianist and vocalist Isabella Mendes and bassist Flavio Lira have been collaborating since 2017. They each continued to pursue careers in music and the duet has gained international recognition at competitions and musical festivals nationwide. They have performed as a duo and jointly in trio, quartet and quintet with world renowned artists.
    Soon, they will bring their energetic and beautiful Brazilian music to the streets of Branford as part of the jazz series.
    Isabella Mendes is a singer-songwriter, pianist, composer, and educator whose work is rooted in Brazilian jazz and bossa nova. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she began her training as a classic pianist at age six, Mendes also composed her own music and participated in various competitions, concerts, and master classes until the age of fifteen, when she moved to the United States and began jazz and vocal studies while attending the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, Connecticut.

  • 7/28/2022 Abe Ovadia

    Having emerged as one of the preeminent guitarists on the New York City Jazz scene, Aba Ovadia and his organ trio will be showcased on the Branford Jazz Stage.
    A jazz virtuoso, one of the most innovative guitarists of our time, Abe holds a master’s degree from Berklee College of Music and a master’s from New York University’s highly acclaimed jazz performance program. He is also a recipient of the Best Guitarist of 2016 Award from Hot House Jazz Magazine.
    Predominant voices in the industry have recognized Abe’s contribution to today’s jazz. In 2010, Jeff Levenson of Warner Brothers honored Abe as a “Promising Artist of the 21st Century”, leading up to an international tour. Since then, Abe has developed a unique identity on the instrument and as a band leader, featuring an innovative and emotionally-charged energy that’s is unrelenting.
    Abe Ovadia

  • 8/4/2022 Matt Marshak

    A composer, bandleader, and educator, Matt Marshak is recognized as one of the most unique guitar players/vocalists in the industry today. And when not performing on stage, he demonstrates his unselfishness by contributing a big part of his musical life to educating children.
    With his mission of celebrating his love of music with the next generation, Matt will be sharing his passion with the Branford Jazz Series on August 6th.
    Growing up on the sounds of rock and blues, some of Marshak’s earliest influences were legends of their own rights – Jimi Hendrix, BB King, and Joe Satriani. Later it would be jazz guitarists such as George Benson and
    Larry Carlton who would influence Matt’s sounds. The late CD101.9 awarded Matt the title of “Best New Artist” and he started to get airplay in New York City and across the country. Soon after, Matt began touring the country and world performing at some of jazz’s biggest events. Tour stops included Spain’s Mallorca Jazz Fest, The Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, The Seabreeze Jazz Festival and many more.
    Matt Marshak

  • 8/11/2022 Jazmin Ghent

    From an accomplished music educator to one of the hottest national smooth jazz and gospel recording artists today, saxophone marvel Jazmin Ghent will grace her presence on the Branford Jazz Series stage on August 11th.
    Jazmin received a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida State University and a Master’s Degree from Tennessee State University before she began teaching music to students in grades K-5 for five years in Polk County Florida. In 2020, Jazmin was invited by the United States Embassy in Haiti to spend 7 days presenting music workshops to adults and children. She worked with musicians demonstrating the origin of jazz from standards to jazz of today. The week culminated with Jazmin headlining the International Jazz Festival in Port Au Prince, Haiti. She has also presented workshops in Syracuse, New York and Long Island, New York.
    Jazmin Ghent

  • 8/18/2022 Ronnie Smith

    From Europe to South America to the United States, music has swept guitarist Ronny Smith off of his feet and directed him toward being an incredible and popular force in the contemporary jazz industry.
    On Thursday, August 18th, this renowned artist will be spotlighted as part of the Branford Jazz Concert Series.
    A Grammy considered artist, Ronny left the University of Maryland as music education major to pursue the life as a guitarist and a United States Army Bandsman. He toured extensively throughout the world and has shared the stage with such notables as the Marvelettes, jazz drummer Bobby Durham, and trumpeter Donald Bryd. Ronny has recorded with some of the top session musicians of the Nashville and the California scene.
    Ronnie Smith

  • 8/25/2022 Special EFX featuring Chieli Minucci, Joel Rosenblatt, Davie Livolsi , Jay Rowe

    Special EFX featuring Chieli Minucci

    Guitarist, composer, producer, and arranger Chieli Minucci is longtime leader of the Grammy-nominated jazz-fusion group SPECIAL EFX featuring Chieli Minucci, a major force on the jazz and world music scene for 40 years.

    Chieli has just released 2 brand new projects – the solo, acoustic “Someone’s Singing”, as well as his 40th anniversary Special EFX CD, “Twenty Twenty 2” (both ChieliMusic). Chieli & Special EFX’s previous release saw title track, “Deep as the Night”, win Billboard Magazine’s 2018 top honors, best-song-of-the-year.

    Besides writing and performing his own music, Chieli shares his guitar brilliance throughout the entertainment world. He has recorded and performed with many top artists, such as Celine Dion, Lou Reed, Lionel Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Jewel, Mark Anthony, Michael Bolton, Rupert Holmes, Eartha Kitt, Eddie Fisher, Anastasia, as well as jazz artists Kirk Whalum, Jeff Lorber, Norman Brown, Bernie Williams, Marion Meadows, Lao Tizer, Mindi Abair, Rick Braun, Gerald Veasley, Omar Hakim, and many others. Although renowned in the jazz and pop world, Chieli is also a gifted television and film composer. He has won 3 Emmy Awards and been nominated 10 times for his eclectic compositional work. His music can also be heard on the soundtracks of the films Bowfinger, Legally Blonde, Panic, and others. Chieli’s original scoring work can be heard in live stage productions of Peter Pan, Dora the Explorer, Thomas the Tank Engine, and others.