Guy and Gals 2023
Jazz Night Out
Keeping The Jazz Alive
September 23, 2023
7:30PM - 9:30PM
$15 FOOD & DRINK MIN.
Iva Jean Ambush, The Scat Lady
Iva Jean Ambush has been awarded the coveted 2023 Billie Holiday Competition. Iva Ambush is a jazz vocalist from Frederick, Maryland. She has performed at Birdland (NYC), AFRAM, the Red Light Cafe, the DC Jazz Festival, Keystone Korner - Baltimore, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Alice's Jazz and Cultural Society, Blues Alley, Le Duc des Lombards, Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club, International Association of Jazz Educators Conferences, Frederick - In The Streets Festival, the Billy Strayhorn 100th Birthday Celebration, WPFW 89.3 Live @ 5, Conservatorium van Amsterdam, JazzNight @Westminster DC, Amherst Fine Arts Center, Ritz Carlton Pentagon, Frederick's 4th of July Celebration (multiple years), the East Coast Jazz Festival, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and more. Iva enjoys exploring the concepts of jazz phrasing and rhythms with the help of jazz legends, Sheila Jordan, Dr. Horace Boyer, and Ronnie Wells. Some of her other influences include Dr. Frederick Tillis, Prof. Charles Ellison and the late Dr. Billy Taylor and Dr. Bro. Yusef Lateef.
She has a family full of Jazz Musicians which include on the maternal side, late trumpeter Lester Bowie, the late Byron Bowie (saxophonist/composer/arranger), Defunkt's founder Joe Bowie, guitarist Jonathan Townes and on the paternal side, bassist Scott Ambush (Spyro Gyra [and Formerly with Stanley Turrentine]), and pianist Allen Ambush. There are a host of others too numerous to name.
Vocalist DeCasto Brown
DeCasto Brown is a native Washingtonian whose musical inspiration began during his early introduction into the Baptist Church where the soloists and choirs grabbed his attention. A graduate of Anacostia High School and Delaware State University, he mastered on the football field as an All-American and Hall of Fame wide receiver and flourished within the drama department, eventually becoming a member of the Autumn House Gospel Ensemble (a professional theatre company in the state of Delaware).
Also, while attending Delaware State, he became acquainted with the “Masters of Jazz”, which includes Clifford Brown and John Coltrane, his personal favorites. His vocal influences include Eddie Jefferson, Paul Williams, Philippe Wynne, Johnny Hartman, Abbey Lincoln and brothers Nat and Freddy Cole. On the 2014 Terry Marshall debut CD “Arrival”, DeCasto is featured performing “Moodies Mood for Love”.
DeCasto’s natural baritone/tenor style is unique and whether up tempo or ballad, he has the chops of a jazz maestro.
- Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival:
- Twins Jazz
- Montpelier Art Center
- Alice’s Jazz and Cultural Center
- Jazz Night at Westminster DC
Born in Las Vegas, Nevada, Michael began his musical life as a thirteen-year-old trumpeter. At that time, he saw his first REAL dancing marching band on television. It was the Grambling State Tiger Marching Band! "From that time on," says Michael, "I knew that I wanted to be in that band. I had never seen anything like that before." His parents and aunt, all from Louisiana, attended Grambling, and had a lot to say about the band. His mother, school teacher and ardent jazz fan, would play her jazz albums and be boppin' around to Jimmy Smith and Clifford Brown. His father, school teacher, choir director, and church congregational leader, was a devote Ray Charles fan. Vegas was never a jazz town, so Soul, R&B, and Show bands were the sounds he heard the most of during those times. All the while, Michael was getting a firm background in traditional trumpet and French horn techniques.
Throughout high school, Michael earned positions in the All-County and the All-State Ensembles playing French Horn. He also regularly performed with the Las Vegas Civic Symphony under Phil Gromco. From that point, it was time to go to where else, but to Grambling State. At Grambling, he majored in music performance and computer science. Michael took full advantage of all music ensembles including, of course, the Marching Band and the Jazz Ensembles. Under the direction of Conrad Hutchinson Jr., he learned what hard work and dedication can do for a performing group like Grambling's band. Michael worked his way through the ranks, and ended his career with the band as drum-major. "Hutch would rather march with a hole in the band than have someone in it making mistakes. Plus he would leave you behind," notes Michael. "He did not tolerate mediocrity at ALL."
