TUSTEN JAZZ closes out with a dynamic double-bill evening performance at the Tusten Theatre featuring Sarah Elizabeth Charles & Jarrett Cherner and the Sullivan All Stars Jam!
SARAH ELIZBETH CHARLES & JARRETT CHERNER
Vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles and pianist Jarret Cherner are excited to bring their original duo album, TONE, to Narrowsburg. The captivating duo presents sublime original work steeped in jazz harmony, timeless melody, and poetic verse that addresses the need for care in the world.
Having weathered the brunt of pandemic, and recently stepped into their new role as parents, Charles and Cherner will present their co-written project, which they began recording before the Covid-19 crisis. Assembled over the span of 4-years, ‘Tone’ was mastered and finalized amidst quarantine in the couple’s Brooklyn apartment, where the studio became a haven for improvisation. “We’re both coming from the jazz tradition, the Black American Music tradition,” Charles says, “so improvising has brought so much to our creative process. It’s an approach that we’ve taken to both writing and recording that feels rooted in the tradition we’re coming from.”
Between Cherner’s expansive piano harmonies and Charles’ intricate multi-tracked vocal parts and subtly placed echoes and effects, Tone’s sonic space is filled by growing elements. Each song touches on transcendent themes of selfless love and living with purpose and intention. Shaped by eight emotive and richly melodic original compositions, its sound is fittingly intimate and warm, yet dynamic in range.
“The interplay between the two on this production is outstanding and the material incredibly refreshing. This is truly a beautiful, poetic and reflective work that feels much needed in these times,” – Glenn Daniels, The Jazz Page
SARAH ELIZABETH CHARLES
Sarah Elizabeth Charles is a vocalist/composer based in Brooklyn, NY and Livingston Manor, NY. She has worked and studied with artists such as Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah, Terri Lyne Carrington, George Cables, Geri Allen and Sheila Jordan and has released four critically acclaimed albums with her band, SCOPE between 2012 and today. As the active vocalist in a number of bands (including SCOPE, Ajoyo, duo with Jarrett Cherner, Jesse Fischer and Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah). Charles has performed at many venues throughout her career. These have included The White House, Carnegie Hall, the first annual Culture Summit in Abu Dhabi, The Kennedy Center, the Rose Theatre with Jazz at Lincoln Center and many more. She has also had a commissioned composition performed at The National Gallery in Washington D.C. via The Canales Project “Hear Her Song” initiative.
Charles’ musical output has been described as a “genre of one” (DownBeat Magazine), “soulfully articulate” (NY Times) and “an unmatched sound” (Jay Z’s Life+Times). Her critically acclaimed sophomore project, “Inner Dialogue”, released in 2015 on Truth Revolution Records, features her band along with co-producer/special guest Chief Xian aTunde Adjuah. Her third album, “Free of Form” was released on Stretch Music/Ropeadope and features SCOPE as well as Adjuah as co-producer/special guest. Charles has recently released her band’s fourth album, “Blank Canvas” and is embarking upon many other creative endeavors; one can only look to the future for more unique and boundary-pushing music from this one-of-a-kind artist.
Hailed as “an impressive soloist and an immaculate accompanist” (Richard Kamins) who is “particularly inventive” (Scott Yanow), Brooklyn-based pianist, composer and bandleader Jarrett Cherner has captivated listeners with his lyricism, technical facility and consistently evolving musical vision.
Originally from San Francisco, where he garnered praise as “one of the most exciting young pianist-composers on the Bay Area scene” (Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News), Cherner debuted on his own BaldHill Music label in 2006 with the compelling trio release ‘Burgeoning’, which earned recognition from the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards. As a driving force behind the collective jazz quintet Sketches (sketchesmusic.com), Cherner released two albums, both critically acclaimed: ‘Sketches Volume One’ (BaldHill, 2013) and ‘Volume Two’ (Brooklyn Jazz Underground, 2014).
