As always, Steppin’ Out will feature a great lineup of as many 20 different artists and groups all under one roof for an evening that will energize music enthusiasts and party-goers alike!
Stay tuned for news about our headliner and other great performers!!!
The year’s lineup will include:
Steppin’ Out 2009 Featured Artist: Brian McKnight
Brian McKnight has earned himself a spot in contemporary music history. He has released 11 albums to date, 7 of them have gone platinum, with several going 2 and 3x platinum, and has sold over 20 Million albums worldwide.
Brian has received numerous awards including Soul Train Awards and Image Awards, and numerous nominations including Grammy’s, MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards and American Music Awards.
With seemingly endless talent; Brian has used his vast industry knowledge as a red carpet host for Extra!, and has seen success in musical theatre. In 2005 McKnight toured with the production of “Cheaters” and In 2007 McKnight stepped back onto Broadway with a run as Billy Flynn in "Chicago". In 2006 McKnight scored "Daddy's Little Girls" for Tyler Perry, the same year he released the album TEN.
Brian is currently hosting "Soul Session Countdown with Brian McKnight" on BETJ, and has co-hosted "The Brian McKnight Morning Show" on KTWV the Wave Smooth Jazz radio station in LA for 2 years. A second radio show started in 2008, as “The Brian McKnight Show” took the air and is syndicated on ABC radio coast to coast.
Brian's current project is his new weekly late night talk show. “The Brian McKnight Show” will premiere in September 2009 in over 200 markets. The show will be a one-hour entertainment showcase featuring the hottest celebrities and personalities from the world of sports, acting, popular culture and music.
Fans of Brian's music can also take a deep breath; a new album is slated for a September 2009 release. That project features duets with Stevie Wonder and Jill Scott, and the first single “What I’ve Been Waiting For” features a reggae sound that McKnight has never done before. The majority of the album will be a treat for McKnight fans; featuring the ballads that he is best known for. www.brian-mcknight.com
Daniel McClain - Born in Brooklyn and bred in Boston, Daniel “SkyHigh” McClain doesn’t just sing songs, he masters them. Growing up idolizing artists like Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Mint Condition, SkyHigh always knew that he possessed the potential to take R&B to a higher level, he just didn’t know to what extent. Armed with pen and paper, he has defined what it means to have a message through his voice and spectacular stage presence. Sharing the stage with artists like Steven Tyler, Herbie Hancock, Me'Shell Ndegeocello and Lalah Hathaway, and becoming The 2008 Grand Champion of New England's Emmy Award winning television show "Community Auditions: Star of The Day", SkyHigh has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with. And, although he has hundreds of performances under his belt and countless collaborations with some of the industry’s greats, he still manages to stay humble and focused. For him, there is no other way. His self-titled album, “SkyHigh” is set to be released sometime in the New Year and will definitely be worth the wait. http://www.myspace.com/danielsingz
La Timbistica is a contemporary Latin All-Star band made up of some of the best young musicians on the East Coast. They were named Down Beat magazine's 2008 Jazz Group of the Year in the collegiate category. They recently lit up the stage at the Duke Ellington, Saratoga, Monterey, and Heineken P.R. Jazz Festivals, some of the most prestigious festivals in the U.S. and the Caribbean. This 9-piece Salsa powerhouse will feature Costa Rican native Manolo Mairena on lead vocals. Their multi-cultural lineup will also include Kalani Trinidad (PR) , John Replogle (USA), Angel Subero (Ven), Marcos Lopez (PR), Natanael Molina (PR), Anthony Mckinney (Mex), Marcos Torres (USA), and Paulo Stagnaro (Peru). Check out La Tibistica on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUVmUxEJQoo.
Grace Kelly - When it comes to saxophonist/vocalist/composer/lyricist/arranger Grace Kelly, people seem to be divided into two groups: those who marvel at her proficiency, creativity and ever-accelerating growth, and those who have yet to encounter the 16-year-old wunderkind.
The ranks of the former category are growing by the day. Trumpeter and Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis was so impressed with Kelly’s three-night stand as guest of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in November that he has invited her to join the ensemble at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C. for an Martin Luther King, Jr. Day/Inauguration Eve concert on January 19th. Harry Connick, Jr. heard Kelly in a master class on a December afternoon and brought her on stage to sit in with his band that night. This capped an already exceptional end of 2008 in which Kelly’s appearance on NPR’s Piano Jazz with Marian McPartland was syndicated nationally, The Boston Music Awards declared her the city’s Outstanding Jazz Act, and local ABC affiliate WCVB-TV named her one of five Bostonians to Watch in 2009.
