Dick Durham Returns to Mainstay Nov. 18

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Dick Durham

The spectacular jazz pianist Dick Durham returns to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Saturday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m to celebrate his 75th birthday with the music he loves in a jazz jam featuring a multitude of friends. Admission is $20 if purchased in advance and $23 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

For his 75th birthday, pianist extraordinaire Dick Durham has pulled out all the stops and assembled a group of musicians including 3 Navy band masters and, in a cameo appearance, Mainstay Founder, Tom McHugh. The musicians will join Durham on stage in various configurations for an evening of exquisite instrumental jazz, full of the beauty of the American Song Book and full of surprises. This will be a varied evening of jazz, from solos to large ensemble numbers, all played with virtuosity, emotion and humor.

Many of Dick Durham’s friends and associates from the jazz world, from the Eastern Shore and beyond will join him on stage. In a note to the Mainstay staff, Durham said that joining him would be “James Herron on drums, a noted voice actor who has won a Cannes Film Festival Award and awards for his portrayal of Sam Elliot. James Fowler, on bass is an exquisite Navy band musician. Blake Cramer, a frequent bandmate, is a retired Navy band musician who studied with Gary Burton at Berklee School of Music. Dick Glass on flugelhorn also is retired from the Navy band. John Harris on trombone is a Washington College graduate, the owner of Chesapeake Light Craft, an Annapolis boat building company and a fine musician. Bob Offerman on electric bass frequently plays with me. He is a retired IBM executive who played for many years in New York and resides in Queen Anne’s County. Billy McHenry is a jazz drummer who performs regularly at 49 West in Annapolis and other venues. John Starr on flute is a Washington College graduate who performs in Annapolis regularly and has played with me for 35 years. Aiden Pratt is a terrific up and coming drummer who is a senior at Kent County High School. Tom McHugh, on harmonica, is known to many as the founder of The Mainstay.”

John Wilson in the New York Times once proclaimed that Dick Durham has “A style approaching that of a quartet.” He is a brilliant jazz pianist who is also a wonderful arranger and composer and holds a strong belief that melody, harmony, and rhythm are essential components of jazz. Among his early influences were Oscar Peterson, Errol Garner, Teddy Wilson and Monte Alexander but his style is uniquely his own. He has performed in concert with Count Basie, Stanley Turentine and Grover Washington.

His compositions have earned him two separate Maryland Governor’s Citations for excellence in the performing arts in 2003 and 2005. Ballads from his original musicals (adaptations of ‘She Stoops to Conquer’ and ‘Celluloid’) reflect on the joy and pathos of life. In May 2010, his musical “Celluloid” with Earl Lewin was produced in New York City at the 45th St. Theater.

Durham lives in Church Hill, MD and holds a B.A. in English and an M.A. in music.

Note the 7 p.m. start time. For the darker, cooler fall and winter months, The Mainstay is experimenting with an earlier start time for their Saturday concerts.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

November 20  Joe Holt welcomes Steve Abshire

November 27  Joe Holt welcomes Jeff Davis and Ray Anthony

December 2    Philip Dutton and The Alligators

December 4    Joe Holt welcomes Geoff Gallante

December 9    Chris Owen and The Knockdown

December 11  Joe Holt welcomes John Schratwieser and Melissa McGlynn

December 17  Harp & Soul

December 18  Joe Holt welcomes Sylvia Frazier

Karen Somerville Sings at The Mainstay, Nov. 11

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Karen Somerville

Vocalist Karen Somerville returns to The Mainstay Saturday, November 11, at 7 p.m with a wide-ranging program featuring songs to honor our veterans and some soulful Motown memories.  Admission is $17 in advance and $20 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Karen Somerville is a favorite on the Eastern Shore for her stylish arrangements, her grace and her ability to interpret a wide variety of material. For this Mainstay program she will be joined by Joe Holt on piano, Jeff Davis on bass and Mike McShane on drums as well as by her special guests (and compatriots in the trio Sombarkin), Lester Barrett, Jr., and Jerome McKinney.

Somerville was born the second oldest of four children in rural Kent County. She speaks proudly of the advantages of being reared in a small town; of close-knit families, and everyone looking out for the other, of church services filled with praise.