Cherner’s 2016 trio release ‘Expanding Heart’ (BaldHill, October 2016) features bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Jason Burger in a set that reflects personal growth, combining original material with covers of wildly disparate songs by Vincent Rose, Otis Redding and Ornette Coleman.
Cherner began his professional rise in Boston while earning concurrent degrees at Tufts (B.S., mathematics) and New England Conservatory (Jazz Piano Performance). He studied with master teachers Danilo Pérez, Jerry Bergonzi, Frank Carlberg, and Michael Cain, among others. Returning to San Francisco for a time, Cherner then moved to New York in 2008 to pursue graduate studies at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Jason Moran, Garry Dial, and Dr. J. Mark Stambaugh. Since 2006 he has toured throughout the U.S. as well as South America, Canada, Mexico, and Europe, as both a leader and sideman. An adjunct professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, he also teaches through the New York Jazz Academy both privately and via Skype from his Brooklyn studio.
Cherner’s first instrument was the violin: he began the Suzuki method at age 7 and continued for 8 years. He also took up piano and drums at age 12 and played both throughout high school. His first inspirations as a violinist were Vivaldi and Bach, but after an ill-fated attempt to sit in with a friend’s rock band — they had no sheet music — he became intrigued by improvisation and the deeper mysteries of music. Able to play only from the page or from memory, he felt limited and thus found his way to jazz conceptually, before he actually heard it. On a teacher’s recommendation, he picked up an Oscar Peterson record and was soon hooked.
From those auspicious but roundabout beginnings, a world-class talent was born. Cherner was a semifinalist at the 2011 Montreux Jazz Piano Competition and had the honor of performing solo piano at the Whitney Museum as part of Jason Moran’s 2012 BLEED residency. Jazz audiences and fellow musicians are closely watching his growth as a virtuoso soloist and a seasoned, independent-minded artist.
SULLIVAN ALL-STAR JAM
Coming together to close out a remarkable weekend of music is the Sullivan All-Star Jam featuring Thurman Barker on drums, Kevin Hays on piano, Ryan Keberele on trombone, and Joe Michaels on bass.
Based in Jeffersonville, NY, Thurman Barker grew up in Chicago during the early 1950’s. As a child he was exposed to R&B, doo-wop, soul, jazz, and blues music that later influenced his musical career that began at seventeen. He also served as a percussionist for the city’s Shubert Theatre throughout much of the 1960s. He played for numerous national touring productions, including “Hair,” “The Wiz,” “Grease,” “One Mo’Time” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”
A versatile drummer and percussionist, Barker also performed with singers Billy Eckstine, Marvin Gaye, Bette Midler, and Vicki Carr and worked with classical groups like the Chicago Chamber Players and the New York City Opera.
Perhaps Thurman Barker’s most notable musical experience has been with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), an organization founded in the 1960s to promote innovative music and its players. A charter member of the group, Thurman first appeared in AACM productions with Joseph Jarman’s pioneering ensemble. He then went on to play with many other members, including Muhal Richard Abrams, Amina Claudine Meyers, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins, Roscoe Mitchell, and Henry Threadgill.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, after moving to New York, Barker worked with jazz giants Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, and Billy Bang, touring with their groups and recording numerous albums with them. Most recently, Thurman has performed with trombonist and composer George Lewis at the Festival International Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Quebec.
Since creating Uptee Records in the late 1980s, Barker has released five recordings as a leader, including Voyage (1987), The Way I Hear It (1999), Time Factor (2001), Strike Force (2004), and Rediscovered (2008). In 1994, his work “Dialogue,” commissioned by Mutable Music, was premiered at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. The Woodstock Chamber Orchestra premiered Thurman’s chamber piece, “Expansions,” in May 1999, and that same year he became a lecturer at Smolny University in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In 1993, Barker began teaching jazz history and performance at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. Through his efforts to develop the program, he was promoted to Full Professor of Jazz Studies in June 2016. He retired from the post in 2022.