To this astonishing list of kudos and credits, Kelly now adds Mood Changes, the fifth release on her PAZZ label. The album mixes six standards with four Kelly originals and features her working quintet (Jason Palmer, trumpet; Doug Johnson, piano; John Lockwood, basses; Jordan Perlson or Terri Lyne Carrington, drums), with guest appearances by guitarist Adam Rogers on two tracks and trombonist Hal Crook on one.
“I’m just trying to listen to as much music as possible, which makes it hard for me to put together a CD about just one thing,” Kelly says in explaining her inspiration for Mood Changes. “A year before the session, I wrote `Tender Madness,’ which is slow and sad, and around the same time, when I was in a good mood, I wrote `Happy Theme Song.’ At that point, I realized that a concept for my next album was taking shape. Two more originals, `101’ and `But Life Goes On,’ extended the idea, as did the six standards.” For more, visit: http://www.gracekellymusic.com/.
Elan Trotman - One of the most exciting up-and-comers among a new generation of saxophonists, Elan Trotman has emerged as an exhilarating force in the world of contemporary jazz. As a composer, performer, teacher and recording artist, Elan excels in every setting. Elan has been the recipient of the award for Best Jazz Male at the New England Urban Music Awards in both 2008 and 2009. His playing, though inspired by Arturo Tappin, Grover Washington Jr and Kirk Whalum, features his own tone and fresh ideas.
Born and raised in Barbados and educated at Berklee in Boston, Elan approaches jazz in his own way. Blending Caribbean rhythms from his roots with skillful horn textures, his playing is full of surprises. Elan states, “I don’t want to limit myself to the usual format. I stretch out, take chances, and add an edge to my solos. I enjoy the genre and the concept but I also break some of the rules because that’s how I play live, bringing all of my different influences into the music.” Both inspiring and impressive, Elan’s music is never predictable.
Elan has recorded and performed with such notables as Roberta Flack, Brian McKnight, Nathan East, Najee, Don Grusin, Peter Gammons and major league baseball pitcher and guitarist Bronson Arroyo. Elan’s love for sports and his relationships with athletes and teams afforded him the opportunity to perform the National Anthem on numerous occasions for such teams as the Boston Celtics, the Boston Red Sox, the Cincinnati Reds and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He put together a band for NBA star Ray Allen’s wedding and performs annually for Theo Epstein’s charity event “Hot Stove Cool Music.” Elan says, “I hope that everyone, including people of all ages who might listen to straight-ahead jazz, smooth jazz, rock or gospel, enjoys the music and the performance. It’s for them.” For more, visit: http://www.elantrotman.com.
Edwin Pabon & His Orchestra - Edwin Pabon has been mainstay in Latin music in the Boston and New England area for many years. Born to a family of Puerto Rican musicians, he began his music career in the mid-seventies as a percussionist with El Sextets Pa bon, a family band. El Sextets Pabon was one of the first bands in Boston to feature Latin music. In many ways, Edwin and his brothers Roberto Pabon and Israel Pabon, and sister Janet Pabon were some of the first pioneers promoting Latin music in New England.
Edwin began his solo career in 1990 when he formed his own orchestra. Throughout his career he has performed with some of the best names in Latin music, including: Tito Puente, Carlos Santana, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, Tito Nieves, Eddie Palmieri, Lalo Rodriguez, Mongo Santa Maria, Ismael Rivera, Giovanni Hidalgo, Tito Gomez and Ray Barreto. In addition to handling lead vocals for the orchestra, Edwin plays several instruments, including percussion instruments such as the timbales, bongos and congas. Edwin is also preparing to release his third CD “Rumbero de Corazon” that features “salsa romantica de hoy y de ayer” (hot salsa-romantic salsa) with Afro-Cuban rhythms. He is a passionate performer whose commitment to spreading the vivacity of Latin music and dance continues to inspire him.
Vaughn Anthony – “I’ve got some old soul, P-Funk, hip hop –you roll all that into a ball and that’s me.” So says singer Vaughn Anthony, describing his unique sound.
Vaughn Anthony hails from Springfield, Ohio and was fortunate to be born in to a musical family. Vaughn’s mother, father, uncles, aunts and grandmother all sang and some also played piano. He was allowed to show off his singing skills at church and at family gatherings. Of late, he has put his voice to the ultimate test by singing backup during a world tour with John Legend, his older brother.
Nearly three years ago, Vaughn figured there was a better way to earn a living. He set his sights on a dream that he once considered a long shot: a career in music. “I got tired of working in factories,” he said. “I can hold a note, and I saw where John was at, so I thought I would give it a try.” While Vaughn admits he’s going for an R&B feel, he prefers not to label his music. “I base my stuff on classic music like James Brown and Stevie Wonder.”
