CAM Members: $35 individual ticket/$280 series package
Non-Members: $55 individual ticket/$440 series package
Jazz is the original American music art form, born here and enjoyed throughout the world. Cameron Art Museum is proud to present the 12th season of Jazz@CAM.
Jazz at CAM is funded in part by a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, and North Carolina Arts Council
Thursday, October 6, 2022, 7 PM
CAM Members: $35; Not Yet Members: $55
Al Strong is 2x Grammy Nominated trumpet player, composer, recording artist and educator. A cultural innovator, he is the co-founder of the Art of Cool Project, which spawned the original Art of Cool Music Festival in Durham, N.C. and the stArt of Cool youth summer camp.
Strong is lauded for his distinctively unique sound. Whether melting hearts at a whisper volume or being gracefully dynamic when the music calls for more intensity, his natural ability to strike listeners at their core is unmatched. His 2016 debut album, LoveStrong Vol. 1, a 10-song mix of original music and jazz classics, garnered national and international attention for its “blues-inflicted, Southern church-happy” sound.
A native of Washington, D.C., Strong is a graduate of the renowned Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from North Carolina Central University and a Master’s in Jazz Performance / Pedagogy from Northern Illinois University.
Strong’s discipline and dedication to his craft has forged a prominent career that includes performances with music legends such as Aretha Franklin, The Count Basie Orchestra, Dwele, Eric Roberson, and The Hamiltones. He’s also served as music director for hip-hop pioneer Rakim and has headlined shows at the Blue Note Jazz Festival, Winter Jazz Fest, and Blues Alley.
Known for his creative ability to seamlessly re-imagine existing works like Thelonious Monk’s Blue Monk and the classic My Favorite Things, Strong aims to challenge the boundaries of music while connecting with his audiences.
For the past twenty years, Benny has performed in a diverse set of musical groups and engagements, ranging from orchestra pits to cruise ships to featured artist and soloist at numerous venues across the country and abroad. Benny has a Bachelor’s of Music from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Masters of Music from Northern Illinois University. Benny currently resides in Wilmington, N.C. and is a fulltime instructor at Cape Fear Community College.
Cellist. Singer-Songwriter. Arts Advocate. Teaching Artist. Collaborator. Cultural Conduit. Shana's unique genre of ChamberSoul weaves jazz, roots, folk, acoustic pop, and a touch of R&B into melodies that echo in your head for days, engaging audiences of all ages through candid song-storytelling in performance.
A sought-after collaborator, Shana performs and records with legendary jazz saxophonist/composer Bennie Maupin, jazz flutist/composer Nicole Mitchell, Grammy-nominated NuSoul collective The Foreign Exchange and countless others. Recent North Carolina dance/cello collaborations include They Are All, an exploration of living with Parkinson’s Disease, presented at American Dance Festival 2019 with Culture Mill choreographers Murielle Elizeon and Tommy Noonan; and Continuing To Tell, a multidisciplinary public-space performance presented by Proxemic Media that highlights the history of Civil Rights in Durham, NC. Shana's film scoring credits most recently include The Legacy Of Black Wall Street (June 2021), a 2-part documentary series on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network that followed the rise of the 36-block economic hub in Oklahoma’s Greenwood district up until its tragic destruction at the hands of racist mobs.
Shortly after the release of her debut CD, SHiNE in 2011, Cirque du Soleil recruiters heard an NPR interview with Shana about her ChamberSoul songwriting and performance style, they invited her to be cellist/vocalist for their show, KÀ in Las Vegas, where she performed for five years before returning to North Carolina. Ever the citizen artist, Shana is the recipient of several grants nationwide: United Arts of Raleigh and Wake County - North Carolina and two Nevada Arts Council grants, including the prestigious Artist Fellowship for her exemplary work as a Performing Artist. Additionally, Shana has served on review panels and advisory committees for arts organizations across the country, including United Arts Council (Raleigh, NC), South Arts (Atlanta, GA), Durham Arts Council (Durham, NC) Nevada Arts Council (Carson City, NV), and NCPC ArtsMarket (Durham, NC).
A front-line advocate for arts education, Shana is an accomplished teaching artist, with over 20 years’ experience with community engagement, workshops, lesson planning and artist residency facilitation. She currently serves as Executive Director for Kidznotes, an El Sistema-inspired music-for-social-change organization in Durham, NC. Visit her website here.