Her love for music began at home, and was cultivated in church. She says, “Both of my parents played instruments and sang; that was how we entertained each other at home.  It was our favorite pastime. My Pop Pop Emory played the accordion and harmonica though he called it a mouth-harp. He was awesome.  He would sing and play for us, and make the sound of the train whistle blowing, the dogs barking, and would be telling a story all at the same time.”

“When I was barely in first grade, my Mom taught us to sing harmony; I remember it like yesterday.  She would take us with her when she was asked to sing in churches around the County….  I don’t know how we had the nerve, except she was so confident that we could do it well.”

Somerville’s recordings include “Love Cures” and “The New Gospelites, Every Day Is Sunday.” Last year she was in New York City with the local cast of “Red Devil Moon,” the original musical by Robert Earl Price and Pam Ortiz, for a week’s worth of shows in the FringeNYC off-Broadway Festival.

This will be a special evening indeed. Karen Somerville doesn’t just sing, she inhabits each song, making every nuance and every phrase her own and when she sings with Lester and Jerome, the harmonies are stunning and powerful.

Note the 7 p.m. start time. For the darker, cooler fall and winter months, The Mainstay is experimenting with an earlier start time for their Saturday concerts.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas, and snacks are available at the bar.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

November 12 The Mainstay at The Garfield: Cassie & Maggie

November 13 Joe Holt welcomes Philip Dutton

November 18 Dick Durham’s 75th: A Jazz Jam

November 20 Joe Holt welcomes Steve Abshire

November 27 Joe Holt welcomes Jeff Davis and Ray Anthony

December 2 Philip Dutton and The Alligators

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Peter and Will Anderson Quartet at The Mainstay Nov. 4

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Peter and Will Anderson bring their quartet featuring Chuck Redd on vibes and their fresh creative take on traditional jazz to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, on Saturday Nov. 4 at p.m.  Admission is $20 if purchased in advance and $23 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website  Reservations can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Peter and Will Anderson are identical twins who are both virtuosos on clarinet and saxophone. Will Anderson also adds flute to the mix. Originally from the DC area, they started touring internationally at 15 and moved to New York City to attend Julliard. Now in their 20s, their fresh, creative, swinging take on traditional jazz has taken them as headliners to major jazz festivals and clubs around the country.

Lauded by the New York Times as “virtuosos” they write original tunes but also have a deep love and respect for the jazz classics. Their abilities have made them saxophonists of choice for Jimmy Heath, Wycliffe Gordon, and the Village Vanguard Orchestra.  They have headlined at The Blue Note, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, New Orleans Jazz Festival, DC’s Blues Alley, have played live on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, and were featured on the 2014 Grammy Winning Soundtrack of HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire’ with Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks.

Though they compose their own music, the Andersons have a deep love of jazz standards, noting that “you can’t write something good unless you’ve heard something good,”

In reviewing a 2014 recording, Mike Joyce of the Washington Post said “[their] saxophones and clarinets elegantly converge, converse and engage in delightful counterpoint… the arrangements, imaginatively unfolding in ways that consistently bring a fresh perspective to classic pop and jazz tunes.”

Peter Anderson plays tenor sax and clarinet. Will Anderson plays alto sax, clarinet, and flute. They will be joined by Mainstay favorite and jazz advisor Chuck Redd on vibes and drums and guitarist Felix Lemerle for a fresh, creative swinging take on traditional jazz.

Note the 7 p.m. start time. For the darker, cooler fall and winter months, The Mainstay is experimenting with an earlier start time for their Saturday concerts.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

October 30 Joe Holt welcomes Brad Chaires

November 4 Peter and Will Anderson Quartet featuring Chuck Redd

November 6 Joe Holt welcomes Maria Rusu

November 11 Karen Somerville

November 12 The Mainstay @ The Garfield: Cassie & Maggie

November 13 Joe Holt welcomes Philip Dutton

Sue Matthews Sings Cole Porter at The Mainstay

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Sue Matthews

Sue Matthews, along with Robert Redd on piano, Tommy Cecil on bass, Frank Russo on drums and Scott Silbert on saxophone, presents an evening of Cole Poerter standards at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, on Saturday October 21, 2017 at 8 p.m. Admission is $20 in advance and $23 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Mainstay and Kent County favorite Sue Matthews brings to life the sophisticated, irresistible music of Cole Porter whose classic singable lyrics and music, written from the 1920s to the 1950s, are a substantial part of the Great American Songbook.

