Famed New York–area radio station WBGO-FM, WBGO.org, and Berklee present the eighth year of the Checkout—Live at Berklee. The series brings critically acclaimed, New York-based alumni back to their alma mater for concerts at the Red Room at Cafe 939. Shows are webcast live worldwide in high-definition video and available for on-demand listening at checkoutjazz.org. They are broadcast in New York on WBGO-FM on a delayed basis, as a special edition of the Checkout, the acclaimed multimedia show featuring what’s new in New York’s jazz scene.
Half Japanese, half New Zealander pianist, composer, live remixer, and producer Mark de Clive-Lowe has been based in LA since 2008. Equal parts composer, jazz musician, found-sound remixer, and club music producer, he tours his multi-faceted live show in both solo and band setups internationally. He has released over a dozen albums and hundreds of collaborations and remixes, creating with musicians, artists, and DJs from all around the world. His critically acclaimed club night CHURCH has seen him on stage with multiple generations of the world’s most respected jazz, soul, and hip hop artists. His recent projects see him doing a deep dive into his Japanese heritage, interpreting it through the lens of jazz and electronica.
Gina Chavez blends the sounds of the Americas with tension and grace. A multi-ethnic Latin pop songstress, Chavez is a nine-time Austin Music Award winner (including 2015 Musician of the Year and Album of the Year for her sophomore release, Up.Rooted). Her independent album topped the Amazon and Latin iTunes charts after a national feature on NPR’s All Things Considered, and has been hailed by the Boston Globe, USA Today, Texas Monthly, and Austin Chronicle. Her band’s Tiny Desk concert made NPR’s Top 15 of 2015.
Chavez’s passionate collection of bilingual songs takes audiences on a journey through the Americas. Her Spanish-language anthem, “Siete-D” (which took home the grand prize in the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest), tells the story of her experience volunteering in a gang-dominated suburb of San Salvador, El Salvador, where she and her partner founded Niñas Arriba, a college fund for young Latinas. The fund celebrated its first two college graduates in 2016. Chavez and her band have performed in eight countries, touring as cultural ambassadors with the U.S. State Department.
“Most striking is Chavez’s ease as she moves between social and love songs, between North American and Latin genres, and even between languages: When she passes mid-song from English to Spanish and back, it’s the most natural thing in the world.” — Boston Globe
Born Yesterday, New York singer-songwriter Margaret Glaspy’s new EP, is a bookend to her lauded 2016 debut LP, Emotions and Math (ATO Records). Emotions and Math was featured on many year end lists from prominent publications when it was released in 2016, including the New York Times, NPR Music, Billboard, Mother Jones, and more. Glaspy toured the record intensely, playing countless shows throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. This season on the road birthed Born Yesterday. Glaspy recalls, “I wrote these songs on the road, in my hotel, on the plane, and at soundcheck. They were the product of the little time that I had to myself - three songs about different sides of love: love gone wrong, love gone right, and love at a distance.” Glaspy self-produced the new EP, which frames these love stories in catchy choruses, dark harmony, and her ever evolving sense of the electric guitar. Her finely tuned ear for production and tone shine on Born Yesterday.
Based out of Nashville, TN, Missy Raines is considered to be one of the most respected, popular, and trailblazing figures in bluegrass today. A seven-time winner of the IBMA Bass Player of the Year award, and a member of Allison Krauss’ first all-female bluegrass band, she has backed greats such as Claire Lynch, Mac Weisman, Kenny Baker, and Peter Rowan. Raines now leads her own innovative and genre-bending trio, which is a rich, jazz-tinged combination of her bluegrass roots and thick Americana, featuring George Jackson on the fiddle and Ben Garnett on acoustic guitar. With a smoky and seductive alto, Missy Raines heads up this trio featuring mandolin/fiddle, upright bass, and acoustic guitar. The territory the trio covers is broad and the compass is set by Raines, planted center stage, directing with her bass every bit as much as she's playing it. Missy Raines is set to release her third album for Compass Records this October, Royal Traveller, produced by Alison Brown, where the sounds are lush, the groove is thick, and the songs memorable.
