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September 12 @ 7:00 pm
Sensational new artist, Kayla Waters is an elite pianist, composer, producer and music director. After landing a record deal with Trippin N’ Rhythm Records (SONY), Kayla gracefully returns with her second consecutive Billboard No. 1 single “Zephyr” from her sophomore album release “Coevolve.” The single reigned at the No. 1 position for 4 weeks. This year, Kayla’s well-deserving achievements have been recognized on a national level. She received the 2019 Rising Star in Jazz Award from the Black Women in Jazz and the Arts Foundation as well as receiving the 2019 Best Jazz Artist Award at the Wammies in Washington, DC.
Early on, Kayla’s debut single “I Am” from her first record “Apogee” soared upward and hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Chart just 10 weeks after its debut. After a very successful breakout year, both Kayla’s debut single and album charted on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Songs and Albums of the Year. Kayla has eloquently found herself welcoming and utilizing a plethora of opportunities to play and work with musical legends, music directors and major recording artists worldwide. This distinctive list includes musical giants such as Stevie Wonder, Patrice Rushen, Avery*Sunshine, Maysa Leak, Kim Burse and Ray Chew to name a few. This past year, Kayla exploded on the music scene, gracing renowned stages across the country including the Berks Jazz Festival, Seabreeze Jazz Festival, Derby City Jazz Festival, Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival, Baltimore County African American Jazz Festival, Music City Jazz Festival and the Catalina Island Jazz Festival. Kayla’s gifts also garnered her national recognition on the BET television network’s highly acclaimed “Black Girls Rock” awards show. Kayla expertly played keyboards for the legendary Gladys Knight, Marsha Ambrosius, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Imani Uzuri. She was also a featured performing artist at the first annual Fender Rhodes Fest in Los Angeles, California along with a host of stellar music contemporaries.
Kayla, a classically trained child who grew up in a jazz household, is no stranger to the music world. Her parents observed the musical proclivities in their child from as early as 10-months old, when baby Kayla regularly found her way into the family living room and began “playing” the family’s Brentwood acoustic piano. Her parents enrolled her in piano lessons at the age of six. Since that pivotal moment, she instantly fell in love and began to master her musical gifts with excellence. As the daughter of Kim Waters, international smooth jazz icon, Kayla closely observed the inner workings and processes of the music industry. While watching his career unfold, she soon became inspired to pursue a career as a solo jazz pianist. In addition to being featured on several of her father’s albums, she has performed with him at renowned concerts and jazz festivals worldwide. Collectively, these experiences nurtured her inner artistry, and served as critical preparation for Kayla’s evolution as an emerging arranger, composer and songwriter.
As a graduate of Howard University, where she obtained a Bachelor Music Degree in Piano Performance (Summa Cum Laude), Kayla gives extensive credit to this institution for her success as a budding recording artist. She is also a member of the Grammy Recording Academy in Washington, DC and the Associate Music Director at Grace Brethren Church in Clinton, MD. Kayla continuously acknowledges that God is at the forefront of everything she does. It is He who orchestrates her steps and for this she is eternally grateful.
Gerald Veasley Live at South
Gerald Veasley’s musical odyssey has taken him to the top of the contemporary music world as a bassist, bandleader, composer, producer, educator, and curator. His performance as a six-string bassist has been top shelf, as his extensive body of work attests. Veasley has recorded or performed with many of the world’s top artists in Jazz, R&B and Gospel: Kirk Whalum, Will Downing, Chuck Loeb, Maysa, Nnenna Freelon, Special EFX, Pieces of a Dream, McCoy Tyner, The Jaco Pastorius Big Band, Gerald Levert, Teddy Pendergrass, Philip Bailey, the Dixie Hummingbirds, John Blake, Odean Pope and Pat Martino.
Veasley’s new recording, Live at SOUTH is the latest chapter of a multi-decade career of combining jazz, funk and soul genres into a tantalizing blend of earthy sophistication. Schooled by his mentors Joe Zawinul of Weather Report fame and saxophone giant Grover Washington Jr., the six-string bassist continues to blur musical boundaries with his latest project. As the title suggests, Live at SOUTH was captured live at South Jazz Parlor, a premier jazz venue, located in Veasley’s hometown of Philadelphia. The recording documents Veasley’s outstanding band in a 10 song set of music that is fresh, in-the-moment and crackling with intensity. The songstress Carol Riddick is featured in a breathtaking version of the Sound of Philly classic, “You are Everything”.
Live at SOUTH is also the natural outgrowth of Veasley’s role as a curator of the Unscripted Jazz Series at SOUTH Jazz Parlor. Launched in October 2015 (co- curated by Roxanne Veasley), the series has presented over 140 exciting nights of music to enthusiastic audiences in an intimate setting. The “Unscripted” format is perfectly suited for artists who, like Veasley, have broad musical tastes and experiences. Allowing them to showcase their versatility, the series has attracted many celebrated guest artists: Gerald Albright, David Benoit, Rick Braun, Randy Brecker, Alex Bugnon, Maysa, Raul Midón, Janis Siegel, Peter White, Kirk Whalum, and a growing roster of established and emerging artists.
Having a passion to educate and motivate other musicians, Veasley has served on the faculty of the University of the Arts (Philadelphia). Veasley is also the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Gerald Veasley’s Bass BootCamp. Established in 2002, the annual event has informed and inspired hundreds of bass players of all levels and ages.
Veasley has more intriguing projects on the horizon: “I Got Life”, a studio album and tour in tribute to the life and music of Nina Simone, an all-star album celebrating the musical legacy of his hometown of Philadelphia, and a spinoff of the Unscripted Jazz Series, Pablo Batista’s Latin Jazz Series.
Musician. Educator. Curator. Veasley’s life as a creative professional is clearly multifaceted. Indeed, he wears various “hats” yet he is motivated by a singular purpose – to translate his joy of music to the world – music without boundaries.