Vaughn recently signed to John’s imprint, Homeschool Records and when asked what distinguishes him from the plethora of male R&B singers out there, Vaughn says, “I think I have a fresh new sound, not like anyone else who’s current right now. I’m just me. I don’t listen to much current music so I’m not trying to pick up on what other people are doing.”
So, in this era of one-hit wonders, where does Vaughn Anthony see himself in the future? He says his yet-to-be-conquered goals include acting and giving back to the world community through philanthropic efforts. But for now, he is keeping it simple: “I just want to make good quality music – good albums, and not just singles – stuff you can listen to from track one to 16.”
The Harmonizing Stars of Boston – Singing songs, making music, blending harmonies, and touching souls are some of the words that describe a group of talented and committed singers and performers. The Harmonizing Stars of Boston is an Acapella Gospel singing group, presently consisting of four members, who by the way, are all related. In other words, three members are nephews to one uncle. These gentlemen are all active members of the Church of God and Saints of Christ at 106 Crawford Street in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
The Harmonizing Stars of Boston has performed in distinguished venues such as The Massachusetts State House, Boston City Hall, Arlington Street Church, countless other local churches, school, community centers, nursing homes, and many parks, as well as for radio, cable and television networks. Their ministry has taken them to places throughout the United States and Canada. As licensed public performing artists, they can also be found blending their voices and harmonies throughout the public transportation system in Massachusetts.
On Saturday Evening, April 25, 2009, The Harmonizing Stars of Boston was awarded "The New England's Best Gospel Group" award at the 4th Annual New England Urban Music Awards Ceremony, co-sponsored by Radio Station Touch 106.1FM. The Harmonizing Stars of Boston was featured many times as guest performers on the Boston Neighborhood Network Cable Program- BNN.
Sherry Winston – This acclaimed Jazz flutist has performed in many of the major concert halls throughout the U.S. including Carnegie Hall, Constitution Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Sherry performed at The White House for President and Mrs. Clinton during their last holiday party, and for former President George H.W. Bush at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in NYC. She has been a featured guest on The Today Show, BET TV, Live at Five, VH1 and many other TV shows nationally.
Sherry’s 6th CD, “For Your Love,” has been praised by New York Beacon, Sounds of Timeless Jazz, the International Musician, and the Urban Music Scene. Sounds of Timeless Jazz says, “FOR YOUR LOVE is by far one of Winston’s best recordings and a tribute to the loving, creative spirit that inhabits all of her recordings. Jazz flute is simply one of the prettiest sounds you’ll ever hear when played by a master and Sherry Winston is definitely a master.”
Sherry has produced and written music for all of her 6 CD's. Her 4th CD, "Life is Love & and Love is You," charted in Billboard Magazine, and features the late Grover Washington, Jr., Saxophonist, Najee, Guitarist, Norman Brown, Keyboard Wizard Bobby Lyle, and Vocalist Jon Lucien. Visit her web site at: http://sherrywinston.com
The Morning Star Baptist Church - The Morning Star Baptist Church has been associated with great music and wonderful worship for over 30 years. From its standing room only sanctuary to the now over 1,500 seat sanctuary the choirs have been singing the gospel story. Comprised of over 80 voices and accompanied by a 5 piece rhythm section the choir knows God and loves to glorify him with every fiber of their being. Under the leadership of Professor Jerome Kyles, God has used this ensemble mightily. They’ve shared their gifts in Opera houses and churches near and far spreading the good news and bringing joy to all who listen. “Lifting up the name of the Lord with excellence” is their motto, and with his help all things are possible.
Black Violin – These two classically trained violinists and their DJ have redefined the music world-one string at a time. With influences ranging from Shostakovich and Bach to Nas and Jay-Z, Black Violin breaks all the rules, blending the classical with the modern to create something rare-a sound that nobody has ever heard, but that everybody wants to feel.
The group recently released its eponymous debut album, a record whose top notch production and musical cohesion make it feel like the work of seasoned veterans rather than industry upstarts. The group continues to tour far and wide, opening for hip hop mainstays like Fat Joe, Akon, and the Wu-Tang Clan in locations as diverse, as Prague, Dubai, and South Africa (http://blackviolin.net/).
Curtis Henderson – Curtis Henderson has been performing since the age of ten, when he and two friends began singing and dancing all around the town of Roxbury, MA, where they became known as The Cousins, covering Curtis Mayfield, Ray Charles and The Temptations. Later, they combined forces with the popular Boston group known as The Prophets.