Very few musicians of any stripe so personify a musical genre as completely as Tony Furtado embodies Americana roots music. Furtado is an evocative and soulful singer, a wide-ranging songwriter, and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist, adept on banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar, and baritone ukulele. A native of Pleasanton, California, who now makes his home in Portland, Oregon, Tony Furtado took up the banjo at age 12, inspired by the Beverly Hillbillies TV show and a sixth grade music report. He first attracted national attention in 1987, when he won the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Not long after that, Furtado opted for the life of a full-time professional musician, joining Laurie Lewis & Grant Street. A second victory at Winfield, in 1991, bookended his years with Grant Street.
In 1990, Furtado signed a recording deal with Rounder Records, one of the country’s preeminent independent record companies. Beginning with Swamped in 1990, he recorded six critically acclaimed albums for the label, collaborating with such master musicians as Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Stuart Duncan, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Mike Marshall. During this period, Tony also performed and recorded with the band Sugarbeat and the Rounder Banjo Extravaganza with Tony Trischka and Tom Adams. Beginning in the late 1990s—influenced by such musical heroes as Ry Cooder, David Lindley, and Taj Mahal—Furtado added slide guitar, singing, and songwriting to his musical toolbox and began leading his own band. He is a tireless road musician who performs in a dizzying variety of formats: solo, in a duo/trio, or with his full five-person band. He especially values the opportunities he has had to tour with such legendary musicians as Gregg Allman and with such esteemed slide guitarists as David Lindley, Derek Trucks, and Sonny Landreth.
The Wind and the Wave is a duo from Austin, Texas, comprised of Patty Lynn and Dwight Baker. They will be releasing their third full length and fifth album in their five year existence this fall. Human Beings Let You Down was a record made in hotels and backstage dressing rooms across the US as the duo toured to support their last release on Island Records, Happiness Is Not A Place. Produced and mixed by Dwight A. Baker, Human Beings harkens back towards their original record on RCA, From The Wreckage. It’s a sonic tapestry that brings a more rock and roll edge into the fold while still touching on the original folk vibes and incredible lyric and vocal work by Patty Lynn that brought the duo to recognition. The record also features the first appearances of the duo's touring band. The new tour, Neon Prayer Flags, kicks off in October 2018.
Blanco White started as the solo project of London native Josh Edwards in 2014. After studying guitar in Cádiz, Spain, and later the charango (an Andean instrument) in Sucre, Bolivia, Edwards sought to bring elements of Andalusian and Latin American music alongside influences closer to home.
In early 2016, Blanco White released The Wind Rose, a self-produced debut EP, through Yucatan Records. A second EP, Colder Heavens, was later recorded with producer Ian Grimble (Bear’s Den, Matt Corby, Daughter) and released in 2017.
A VIP ticket includes a 20 minute Q&A session and a photo taken with Clark after soundcheck. The VIP event will begin at 7:00 PM.
Clark Beckham’s killer vocals and profound musical abilities as a multi-instrumentalist have led him on a journey from busking on the streets to performing on national television in front of millions of viewers.
On American Idol, his soulful, bluesy voice outsold every other contestant combined on iTunes and placed him as the fan favorite and runner-up of the 2015 season. Beckham’s live performances also ranked among the top 10 most viewed videos on American Idol’s YouTube channel. Since the television show, he has performed with the Nashville Symphony, written with Brian McKnight, been nominated for the Teen Choice Award for Music’s Next Big Thing, opened for Jon Bellion on tour, and signed with Quincy Jones.
Beckham recently released his EP Year One, which debuted at no. 6 on the iTunes alternative chart and no. 22 on Billboard’s R&B chart. The highly awaited EP includes “Must Be Hard Being You,” a collaboration with the Shadowboxers. It also includes “I Need,” produced by Steve Jordan and featuring John Mayer’s all-star band: Jordan on drums, Pino Palladino on bass, Isaiah Sharkey on guitar, and horn arrangements by Jerry Hey and Keyon Harrold.
Alex2e (Alex Tuohey) is a self-taught singer-songwriter from Western Massachusetts. In 2012, while recovering from major surgery, he picked up his sister's beat-up guitar and started writing. Words became lyrics, days became months, and bathroom video covers turned into gigs. In June 2017, his debut EP, Strange Company, landed in the top 10 on the iTunes singer-songwriter chart.
His new single, "Bring Out the Ghost," starts a new journey, honing his alternative/acoustic sound for a new EP titled Half-Grown, due out in late 2018. He has traveled across the country, averaging about 130 dates per year. Alex2e has supported national acts such as Tyler Hilton, Griffin House, Shawn James, O-Town, and Zac Brown Band alumnus Levi Lowrey.
