Quentin E. Baxter presents three jazz concerts on Kiawah,
sponsored by the Town of Kiawah Island Cultural Events Fund
Each concert is $30 general admission and starts at 4pm
CHARLESTON, SC – GRAMMY® Award-winning musician/producer and world-renowned drummer Quentin E. Baxter presents another three-concert series on Kiawah Island, SC. Each concert is $30 for general admission and starts at 4pm. In addition, a limited three-concert package will be offered for $75. Tickets are available at www.baxtermusic.com or by calling 843-766-8814. The concert series is sponsored by the Town of Kiawah Island Cultural Events Fund. Artist photos are available upon request.
VETERANS of JAZZ
SUNDAY, JANUARY 15, 2023, at 4pm
Turtle Point Clubhouse – Legends Room
1 Turtle Point Lane, Kiawah Island, SC 29455
The series’ first concert will feature Benedetto Guitarists Wayne Wilkinson, Howard Paul, and Shawn Purcell.
Accompanying the concert will be bassist Delbert Felix and drummer Quentin E. Baxter.
Wayne Wilkinson is a headliner jazz guitarist who performs and tours across the country and internationally. Throughout his four-decade career, Wayne has shared the stage with iconic jazz musicians, world-class performers, and a President of the United States. Endorsed by Benedetto guitars, GHS strings, and Jim Dunlop picks, Wilkinson is known for his high-octane melodic playing, of which world-renowned jazz trombonist Bill Watrous said: “Is the greatest guitar playing I’ve ever heard.” In addition to concerts, festivals, jazz clubs, recital series, jazz and swing societies, and private venue events, recent performances have included: the London, Tel Aviv, and Vail Jazz Festivals, a United Kingdom Tour, and Hawaii Tour. Additionally, Wilkinson has played at the White House, Carnegie Hall, and major jazz and music festivals with the premier Air Force Jazz Ensembles “The Airmen of Note” in Washington, D.C., and the “Falconaires” in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Howard Paul strikes an exhausting balance between performances, lectures, and recordings as a jazz guitarist and running the day-to-day operations as President/CEO of internationally renowned Benedetto Guitars. Growing up in the Atlantic City, NJ area, he’s been a Savannah, GA, resident since arriving as a U.S. Army officer in 1991. An Officer Candidate School graduate, his Army career included tours of Operation Desert Storm and Somalia’s Restore Hope as a Captain/Company Commander and senior logistics officer. He also held a senior executive position with Chatham Steel Corporation in Savannah for ten years while performing in jazz clubs at night. In 2006 he partnered with luthier Robert Benedetto, forming Benedetto Guitars, Inc., now celebrating more than 50 years!
As a musician, Howard has performed extensively with many guitar legends, including Bucky Pizzarelli, Jimmy Bruno, Joe Beck, Romero Lubambo, and Howard Alden, in small groups with GRAMMY® winners Tom Scott, Mark Egan, Bob James, Laurence Hobgood, Gary Novak, Bob Sheppard, Quentin Baxter, Matt Rollings, and Kirk Whalum; B3 masters Joey Defrancesco and Tony Monaco, saxophonists Don Braden, Ritchie Cole, and many others. In addition, he performed for over 20 years with bass legend Ben Tucker following his arrival in Savannah. Howard is a 2011 inductee of the Coastal Jazz Hall of Fame, chaired the Savannah Jazz Festival for four years, and held a five-year presidency of SavannahJazz (Coastal Jazz Association). His most recent CD releases include The Presidents w/Jody Espina, New Adventures w/Tony Monaco in 2014, Just Friends w/Bob James in 2011, and Jammin’ at the Jazz Corner w/Ali Ryerson Trio in 2009.
Howard holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is married to Patricia Paul (attorney/clarinet), and has a 24-year-old son, Andy, a graduate of Emory University, Teach for America, and is enrolled in law school.
Shawn Purcell, originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a jazz guitarist, educator, arranger, and composer in the Washington, DC, region. Purcell has shared the stage, recorded, and toured with Pat Bianchi, Terell Stafford, Chris Potter, Tim Warfield, Sean Jones, Brian Charette, Regina Carter, The Chicago Jazz Ensemble, The Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Jim Pugh, Chip McNeill, Eddie Daniels, Steve Allee, Stockton Helbing, Jason Tiemann, Nicholas Payton, and many others. He’s also performed at jazz clubs and festivals nationally and internationally, including Blues Alley, Smalls, Parker Jazz Club, The Elephant Room, Monks Jazz, Scat Jazz Lounge, The Jazz Kitchen, The Blue Wisp, The Jazz Factory, Club Bonafide, JazzB (Sao Paulo, Brazil), D.C. Jazz Fest, JEN, PASIC, IAJE, Savannah Jazz Festival, Indy Jazz Fest and Jazz Alive Summer Concert Series.