Porter was a Yale and Harvard educated Tin Pan Alley composer who wrote for popular recordings, Broadway and Hollywood. His songs like “My Heart Belongs To Daddy” and “Night And Day” have timeless classic sound. His musicals dominated Broadway from the 1930s to the 1950s from “The Gay Divorce,” which as a film became “The Gay Divercee,” and “Anything Goes” to his masterpiece “Kiss Me Kate”, which won the first ever Tony Award, Porter’s shows were full of sophisticated lyrics and melodies that echoed his lavish lifestyle.

Sue Matthews’ silky voice, exquisite phrasing and passion for finding every bit of meaning in song will be the perfect will be the perfect instrument for conveying the richness of Porter’s legacy of song.

Sue Matthews came to the music world’s attention in 1991, when she released the traditional jazz album “Love Dances.” She was soon playing clubs and festivals and her next release “When You’re Around,” reached the top 20 on the Gavin and R & R Jazz charts. Since then she has released a number of recordings and become a favorite throughout the mid-Atlantic jazz clubs, concert halls, jazz festivals and television studios and, of course, at The Mainstay.

She has been a featured artist at the W.C. Handy Music Festival, with the Calgary Philharmonic, the Florida Symphony, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Showcase in NYC and the Saluzzo Musical Festival in Italy as well as artist-in-residence at the Clifden Arts Week Festival, County Galway, Ireland and at Augusta Heritage Cente. She is a two-time recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council individual artist award.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

October 23      Joe Holt welcomes Rebekah Hock

October 30      Joe Holt welcomes Brad Chaires

November 4    Peter and Will Anderson Quartet featuring Chuck Redd

November 6    Joe Holt welcomes Maria Rusu

November 11  Karen Somerville

November 12  The Mainstay @ The Garfield: Cassie & Maggie

November 13  Joe Holt welcoms Philip Dutton

 

Rockabilly by Josh Christina at the Mainstay, Oct. 14

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Josh Christina

Josh Christina, a Baltimore based rockabilly and country singer and songwriter in brings his band for a good-time FallFest concert at The Mainstay in Rock Hall on Saturday Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. Admission is $17 in advance and $20  at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website http://www.mainstayrockhall.org. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Josh Christina is only in his early twenties but already he has been dazzling audiences from Baltimore to Nashville with his piano and vocals. He is a ridiculously good piano player, born into a musical family in Baltimore who has spent the last 15 years of his life honing his sound. It’s a danceable combination of country, classic rock, big band and rockabilly with influences from Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and maybe even a little Elton John. It’s a sound distinctly his own and there’s a modern streak as recent influences have included Adele, Charlie Puth, Chris Stapleton, and Meghan Trainor.

This is concert is the culmination of a day of music, crafts, food and fun at Rock Hall’s annual Fallfest billed as a celebration of Family, Community and Oysters.

Christina’s most recent recording, “I’m 21” (a reference to his age) was released last year and was produced in Nashville by Kent Wells (who has worked with Dolly Parton) and features the title song as well as other originals such as ‘Rockabilly Saturday Night’ and ‘Kiss Me when You’re Sober.’

Christina’s personal journey began at age six, when he took an interest in the King,  Elvis Presley. “Hearing Elvis for the first time, I remember thinking his sound was so unique and raw. I watched DVD’s of his performances – my favorite was his 1954 performance of That’s All Right. His sound was so clean, yet so edgy. As I developed as an artist, I found myself gravitating toward that same sound.”

By eight, Christina had organized a Junior Blues Brothers act that performed regularly at venues in the Baltimore area. At 15, he began playing piano after taking a trip to New York City with his parents to see Million Dollar Quartet on Broadway. “While I bought tickets out of my love for Elvis, I remember being blown away by the stylings of Jerry Lee Lewis… He had such flare. He redefined the piano for me.”

With his newfound passion for piano, Christina began writing, drawing inspiration from the “simple, yet clever, corny rhymes” of writers Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Stevie Ray Vaughn. After graduating from Dulaney High School in 2013, the Cockeysville native went to work on his debut album. “Man From Another Time,” featured several rock and roll and rockabilly covers, along with a few original songs written by Christina.

