2019 Season

With the Waban Library only able to accommodate 40-50 people, we knew we had to have a larger venue and the Parish of Auburndale proved to be a wonderful choice. We also added more concerts and brought more audio and video professionals.

George Russell Jr. and Yoko Miwa

Yoko and George

“Pianist Yoko Miwa displays unpretentious melodies, elegant phrasing, and the lyrical sensibility of a jazz poet.”Jazziz Magazine
“She has the enviable ability to play in any context with authenticity, clarity, and spontaneity…” -Wilbert Sostre, JazzTimes
Internationally acclaimed pianist/composer Yoko Miwa is quickly becoming known as one of the most powerful and compelling performers on the scene today. Her trio – with its remarkable telepathy and infectious energy – has brought audiences to their feet worldwide. Of Miwa’s 2017 release Pathways, Dan McClenaghan of All About Jazz said, “4 stars–This is Yoko Miwa at her extroverted best…her finest recording to date.” Pathways – her seventh as a leader – which spent 4 weeks on the Jazz Week top 10 radio charts and is earning wide critical acclaim.
Miwa was the subject of a feature article in the September 2017 issue of DownBeat that referenced her “impressive technique and a tuneful lyricism that combines an Oscar Peterson-ish hard swing with Bill Evans-like introspection.”She plays regularly at major jazz clubs in their home city of Boston, as well as venues around the world. A favorite of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Miwa was chosen to play on “Marian McPartland & Friends.” Miwa also appears regularly at New York’s famed Blue Note Jazz Club and has performed and/or recorded with a wide range of jazz greats including Sheila Jordan, Slide Hampton, Arturo Sandoval, George Garzone, Jon Faddis, Jerry Bergonzi, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington, Kevin Mahogany, John Lockwood and Johnathan Blake among others. In the late 1990s, the classically-trained artist auditioned for Berklee College of Music on a lark and ended up winning a full scholarship. She arrived at the school from her homeland of Japan in 1997, intending to stay for a year. In 2017, she’s still in Boston, enriching the city’s musical life and serving as one of the most popular professors in the Berklee piano department.

Dr. Brad Barrett is a Boston-based bassist and has been a collaborator with Yoko Miwa since 2010.  Brad holds a BA in Music from Michigan State University, a Master’s in Jazz Performance from New England Conservatory Brad has recently completed his doctorate at New England Conservatory and has just released his first album as a leader called “Cowboy Transfiguration” with Tyshawn Sorey and Joe Morris.

Drummer Scott Goulding has appeared as a sideman on over 50 CD releases on labels in the US, Europe and Japan, including 4 releases with tenor saxophone legend Jerry Bergonzi. He was a featured performer at the 2018 Atlanta Jazz Festival, the 2018 Litchfield Jazz Festival, and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2011 Coca-Cola Generations Jazz Festival recorded for Marian McPartland’s NPR show Piano Jazz. Scott has performed in such notable venues as The Blue Note in NYC, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC, Cotton Club in Tokyo, Japan, and The Blue Note in Nagoya, Japan. Additionally, he has toured throughout the United States and internationally, and has performed with Sheila Jordan, George Garzone, Larry Grenadier, Jerry Bergonzi, Joanne Brackeen, Michel Camillo, Kevin Mahogany, Charles Neville, Jeremy Pelt, Hiromi, Anat Cohen, Lionel Loueke, Avishai Cohen, Rudresh Manthappa, He also plays with piano legend Harvey Diamond in his trio. Scott is an endorser for Zildjian Cymbals and Canopus Drums. Since 2015, Scott has held the position of Music Director at Monkfish, one of the area’s top jazz venues.

Our returning artist from the previous season, George Russell Jr.’s playing is filled with passion, fire, soul, and, most of all, spirit. As George continued studying music in college, he discovered jazz and the harmonies that were used in jazz. It was then that he began to understand what exactly he was playing, both in church and from his classical repertoire. In that period of time, George’s unique fusion of Gospel and Jazz was beginning to form. Currently, George is the Chair of the Harmony Department at the Berklee College of Music. Prior to becoming Chair, He served as a Professor of Harmony and Piano at Berklee. George will often refer to himself as “a drummer who happens to play the piano.” This is made clear when you hear the strong sense of rhythm that envelops each and every performance.
George is joined by Sean Skeete, drummer, and educator from Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies. Currently, Sean is the Chair of the Ensemble Department at Berklee College of Music where he has been teaching for more than 15 years. He teaches ensembles, hip-hop, R&B, and Funk drumming courses. In addition, Sean travels extensively, presenting music workshops and clinics, both, domestically and internationally. 
“Wewh! That Bass player is great” said Carlos Santana with a smile as he listened to a recent recording of Wes Wirth who regularly performs, teaches, and records in the Boston area. Fluent in many styles including jazz, gospel, reggae, calypso, and Afro-pop, his Global music ensemble performs music that is a unique blend of haunting melodies, intricate and pulsating rhythms, vocal effects, loops, and improvisation. All that interpreted by world-class musicians including:


Daniela Schächter and Laszlo Gardony

Daniela Schächter was already performing and doing studio session work in her mid-teens. After her classical studies, she received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music. She won many prestigious awards and competitions including the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition, the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Competition, the Terri Lyne Carrington Endowed Scholarship and the Henry Mancini Institute. Daniela has performed international Festivals and concerts with the Boston Pops, the Count Basie Big Band, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, John Dankworth, the New York Voices, Terri Lyne Carrington, Patti Austin, Regina Carter, Christian McBride, Ingrid Jensen, Shirley Horn, among others. She has been conducted by Quincy Jones, Patrick Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, John Clayton Jr., Elmer Bernstein, Bob Brookmeyer, Justin DiCioccio and Phil Wilson. Her first CD Quintet is available on www.cdbaby.com. Her third CD entitled “Purple Butterfly” was released at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in NY. Daniela is an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music and Adjunct Professor at Montclair State University. website
Grammy Award-winning drummer, percussionist, author, and educator Mark Walker began playing drum set at age 10 and played his first professional club, concert, and recording gigs barely out of high school. He has performed on many Grammy Award-winning albums and earned several Grammy nominations for his work with various artists, including Oregon, Donato Poveda, Paquito D’Rivera, and the Caribbean Jazz Project.  He has performed and recorded extensively with Michel Camilo, Dave Samuels, Andy Narell, WDR Big Band, NDR Big Band, Eliane Elias, Lyle Mays, Dave Liebman, Cesar Camargo Mariano, Rosa Passos, and many more. Walker is a professor in the Percussion Department at Berklee College of Music. He also has served on the faculty at Drummers Collective in New York City and has conducted master classes, clinics, and workshops in South America, North America, and Europe, both as a solo artist and with various groups. His book World Jazz Drumming, which features recorded performances by Paquito D’Rivera, was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. He also wrote for the all-star instructional drum set book Killer Grooves.
Laszlo Gardony

“A formidable improviser who lives in the moment” – JazzTimes
Laszlo has performed in 27 countries and released a dozen albums during his distinguished decades-long career. Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Gardony has been called “a pianist worthy of praise within the highest pantheon of performers” by Jazz Review, and “a great pianist” by Dave Brubeck.
Born in Hungary, Gardony showed an early aptitude on the piano devising little tunes inspired by the blues, pop and classical music he heard around the house. Immersed in the European classical tradition while growing up, he was drawn to progressive rock as a teenager and spent countless hours improvising blues-based music at the piano. He investigated gospel and studied jazz, a passion that soon overshadowed his classical pursuits. “We had jazz and African music classes at the Conservatory,” Gardony recalls. “There were some very knowledgeable people and a lot of records. When it came to jazz it was a tiny community, but very inspiring.”
A full scholarship to Berklee brought him to America in 1983, and a faculty position at the school upon graduation kept him stateside. He made his US recording debut with the acclaimed 1988 album The Secret (Antilles) featuring Czech bass great Miroslav Vitous and drummer Ian Froman, but it was his 1st place win the following year at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition that catapulted him into the national spotlight. The Boston Globe named Gardony’s latest solo piano recording, “Serious Play” one of the 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2017. His 2015 live sextet album, “Life In Real Time” was also on the 10 Best Jazz Albums of 2015 list of the Boston Globe. Laszlo has been living in Boston for the past thirty-four years, where he is a Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music. He continues to tour and record, attracting new fans and earning critical acclaim for his synthesis of many musical sources and for creating a joyous, powerful, insightful, and open-spirited music. website
Drummer Yoron Israel has a B.M. from Roosevelt University, and an M.M. from Rutgers University. He is a bandleader in his own right who has released quite a few recordings: Here Today, and Visions (Ronja Music), featuring High Standards; Basic Traneing (Ronja Music); Chicago (Double Time Records), featuring Organic; Live at the Blue Note (Half Note); and A Gift for You (Ronja Music), featuring Connection. He has performed extensively and recorded over 200 recordings with such renowned artists as Sonny Rollins, Horace Silver, Ahmad Jamal, Abbey Lincoln, Art Farmer, Tony Bennett, Kenny Burrell, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, James Williams, Joe Lovano, Tom Harrell, Roy Hargrove, Shirley Caesar, and the Chicago Civic Orchestra.
He has been reviewed in publications such as Modern DrummerDown Beat, Jazz Times, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the Boston Globe. Israel is a former faculty member of Rutgers University, William Patterson University, and the New School/Mannes College of Music. He teaches drum set, general percussion, vibraphone, ensembles, jazz history, and theory, and is the owner and president of the music publishing and production company Ronja Music.
Paul Chambers, Ron Carter, and Ray Brown, are just a few of the names that stand out in the history of bass players. Their artistry and craftsmanship make them indispensable to musicians wanting to perform their best and the reason they are on hundreds of recordings. In Boston, John Lockwood is considered the premiere bassist and it is no surprise he has turned up every year at the Summit. He has toured the U.S. and Europe with Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Burton, the Mel Lewis Big Band, and The Fringe. He has also performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, MIT Symphony, Pat Metheny, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Shaw, Toots Thielemans, Stan Getz, and Art Farmer. He will be anchoring both groups on this doubleheader concert.
Leo Genovese and Wes Wirth and the Global Music Ensemble
2019 NPS