Award-winning and GRAMMY-nominated pianist and composer Ernest Turner’s professional career has spanned 20 years, and has included performances and recordings with some of the biggest names in jazz and pop music, including Delfeayo Marsalis, John Legend, Raphael Saadiq, and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. His latest album, My Americana (2019), offers an understated “ode to black American music” rooted in an innovative reimagination of pieces by Stevie Wonder, Fats Waller, and others, alongside original compositions. In addition to an active performance schedule, he has conducted numerous music clinics and educational performances, and was a former faculty member at Eastern Carolina University. Turner placed second in the 2019 Jacksonville Jazz Piano Competition, and his trio was selected as the winner of the 2019 DCJazzPrix Competition.
Manny Santos is a jazz percussionist, bandleader, and vocalist who hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts and is of Cape Verdean decent. He became interested in jazz percussion at an early age and began performing professionally at the age of 15. His future would become one of polyrhythmic expressionism, inclusive of the jazz and Latin experience.
Manny moved to Boston and became a pharmacist, later to receive his MBA degree in Marketing. While in Boston he spent much of his time developing his musical “gift” at the New England Conservatory and Berklee Colleges of Music, attending some classes and performing with many of the instructors and famous recording artists. It is also during this time period when Manny became a proficient conga-drum player after studying and performing with Les Lumley and Brandon Guillermo.
Manny has worked with a host of musicians spanning an over 30-year musical caree. He has worked with multiple Grammy Award Nominee and Recipient vocalist Kurt Elling (Democratic National Convention in Boston 2004), Andre Ward, Donald Harrison, Maurice Starr, Steven Tyler (of Aerosmith), Ricki Ford, Ran Blake, Hilliard Green, Walter Beasley, and the late Jaki Byard to name but a few.
His latest project, Mangroove, was divinely-inspired and developed after moving to Wilmington, NC in 2012. Manny feels Blessed to have acquainted himself with such creative and passionate musicians as Jack Krupicka, Teddy Burgh,Natalie Boeyink, Felicia Jackson, Jerald Shynett, Doug Irving, Benny Hill, and Durham’s Brian Miller (who regularly perform in the Mangroove collective).
Manny appears on a number of recordings, including with flutist Treg Monty and pianist Yasko Kubota, No Place To Hide, (available on CDFreedom.com), with The Geoffrey Hicks Quartet, entitled Cartagena, (available on Amazon.com), with Willie Sordillo, Echoing (available on Amazon.com), and with World Music KabuJazz vocalist Candida Rose, The Sum of Me.
Thursday, February 2, 2023, 7 PM
CAM Members: $35; Not Yet Members: $55
La Fiesta Latin Jazz Quintet is led and directed by saxophonist, clarinetist and composer, Gregg Gelb, who began the group in 2010. Gelb is well known to NC audiences because of his many years of experience performing with his prior bands, Group Sax and Gregg Gelb Swing Band. Gelb is a recipient of the 2018 City of Raleigh Medal of Arts Award, a Jazz Composers Award from the North Carolina Arts Council and four Regional Artist grants from the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Arts Council. In addition to leading La Fiesta Latin Jazz Band he also leads his Jazz Quartet, Swing Band, and the Second Line Stompers, as well as being founder and director of the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Society, co-founder and player with the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra and director of the award-winning Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble. The group includes Ramon Ortiz - a Latin Jazz percussionist who is a native of the Dominican Republic began playing professionally in Santo Domingo and in his 20’s he moved to Montreal, Quebec which enabled him to play throughout Canada, the U.S., and Europe; Steve Anderson is a critically acclaimed composer and pianist whose music has been published on fourteen compact discs, four of which have appeared on the Grammy® Awards ballots; Beverly Botsford, a cross-cultural percussionist and educator who has worked with Chuck Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble, Urban Bush Women, American Dance Festival faculty and 15 years of touring with Grammy nominated, jazz vocalist, Nnenna Freelon, in such venues as the Hollywood Bowl, the Umbria Jazz Festival, Lincoln Center as well as in London, Greece, Brazil and Angola; Andy Kleindienst, bassist - also an educator and trombonist- since 2007 Andy has been the co-director for Orquesta GarDel and in 2011 the band released the Triangle’s first album of original timba music entitled Lo Que Tu Querias. The repertoire of this high energy group consists of authentic Latin Jazz made famous by such famous Latin jazz musicians as Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Buena Vista Social Club, and Dizzy Gillespie plus original tunes by Gelb, Anderson and Kleindienst. The group plays for schools, clubs and festivals. La Fiesta’s first recording entitled La Fiesta Latin Jazz Quintet was released in September of 2016. Its new 2022 CD recording is Latin Jazz Pandemic Suite.