Purcell is on more than 30 recordings with artists including Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra, The Capitol Bones, Steve Fidyk, Chip McNeill, Ben Patterson Group and Ben Patterson Jazz Orchestra, Darden Purcell, The String Queens, and Mike Tomaro Big Band. Symmetricity, Purcell’s first recording as a leader, was released in 2019 on Armored Records, and his follow-up recording as a leader, 180, was released in 2022 on Origin Records.
Purcell has spent over 18 years as a member of the military Big Bands in Washington, DC. From 1996-2004, Purcell was the guitarist in the U.S. Air Force jazz ensemble, The Airmen of Note. During his time with “The Note,” Purcell performed worldwide, including in England, Germany, Turkey, Luxembourg, The Azores, Belgium, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, and Bahrain. He is currently the guitarist with the Washington DC-based U.S. Navy Band “Commodores” jazz ensemble.
As an educator, Purcell currently serves as an adjunct professor of jazz guitar and jazz arranging at George Mason University and a part-time lecturer of guitar at West Virginia University. He has served on the jazz faculty at Towson University and Middle Tennessee State University and was a Visiting Lecturer in Jazz Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, under the direction of David Baker. He’s led master classes at major universities in the country and served on the faculty for several organizations (The Mason Summer Jazz Camp, The National Jazz Workshop, Maryland Summer Jazz Camp, and The National Guitar Workshop). Purcell has penned educational articles for Premier Guitar, Jazz Guitar Life, and DownBeat Magazine. Purcell earned a B.S. from Duquesne University, an M.A. in Music from Middle Tennessee State University, and a DMA in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2023, at 4pm
Turtle Point Clubhouse – Legends Room
1 Turtle Point Lane, Kiawah Island, SC 29455
The second concert of the series will feature pianist Geoffrey Keezer.
Accompanying Keezer for the concert will be bassist Rodney Jordan and drummer Quentin E. Baxter.
With his highly regarded discography, unique compositions, and acclaimed performances in various configurations, multiple GRAMMY®-nominated pianist Geoffrey Keezer commands the attention typically reserved for the living legends of jazz. A native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Keezer was playing in jazz clubs as a teenager, holding down the piano chair for Art Blakey at age 18, and touring in the company of Ray Brown, Joshua Redman, Diana Krall, Art Famer, Benny Golson and Barbara Hendricks in his 20s. Recently, he has toured with Wayne Shorter, Dianne Reeves, David Sanborn, Chris Botti, Sting, Joe Locke, and Christian McBride; produced and arranged three GRAMMY®-nominated recordings with vocalist Denise Donatelli, and released a series of albums drawing influences from Hawaiian Okinawan and Afro-Peruvian folk traditions. His 2009 album Áurea (ArtistShare) was nominated for a Best Latin Jazz Album.
GRAMMY® award. Geoffrey’s 2013 solo piano release, Heart of the Piano (Motema Records), seeks to redefine solo jazz piano as a personal and interactive showcase of melody, energy, and groove. His latest album, On My Way to You (MarKeez Records 2018), is a stunning new set of music featuring his working trio with the addition of guest vocalist Gillian Margot.
Geoffrey’s compositions have been commissioned by the Mainly Mozart Festival, Art of Elán ensemble, Saint Joseph Ballet, Zeltsman Marimba Festival, Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, and Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. In addition, his music can be heard in the films What Happens in Vegas and Inhale and in numerous T.V. shows, including The Young and the Restless (CBS), Parks and Recreation (NBC), House of Lies (Showtime), and Casual (Hulu Original).
Time Magazine wrote, “Geoffrey has more than enough virtuosity and sheer musical wit and intelligence to weave all of his disparate strands of influence into an original and compelling whole.” Pop icon Sting said, “In the universe of piano players that I have been exposed to over the years, Geoffrey has proved himself to be not only a superb technician and improviser, but also above and beyond this, a composer and conceptualist who can maintain the overall line and the DNA of the song in everything he plays. A musician’s musician.”
RENÉ MARIE & Experiment In Truth
SUNDAY, MARCH 12, 2023, at 4pm
West Beach Conference Center
2 Shipwatch Road, Kiawah Island, SC 29455
The third concert of the series will feature award-winning vocalist René Marie with pianist Xavier Davis, bassist Elias Bailey, and drummer Quentin E. Baxter.
René Marie is a very rare artist. A modern vocal icon, her unique artistry has been recognized with multiple domestic and international awards, including two GRAMMY Award nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album. A lyricist, composer, arranger, playwright, actress, educator, speaker, and social justice activist, René is an Americana roots artist with improvisational jazz chops. Influenced by her southern upbringing, she incorporates folk, R&B, country, and classical elements into her music and approach, lending her a unique sound and style that have captivated audiences worldwide. Over two decades, 11 recordings, and countless festival and concert stage performances, René inspires people with her artistry, life story, and ability to affirm the power of the human spirit. Her latest GRAMMY recording, Sound of Red (Motéma), celebrates her life story. René exclaims of her current concept, Pain + Wisdom = Beauty™:
An emotional equation colored and shaped by solitude and shared experience.
