CRYSTAL MONEE HALL
Crystal Monee Hall is one of the most extraordinary vocal talents to emerge in recent years. Her voice, an intoxicating synthesis of effortless clarity and raw, soul-bearing grit, is an instrument capable of tremendous power and sensitivity. Matched with a down-home songwriting style marked by poetic lyrics and simple, elegant arrangements, Crystal’s music smoothly combines the sounds of folk, gospel, jazz and blues. Before she began her solo career, Crystal was a featured vocalist with the nationally touring and Broadway productions of the Tony Award winning musical RENT.
Crystal Monee Hall’s debut album, “River Train”, is full of strikingly candid songs of love, heartbreak, and sepia-toned memories of her southern roots. She is backed by an all-star ensemble of some of the Bay Area’s finest musicians including drummer Scott Amendola and members of the Jazz Mafia. Featuring beautifully stripped-down production and soulful instrumental accompaniment, River Train showcases Crystal’s remarkable vocal talent and songs that grow more and more captivating with each repeated listen. Rachel Swan of the East Bay Express says that the title track (River Train) “sounds like an old spiritual”, and that “Hall sings in a style that recalls protest singers of the Sixties and Seventies: liquid, chillingly pure, full of vibrato without being ostentatious.”
Despite her new residence in the Bay Area, singer/songwriter Crystal Monee Hall is proud to be a southern woman. A daughter of Richmond, VA and a self-proclaimed “church girl,” she grew up singing with her mother in church every Sunday. As her remarkable talent continued to blossom she became involved in music in school. She went from starring in musical theatre in high school to directing the gospel choir at her alma mater, the University of Virginia. After earning a master’s degree in English, she went on to perform with Disney Entertainment and with the nationally touring and Broadway productions of the Tony Award winning musical RENT.
Her work has been presented at Rivers of Honey, The Laurie Beechman Theatre’s “After Party,” The Triad Theatre’s “Just a Piano” series hosted by Lee Summers, The LGBT Community Center’s Poets and Playwrights Series, and many other top venues including the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena, Yoshi’s in San Francisco, Joe’s Pub in NYC, and the Napa Valley Opera House. In Spring 09, NYC choreographer Camille A. Brown & Dancers debuted a new piece set to Ms. Hall’s original music at The Joyce SoHo, entitled “One Second Past the Future.”’ Ms. Hall was also a featured vocalist in Ahrens and Flaherty’s score for the Hurricane Katrina documentary, “After the Storm” and in Michael McElroy’s Broadway Inspirational Voices choir. Other major artists she has worked with include Jason Mraz and Sir Elton John.
Joe Bagale manifests a lesson in versatility and growing perspective. A polished multi-instrumentalist bridging multiple styles and sentiments, his sound is fresh but tangibly rooted in nostalgia. His contribution to Pop music hinges on his remarkable accessibility, and is a key component in his long term success as a teacher. Not only a master of his tools, Bagale also delivers an undeniable dose of genuine soul. It’s in this delicate, critical balance of proportions that Joe renders his music memorable.
His rich education includes studying under jazz greats such as Steve Gadd, Jack DeJohnette, Ron Carter, Rich Thompson, Clay Jenkins, and his own father, John Bagale. At 17, Joe was awarded the honor of “Outstanding Rhythm Section” in the “Essentially Ellington Competition” presented by Wynton Marsalis and went on to hone his skills in not only drum set, but also guitar, bass, and keys at Eastman School of Music within the University of Rochester. Bagale is also accomplished in vocal and compositional ability, and production technique.
Joe Bagale’s tenure on the west coast in San Francisco has thus far produced two albums; a self-titled release in 2008, and the fresh release of Yesterday Once Again. Both albums are supported by hundreds well-attended performances, teeming with enthusiasm and audience participation. He’s shared the stage with the many eclectic projects of San Francisco collective, Jazz Mafia in addition to his solo work, and now also fronts the Mickey Hart Band (of Grateful Dead fame). Joe has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Lyrics Born, and was a cornerstone of the composition and performance of Brass, Bows, & Beats, a critically acclaimed hip hop symphony. BBB was invited to be performed in major jazz festivals around the world including Montreal, Monterey, San Francisco, and the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
Bagale’s teaching resume is equally as momentous, beginning at age 18 at a music store in Rochester, Music Lovers. He has taught privately and in class settings with the Jazz School Institute in Berkeley for the last 7 years, all ages. At the Jazz School he teaches drum set and recording technology, and has also toured first grade classrooms all around the Bay area teaching basic rhythm concepts. His private students travel as far as from Santa Rosa up to three times a week for his coveted lessons.
