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Saxophonist, composer and lyricist Neamen Lyles leads a band of top talents in this fantastic show! He has shared the stage with Jeff Lorber, Rick Braun, Mel Brown, Mindi Abair and more, opened for Doc and Nayo Jones at the Tucson Jazz Festival and landed concert billings with Dave Koz, Jay Soto, Gregg Karrukas and others. He has enjoyed frequent national television and radio airplay since his 2011 debut record, including being named an XM Radio Artist of the Week, recording the theme for the television show “Dr. Who” and landing multiple singles in the smooth jazz top 40 nationwide.
His dynamic and inspiring stage presence has been honed since his teen years in Phoenix, then through earning his BA in jazz studies at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music. A key faculty member coaching combos and teaching improvisation at the Tucson Jazz Institute, he has delighted in nurturing and mentoring a growing studio of talented young artists as The Institute has become one of the nation’s leading centers for youth jazz instruction. His spiritual side keeps him focused, centered and disciplined, and the joy he exudes in his performances is palpable and uplifting. His sound honors those who’ve preceded him and adventurously forges new paths. Experience this incredible performer live!
Leonard Patton has been singing, styling and scatting his way into the hearts of jazz and music lovers everywhere and is redefining the jazz scene as one of the genre's premier vocalists. A dynamic singer with an innate ability to connect with his audience, Patton joins us at ASU Kerr backed by bass, piano and his own cajon to sing from his extensive repertoire of jazz standards and samba tunes.
While Patton can be seen throughout the year in lead roles at Lambs Players Theater (San Diego), he has also performed and recorded with such notable artists as Peter Sprague, Holly Hoffman, Mike Wofford, Bill Cunliffe, Jetro Da Silva (Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder) and countless others. As lead singer of LP and the Vinyl, Patton appears on their debut CD Heard and Seen, which has achieved rave reviews worldwide. His rich, smoky voice and unique style will enchant audiences of all ages!
Buy 5 p.m. seats
Singing with signature harmony, The Four Freshmen have enamored listeners worldwide with their voices and instrumental talent for years. Their tight-knit sound inspired The Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas, Frankie Valli and The Manhattan Transfer. It all started in 1948, when four college freshmen crafted a unique style of vocal harmony that soon caught the ear of the great bandleader Stan Kenton. Kenton was responsible for bringing The Freshmen to Capitol Records, where they would record 23 albums, thrusting them into the national spotlight. The Freshmen have recorded over 75 albums, 70 top selling singles, and received six GRAMMY Nominations. While paying tribute to such classic Freshmen favorites as "Day By Day" and "Blue World," the current group also continues to bring new arrangements to their live show. The Freshmen shine on brand new arrangements of "Come Fly with Me" and "I Ain't Got Nobody." As four amazing musical talents, their show is one not to be missed!
Buy 5 p.m. seats
Buy 8:30 p.m. seats
Ken Waldman and Willi Carlisle combine old-time string-band music, original poetry, smart songwriting and down-home storytelling for a performance uniquely their own. They promise a set of music that's upbeat and inspiring, from raucous twin fiddles and original waltzes to fiddle and banjo hoedowns, the show is also a soundtrack to a surprise journey from Arizona to 35-year Alaska resident Waldman’s Real Alaska, with a detour through Carlisle’s Arkansas and The Ozarks. As a performer, Waldman has played from the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage to Berkeley's Freight and Salvage, occasionally as a soloist, more often as leader of one of his ever-changing troupes of nationally-recognized musicians. Carlisle's style, forged in the fire of Ozark oldtime music and his ever-growing collection of antique music, hoots, stomps and saunters with banjo-tricks, rhythm bones, crankies, and bad jokes.
In addition to his signature Alaska-set storytelling, Waldman, A former college professor with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, will feature a few pieces from his recent book, “Sports Page,” a collection of sports poems published by Lamar University Literary Press. Come see a pair of artists whose shows are full of fun, inspiration and surprises. You’ll experience fiddle, banjo, guitar and more. While Waldman has come through the Phoenix metro area occasionally over the years, this will be Carlisle's first-ever Arizona appearance. Join us for a night of high spirits and soul-stirring Americana!
