July 2, 2003 – The second year of monthly Jazz Vespers "around sunset" concerts at the St. Croix Reformed Church comes to a close on Sunday with a performance by the Dave McKean Ensemble.
The evening's program, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will focus on"Soul Jazz." The term relates to the music of the late 1960s and '70s, notably that of such artists as Eddie Harris, Miles Davis, Hank Crawford and Jimmy Smith, that was the pre curser to what's called "Smooth Jazz" today, according to a release.
Playing with drummer McKean for this date will be "Pikey" Copemann on saxophone, Mario Thomas on bass and Lucien James on keyboards.
McKean, a member of Rhythmix and VI Art Ensemble, studied at the Army Navy School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia, and played in the Army band at Washington State University. He was staff percussionist at LA Golden West Studio and taught with the Tacoma Symphony's Youth Development Program. He has worked with saxophonist Crawford and was house drummer at Smith's club in Los Angeles. He came to St. Croix in 1994 for the "Jazz in Paradise" festival and a few days after arriving was gigging with the St. Thomas All Stars steelband at Pier 69.
Copemann, an art teacher at Lew Muckle School, has been enthralled with jazz since his Central High School days. A self-taught saxophonist, he is the founder of the Native Rhythm Band. He has performed with various Crucian bands, including Free Association and Taco & The Playboys, and works regularly with VI Art Ensemble. His recorded work can be heard on "Joe Parris & The Hot Shots," Vol.4, and the latest Rico & The Stars release. He also in an accomplished painter and a published poet.
Thomas, the son of Crucian band leader Scypio Thomas, began studying bass at age 10 and soon was playing calypso, reggae and whatever was popular on the radio at the time. He formed his own group, Together Root, in the ninth grade. He studied at the Military School of Music in Washington, D.C., and at Howard University, where he played in the Jazz Septet, which toured Africa. He has worked with Jon Faddis, Louie Belson and Wynton Marsalis and played in Dave Yarborough's band.
No information was provided for James.
The Reformed Church is located in Estate La Reine on the hill above the Kingshill Post Office. Admission to the concert is free but an offering is taken. Attendees, especially young and aspiring musicians, are invited to meet the artists during a reception with complimentary refreshments that will follow the performance.
Jazz Vespers is held on the first Sunday of each month except for August. The third year will kick off with a performance by Paradise on Sept. 7, to be followed by Marcus Rabb with Strings on Oct 5. and Diane Russell on Nov. 2.
For more information, e-mail to Jazz Vespers or call 719-3672 or 778-0520.
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