Joe Bagale is currently vigorously promoting Yesterday Once Again, and shows no signs of slowing down. Count on Joe to continue to touch ladies’ hearts and fellas’ minds and working up sweats in general. He is beating an indelible mark into Pop music at this very moment.
Adam Theis is a multi-instrumentalist bandleader/composer/producer based in San Francisco, CA who plays trombone, bass, trumpet, tuba and keyboards. Adam has been an active member of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene for the past 15+ years. Growing up in Sebastopol, California, Adam helped create a Jazz music awareness in the North Bay while leading many successful bands in his college years. After studying with Mel Graves, Jon English, Wayne Wallace and graduating from Sonoma State University with a degree in Jazz Composition & Performance Adam hit the road with some of the world’s best Ska bands; The Skatalites (1998/1999), Let’s Go Bowling (1998/1999), and The Specials (2001).
Adam has performed with hundreds of the most well-respected Bay Area musicians and national acts including: Carlos Santana, Bobby McFerrin, Lyrics Born, KRS One, Bernard Purdie, Ruben Wilson, Clyde Stubblefield, Roy Ayers, Liz Phair, Booker T. Jones, Benny Maupin (Headhunters, Miles Davis), Stanton Moore, Mickey Hart, The New Master Sounds, Spearhead, Nino Moschella, Vinyl, Jesus Diaz y QBA, Levert, Felonious, O.G.D., Zigaboo Modeliste, Jacob Fred Jazz Odessy, Grant green Jr., Peter Rowan, Benevento Russo Duo, Robert Walter, Ok Go, Reggae Angels, Pep Love (Hieroglyphics), Bicasso (Living Legends), Lavay Smith, Los Angelitos, Elijah Emanuel, Larry Harlow (Fania All-Stars), Karl Perazzo and Avance, Candela, John Sinclair, Rupa & The April Fishes, Natasha Miller, Papa Grows Funk, and Alphabet Soup to name a few. Adam’s Horn section, the Jazz Mafia Horns is one of the most in demand sections in the Bay Area and has appeared on recordings with The Mighty Underdogs, Crown City Rockers, J Boogie’s Dubtronic Science, DJ Vadim, Bing Ji Ling, Joyo Velarde, Spencer Day, The Velvet Teen, The Disco Biscuits, The Grouch, Mikah 9, DJ Zeph and Azeem, Lateef the Truth Speaker, 4OneFunk, Rebirth, Jennifer Jons, Lunar Heights, Chali2Na, JT Donaldson, Rachel Efron, Eric Lindell, Will Bernard’s Motherbug, Headnodic, Raw Deluxe, Zachary Ross, Natasha Miller and Spencer Day.
In addition to arranging horns for hundreds of recordings and projects, Adam has co-written material for many critically acclaimed albums including 3 Zion-I albums, Lyrics Born’s “Everywhere at Once” and “As U Were” as well The Velvet Teen’s “Elysium”. Forthcoming albums form Baby Jaymes (Hiero) and Loudspeaker (Ledisi/Chief Xcel) feature extensive string/horn arrangements by Adam as well. In 2007 The Jazz Mafia horns began collaborating and touring with 80s electro legend Thomas Dolby and released “Thomas Dolby and the Jazz Mafia Horns LIVE at SXSW”. Other projects that Adam has lent his horn playing
Adam’s most adventurous orchestrations and writing can be heard on The Shotgun Wedding Quintet debut “self-titled” album and “Tales from the Barbary Coast” as well as Jazz Mafia’s Symphony Orchestra “Brass, Bows & Beats: Live in San Francisco” and “The Emperor Norton Suite”, Realistic Orchestra’s “Live at Brunos” and “Symphonies from Down The Block”. Adam has done transcriptions for numerous large scale projects, including full orchestra transcriptions, Nashville charts for Rissi Palmer and hundreds of arrangements and transcriptions for his own orchestras.
Adam’s life took on a whole new direction when he was awarded the prestigious Gerbode-Hewlett Foundation’s “Emerging Composers” Grant in 2008. With the grant commission, Adam composed new music for a one-hour concert entitled “Brass, Bows & Beats” featuring a 50-piece Symphony Orchestra of musicians and vocalists from Jazz Mafia and special guest MC Lyrics Born. The premier event was a success – selling out the Palace of Fine Arts to a sold-out show on April 18th, 2009.
