Parrot, Redd and Sportiello at Mainstay July 9.

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Nicki Parrott on vocals and bass, Chuck Redd on vibes and drums and Rossano Sportiello on piano bring a program of swinging jazz to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Sunday afternoon July 9 at 3 p.m.

Rossano Sportiello, Nicki Parrott and Chuck Redd

The Italian piano player Rossano Sportiello and the Australian bass player and vocalist Nicki Parrott are based in New York City. Chuck Redd is based in the Washington DC area but plays in New York City regularly. The three are internationally known and tour independently but they are also good friends who enjoy playing in their favorite “local” places – in this case The Mainstay, where each of them has played with some regularity in various groups and where as a trio, they always please a big audience. The website Jazz Lives calls them “One of the finest piano trios ever.”

Rossano Sportiello has a light, precise, yet authoritative touch and an approach to the music that lends great joy to his playing. His tribute to pianist George Shearing “The Smiling Piano” ran for two weeks at the Café Carlyle in NY to great critical acclaim from publications such as The New York Times and Jazz Lives. Aussie bassist Nicki Parrott, (also based in NYC) is known for her superb bass lines and sparkling vocals. Chuck Redd is a master at vibes and drums.

As a trio, Parrott, Redd and Sportiello have worked together at jazz festivals, jazz parties, jazz cruises and other events around the US and in Europe.

They have played twice before at The Mainstay and in the spring of 2015 they played to packed house at The United Nations, inaugurating the new jazz concert series there.

The three musicians have all recorded on each other’s projects. Redd was featured on drums on Sportiello’s “Chopin Jazz” recording and Sportiello was featured on Redd’s recent Arbors recording, “The Common Thread.” Parrott and Sportiello have been on several of each other’s recordings and Redd is featured on Parrott’s recording for Arbors, “Two Songbirds of a Feather,”  a collaboration with Rebecca Kilgore.

Sportiello was born in Vigevano, Italy in 1974, began studying piano at the age of 9 and graduated the Conservatory in 1996 in classical piano. While studying he was also performing professionally at jazz venues in the Milan area, and in 1992, he joined one of Europe’s historic jazz bands, the “Milano Jazz Gang” touring with the group throughout Italy and West Europe until the end of 2000. His solo work began at the 2002 Ascona Jazz Festival (Switzerland) while performing with the eight-piece, all-star American band led by Dan Barrett. He made his first trip to the US not long after and moved to New York after his marriage to American writer, Lala Moore.

Sportiello has performed with many of the world’s finest jazz luminaries and has been in great demand in the U.S. appearing at New York venues, such as Lincoln Center, the Blue Note, Birdland, Feinstein’s, the 92nd Street Y, Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, the Café Carlyle and Town Hall, as well as at major jazz parties and festivals in the US and abroad.

Nicki Parrott is a favorite at The Mainstay. She brings a signature sound to every bass part she has played in her work with artists around the globe. Her vocals and songwriting are enchanting. She performs regularly at jazz festivals around the world. For years, she was a fixture at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City where she played with the legendary guitarist and inventor, Les Paul, from 2000 until his death in 2009.

Her recording “People Will Say We’re in Love” (with Sportiello) was named one of the 10 best jazz releases of 2007 by Steve Futterman in The New Yorker who said, “Parrott is an exceptional bassist and an endearingly modest singer”. In 2012, Limelight said she is “…a rarity, a first-class bassist whose playing is as sublime as her vocals.”

Parrott, who was born in Newcastle, Australia, started on piano at the age of four, and soon after took up the flute as well. She continued to play flute and piano throughout her school years, but switched to bass at the age of 15 because her sister Lisa, who plays alto sax, wanted a bassist for her group. She studied jazz at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music and was nominated for the annual Australian Young Achievers Award by the Arts Council of Australia who granted her the funds to travel to New York to study with Rufus Reid. She came to New York in 1994 and has since played and recorded with many notables including Les Paul, Randy Brecker, Clark Terry, Jose Feliciano, and Patti Labelle & the New York Pops Orchestra. She has also performed in several Broadway shows such as Avenue Q, Imaginary Friends, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Summer of ’42 and Jekyll and Hyde.

Chuck Redd is well known internationally as a jazz musician on drums and vibraphone. Chuck began touring the globe and recording when he joined the Charlie Byrd Trio at the age of 21. He played and recorded with Byrd for 20 years until Byrd’s death in 1999. To his credit are 25 European tours and five tours of Japan, with the Barney Kessel Trio, Ken Peplowski, Terry Gibbs and Conte Candoli. He served as Artist-In-Residence at The Smithsonian Jazz Café in Washington, DC from 2004-2008.

Redd was featured vibraphonist with the Mel Torme All-Star Jazz Quintet from 1991 until 1996. While appearing in New York with Torme, Ira Gitler of Jazz Times said: “Redd’s vibes were equally notable for vigor and melodiousness.” His playing is always fresh, intense and exciting.

Admission is $20 if purchased in advance and $23 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website. Follow the Buy Tickets link to buy tickets at the advance price. If you would rather pay at the door, you can make a reservation by calling 410-639-9133 and pay by cash or check at the door.

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