Berklee's New Orleans Visiting Artist series (NOVA), which brings musicians from the birthplace of jazz to America's first college of jazz for teaching residencies and performances, presents NOVA recipients Marva Wright and Davell Crawford, with Berklee's Reverence Gospel Ensemble and Overjoyed, directed by Dennis Montgomery III. The concert is Monday, December 12, 8:15 p.m., at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA. General admission tickets are $5. Please visit www.berkleebpc.com or call 617-747-2261 for more information.
Born and raised in New Orleans, 'Blues Queen' Marva Wright is among the growing number of versatile and talented female vocalists emerging from the city known as the birthplace of the blues. She started performing professionally in 1987 and has released seven solo CDs since 1991. Her acclaimed debut, Heartbreakin' Woman, was named Blues Album of the Year by the Louisiana Music Critics Association. With a range of styles that includes blues, R&B, jazz standards, traditional jazz, and gospel, her music comes to life with her sultry style. Wright has given electrifying concerts at renowned festivals worldwide, including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Umbria Jazz in Italy. She has sung backup with Allen Toussaint, Glen Campbell, and Joe Cocker, and has performed with such artists as Harry Connick, Jr., Bobby McFerrin, Aaron Neville, Fats Domino, and Lou Rawls.
Pianist and singer Davell Crawford follows in the footsteps of New Orleans musicians like Professor Longhair and James Booker. Crawford is the grandson of 1950's R&B star James Sugar Boy" Crawford. His 1995 debut, Let Them Talk (Rounder Records), showcases his gospel, R&B, and jazz influences, and his gift for singing ballads. Crawford has been playing piano since he was seven and first toured Europe in his early teens. Like other young New Orleans musicians, Crawford brings a synthesis of styles, including funk, gospel, and R&B to his piano playing, songwriting, and singing.
The 53-member Reverence Gospel Ensemble was started at Berklee in 1981 and, under the leadership of faculty member Dennis Montgomery III, has become one of the most popular and best-known ensembles at the college and beyond. Its appeal is wide-ranging and crosses ethnic and musical genre lines. Over the years, the group has included students from Japan, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, and many European and Scandinavian nations. The choir also counted as members, alumnae Paula Cole '90, Susan Tedeschi '91, and Lalah Hathaway '94, when they were students. Overjoyed, a nine-member gospel ensemble, has an international following from concerts in Switzerland, and Japan. Both group's sensational singing has brought hundreds of audiences to their feet.
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For over half a century, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry who's who" of alumni, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today -- and tomorrow.
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