When they aren’t touring with jazz virtuoso Raul Midón or starring in London’s West End in the hit show Close to You: Bacharach Reimagined, 25-year-old twins Daniel (bass) and David Bailen (drums) are playing and singing in three-part harmony with their 19-year-old sister Julia (guitar) in their band Bailen.
Childhood friend Pierre Piscitelli (keyboards) is the fourth member of the band—and the only “non-Bailen,” but band members say they are working on that. Bailen has collaborated with artists such as Burt Bacharach, Bill Withers, Alex Clare, Kyle Riabko, and Dianne Reeves. It has written music for Sons of Anarchy, Victoria’s Secret, Paper Magazine, Marc Jacobs, and Ansel Elgort. Bailen can be heard on Midón’s new album, Don’t Hesitate, as well as Jon Batiste and Stay Human’s My NY.
The group’s three-part sibling harmonies have been compared to Fleet Foxes and the Staves, and Entertainment Weekly described them as having “harmonies to rival Simon & Garfunkel.”
Cypress is the project of singer-songwriter Ben Higginbotham. Based in Boston but originally from Dallas, Higginbotham formed the group in 2017 with several friends from college. Based in simple melodies, the music allows his lyrics to shine in a way that evokes artists such as Ray Lamontagne, Maggie Rogers, or James Bay. The band's debut single, "Oh Canada," was recorded in Austin, TX by long-time collaborator Taylor Tatsch. Their first EP will be released in October 2018.
2018 has seen Cub Sport undergo a transformation from local indie band to global pop powerhouse. While it has been an astronomical year of musical wins for the band - including the entirely independent release of their sophomore album BATS and sold out shows around the world - the most striking part of their rise has been the way they’ve used their platform to share a message of love, encouraging and inspiring people all around the world to live their truth and love themselves.
After dropping out of college two years in to chase his musical dreams, Tor Miller found himself living them in real time. In early 2014, the Brooklyn native signed to independent label Glassnote Records, putting his professional career on track at age 20. Miller’s debut EP, Headlights, was soon followed by his first full-length record, American English, in September 2016, putting him on an international tour that included stops at SXSW, Lollapalooza, and multiple visits to Europe.
When Miller returned from his first international tour, it all came crashing down. “I didn't have an apartment and hardly had any money after touring so much, and you realize that everything comes out of your pocket in the end,” recalls Miller, now 24. Despondent, he moved back in with his parents in New Jersey, disillusioned by where he had ended up. “I was stuck back in my hometown with no prospects of what to do next—no idea.”
Depressed and uninspired, he reconnected with his old childhood mentor, a local producer, who listened to sketches of new material, inspired by the bleak suburban life he thought he’d fled for good. The sessions, recorded in one take with five instruments in a room, yielded his sophomore album Surviving the Suburbs, a stark portrait of an artist whose life didn’t materialize as planned and how he coped. Leaner and simpler than the lush, full-bodied arrangements of American English, Surviving the Suburbs is an honest self-reflection framed as a musical coming of age. It’s a step forward into vibrant territory where the vitality of a live backing band gives Miller more Americana flavor, as if, he explains, “Elton John made a Bruce Springsteen record.”
Neia Jane is an alternative rock songwriter and performing artist from Olympia, Washington. Her colorful melodies written atop distorted guitars and synthesizers work in parallel with her unique lyrical style to tell her stories. Her upcoming album, Magic & Honey, is a rowdy and emotional letter to all the sad girls and sad boys of the universe, screaming, "It's okay, I am a sad girl too."
Fifteen-year-old Brandon Niederauer, nicknamed “Taz” for his ferocious guitar playing, is living proof that dreams really do come true. Having performed in some of the most legendary venues in America with many of the most prominent musicians of our time, the young guitarist, singer, and songwriter has already earned himself quite the reputation.
It all started at eight years old, when Niederauer watched the movie School of Rock. Already inspired by his father’s record collection, Niederauer instantly realized he was destined to play guitar. From that moment on, his guitar rarely left his hands. Just four years later, he was cast in the principal role of guitarist “Zack Mooneyham” in the Tony Award-nominated Andrew Lloyd Webber Broadway production, School of Rock the Musical.
