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For the past decade, Oliver Lake’s Big Band has served as one of his greatest achievements and most sophisticated compositional outlets. He is currently celebrating the second recorded release of his Big Band, entitled Wheels, which has been met with widespread critical acclaim. Lake attributes much of his diverse array of musical styles and disciplines to his experience with the Black Artists Group (BAG), the legendary multi-disciplined and innovative St. Louis collective he co-founded with poets Ajule Rutlin, and musicians Julius Hemphill and Floyd La Flore over 35 years ago. As a co-founder of the internationally acclaimed World Saxophone Quartet with Hemphill, Hamiet Bluiett and David Murray, Oliver continues to work with a variety of groups, and collaborates with several notable choreographers, poets and a veritable who’s who of the progressive jazz scene, performing all over the U.S., Europe, Japan, the Middle East, Africa and Australia. In addition to his musical endeavors, Oliver is also an accomplished poet, painter and performance artist.
Teenage guitarist/singer Solomon Hicks – known by fans in Harlem as “King Solomon,” ‘lil B.B.” or “East Montgomery” – has been playing guitar for 13 years. An eclectic musician, Solomon excels at a number of styles ranging from Jazz, Blues, Classical, Gospel, R&B, Funk and Classic Rock. He studied Jazz, Classical and Afro-Cuban guitar at Harlem’s School of the Arts and the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts, and has attended Jazzmobile and Barry Harris’ Bebop workshops. Solomon can be seen currently performing on tours in Europe and in NYC at B.B.Kings (with the Harlem Blues Band), Red Rooster, Shanghai Jazz Club, and the legendary Cotton Club (with the All Stars Band). Solomon recorded his first album, Embryonic, at age 13. His second release,Carrying on the Torch of the Blues, came five years later. Solomon won the Jazz Excellence Award/Scholarship from the Friendly 50 Club Organization in 2008, and was named the AUDELCO “Rising Star” Honoree for the 2009-10 ‘VIV’ Award for Jazz/Music Performance. In 2012, J. Walter Thompson’s Differenter Committee chose Solomon as one of their nine “Innovators of Change.”
Michela Marino Lerman
Michela Marino Lerman is a star in the tap dance community. Born and raised in NYC and mentored by Buster Brown, Gregory Hines, Leroy Myers and Marion Coles, Lerman performs regularly at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Minton’s, Smalls (where she also runs the first and only acclaimed weekly tap jam) and countless other NYC jazz venues. Lerman has danced with musical greats such as Barry Harris, Benny Golson, Roy Haynes, Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, Harry Whitaker, Marcus Strickland, Ravi Coltrane, Reggie Workman, Revive the Live Big Band, Jon Batiste, Johnny O’Neal, Jennifer Holliday, and many more.
In recent years, Lerman has performed and taught in Brazil, Canada, Italy, Korea, Peru, Spain, and Sweden as well as at U.S. venues throughout the East, South, Midwest, and West Coast. Recognizing that tap and bebop share the same historic language of rhythm, she has dedicated herself to accentuating the bonds between them. Lerman is honored to perform at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival this summer. “He was such an innovator and a driving force in this music, as well as an important influence on tap. We hope to contribute, in some way, to his tremendous legacy.”