His sophomore effort, “Good Old Love,” released in 2015 was produced by Wells in Nashville. “Making your debut in the Nashville scene – a scene currently dominated by pop country – is tough. I couldn’t have landed in better hands. From the start, Kent insisted on embracing my vintage rockabilly sound.”

And on the subject of Nashville’s pop country dominance, Christina isn’t worried, “I think the country genre is beginning to shift back to its roots. Meghan Trainor has done it with the pop genre, taking it back to its roots with her sound’s doo-wop influence. Bruno Mars has done the same in R&B with notes of funk in his sound. Slowly but surely, artists in the country genre are putting their foot down and adding notes of classic country and rock to their sound. If anything, I feel I’m at a bit of an advantage. My sound isn’t headed that direction. It’s already there.”

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

October 16      Joe Holt welcomes Chuck Redd

October 21      Sue Matthews: Matthews Sings Porter

October 23      Joe Holt welcomes Rebekah Hock

October 30      Joe Holt welcomes Brad Chaires

November 4    Peter and Will Anderson Quartet featuring Chuck Redd

 

Old Songs, Old Blues, Old Bay — Tom McHugh at The Mainstay, Oct. 7

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Song collector, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom McHugh returns to The Mainstay, the little performing arts center he founded in Rock Hall, Saturday October 7, 2017 at 8 p.m for an evening of old songs, old blues and Chesapeake flavored music with his musical pals, Bill Matthews, Tom Anthony and the award-winning guitarist Guthrie Matthews. Admission is $15 in advance and $18 at the door.

This will be a lively evening of song with Tom McHugh on vocals, banjo, kazoo and blues harp, Bill Matthews on guitar and vocals, Tom Anthony on bass and their special guest Guthrie Matthews, a gifted guitarist who has made a name for himself on the Eastern shore and beyond, on guitar and vocals.

They are calling this evening Old Songs, Old Blues, Old Bay. The Old Songs part refers to some of McHugh’s favorite songs from the folk revival of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s including songs from such legendary sources such as Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton along with commentary about the people and times. The Old Blues are Delta and early Chicago blues from the likes of Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton and Lightning Hopkins. The Old Bay refers to some of the songs McHugh has written and the stories he tells about the Chesapeake and the people who work the water and live on its shores.

Tom McHugh has been a teacher and a collector of songs and stories most of his life. When not teaching, he’s taking what he’s learned and putting it into song or finding a way to promote the arts in the community or in a learning setting. He taught at Washington College and then at Vassar before retiring back to Kent County and eventually founded and ran the Mainstay for nearly 20 years. Since retiring from there he’s been working to help connect community artists to the public schools and playing music whenever he can.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar. The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. 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.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

October 9        Joe Holt welcomes Rosemary Benson

October 14      The Josh Christina Band (A FallFest Concert)

October 16      Joe Holt welcomes Chuck Redd

October 21      Sue Matthews: Matthews Sings Porter

October 23      Joe Holt welcomes Rebekah Hock

October 30      Joe Holt welcomes Brad Chaires

John Rimel and Tom Proutt at The Mainstay Sept 23

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John Rimel and Tom Proutt

Virginia songwriters and singers John Rimel and Tom Proutt will be in concert at The Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD on Saturday September 23, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $15 if purchased in advance and $18 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

John Rimel and Tom Proutt are Virginia songwriters who share the stage for Americana and gospel-influenced performances of their original songs. Their music ranges from folk, rock, country and bluegrass to blues, Cajun, and gospel styles but this is a chance to hear them and their songs as they were written with just guitar, piano and vocals.

John Rimel’s thought-provoking lyrics span a wide range of topics and his musical sensibilities are just as broad. He was a winner in the American Song Festival and the Music City Song Festival. He secured his first of many album cuts on the Statler Brothers’ 1983 release, “Today”.

Since that time, he has had songs recorded on seven Top 10 albums, including a Billboard #1 country album as well as a #1 bluegrass album. In addition to the Statler Brothers, his songs have been recorded by Dailey & Vincent and Jimmy Fortune with whom he shares a number of co-writes including “More Than A Name On A Wall,” a top 10 hit, named the 1990 Country Song of the Year.