Based in Narrowsburg, NY, Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist/composer Kevin Hays is internationally recognized as one of the most original and compelling musicians of his generation. His many recordings have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Downbeat Magazine and Jazz Times, as well as the “Coup de Coeur” award from the Académie Charles Cros (France).
Kevin has appeared on numerous albums as a guest artist, recording with Chris Potter, Bill Stewart, Joshua Redman, Jeff Ballard, Nicholas Payton, and Al Foster, among many others. Notable collaborations include a piano duo project with Brad Mehldau (Modern Music – Nonesuch), and world tours with James Taylor, Sonny Rollins, John Scofield, Joe Henderson, and Roy Haynes.
In addition to his celebrated work as a pianist and composer, Kevin has become increasingly known as a gifted and expressive singer/songwriter. In 2015 he released the widely lauded recording New Day (Sunnyside), on which he performed his own songs along with a riveting performance of the Jimmy Webb classic ‘Highwayman’. Hope, the highly anticipated 2019 collaboration with Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke, was released on Edition Records. The music on Hope seems to move effortlessly between melodic serenity and rhythmic interplay, highlighting the beauty and intimacy of the piano/acoustic guitar format.
Hays co-wrote several compositions on Steve Gadd Band’s eponymous album which garnered the 2019 GRAMMY Award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. The album also features Kevin’s own ‘Spring Song’, the sole vocal track.
In 2020 Kevin was given the Independent Music Award in the ‘Jazz with Vocals’ category for the track ‘Circles of the Mind’ from the album “Across the Sea”, which he recorded with the Italian vocalist, Chiara Izzi.
Kevin’s most recent trio recording Bridges with bassist Ben Street and legendary drummer Billy Hart features new compositions and songs by Hart, Milton Nascimento, The Beatles, Wayne Shorter, and Bill Frisell.
Based in Forestburgh and hailed in the Downbeat and Jazz Times International Critics Polls as #1 trombonist, a player “of vision and composure” according to The New York Times, Ryan Keberle has developed a one-of-a-kind voice both on his instrument and as a composer, earning distinction among jazz’s most adventurous new voices. Keberle’s music integrates his wide-ranging experiences into a highly personal vernacular — immersed in jazz tradition, drawing on world music, rock and other influences, seeking fresh and original pathways. Keberle’s outlets include the celebrated indie jazz ensemble, Catharsis; the Big Band Living Legacy Project, carrying on the rich musical language of big band jazz featuring top veteran players in the idiom; the All Ears Orchestra, featuring Ryan’s original compositions and arrangements for Jazz Orchestra, and Reverso, a chamber-jazz collaboration with French pianist Frank Woeste featuring cellist Vincent Courtois and drummer Jeff Ballard.
Keberle has also worked in endlessly varied settings with musicians ranging from superstars to up-and-coming innovators, in jazz, indie rock, R&B, and classical music. As a featured soloist with the Maria Schneider Orchestra, he collaborated with David Bowie on his 2015 single “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime).” He has performed extensively with the acclaimed songwriter Sufjan Stevens, with Brazilian superstar Ivan Lins, and with the Saturday Night Live house band. He has accompanied soul hit-makers Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake as well as jazz legends Rufus Reid and Wynton Marsalis.
Since 2002, Joe Michaels has been working as a professional bassist and educator based out of Northeastern Pennsylvania. He has performed with Grammy-winning pianist Kevin Hays, Grammy-nominated jazz artists such as David Liebman as well as world-renowned jazz artists Vincent Herring, Adam Nussbaum, Joel Frahm, Adam Niewood, Nir Felder, Jimmy Macbride, Tim Warfield, Otis Brown III, Mike Holober, Wycliffe Gordon, Vic Juris, Phil Markowitz, Rich Perry, John Swana, Bill Goodwin, among others. He is the winner of the 2011 Belin Art Scholarship and continues to perform extensively throughout the United States.
DVAA’s programs are made possible thanks in part to the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency with support from the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; the Sullivan County Legislature; A Fair Game Fund, the Nancy Stevenson Memorial Fund; Business Sponsors; our members; and individuals like you.