Celebrating the Charlie “Bird” Parker Centennial at the 2020 ColaJazz Festival

The Third Annual ColaJazz Festival will bring three of the world’s foremost jazz musicians to The Senate Columbia. Master saxophonists Tia Fuller and Don Braden will headline the April 4, 2020 event with up-and-comer Alexa Tarantino.

“This year is the centennial of the great saxophonist and bebop innovator Charlie Parker,” said Mark Rapp, ColaJazz artistic director and South Carolina Jazz Ambassador. “What better way to celebrate one of jazz music’s most influential improvisors than to bring to SC not one, but three fiery saxophonists.”

Also appearing will be jazz/soul singer Brittany Turnipseed, a Columbia native and 2018 winner of the Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night Competition. All artists will be backed by top local and regional talent.

This year’s festival includes offstage activities as well. “New this year is the ColaJazz Family Day,” Rapp said. “We are very excited to partner with the Richland Library on this program. One of the ColaJazz Foundation’s missions is to introduce young people to our American art form, Jazz, and teaching them the values inherent in the music such as working well with others, listening, communicating, self-improvement, self-empowerment, patience, diligence and being curious about the different.”

The two Family Day sessions will take place at the library’s main branch and will be led by Eboni Ramm, ColaJazz Outreach coordinator and Richland Library Literary resident artist. The 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. session, “ColaJazz: Baby Bop Blues & Beyond,” will enable children ages 1-8 and their families to experience different instruments, a jazz story, singing and live band performance. The second, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., “ColaJazz: Beat the Blues!,” is for children ages 9–12 and their families, enabling them to hear sounds of the blues with a live band performance, learn about its history, form and write blues lyrics to be performed live.

Limited early bird tickets for the 2020 ColaJazz Festival are available online now for just $25 at https://colajazz.com. Tickets will be available online, at the Senate box office and at the door on the day of the festival for $35. VIP tickets are $75 and include prime table seating, table service and more.

About the artists:

Tia Fuller is a GRAMMY-nominated saxophonist winning JazzTimes Jazz Critics Poll for best alto saxophonist (2018), and Downbeat Critic’s Poll-Rising Star two years in a row in the categories of Soprano Sax in 2014 and Alto Sax and Flute in 2013. Fuller was appointed as the 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA and is a full-time professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Having toured extensively with pop icon Beyoncé, Fuller also has performed with luminaries such as Wycliff Gordon Septet, T.S. Monk Sextet, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Kelly Rowland, Jay-Z, Jill Scott, Patti LaBelle, Sheila E, Valerie Simpson, Dionne Warwick, Janelle Monáe, Patrice Rushen, Erykah Badu, and the late Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, and Geri Allen.

Don Braden has toured the world with Jazz greats Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Freddie Hubbard, Tony Williams, Roy Haynes, and many others. Braden has composed music in various styles for ensembles ranging from duo to full symphonic orchestra, for recordings (including 21 CDs as a leader and over 80 as a sideman), film, and the television networks Nickelodeon and CBS (“Cosby”). He recorded with Betty Carter on her Grammy Award-winning album, “Look What I Got” (Verve-Polygram). For over 17 years he has served as Music Director of the renowned Litchfield Jazz Camp, and for 15 years was the Music Director of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens program. Braden is the proud recipient of a Doris Duke Foundation (in conjunction with Chamber Music America) Jazz composition grant. His list of sidemen reads like a Who’s Who of Jazz: Christian McBride, Benny Green, Kenny Werner, Carl Allen, Cecil Brooks III, Jeff “Tain” Watts & Billy Hart, David “Fathead” Newman, Vincent Herring, Dave Liebman, Terell Stafford, Tom Harrell & Randy Brecker, Steve Turre, Jack McDuff, Kyle Koehler & Larry Goldings, Dave Stryker, Russell Malone… the list goes on!

Alexa Tarantino is an award-winning, vibrant, young jazz saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, and educator. Alexa’s “lovely, ardent way of improvising,” and “sharply plotted but gracefully unencumbered straight-ahead jazz [compositions]” (Giovanni Russonello, The New York Times) establish her individual voice which shines through as a dynamic performer and educator. Alexa performs and tours regularly as a leader and sidewoman with Wynton Marsalis & The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Cécile McLorin Salvant’s OGRESSE, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Sherrie Maricle & the DIVA Jazz Orchestra. Alexa is an artist on the Posi-Tone Records label. Tarantino is currently on faculty for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Youth Programs and previously served as Jazz Saxophone Instructor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She holds a master’s degree in Jazz Studies from The Juilliard School and bachelor’s degrees in Jazz Saxophone Performance and Music Education from the Eastman School of Music.

Brittany Turnipseed, a Columbia native, is a sultry jazz/soul songstress and 2018 top winner of the Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night Competition. She easily navigates from the neo-soul sounds of Jill Scott to the purity of voice of Sarah Vaugh. Brittany is definitely a star on the rise.

Eboni Ramm serves her community as a Literary Resident of Richland Library and is an Education & Outreach Coordinator with ColaJazz. Ramm is also a Teaching Artist with ARTS ACCESS South Carolina, and Youth Corps.

For more information, visit the ColaJazz website at https://colajazz.com.

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