Rossano, Nicki & Chuck, Rossano Sportiello on piano, Nicki Parrott on vocals and bass and Chuck Redd on vibes and drums bring a program of swinging jazz standards to The Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland on Friday October 14 at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20. For information and reservations call 410-639-9133. Information is also available at the Mainstay’s website https://www.mainstayrockhall.org.
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 known and tour internationally but they are also good friends who just love getting together to play in their favorite “local” places – in this case The Mainstay in Rock Hall, MD where each of them has played with some regularity in various groups and where as a trio, they made a big impression last year.
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, Sportiello, Parrott and Redd have worked together countless times at jazz festivals, jazz parties, jazz cruises and other events around the US and in Europe. Later this fall, they will be at the Roswell Jazz Festival and The Colorado Springs Jazz Party so this could be considered a warm-up for those intense jazz weekends.
Last fall they played to a full and appreciative house at 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. He began studying piano at the age of 9 and graduated from 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. Stylistically, although international critics consider Rossano a follower of Ralph Sutton, Dave McKenna and Barry Harris, the influence of other great masters can be heard in his playing, such as Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, Art Tatum, Count Basie, Earl Hines, Ellis Larkins and Bill Evans, to name a few. 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 pianist Rossano Sportiello, Arbors) 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 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 double bass at the age of 15 because her sister Lisa, who plays alto sax, wanted a bassist for her group. After completing high school, Nicki moved to Sydney to study jazz at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music and shortly after began to play with well-known Australian musicians. She 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, Rebecca Paris, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Patti Labelle & the New York Pops Orchestra, Harry Allen, Michel Legrand, Scott Hamilton and Victor Wooten. 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.
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.
For information and reservations call the Mainstay at 410-639-9133. More information is also available at the Mainstay’s website https://www.mainstayrockhall.org.
Upcoming Mainstay performances include:
Oct. 16 Kelley Mickwee
Oct. 17 Mainstay Monday with guest Phil Dutton, piano and vocals
Oct. 22 Sue Matthews: A Grand Night for Singing, a tribute to Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rogers and Jerome Kern
Oct. 24 Mainstay Monday with guests Barbara Parker, vocals and Pres Harding, guitar
Nov. 3 The Chesapeake Guitar Quartet with Steve Abshire, Steve Herberman, Vince Lewis and Amy Shook