Alexis Cole Presents The Music of Gigi Gryce With Haneef Nelson - trumpet John DiMartino- piano Featuring Jazz Historian and Gigi Gryce biographer Noal Cohen to discuss Gigi’s life and career

Hear Gigi Gryce’s popular songs like Social Call and Music in the Air alongside many never before heard lyrics to his many lesser known gems!

Gigi Gryce was a saxophonist and composer who worked with some of the best-known names in jazz during the 1950s, including Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Max Roach. His many compositions remain a part of the jazz repertoire today.

His remarkable rise from poverty led to conservatory studies and tours of Europe and Africa before he established himself as a fixture on the New York scene. His efforts as a music publisher were bold and groundbreaking, and his quiet, unassuming personality set him apart from most of his peers. In only a decade as a professional musician, he earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues and served as a mentor to numerous aspiring young players. Gryce’s sudden disappearance at the start of the 1960s left the jazz world wondering as to his fate. Few were aware of his change of identity and professional rebirth.

Jazz Historian Noal Cohen co-authored the only known biography of Gigi Gryce. Misinformation about Gryce abounds, and rumors have circulated for decades. Years of research and dozens of interviews were conducted for this book, resulting in a biography that finally tells the true story of this often overlooked figure and illuminates his contributions to one of the richest periods in jazz history.

Alexis Cole has been compared to classic jazz singers such as Sarah Vaughan and Anita O'Day. A Top Winner of the Jazzmobile Vocal Competition judged by jazz icons TS Monk, Catherine Russell, Grady Tate and Dr. Billy Taylor, 3rd prize winner in the Montreux Jazz Vocal Competition, and a finalist in the Sarah Vaughan Competition, Alexis has a dozen albums to her credit on Motéma, Chesky, Venus Records and Zoho. She has recorded with such artists as Fred Hersch, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Don Braden. She’s been a soloist with the Boston Pops, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and has headlined at clubs around the US and Asia.

As an educator, Alexis was the head of vocal jazz at the conservatory at SUNY Purchase and counts Grammy Winning Samara Joy and rising star Anaïs Reno as her students. She is the founder and director of JazzVoice.com an online educational community featuring singing classes, professional development sessions and private lessons from a roster of renowned jazz vocalists and educators. And she is co-founder of the Virginia Beach Vocal Jazz Summit. Her most recent release “Jazz Republic: Taiwan, The United States and the Freedom of Swing” features original arrangements for big band and orchestra, performed by Alexis with the Taipei Jazz Orchestra. Alexis' latest endeavor is MusicAuditions.com, a website to connect musicians to employers.

Haneef N. Nelson works as a Composer/Arranger, Bandleader, Sideman, Musical Curator, and Educator based out of Hartford, CT. He was introduced to the trumpet at age 12 and has stuck with it ever since. His earliest education in Jazz came from the Jazzmobile where he studied with Eddie Preston, Cecil Bridgewater, and Donald Byrd among others. He also studied with Dave Burns at the Long Island High School of the Arts and then attended The Hartt School to study with Jackie McLean, Raymond Williams, Steve Davis and Nat Reeves as well as other faculty.

His passion for the music also brought him to the classroom to teach the cultural significance of the music known as Jazz. He has taught at The Hartt School, UMASS Amherst, Amherst College, Keene State College and currently teaches at the University of Rhode Island. In addition to his own groups, he is a long-standing member of several other bands in multiple genres. He has also had the honor of sharing the stage with the likes of Rene McLean, Bill Saxton, Jimmy Owens, Donald Byrd, William Cepeda, Wilson “Chembo” Corniel, Nat Reeves, Steve Davis, Yoron Israel, Avery Sharpe, Winard Harper, Frank Lacy, Bill Lowe, Chico Freeman, Helen Sung, Wayne Escoffrey, Kris Allen, Abraham Burton, E.J. Strickland, Brandee Younger, Dezron Douglas, David Bryant, Stacey Dillard, Zaccai Curtis, Luques Curtis, Ray McMorrin, Josh Evans, Doobie Powell, Billy “Church Boy” Powell, Kevin Powell, Ace Livingstone, and Musiq Soulchild among many others.

John di Martino is a composer, arranger, jazz pianist, producer and educator, based in New York City. He is described as a "shape-shifter", for his creativity across musical genres. John composed the music for the documentary series:“A Glimpse Of Paradise" ( Prospera Medienproduktion ) aired on Europe’s Arte Channel, and music for the video games:"Batman: The Telltale Series” Mr. Di Martino latest CD’s are: “Passion Flower” ( the music of Billy Strayhorn ), Featuring Raul Midon, Eric Alexander, Boris Kozlov, and Lewis Nash, and: “Mazel” ( Yiddish Songs, re-imagined), with Janis Siegel and Cantor Daniel Krammer.

John has recorded numerous CDs on the High Note and Venus Records (Japan) labels as a leader, and with Freddy Cole, Gloria Lynn, Houston Person, and Nicki Parrott. John’s discography includes Grammy-nominated CD’S: ”Love" ( Issac Delgado ), "Freddy Cole Sings Mr. B" and "Live And In Clave" ( Bobby Sanabria ). John di Martino was a long time member of Ray Barretto's "New World Spirit", He is a featured arranger and pianist on many of Ray Barretto's recordings including the grammy-nominated, CD: "Contact" and "Portraits In Jazz And Clave" ( featuring James Moody, Kenny Burrell, Joe Lovano, Steve Turre, and Eddie Gomez ). Born in Philadelphia, Pa in 1959, John studied with Jimmy Amadie, Lennie Tristano, and Don Sebesky.