We run from Pain. But running is futile.
Three projects: Pain, Wisdom, Beauty.
Exploring the essence of our humanity with
Pain and Wisdom as co-teachers, two sides of the emotional coin.
Beauty shines a light on the path that brought us here.
Pain. Wisdom. Beauty.
Three integers in a musical journey reflecting the sum of our experience.
Born the fifth of seven children in Warrenton, Virginia, René absorbed a wide variety of music during her childhood – blues, folk, opera, bluegrass, and classical – and studied piano for two years. After her parents divorced, she moved with her mother to Roanoke, Virginia, and began singing in R&B bands. She composed her first original song when she was 15, and by 18, she joined a strict religion that required her to stop singing. She married a former bandmate of the same faith, had two sons, and began working at a bank. At age 42, René listened to the encouragement of her older son, who knew she needed to sing again. She started singing for tips one night a week in a smoky hotel bar with the house band and, within a year, had established her trio, JazzBone. Initially supportive, her husband quickly became disenchanted with “her success” and issued an ultimatum: stop singing or leave their home. Tension over the issue escalated from emotional abuse to domestic violence. René left the house and, ultimately the marriage behind.
“Something happened when I started interacting creatively with musicians again. A part of my personality came back to life, a part I had surrendered. The music allowed me to act as my own advocate and defend myself. When my husband gave that ultimatum, I didn’t leave because I wanted so badly to sing. I left because the idea of being with someone who thought it was okay to dictate the terms of my life was untenable,” she said.
Over the next 18 months, René made a flurry of monumental life changes. She moved to Richmond, Virginia, and divorced her husband of 23 years. She also left the bank and her religion and produced her first CD Renaissance in 1999). René won the title role in the Richmond world premiere production of “Ella and Her Fella, Frank”; and signed to the Maxjazz record label. In 2000 Maxjazz released How Can I Keep from Singing, which immediately grabbed the jazz industry’s attention. Three more acclaimed albums on the label followed: Vertigo (2001), Live at Jazz Standard (2003), and Serene Renegade (2004), along with glowing national press.
In 2005 René moved to Denver and assumed creative ownership of her career, self-releasing and co-producing her 6th release, Experiment in Truth (2007). In 2008, she originated and produced “Two Skirts and A Shirt,” a show of 70’s protest music that toured nationally and featured jazz vocalists Carla Cook and Allan Harris. She wrote and starred in Slut Energy Theory: U’Dean, a heralded one-woman musical drama about overcoming abuse and incest, which premiered at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City in October 2009. Its soundtrack became her 7th recording. Always focused on healing and giving back, René launched a series of vocal therapy group sessions in 2010 called SLAM.
“I’ve never been to college or received any professional training. So, at times, I can feel a bit anxious about my ability to convey my personal approach to singing while overseeing the business. I’ve learned that many musicians have these same struggles. However, I also know what I know, and that has come from a lot of performing experience and vulnerability on the stage. SLAM helps singers use their natural voice and personality to find their sweet spots as performers. And I do what I can to help my fellow vocalists claim their story and their power in every way,” she said.
Voice of My Beautiful Country showcased René’s Americana core and announced her signing with the Motéma label. The stunning 2011 release spanned a century’s worth of American music, from traditional to folk to Tin Pan Alley songs, and also gave voice to patriotic songs as if composed by disenfranchised Americans. Black Lace Freudian Slip (Motéma) followed that same year and tapped into longing, independence, and prayerful introspection. Finally, she brought all of her experience and interests together with her lauded 2013 release, I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Eartha Kitt (Motéma), which was nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album at the 57th GRAMMY Awards. Again, René highlighted Ms. Kitt’s undaunted commitment to the power of the feminine and social justice. Her second GRAMMY Nomination in the same category recognized her next Motéma release of all originals, Sound of Red (2017). Always a strong lyricist and composer, she created an 11-song journey that gives insight into profound turning points of her life. Her clever songcraft and sensual vocal delivery made those personal moments not only meaningful but also enlightening to her growing audience.
“I wanted to make a record that people could revisit again and again to unlock their emotions. In order to move through our days and our lives, we learn to cover things up. We don’t think we can be vulnerable to pain, loss, confusion, hurt and frustration and keep going. I wanted this record to provide a kind of architectural support for the spirit and help us feel more deeply together,” she said.
René has a profoundly personal understanding of music’s capacity to change lives. With her touring and recording group, Experiment in Truth, she fearlessly explores the nooks and crannies of the human psyche and experience. Songs about inner strength, family ties, self-determination
and positivity is on her set list, along with those about homelessness, domestic abuse, depression, and addiction. René is a frequent star guest of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, and many more that tap into big, brassy celebrations of fun and sass.
“I have never forgotten the early lessons learned about the power of music. I try to strike a balance with the right amount of light and dark into every musical offering. I am very happy to be alive today, doing the things I love to do – singing, composing, arranging, writing, teaching – reaching people and unleashing the power of our emotions,” she said.