Continuing the momentum and popularity of Theis’ “Brass, Bows & Beats” Yoshi’s San Francisco offered the composer a three night event in August 2009. The unprecedented Yoshi’s run which featured two performances each night played to big crowds, three of which were sell outs.
The critically acclaimed run of “Brass, Bows & Beats” has prompted Theis to campaign to take the symphony on the road in 2010. The 50 piece Symphony has since toured the North America continent, performed at Newport, Montreal, Playboy, Monterey and San jose Jazz Festivals, Stern Grove, Central Park and Grand Performances in LA and has garnered rave reviews from papers like The Boston Globe and radio features on NPR.
Adam has earned many prestigious awards, including a scholarship offer to the Berklee School of Music in Boston and winning the Jazziz Magazine’s “Brass on Fire” contest as one of the best 10 compositions by an unsigned artist in 1997. Realistic Orchestra was nominated for Best Jazz Group in the Sf Weekly’s Best of the Bay in 2003 and won the award for best Jazz Group in 2004. Adam was nominated for “Best Jazz” as a solo artist in the 2009 SF Weekly Best of the Bay. Besides writing and composing symphonies, Adam has produced the 10 Year run of “Jazz Mafia Tuesday’s” which ended in 2010 and was voted “Best Live Music Weekly Night” in SF Weekly in 2006 and 2007.
As an educator Adam has always been heavily involved in connecting with the youth. He runs the Truckee Jazz Camp, now in it’s 7th year with over 100 students. Adam has helped bring education programs to Harlem School of the Arts, Stern Grove and numerous other venues where his Orchestras have performed. Adam is also known for involving students of his and his bandmates in his performances as surprise guests frequently.
Gawain has played with and produced well over a hundred artists. Highlights from his varied career include performing with the Utah Symphony, appearing on the David Letterman Show with Australian indie pop singer Ben Lee, and a recent series of studio collaborations with Transiberian Orchestra lead singer, Tim Hockenberry. Gawain’s original compositions have been featured frequently on Fox’s “SoYou Think You Can Dance” and “American Idol”.
“I enjoy many areas of music but most of all I love songs. It’s the most rewarding experience to start with a lyric/melody and add all of the musical elements, with the end result being a work of sonic art that is satisfying on many different levels.” -Gawain
The man whom Mickey Hart calls “the Mozart of the talking drum,” Sikiru Adepoju (Seek-ee-roo Ah-deh-poh-joo), first came to the focus of the American music scene through his involvement with Hart in the Grammy Award winning Planet Drum project. His technical mastery of the talking drum and various indigenous percussion instruments (dundun, gudugudu, gome, omele, sekere, etc.) have gained acceptance and respect among music listeners of all tastes. Yet, it is his unique spirit, discipline, and commitment to the moment that have gained him respect among his musical peers, and have contributed to his ability to engage and draw in audiences, body & mind, all the over globe.
Born in Eruwa, Western Nigeria, Sikiru grew up in a “talking drum family” where he began his tutelage of the instrument at his father’s side, at the age of six years old. He then went on to tour and record several albums with renowned Nigerian Juju artist Chief Ebenezer Obey and his Inter-Reformers Band. Obey, who called his personal style the miliki (enjoyment) sound, began where noted juju entertainer I.K. Diaro left off. Obey drew in such Western elements as multiple guitars and a Hawaiian steel guitar soloist, adding them to the traditional rhythmic foundation.
Through his work with Obey, and subsequent work as a studio musician in Nigeria, the young Sikiru quickly won himself appreciation as a leading force on the talking drum throughout his homeland. In 1985, rising afrobeat artist, and nephew of I.K. Dairo, O.J. Ekemode, approached Sikiru to join his band. Sikiru agreed & later the same year Ekemode brought Sikiru and several other musicians from Nigeria to the United States to record and tour.
After he moved to the Bay Area in 1985, Sikiru, soon met world-renowned percussionist and leading African music artist Babatunde Olatunji. Shortly after meeting Olatunji, Sikiru joined his Drums of Passion ensemble and began a 17 year period of productivity with the group, recording & touring extensively throughout the world, until a year before Olatunji’s death in 2003.