Last year this ensemble floored everyone with unexpected mashups of familiar and unfamiliar sounds, rhythms, and melodies. We are excited to have them back this year. “Wewh! That Bass player is great” said Carlos Santana with a smile as he listened to a recent recording of Wes who regularly performs, teaches, and records in the Boston area. Fluent in many styles including jazz, gospel, reggae, calypso, and Afro-pop, his Global music ensemble performs music that is a unique blend of haunting melodies, intricate and pulsating rhythms, vocal effects, loops, and improvisation. All that interpreted by world-class musicians including:
Joh Camara
a master drummer, dancer, and Griot, from West Africa. When Joh is not touring North America or Europe, he’s often found working with the Boston Ballet, Boston Symphony Youth Orchestra and Choir, Upward Bound, Planet Aid, and teaching classes at BU, Brown, and Harvard.
David ‘Fuze’ Fiuczynski on double-neck microtonal guitar, best known as the leader of the Screaming Headless Torsos and as a member of Hasidic New Wave. He has played on more than 95 albums as a session musician, bandleader, or band member.
Kenwood Dennard He has enjoyed a multifaceted, star-studded career as a performer, recording artist, and educator. He has toured the world with such greats as George Clinton, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Whitney Houston, and Joe Zawinul. His numerous recordings include Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun, Vanessa Williams’s The Sweetest Days, and Live at Montreux with Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. He has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Pat Martino, The Manhattan Transfer, Dianne Reeves, Lew Soloff, Bob Moses, Stanley Jordan, Maceo Parker, Victor Bailey, Dave Bargeron, Hiram Bullock, and Marcus Miller.
Leo Genovese 
Perhaps most well known of the Summit performers, Leo Genovese has been kept busy by bassist and vocalist phenomena Esperanza Spalding since he joined her group in 2005. Genovese was born in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, in 1979 and began playing the piano at the age of 5. He studied music and accounting at the University of Rosario, and lucky for us, he abandoned accounting. In 2001 he began studying at the Berklee College of Music and graduated in 2003. His first album, Haiku II, was released the following year. A reviewer for The New York Times commented on Genovese’s 2013 album, Seeds, that, “by refusing to privilege one historical style over another, he strengthens his claim as a polyglot”. Down Beat observed that Genovese’s compositions for the album “share an exploratory nature, whether the new terrain in question is a marriage of electronic and acoustic sounds, an unlikely use of chromatic scaling or the successful juxtaposition of otherwise disparate ideas.

Previous year’s performances can be found here and on the Waban Improvement Society’s facebook page.

This program is supported in part by grants from Advance Auto in Nonantum, the Village Bank with a long tradition of commitment to the Garden City, and the Newton Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.