Katie Thiroux Opens Chestertown Jazz Festival Sept. 7 at Mainstay


Katie Thiroux

Acclaimed bassist, vocalist and composer Katie Thiroux headlines the opening night of The Chestertown Jazz Festival in a concert at The Mainstay in Rock Hall on Thursday September 7, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $25 in advance and 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.

A compelling composer as well as a powerful performer, Katie Thiroux has garnered considerable attention for her bravura bass playing, assured singing and compelling compositions. With the release of her debut album, “Introducing Katie Thiroux” (2015), her substantial gifts as a bandleader and recording artist are also on view. This release received many awards including “Debut Record of the Year” from the Huffington Post, All About Jazz, the Jazz Journalists Association and “Top 5 Debut Records of the Year” from NPR Jazz Critics Poll. Other accolades include being a 2015 semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Competition, featured on WBGO’s “The Checkout,” Downbeat magazine and NPR.

Her new release, “Off Beat,” was released mid-August. On it, she lends a contemporary flair to mainstream stylings and carries on the hard swinging tradition of such bass masters as Ray Brown and John Clayton, while channeling the buoyant vocal finesse of iconic singers including Anita O’Day, Chet Baker and Ella Fitzgerald. She and her combo offer in-the-moment jazz that draws upon the rich history of the music, from swing to bebop and beyond.

Thiroux’s recent performances with her quartet include the Blue Note, Birdland, the San Jose Summer Jazz Fest, NAMM and the Juneau Jazz and Classics Festival. In May 2017 Thiroux paid tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live as a featured performer and musical director at the request of the Grammy Foundation.

The Mainstay’s former Director, Rory Trainor, booked Thiroux for the festival’s opening night just before he moved back to Milwaukee last Spring, according to the festival’s organizer Mel Repelyea. Right after that, Quincy Jones booked Thiroux and her quartet for a two-month stand at Jones’s jazz club in Dubai this past summer but she’ll be back in time for this date.

Coming from a musical family in Los Angeles, Thiroux was surrounded by music; beginning with violin lessons at age 4. She switched to the acoustic bass at age 8. While continuing her studies on bass, Katie explored both jazz and classical vocal styles; landing principal roles in the LA Opera and Opera Pacifica by the age of 10. Captivated by an early recording of Lionel Hampton, Katie was driven to pursue her love for jazz and began studying privately with jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton at age 12.

In 2005, Thiroux began a mentorship with John Clayton that started at the Vail Jazz Party and later that year she received the Los Angeles Jazz Society award, “Shelly Manne New Talent.” In 2006 she was awarded the Phil Ramone Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College of Music. Upon graduation, Thiroux was asked to teach at the Berklee International School in Ecuador, Quito. She then treturned to her native Los Angeles and completed a Masters of Jazz Bass from California State University of Long Beach.

In addition to work with her quartet, Thiroux is an active member of the Larry Fuller Trio and has been heard with, among others, pianists Justin Kauflin, Bill Cunliffe, Geri Allen, Helen Sung, Tamir Hendelman and Eric Reed, trumpeters Brian Lynch and Terrell Stafford,  saxophonists Jeff Clayton, Charles McPhearson and Ken Peplowski, guitarists Mundell Lowe and Larry Koonse, drummers Terri Lynne Carrington, Lewis Nash and Jeff Hamilton, and vocalists Patti Austin, Niki Harris and Tierney Sutton.

She has performed at jazz festivals in the United States, Mexico, Germany, Finland, Serbia, Singapore and Switzerland as both a leader and a sideman and often incorporates workshops for students and audiences into her schedule. It is her passionate belief that exposure to jazz history, culture and styles is vital in keeping the music alive and thriving. Her swinging bass, clear vocals and inspired instrumental arrangements are reflective of her musical idols both past and present and her knowledge, perseverance and fervor for the music make her a rising star in today’s scene.

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