Thursday, March 2, 2023, 7 PM
CAM Members: $35; Not Yet Members: $55
Dr. Lenora Z. Helm Hammonds is a Durham based, Chicago IL native, former U.S. Jazz Ambassador twotime Fulbright Senior Music Specialist, and a tenured, Associate Professor in the Department of Music and Jazz Studies Program at North Carolina Central University (NCCU). Her leadership in the department include being Director of Graduate Programs, Jazz Studies. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in vocal jazz performance, jazz ear training, jazz pedagogy and songwriting, directs the NCCU Vocal Jazz Ensemble. She has authored several academic and student initiatives, including the planning, design, and coordination of an NEA & North Carolina Arts Council-sponsored Teaching Artist Certificate program. Academic award highlights include a Duke University-NCCU John Hope Franklin Digital Humanities Fellowship, 2018 Javett Music Award International Jazz Scholar at University of Pretoria, South Africa, a 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Publishing, NCCU’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and receiving the highest faculty honor, the 2021 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. Lenora’s dream for creating access to under-served global populations interested in vocal jazz education was realized in the creation of a library of vocal and music entrepreneurship programs at www.LenoraHelm.online. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Film Scoring and Voice from Berklee College of Music, a Master of Music, Jazz Performance from East Carolina University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Music Education from Boston University. Her research interests and arts practice coalesce the intersections of digital humanities, intercultural maturity, and Jazz. Lenora is a published author with Routledge, Taylor & Francis, and Springer and this work is embodied in international presentations as a clinician, collaborative projects for the Mellon Foundation and National Endowment of the Arts.
Her achievements in academia are in addition to more than four decades as a recording and performing artist. P/K/A Lenora Zenzalai Helm, she is acclaimed as a jazz vocalist, vocal musicianship coach, lyricist, composer, arranger, and big band bandleader. Her achievements include seven commercially released recordings, her own recording and publishing company, Baoule Works Music Publishing, and an extensive discography with internationally renowned names in jazz and contemporary music. Her indie jazz record label, Zenzalai Music, was elected as a 2021 BIMA (Black Independent Music Accelerator) fellow, and featured record executive by A2IM (American Association of Independent Music). She is also a 2021-22 Chamber Music America Residency Presenting Jazz Consortium recipient, awarded to present her 11-song suite, Journeywoman, in virtual concerts. Her achievements garnered accolades as “...the voice of her generation,” by Jazziz Magazine. She has appeared in renowned jazz festivals and venues worldwide. Currently working on the film score for Native/Wright & Green (about the last project of writer Richard Wright), brief composer highlights include jazz composer awards from Chamber Music America/Doris Duke’s New Jazz Works, a MacDowell Colony composer fellowship, and scoring music for ESPN Black History Month ads. Her newest project and crowd-funded seventh recorded release is titled For the Love of Big Band, features her newly formed ensemble, The Tribe Jazz Orchestra® (twenty musicians, three generations of men and women performing American jazz classics and contemporary favorites utilizing innovative instrumentation) and reached JazzWeek’s top 50 radio list. Inspired to change the face of large ensembles usually lacking gender diversity, Tribe Jazz Orchestra® is Lenora’s effort to bring together a diverse group of veteran and emerging musicians from around the globe, based in North Carolina. Visit her at www.LenoraHelm.com
Skip Walker is a drummer, composer, producer, educator, and Episcopal Priest. He is a graduate of Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music (the world’s foremost institution for the study of Jazz and modern American music) where he studied with renown drummers John Ramsay, Skip Hadden, and Ed Uribe. Skip got his first break at the age seventeen touring Europe as the drummer for the New York based funk group “The Fatback Band,” but after hearing great jazz drummers such as Art Blakey, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams, Skip slowly began falling in love with Jazz. According to Skip, “although I started out being heavily in to R&B/Funk music, the more I listened to Jazz and studied Jazz History, the more I realized that this music is American History with its roots firmly planted in the African American struggle for identity, freedom and justice – I had to get into this music.”
Along with keeping a busy performance schedule, Skip is also Associate Rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (Greenville, NC), an online adjunct professor of religion at Methodist University (Fayetteville, NC), an annual workshop leader and lecturer on “Jazz, Spirituality and Race” at the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Reconciliation (Atlanta, GA), and formerly an Adjunct professor of Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina (Pembroke).
Skip is creator and host of the Thinking Sheep Podcast – A Podcast that interviews experts and everyday people about the three “R’s” of life – Race, Religion and Relationships in order to think more deeply about them.
Travis Shook,(from NYC) made his eponymous Columbia Records debut in a quartet that included Tony Williams and Bunky Green in the 1990s and also played with legendary jazz vocalist Betty Carter. Walker sought him out for his debut Jazz album because of his unique touch and sensitivity on the piano and his ability to create atmospheric colors with his approach on piano.