Powerhouse vocalist Nayo Jones takes over the historic ASU Kerr with her soulful renditions of jazz favorites and her evocative originals. Jones is based in New Orleans where she performs regularly with her band The Nayo Jones Experience. In addition to her own show, Jones tours as a featured vocalist alongside New Orleans' iconic jazz trumpeter Kermit Ruffins and performs with New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, led by Adonis Rose.
Jones' impressive vocal range has been compared to Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson and Whitney Houston. She has been the opening act for the legendary George Benson, Chris Botti and more. Jones has been on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, French Quarter Fest and many other Louisiana festivals each year since 2012. She has consistently drawn rave reviews for her performances. The Nayo Jones Experience has a longstanding residency at the Carousel Lounge, located in the historic Hotel Montelone and The Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. Experience the sounds of New Orleans with this annual fave and her awesome band at the historic ASU Kerr!
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Buy 8:30 p.m. seats
What happens when a James Bond-obsessed Dominican boy in Queens (who won’t go anywhere without his Nerf gun), finds out that the real James Bond was Dominican?
This is a true story about Porfirio Rubirosa, Ian Fleming’s inspiration for Bond, and a young Dominican actor-to-be – whose discovery of “Rubi” shakes his very foundation. Set to a live percussion score and immersive projections, “The Real James Bond…Was Dominican” is a young man’s guide to love, sex, color, code-switching, white-washing, success, fake-it-till-you-make-it and the roller coaster of finding one’s true self. Immerse yourself in an unforgettable intimate theater experience at this special engagement.
Developed with and directed by Daniel Banks
Original score and percussion by Wilson Torres
Projection Design by Alexandra Kelly Colburn and Kate Freer
Lighting Design by Driscoll Otto
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Spanish guitarist and composer Oscar Peñas has performed his unique blend of jazz and classical styles as the leader of different small ensembles at Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Blue Note, the Parisian Duc Des Lombard jazz club, Philadelphia Museum of Art and other prestigious venues across the globe. Described by WNYC as “transnational cool,” his skills at arrangement, production and performance and his use of non-traditional instrumentation trace the sounds of the history that inspires his compositions. Traditional popular folk music from Spain, Brazilian urban grooves and sounds from his Iberian heritage meld with an American jazz base to defy genre and define his adventurous and transcendent style.
Peñas was born in Barcelona to a family where traditional, folk and flamenco music was loved and ever-present. Now in the U.S., the roads of his career and craft cross cultures and creative ideas, melding a jazz core with diverse rhythms and styles. He has released four jazz albums with GRAMMY winners Esperanza Spalding, Gil Goldstein and Paquito D’Rivera. He aims for the unexpected! Get to know this top notch talent at the historic ASU Kerr. One show only!
Photo ©Jimmy Katz
Beloved Phoenix-area musicians Nicole Pesce (piano), Renee Patrick and Diana Lee (vocals), Mel Brown (bass), Greg Warner (drums) and special guests Joe Garcia (percussion) and Suzanne Lansford (violin) come together to honor the music of American chart-topping superstar Dionne Warwick and her heart-stirring blend of soul, pop and rhythm and blues music. Warner has toured as Warwick's drummer since the 1980s, and will provide an authentically Warwick rhythm to the performance.
Warwick was one of the top-selling artists of the Brill Building era and has fans across many generations; 2021 is the 35th anniversary of the Dionne & Friends version of "That's What Friends Are For" becoming the number one single in the U.S. in 1986. Expect our band of all-star friends to bring big surprises and some of the world's favorite Warwick hits to this wonderful show!
ASU Kerr friend and favorite Charles Lewis (piano) returns with his swingin’ seven-man band to perform their signature style of jazz and Brazilian selections! Lewis will be joined by Joe Corral (flute, piccolo), Frank Smith (sax, flute), Dwight Kilian (bass), Dom Moio (drums), Joe Garcia (percussion) and Bill Moio (guitar) as they share their rich and full sound in the warm and wonderful acoustics of the historic ASU Kerr. As always, Lewis will delve into his stories of his time living on the Kerr property and give insights into the talent, character and kindness of our namesake Louise Lincoln Kerr. This show is a must-see for jazz lovers!
ASU Kerr Cultural Center, 6110 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85253