Based in New York City, Niederauer has had the opportunity to play with many of his musical idols. In recent years, he’s shared the stage with multiple members of the Allman Brothers Band, including Gregg Allman, Derek Trucks, Warren Haynes, Butch Trucks, and Oteil Burbridge, as well as a variety of other notable musicians including Buddy Guy, Stevie Nicks, Lady Gaga, Slash, Jon Batiste, Dweezil Zappa, Eric Gales, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Dr. John, Gary Clark Jr., Col. Bruce Hampton, Eric Krasno, George Porter Jr., Robert Randolph, Karl Denson, Doug Wimbish, and John Popper. He has also performed with Tedeschi Trucks Band, the String Cheese Incident, Umphrey's McGee, the Revivalists, Dumpstaphunk, Blackberry Smoke, Galactic, and countless other bands.
Since making his national television debut on the Ellen DeGeneres Show at just ten years old, Niederauer has appeared on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Good Morning America, and the View. In 2018, he reunited with Andrew Lloyd Webber, performing in January with Sarah Brightman at the Phantom of the Opera’s 30th Anniversary celebration, and in April alongside Sara Bareilles, Alice Cooper, and John Legend in NBC’s live broadcast production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Niederauer is currently featured in Spike Lee’s Netflix series, She’s Gotta Have It, and performs concerts for audiences across the country and around the world.
On her deeply moving debut album, At Weddings, Sarah Beth Tomberlin writes with the clarity and wisdom of an artist well beyond her years. Like Julien Baker and Sufjan Stevens, she has a knack for transforming the personal into parable. Like Grouper, she has a feel for the transcendent within the ordinary. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, and now based in Louisville, Kentucky, Tomberlin wrote most of At Weddings while living with her family in southern Illinois during her late teens and early twenties. The daughter of a Baptist pastor, Tomberlin found herself questioning not only her faith, but her identity, her purpose, and her place in the world. In songwriting, she found relief and lucidity she had trouble articulating otherwise. When she was 19, she wrote "Tornado" on her parents' piano and began to gain confidence in her music. A year later, Tomberlin had enough songs to fill an album.
Throughout At Weddings, Tomberlin's lyrics yearn for stability and belonging, a near-universal desire among young people learning to define themselves on their own terms for the first time. The songwriter cites the hymns she grew up singing in church as her greatest musical influence, and while At Weddings in many ways documents the unlearning of her childhood faith, it's easy to hear the devotional quality of sacred music in her songs. The album is laden with reverence for music itself, for the power it has to heal and help people navigate their lives. It is a record about learning to love oneself and others without reservation, from a place of deep sincerity — a lifelong challenge whose tribulations Tomberlin articulates beautifully. "My number one goal with my music is for honesty and transparency that helps other people find ways to exist," she says. With At Weddings, this remarkable young songwriter offers up comfort and wonder in equal measure.
Will Evans has spent the last decade as the frontman for the roots-rock outfit Barefoot Truth. Evans recorded four full-length albums and several EPs of his original music with the band. Their release Carry Us On debuted at #10 on the iTunes Rock Chart, and as of 2018, the band has surpassed over 20 million plays on Spotify. With Barefoot Truth playing limited shows each year, Evans has opened a new chapter in his musical journey with Will Evans & Rising Tide. The band features several members of BFT, along with Evans' didgeridoo and advanced looping skills. Fans can expect to be up out of their seats and dancing for this high-energy performance.
His first solo release, Wishin' Well, landed him in Entertainment Weekly as being right on target in the "Bullseye of the Week" and warranted a #4 spot on the Northeast Billboards. Evans' entry into Guitar Center's "Next Great American Songwriter" contest brought him national attention. Out of over 10,000 entrants, he was chosen as one of the nation's top finalists. In 2017, in the "Next2Rock" contest, once again he placed in the top 5 out of tens of thousands who entered nationally. In October of 2015, while on a national tour supporting to Trevor Hall, Evans released his sophomore solo album, Signal Flares. With topics such as the album's opener "Do It For the Love" and "To Be Human", the singer-songwriter once again spoke from his heart, advocating his own socially-conscious messages of love and inclusion. His third full-length album, RISE, is due to be released fall 2018. Will Evans has shared the stage with many top artists including Crosby and Nash, Grace Potter, Bruce Hornsby, Rusted Root, Donavon Frankenreiter, Railroad Earth, and members of Dispatch.
