Thursday, June 5, 2014

MYRON COHEN: The Billy Higgins Legacy Band to Appear in Oakland July 5 2014

Featured Artists Concert Series
Jazz Drummer Myron Cohen: The Billy Higgins Legacy Band
Saturday July 5, 2014
8 - 9:30pm

Musically Minded Academy
5776 Broadway   Oakland, Ca. 94618
All Ages
Musically Minded Academy has two wheelchair accessible restrooms & is friendly to those with disabilities. A childcare area is available for parents to supervise tots during concerts.

The Billy Higgins Legacy Band -The Tradition Continues
Headed up by renowned west coast jazz drummer, Myron Cohen, this concert promises to deliver some Classic Jazz Tunes, maybe a few originals and BOLDNESS will be served.  Myron says, "For a portion of the audience that is not familiar with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter or McCoy Tyner, hopefully our renditions will lead them to the source of this great Art Form." 

Debuting at this concert is a recent configuration of the Billy Higgins Legacy Band: a straight-up trio of Lee Bloom on piano, Gary Brown on double bass and Myron Cohen on drums and -- in the spirit and tradition of the BHLB -- a special guest vocalist will be featured towards the end. 
That 'special guest vocalist'?
None other than the incomprable  Mr. Kenny Washington!      

As a baby sitting in a high chair, Myron Cohen astounded his mother by tapping out syncopated rhythms with his spoon. Progressing to a field drum by fourth grade, Cohen strapped on his drum daily and marched to school–even through the snowy Wisconsin winters. This self taught innate 'enthusiasm' led Cohen at fourteen years old to be hired as the drummer for The Mary Jay Trio, a very popular jazz group led by vocalist Mary Jaber who performed in clubs throughout Wisconsin in the 1950s and early 1960s. At fifteen, he spied an advertisement for the Slingerland Drum Co. sponsored Gene Krupa’s National Amateur Swing Drummers’ Contest and persuaded his high school buddy to ‘appropriate’ his aunt’s car to drive Cohen to Chicago so that he could enter the drum contest. Louie Bellson was the judge and Cohen ended up placing second out of about 300 drummers. What was most significant about this event–other than the consequences of taking the car­–was the beginning of a lifelong friendship with Louie Bellson who recognized Cohen’s passion for the drums. 
Moving on to his student years at University of Madison, Wisconsin, Cohen joined an R&B band, The Fabulous Imitations, featuring the renowned blues singer, Tracy Nelson. Nelson encouraged Cohen to move to San Francisco and from there he went on to play with such luminaries as Michael Bloomfield, John Lee Hooker, Otis Spann, Ron Stallings,  Azar Lawrence, Ravi Coltrane,  Donald 'Rafael' Garrett, Woody Shaw, Wayne Shorter, to name a few. 
Major influences for Myron were Whether in sessions, live performances, recordings, or just informal jams, these musical experiences have given Cohen a huge vocabulary to share on the bandstand.
About The Billy Higgins Legacy Band
The BHLB was conceived by Myron Cohen in response to his own experience of musical mentoring by master drummers Louie Bellson, Elvin Jones, Buddy Rich, John Rae, Dave Black, Sonny Freeman, Buddy Miles, Subash Chandran, Ed Thigpen, Billy Hart, George Brown, and most notably the late, great, Billy Higgins. In addition to playing music, Cohen also has a disarming talent as a raconteur and collector of jazz stories from his friendships in the jazz community. In the last few years of his life, drummer Billy Higgins gave a great deal to Cohen including some fascinating stories of his life and music. Billy understood Cohen’s commitment to mentoring young musicians–especially drummers–and arranged for Cohen to work with specific West Coast jazz musicians that would appreciate Cohen’s musicality.
Other Players:
"The thing is, Washington slays 'em wherever he performs. Standing not quite five-foot-two, he's an oversize talent who can scat with the harmonic daring and rhythmic command of a bebop saxophonist, croon with the simmering soul of Donny Hathaway, and interpret standards with such intelligence and emotional commitment it's like Rodgers and Hart wrote "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" with him in mind." -- Andrew Gilbert,
Recently dubbed “the Superman of the Bay Area jazz scene” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kenny Washington is a jazz virtuoso who thrills audiences with his soulful interpretations, seemingly limitless range, and rapid-fire scatting. Ravi Coltrane has declared Kenny his favorite male vocalist, and Mark Murphy said in a Jazz Times interview that Kenny was the only contemporary male vocalist carrying on the tradition.
A San Francisco-based pianist, composer, arranger and producer, Lee has worked with a variety of creative artists in many genres including Ahmad Jamal, and Wayne Shorter to Modernist Architecture, Vaudeville,  Floyd Cramer and TV sitcoms.
Listen to music samples and view performance calendar on MySpace
Born into a family of musicians Gary Brown's inevitable musical career began at an early age. By his eleventh birthday Gary was already performing in jazz bands with his two brothers and his father,  jazz trumpeter Wilbert Brown. In the past 20 years Gary has toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Asia , South America and the Middle East where he has recorded and shared the stage with Flora Purim & Airto, Pharaoh Sanders Jeff Beal, Steve Winwood, Narada Michael WaldenDianne Reeves, Lou Rawls ,Ernie Watts,John Lucien, Torninho Horta , Eddie Henderson ,Joyce, Alex Acuna, Dori Caymmi, George Duke, Roy Ayres ,Oscar Castro Neves , Lyle Mays, Giovanni Hidalgo, Mike Shrieve, Paul McCandles, Alphonse Mouzon, Andy Narrell, Pete and Sheila (Sheile E.) Escovedo, Jose Neto Quartet.  Currently dividing his time perfoming with Flora Purim & Airto, Anamandara Trio and the Rebeca Mauleon Group, Gary continues to compose, perform and produce with various artists and is writing music for his first solo project.

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