In the mid-nineties, Curtis received an enthusiastic welcome into Boston’s
jazz world. Since then, he’s performed all over Boston and worked with
top local musicians Rollins Ross and Frank Wilkins. In 2006, Curtis began
work on his first CD, Magic of the Night. The CD combines funk influences
with sweet soul and jazz overtones to create a perfect mix for today. http://www.curtishendersonjr.com/
Gabriela Martina – Swiss native, Gabriela Martina was on stage for the first time at the age of five with her family as a traditional Swiss Yodel Group and has performed with various choirs (from classical music to gospel) and musicals. After a year at London’s Vocaltech Music College, Gabriela started her professional studies in singing at the Music College (Jazzschool) in Lucerne in 2006.
Gabriela moved to Boston in August 2008 to study at the renowned Berklee College of Music, has performed with MeShell Ndegeocello, Jack DeJohnette and was part of a Master class with Dr. Bernice Reagon. She sang as a Background Singer in a Recording Session with the well-known Studio drummer from L.A. called J.R.Robinson. In July of this year she was invited to sing at the Sure Voice Competition at the Montreux Jazzfestival with Lee Ritenour’s Backing Band (Patrice Rushen pn, Melvin Davis b, Will Kenneth dr). Gabriela has worked with renowned teachers such as Donna McElroy, Diane Richardson, Susanne Abbuehl, Lauren Newton, Bob Stoloff, Dennis Montgomery III, Mili Bermejo, Kudisan Kai-Regalot, David Scott, Lisa Thorson and Armsted Christian.
Athene Wilson - A favorite voice around Boston's music scene, Athene Wilson has performed Jazz, Gospel and R&B in many of Boston’s best-known venues, including The House of Blues and Scullers Jazz club. She has accompanied local artists, Larry Watson, Andre Ward, Walter Beasley and several other bands. Ms.Wilson has done background work for renowned artist, Patti Labelle, Natalie Cole and Smokey Robinson and most recently she and her band opened for renowned recording artist Freddie Jackson at the Berklee Perfomance Center in Boston. Ms. Wilson's multi-faceted vocals have resonated across stages in Germany, France, Japan and the Caribbean http://www.athenewilson.com/.
North Shore Acappella - For the last 26 years, North Shore
Acappella has entertained and excited thousands of listeners throughout the
Boston area, adding an experienced blend of harmony, rhythm and tempo to songs
from the 40's right up through today. The voices belong to Tommy Duarte, Paul
Lopes, Jimmy Martin, Vinny Straccia and Jimmy Caserta. This special art of
delivering music without instrumental accompaniment is what North Shore Acappella
is all about. The award-winning group offers a continuously fresh repertoire
of hundreds of popular hits that cover the last five decades. Each number
and performance is arranged in a way that showcases each member in a role
of lead singer – a trait that very few acappella groups in the country
can claim http://www.northshoreacappella.com/
Branches of Steel Orchestra -Today, there are about 60 members of the Branches of Steel Orchestra ranging from age seven to adult. The orchestra’s established base is the pan-yard at Harvard Street, Dorchester, Massachusetts. Branches consists of a highly professional and disciplined group of musicians playing arrangements of various styles, while promoting the cultural traditions of the Steel Orchestra. These traditions have their roots in calypso and the Caribbean Carnival, integrating European and African classical rhythms. The orchestra’s repertoire extends from classical music such as Beethoven, Bach etc., and Modern Classics, to Pop, R&B, Spirituals, Jazz, Soca, and Reggae.
Ninety percent of Branches' members are students under age eighteen from Boston-area public schools. In addition, two professional arrangers, Mr. Conrad Jones and Professor Justin Petty, provide instruction and expose members to a variety of composers and styles. These dedicated young musicians perform all year and rehearse 9 -12 hours each week when they are not performing, and up to 20 hours weekly during the summer months. They have performed in numerous shows throughout New England and have traveled as far as Montreal, Canada, reaching millions of people during recent years.
Branches won the championship for Boston’s Panorama Competition from 1997 to the present and placed second out of six competitors in 1998. Recently, the band was awarded Best Steel Band in Boston at the Boston’s Caribbean Music Awards Show and for its performance at the Annual West Indian festival.
DJ Mystique – Plan to dance the night away with Keith Roberts a/k/a DJ Mystique at Steppin’ Out 2009. Keith returns for the third year with Steppin’ Out and will spin the tunes for dancers and partygoers right to the finale of this music-filled evening.
You can catch Keith on the web at www.djmystiquemusic.com or spinning in some of Boston’s finest night clubs year round, providing his signature high energy groove.