From all this, Michael did not awaken into jazz until late in his college career at Grambling. "I was in Upstate New York and went to go see some jazz in Poughkeepsie, NY. I had learned maybe two songs and said I was going in. The club was under a restaurant, the smoke was thick, and the music was even thicker. A lady named Lillie Howard was singing there with Hugh Brodie on tenor, Midge Pike on bass, Ferdy Everett on drums, and Richie Diamond on piano. This was my first REAL contact with jazz. I asked to sit in with my pocket trumpet. They were VERY gracious to me because I must have sounded terrible. After it was all over, I called my mother in Vegas, COLLECT, and told her that I've found it" re-counts Michael. From that point on, Ms. Howard, Hugh Brodie, and Ed Smith( vocalist and organist) took special interest in Michael and helped him grow up into the music. "They really helped me see what jazz was all about and I love them for it," say Michael.
Michael then met New York native Bill Saxton (Tenor MONSTER ), who introduced him to the New York scene. Thereafter, he met Donald Harrison, Philip Harper, Errol Parker, and others. He frequented the city's jazz scenes and did whatever possible to learn more about the music. He then ventured to lead his own group in Upstate New York, plus performed regularly with Ms. Lillie Howard and Ed Smith. Michael also spent considerable time in Philadelphia playing at various spots. "I love Phili because there is always something special in the air there. Plus, they can swing. Everyone swings in Phili !" , notes Michael. In 1993, while playing with the Errol Parker Tentet, he went to France to play in the Normandy Festival, and to do some clubs dates in Paris with Bill Saxton.
Michael left Upstate New York, in 1993, in order to move to the DC/Maryland area. Since the move, Michael has become an integral part of the DC jazz scene. In 1996, Michael was a scholarship recipient in the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Contest at the East Coast Jazz Festival. To date, he has played with a number of notable musicians such as Betty Carter, Jimmy Heath, Larry Willis, Shirley Scott, Bootsie Barnes, Buck Hill, Webster Young, Gary Bartz, Joe Williams, and others. He hosted jam sessions at HR-57 (Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues) for three years and does jazz education seminars with Nasar Abadey. Michael is now performing with his Quintet regularly both in and out of the DC area. Michael is a regular member of Tootsie Gripper's Jazz Vespers Ensemble. The Vespers group also includes Keter Betts and Buck Hill.
Michael is continually pushing himself to grow musically, and is a fine example of what dedication can do. He always places jazz in its proper light, and feels that it is necessary to grow and nurture the music. "The music must go back into the African-American community so that the current and next generations can see what a profound art it has created," says Michael. "I love this music!" Michael Thomas's 'Big sound and fire' makes him well suited to continue the Music the way it should be played
Bassist Kent Miller, a graduate of Rockhurst University, also studied at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) Conservatory of Music. After returning to St. Louis, Miller enrolled in the St. Louis Conservatory of Music for continued music studies. He began private bass studies with Warren Claunch of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and with Wendell Marshall (former Duke Ellington bassist); enrollment into the legendary George Hudson Big Band soon followed. In 1984 Miller moved to New York and was recruited by Vanguard recording artist trumpeter Dave Burns. Miller continued his bass studies with bassist Rufus Reid and Ray Drummond and in later years with bassist Ron Carter. He has performed with the Brooklyn based Ray Abrams big band, Carl Allen, Chico Hamilton, Percy Brice, Jimmy Lovelace, Clifford Barbaro, Lynne Arriale, Eddie Gladden, George Coleman Jr., John Hicks, Eric Person, Bill Saxton, Talieb Kibwe, James Wiedman, Stanley Cowell, Michael Thomas Quintet and many others.
Pete Frassrand was born in Detroit, he grew up in a family of teachers and musicians. He is proud to now be a teacher and musician. He first learned piano from his mother, who was the minister of music at their local church. After playing the piano on and off for years, in 1995 he moved to the DC area and decided to study music seriously. He is grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from area players like Robert Redd, Charles Covington, and Tim Murphy. In 2000, he received his music education degree from Towson University and now share jazz with young people as a music teacher. Over the years, he has also honed his performance skills in DC clubs like Utopia, Twins, Alice's Jazz and Cultural Society, Bohemian Caverns and Jojo's. Since 2011 he has served as the pianist for the Greater U Street Jazz Collective, which has made appearances at events such as the DC Jazz Festival, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, and the Congressional Black Caucus. He considers himself extremely lucky to be able to do what he does in an area with such a rich musical and cultural history.
Greg Holloway - Drummer/Percussionist experience is broad in scope. Greg has built a solid reputation as a versatile and flexible performing drummer/percussionist, educator and active member of the Percussive Arts Society, and published composer. His nuanced sensitive approach without compromising energy coupled with reliable integrity led to performances with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Mary Wilson, Freda Payne, Aretha Franklin, Hank Jones, Jimmy Heath, Buck Hill, Carl Fontana, Eddie Gomez, Gregory Hines, Sheri Lewis, magicians, regional artists and many more.
Date & Time
Sat, Sep 23, 2023 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
El Golfo Restaurant General Admission8739 Flower Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20901