Jean-Michel Blais is a pianist and composer who grew up in rural Quebec. He began writing original compositions by age 11, and by 17 he was invited to the Trois-Rivières Music Conservatory. However, the constraints of formal training drew Blais off his musical course. He stopped playing piano until years later, when he rediscovered his love for music while settling in Montreal. Decidedly not limited to the keys as his compositional palette, Blais’ music is imbued with an emotional depth that belies its wordlessness. His playing and composition are poetic in themselves, with an inspired understanding of the inherent lyricism in instrumental music.
Il, his critically acclaimed 2016 debut album, was written and recorded by Blais over two years, culled from rolls of accumulated experimentation into an enchanting, unignorable arrival. The debut album would go on to amass 50 million streams worldwide, reaching #1 on Billboard’s classical chart in Canada 14 times. Dans ma main, the sophomore release by Blais, is an expansive album of post-classical piano with strands of electronic detail. Blending his conservatory skill and precise pop sensibility with synthetic accompaniment, Blais creates unique environments where the piano’s intimacy can be subtly disrupted at any time.
Since the May 2017 release of Scott Helman’s full-length album, Hôtel De Ville, the four-time Juno Award nominee has maintained a relentless touring schedule in support of the album and its hit singles “Kinda Complicated,” “Ripple Effect,” and the gold-certified “PDA.” Beginning with a headlining tour across Canada in the fall of 2017, Helman then began the new year with dates in Singapore, Hong, Kong, Australia, and Japan before heading to Spain and Italy for multi-artist festival shows. In the summer of 2018, Helman was invited to open for Vance Joy’s five cross-Canada tour dates. Those shows went so well that he was eventually asked to join the entire Vance Joy European tour.
Finding his musical influences in album-focused artists like Arcade Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, the Cure, Bon Iver, and Paul Simon, Canadian singer-songwriter Scott Helman has established himself as one of the country’s leading young songwriters. In 2014, Scott Helman announced himself to the world with the release of the track “Bungalow” as the first single from his debut EP, Augusta. The song introduced a fresh new voice to the musical landscape and his versatility led to tours across Canada, playing with the likes of Tegan and Sara, Shawn Mendes, and Matthew Good. Opening for Walk Off the Earth on extensive tours of the U.S. and Europe, Helman stood alone on stage night after night, winning over skeptical audiences, and began building an international fan base. In 2015, Helman beat out 11 other artists to be the first to win Spotify Canada’s Emerge program and in January 2016, he topped the Teen Vogue list of voices to look out for that year, over the likes of Melanie Martinez and Elle King. By the time Helman went back in to the studio to begin work on Hôtel de Ville, he had been nominated for a 2015 MuchMusic Video Award, as well as two 2016 Juno Awards, and performed to massive national TV audiences on both award shows. “Bungalow” was certified platinum in Canada and he rang in 2017 with a raucous tribute to Leonard Cohen, performing "Bird on a Wire" in Cohen's hometown of Montreal in front of 50,000 people, along with countless others who watched the live broadcast on CBC.
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Caroline Jones co-produced her album, Bare Feet, with Grammy and Academy Award-winning producer Ric Wake (Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Trisha Yearwood). Upon release, Bare Feet rose to #20 on the country albums chart and #15 on iTunes country albums chart. The album features the single “Tough Guys,” which spent six weeks at #1 on CMT.com’s 12 Pack Countdown.
Rolling Stone named Jones one of the “10 Country Artists You Need to Know” and said she was “an ambitious, entrepreneurial guitar heroine primed to bring back the pop-country glory of the Nineties”. Billboard called her one of the “15 Country Artists to Watch in 2018”. Throughout 2018, Jones has been touring with artists such as Jimmy Buffett, the Eagles, Zac Brown Band, OneRepublic, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill. In 2017, she was on the road with Zac Brown Band and shared the stage with Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, and Toby Keith at the Trying to Reason hurricane relief benefit concert. A live duet with Buffett led to a charity single release and ultimately, a partnership with his label, Mailboat Records. Jones previously toured schools and universities nationwide - including underserved and charter schools with Stedman Graham - on the Heart is Smart School Tour. Jones is also the host of Art & Soul on Sirius XM.