An excellent piano player who has done a lot of session work, Rimel has also toured nationally as the keyboardist for the Jimmy Fortune Band and has performed his songs on the Grand Ole Opry.

Tom Proutt was born in Maryland and now resides in Virginia. He has a 40-year career as a singer and songwriter and is a voting member of The Recording Academy (The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) that produces and awards the Grammys. His work was considered for a Grammy in 2015 and 2016. He is in demand as a studio musician throughout the mid-Atlantic region.  His music is frequently aired nationally on NPR and PBS stations.

Kent County’s own Mary Simmons will sing harmony with Rimel and Proutt on some of their songs.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. 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.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

September 23 John Rimel and Mike Proutt

September 25 Joe Holt welcomes Van Albert

September 30 Michel Nirenberg Quartet

October 2  Joe Hold welcomes Barbara Parker

October 7  Tom McHugh with Bill Matthews, Tom Anthony and special guest Guthrie Matthews

 

Melissa Aldana at the Mainstay Friday, Sept. 15

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Melissa Aldana

The acclaimed Chilean tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldan brings her quartet to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, on Friday September 15 at 8 p.m. Admission is $22 if purchased in advance and $25 at the door.

This engagement of Melissa Aldana is funded through the Mid Atlantic Tours program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Melissa Aldana is an acclaimed tenor saxophonist who is a native of Santiago Chile but is now based in New York. As a child, Aldana studied with her renowned saxophonist father Marcos Aldana (son of saxophonist Enrique Aldana, whose Selmer Mark VI tenor Melissa performs with to this day).

Her first instrument was alto sax but after hearing the landmark Sonny Rollins recording,  + 4  at the age of 12, she switched to tenor and never looked back. In a recent interview with Jon Solomon at Westwords, the Denver arts and culture publication, she said of Rollins, “I just heard a deep voice, a human voice when I heard him. And something clicked in me. I was like, ‘Yeah, this is my voice. This is what I’m really hearing.’ It just deeply connected to that. Sonny had one of the greatest sounds, but then it kind of changed my whole perspective about what sound means. Sound is the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about a great musician. So it was like I heard his sound and heard his soul, pretty much. I was so young, so I couldn’t — it’s more related to the feeling more than understanding what he was doing.”

In 2007, she received the Berklee Presidential Scholarship and moved to the US to study improvisation and composition with George Garzone and others at Berklee and to pursue jazz at a higher level.

After graduating on 2009, she moved to New York City where she resides. She has become a fixture on the city’s jazz scene, performing with her own quartet and as a “sideman” at the best New York clubs and concert halls like, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Village Vanguard, The Blue Note, Iridium, Smalls, Jazz Gallery and  Birdland. She will be headlining at Birdland a few days before her Mainstay date.

Aldana has also played in international jazz festivals like the Montreal Jazz Festival, Panama Jazz Festival, Festival Jazzuv Mexico and Festival de Jazz de Madrid, Spain.

In 2013, she became the first female instrumentalist and the first South American ever to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. She is also a recipient of the Martin E. Segal Award from Jazz at Lincoln Center and a double recipient of the Altazor Award, Chile’s highly prestigious national arts prize.

The New York Times called her most recent recording, the explorative and deeply swinging, Back Home, “a supremely focused statement.” The intricacies and unpredictability of her solos, as well as the subtlety of her interactions with her collaborators, make for fascinating listening. The closer you listen, the deeper the reward.

Joining Aldana are Sam Harris on piano, Pablo Menares on bass and Jimmy Mcbride on drums.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay sells advance tickets online through Instant Seats. 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.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

 

September 18 Joe Holt welcomes Paul Midiri and Mike McShane

September 23 John Rimel and Mike Proutt

September 25 Joe Holt welcomes Van Albert

September 30 Michel Nirenberg Quartet

Greg Hatza Organ-iztion at The Mainstay, Saturday, Sept. 2

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Greg Hatza

Greg Hatza, one of the great, unsung heroes of the jazz organ brings his group to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Saturday September 2,  at 8 p.m. for an evening of blues, R&B and soul  jazz.