While a member of Olatunji’s Drums of Passion, Sikiru recorded with Stevie Wonder, & Carlos Santana, and performed with the Grateful Dead, where he met Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. It was after meeting Hart that Sikiru also joined Hart’s Planet Drum ensemble to record & tour. In 1991 the group’s debut release “Planet Drum” hit #1 on the Billboard World Music Chart, remaining there for 26 weeks, and went on to receive a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. In 2002 Sikiru joined Mickey Hart’s Bembe Orisha (party to the spirits), where he continues to tour & perform.
In 2003 Sikiru joined Trinidad born steel pan wizard Val Serrant to create Afrika Heartbeat. Afrika Heartbeat melds the musical influences of Yoruba culture across the African Diaspora with a foundation in Nigerian Juju music and Highlife.
Greg Schutte is an American drummer, producer and sound designer. Over the past 20 years has as performed nationally and internationally with a wide variety of artists/groups, including: Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric, The Mickey Hart Band, Chastity Brown, The Hornheads, Marimba Africa, Yawo, Clay Moore Trio, Jelloslave, Lori Line, Anthony Cox, Test Site 67, Christian Howes, Adam Niewood, Chuchito Valdez, Tony Sandler, Bernard Allison, Mary Cutrufello, Mpls Dub Ensemble, and many more.
As a touring drummer, Greg is currently playing with The Mickey Hart Band. He has also performed on B.B. King’s ’02 US “Summer Blues Fest” with The Shane Henry Group, Ruf Records ’04 European “Blues Caravan” Tour with guitarist Sue Foley, and Cyndi Lauper’s ’06 “Body Acoustic World Tour” with Mpls Reggae Pop group The RULE. In 2010 Greg toured Iraq and Kuwait performing for the US/Coalition Forces with singer/songwriter Keri Noble. And from 2008-2010 he toured and recorded with Lorie Line and her Pop Chamber Orchestra. In 2011, Greg performed for Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric European Tour and additional dates in Mexico.
Currently Greg is producing his third of four commissions of his original compositions for Ananya Dance Theatre, which premiered in 2012 in Trinidad and in Minneapolis, MN at the Southern Theater.
Greg also owns and produces music at The Bathtub Shrine Recording Studio in NE Minneapolis.
Jonah Sharp aka Spacetime Continuum played an important role during the 90’s in consolidating the global experimental ambient and techno scene through his Reflective Records imprint as well as releasing a string of solo studio albums on Astralwerks and Virgin Records . He has worked with many artists including a live album with writer and philosopher Terence McKennna, and collaborations with Mixmaster Morris, Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra, Pete Namlook, Ursula Rucker, Move D, Tetsu Inoue and Bill Laswell to name but a few.
An Edinburgh, Scotland native, Sharp started his musical life as a drummer, playing with various art-school punk bands inspired by the super-8 film ethic of the likes of Caberet Voltaire and early Human League. After briefly flirting with the late 80’s London acid jazz club scene as a session drummer, he soon realised the possibilities of a sampler and a drum machine as a solo performer. Excited by the sounds of Detroit techno, Chicago house and the electronic music that was coming from Europe, he started performing live and DJing at parties in London in 1989 and decided that chill- out or “other” room offered a lot of potential for realizing what he was trying to communicate musically.
He left London for America in 1992, settling in San Francisco, where he established his Reflective label and recorded the bulk of his work to date, split over a number of different project headings ( Emit Ecaps, Alien Community, Reagenz, Electro Harmonix and Strange Attractor). His most consistently visible work though has been as Spacetime Continuum, most of which was released by Astralwerks and Reflective.
He has performed live electronic music and Dj’d all over the world including a slot at the very first Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2000 curated by Carl Craig and on Mount Fuji in 1999 in front of 18,000 people during an insane torrential rain storm. He has remixed the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Meat Beat Manifesto and Matt Herbert and had his music in numerous movies including Darren Aronofsky’s 1998 movie” π ” .
More recently he has completed the soundtrack for the documentary “Consume This Movie !” and has spent time co-writing, co-producing and touring with The Global Drum Project, who include tabla player Zakir Hussein and Ex Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart. The album, “Global Drum Project” released in Oct 2007, has been nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award.
August 2008 saw him perform with Mixmaster Morris live on the main stage at The Big Chill in the UK playing songs from their upcoming collaborative project. Currently he is in a studio in San Francisco writing new solo Spacetime material, finishing work with Move D on the new REAGENZ album and gigging and writing material with Nigerian talking drum maestro Sikiru Adepoju.