Now on Sale:
$125 for 4 great shows at 5 pm or 8 pm
In summer 2012, the Diablo Regional Arts Association introduced "Jazz at the Lesher Center," an immediate smash hit.
In 2013 the DRAA will present another stellar lineup of artists, available by subscription in a 5 pm series and an 8 pm series.
All concerts are in the 300-seat Margaret Lesher Theatre, and will sell out quickly. Subscribe early!
Pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s hard swinging, soulful sounds are a delight both for serious jazz fans and for the general public. Blending contemporary jazz, traditional jazz and gospel, plus the occasional seasonings of Latin and samba, Chestnut has a wide vocabulary of lush chords, playful grace notes, worshipful tremolos and effortless runs but it's his warm demeanor and irresistible sweetness that make him one of jazz’s most beloved ambassadors.
He has played with such jazz stars as Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Branford Marsalis, Chick Corea, Dizzy Gillespie, Jon Hendricks, and Betty Carter as well as such diverse luminaries as Vanessa Williams, Kathleen Battle, Bette Midler and Isaac Hayes. Other credits include the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Chestnut's music is imbued with a deep spirituality, and audiences respond to the joyful flavor of gospel that appears in his playing. The New York Daily News heralded Chestnut as the rightful heir to Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Erroll Garner, and The New York Times has described Chestnut as a "highly intelligent improviser with one of the surest senses of swing in jazz."
Joel Frahm , a profoundly talented tenor saxophonist, is currently one of the brightest stars of New York City's jazz scene. A true "musician's musician," Frahm's credits include Jane Monheit, Brad Mehldau, Maynard Ferguson, Betty Carter, Matt Wilson, Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and Pat Martino.
Terell Stafford, hailed as "one of the greats of our time, a fabulous trumpet player" by McCoy Tyner, has performed with Kenny Barron, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, the Clayton Brothers, and Jon Faddis. Stafford has recorded six albums as a leader and is heard on over 90 albums as a sideman.
One of the world's foremost jazz singers, Grammy-nominated Stacey Kent has a beguiling, lightly swinging style, delivered with the purest of voices (delicate, crisp and intoxicating as a glass of Chablis) that has won over a fan base that sells out concert halls around the world.
Immediately upon appearing on the scene in 1997 she achieved both critical and popular success with her fresh, heart-felt interpretations of the finest love songs of the twentieth century. But it was a feature on CBS Sunday Morning in 1999 that gave Stacey national exposure in the USA and brought her wider recognition. Since then, her career has exploded internationally, from Taipei to Carnegie Hall to the famed Olympia in Paris.
Ms Kent has had eight hit albums, including the Platinum-selling Breakfast On The Morning Tram (2007) as well as The Boy Next Door (2003) and Raconte-Moi (2010), both of which achieved Gold status. She has won such awards as the 2001 British Jazz Award, the 2002 BBC Jazz Award for Best Vocalist, the 2004 Backstage Bistro Award for best live performance, and the 2006 "Album of the Year" Award for Jim Tomlinson's album The Lyric. In addition, she has been named Chevalier Dans L'ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres by the French Minister of Culture.
If there is one theme that runs through Stacey's music, it is that of romance. An avowed romantic herself, her songs touch young and old alike and, in an age where music is more likely to divide than unite the generations, it is quite common for three generations of the same family to attend her concerts.
Multi-Grammy Award nominee Eliane Elias electrifies audiences worldwide with her distinctive style, a glamorous musical cocktail that blends her Brazilian roots, her sensuous, alluring voice and her remarkable jazz piano playing. Every single one of her recordings has made the Top Five on both the Billboard charts and the radio charts in the U.S., with many reaching number one.
For her 1995 release Solos and Duets (with Herbie Hancock) she was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Jazz Solo Performance” category, and the recording was hailed by Musician magazine as “a landmark in piano duo history." In the 1997 Downbeat Readers Poll her recording The Three Americas was voted Best Jazz Album, and Elias was also named in five other categories: Best Musician, Best Composer, Jazz Pianist, Female Vocalist, and Musician of the Year.
In 2007 her CD Something for You received the Best Vocal Album of the Year Award in Japan, and in 2008, Eliane was the number two artist in jazz CD sales in France. Internationally, her 2011 Light My Fire has inspired enthusiastic response from the public and unanimous raves from the critics, reaching #1 on the French Jazz Charts, #1 on itunes France, debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart and #3 on iTunes and Amazon.com Jazz Charts USA.
“Who else can sing a sexy song, dance a sexy dance, and then sit down at the piano and play a solo to rival McCoy Tyner?” - Rochester City Newspaper
Only a few contemporary jazz pianists can play Harlem Stride, the sound of Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, Duke Ellington, and Art Tatum. We have gathered three of the finest practitioners of this classic style which, to many connoisseurs, represents the very pinnacle of jazz pianism.
Legendary pianist Dick Hyman has one of the most star-studded resumes in the musical world. His film scores include not only Moonstruck but the Woody Allen films Zelig, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose, Stardust Memories, Hanna and Her Sisters, Radio Days, Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, and Everyone Says “I Love You” . He orchestrated of the hit Broadway musical Sugar Babies and has recorded well over 100 albums under his own name, including his encyclopedic six-disc “Century of Jazz Piano” on Arbors Records. Mr. Hyman has served as music director for projects ranging from Arthur Godfrey to (for 20 years) the acclaimed Jazz in July series at New York’s 92nd Street Y.
Pianist Mike Lipskin has played Carnegie Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, the 92nd Street Y and Newport Jazz Festival, and earned glowing praise from critic Leonard Feather, producer Jerry Wexler and musicians Eubie Blake and Willie The Lion Smith, who was also Lipskin's teacher. Also renowned as a record producer, Lipskin produced not only the esteemed RCA reissues of Fats Waller, but also albums by Gil Evans, Cedar Walton, and Lonnie Liston Smith and edited, mixed, and mastered recordings by Chet Atkins, Sam Cooke, Elvis Presley, Jefferson Airplane, Brian Auger, Duke Ellington, Erroll Garner and Dizzy Gillespie.
Pianist Stephanie Trick has won the esteem of stride specialists, playing with “a punch that is matched by her precise interpretation” ( Bulletin of the Hot Club of France ). Ms Trick was the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Kobe-Breda Jazz Friendship Award , and she has performed throughout the USA and Europe. She currently has six CDs and a DVD available. Her “Live” CD was awarded the “New Talent Prize 2011.”