An acknowledged master of the jazz organ, an expressive instrument that bears traditions ranging from gospel to blues. Hatza coaxes his own brand of rootsy, blues-based jazz from the instrument, a funky, soulful, sinuous sound that satisfies the groove junkie in every listener.

A native of Reading, Pennsylvania, Hatza’s musical instincts developed as early and as naturally as the ability to walk, and by the age of four, he was picking out blues and boogie woogie tunes on the piano and started formal lessons shortly thereafter. He became obsessed with the Hammond B3 organ as a teen when a friend turned him on to records by Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Ray Charles, and Johnny Hammond Smith. At 16, he played his first professional jazz gig with the Frankie Scott Trio, playing around small towns in central Pennsylvania.

Because there were no jazz organ instructors at the time, he was largely self-taught, learning from local and visiting organ players at jam sessions at a local club called the Grand Hotel.

It was at the Grand, that Baltimore Colts football great and jazz fan Lenny Moore heard him and asked the teenager to perform at a club he was opening in Baltimore. Moore became his manager and Baltimore became Hatza’s home. He played at the club for four years and during that time recorded two albums for MCA subsidiary label Coral Records, “The Wizardry of Greg Hatza” and “Organized Jazz.”

In the late sixties, Baltimore was still an organ town and had its share of great players. Hatza really got a chance to hone his jazz organ skills by playing with the best musicians in town. Moore’s club was a great stopping point for national jazz artists who came to Baltimore to perform.  It was here that Hatza met his mentor Jimmy Smith and got to play with him. He also met and got to play in jam sessions with such personalities as Kenny Burrell, Groove Holmes, Damita Joe, Philly Joe Jones, Roland Kirk, Les McCann, James Moody, and Sonny Stitt.

With the trend towards more advanced electronic keyboard and rhythms, Hatza adapted to the trend, switching from the Hammond B-3 to the electric keyboard and piano. He played in different be-bop groups and as a member of the contemporary fusion band Moon August which was awarded the title “Cultural Ambassadors” for the city of Baltimore under then Mayor Kurt Schmoke. The group traveled to Kawasaki, Japan for the 20th anniversary celebration of the Kawasaki/Baltimore Sister City Exchange.

Since then Hatza has become a fixture on the Baltimore jazz scene. He received a degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory, and a Master’s from Baltimore’s Towson State University, where he taught jazz, piano composition, improvisation and music theory for many years turning students on to the wonders of the organ as well.

He also expanded his stylistic scope to include distinct international elements studying tabla, sitar and erhu, a two-stringed Chinese fiddle.

In 1994, Greg met Joey DeFranscesco who told him the Hammond B-3 was enjoying a popular renaissance.  He formed the Greg Hatza ORGANization and has been performing and recording on the instrument non-stop since that time. For the last fifteen years, in partnership with the Rev. Dred Scott, he formed a group called Jazz in the Sanctuary which performs jazz-gospel concerts throughout the tri-state area. Hatza also currently serves as the Choir and Music Director at St. Gregory the Great Church in Baltimore and performs Indian/World Music fusion with the Grammy nominated group Melodic Intersect.

About his latest recording, “Digging Up My Roots,” Hatza says, “The music on this CD is a collection of R&B and Blues songs that I grew up with in Reading, Pa.”

“My father owned a small restaurant that had a juke box which had all the current R&B, blues, and rock & roll songs. When the box was serviced for new records, they gave the old 45’s to my father who in turn gave them to me.”

“When I was around 14, I bought my first Hammond organ, the compact M series. Around the same time I joined an African American R & B band that played current and older R&B and Blues songs. I must acknowledge that the African American community in Reading and later in Baltimore was very embracing of me and my music and was very instrumental in helping to form my career as a jazz organist.”

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region. It is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Wine, beer, sodas and snacks are available at the bar.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. Admission is $15 if purchased in advance and $18 at the door. Information and advance ticket sales are available at the Mainstay’s website. Reservations to pay at the door can be made by calling 410-639-9133.

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

September 4    Joe Holt welcomes Beth McDonald

September 7    Katie Thiroux

September 11  Mainstay Monday: Joe Holt welcomes Tom Baldwin, bass

September 16  Melissa Aldana

September 18 Joe Holt welcomes Paul Midiri and Mike McShane

September 23 John Rimel and Mike Proutt