BATTLE OF THE GIANT POETS
7:30 p.m. Sharp
Oct. 14, 2010
Jen Allen Jazz Combo
[EZ access off I-84]
1245 New Britain Ave
West Hartford, CT 06110-2404
Personnel, Jen Allen Jazz Combo
Jen Allen, keyboard
-- The talented young pianist and composer Jen Allen leads the musical opening, This Land Is Your Land, for BATTLE OF THE GIANT POETS Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 @ Sezechuan Toky, W. Hartford, CT. A native of the Boston area and now living in West Hartford, Jen has been developing her original sound for the last 10 years and plays with a clean, swinging style. She cites some of her many influences as Monk, Bill Evans and Hartford native Brad Mehldau. Jen studied at the Berklee College of Music and Hartt School of Music in Hartford, getting her degree in the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz. She's played around the world including Japan, Turkey, and across America, and worked with such jazz greats as Nat Reeves, Charles Flores, Kris Allen, and the Kendrick Oliver Big Band. Now a teacher at Trinity College, Jen has taught at the Artist’s Collective, the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and worked as a clinician for the Greater Hartford Arts Council and Litchfield Performing Arts. She is currently working on her first album.
Matt Dwonszyk, bass
-- Matt Dwonszyk is an upcoming acoustic bass player in the Hartford area. Starting on the electric bass at age 11, Matt grew up playing numerous types of music stemming from rock and roll. When he entered high school he was fortunate to attend the Academy of Performing Arts in Hartford where he began studying jazz with teachers such as Jimmy Greene, Kris Allen, Paul Brown, and Doug Maher. Through friends at the Academy, Matt started attending the Artist Collective and playing in the Youth Jazz Orchestra Band. He soon started performing around the Hartford area and was fortunate to perform in Russia through the Academy of the Arts. His senior year, Matt started performing with Ed Fast’s Conga Bop where he was exposed to Latin music. He continues to perform with Ed Fast and is now attending the Hartt School of Music where he is studying with Professor Nat Reeves and Professor Steve Davis.
Tido Holtkamp, drums
-- Tido has played a wide variety of musical styles including jazz, rock, r&b, motown, fusion, latin and americana and has built a reputation as a dynamic, versatile and musical drummer. He currently leads his own groups, Caravan and the Tido Holtkamp Group, and also plays regularly with a wide range of artists.
Kris Allen, Saxophone
-- Saxophonist and composer Kris Allen was a young protege of the great Jackie McLean, with whom he studied at the Artists Collective and the University of Hartford. He went on to perform and/or record with jazz legends such as Illinois Jacquet, Gerald Wilson, and Curtis Fuller, as well as with modern starts such as Winard Harper, Andy Laverne, Mario Pavone and the Mingus Dynasty. Kris can be found appearing as the leader of his own quintet, in duo with percussionist Rogerio Boccato, and as both saxophonist and artistic director of the Hartford Jazz Society New Directions Ensemble. He is also very involved with education, as a part time faculty member of The Hartt School, Trinity College, and the Greater Hartford Academy of the Performing Arts. Kris has also been been a teaching artist with the Litchfield Jazz Festival since 2001.
-- DominiQue "Ms. Q" Padilla is an independent R&B / Soul vocalist from Connecticut who's made a name for herself as the DominiQue with the capital Q. She is a graduate of Litchfield High School & is currently finishing her last year at the Hartford Conservatory where she majors in music production / engineering & voice. DominiQue writes her own music and performs all over the state at public and private events including clubs, parties, competitions and sporting events. Her most recent event performing at this year's W.O.W. seminar as a positive role model for the high school girls. DominiQue will continue to pursue her career in entertainment after graduating from the Conservatory and also has plans to start her own production company.
- Rachel Elizabeth Perlin is a Musical Theater graduate of the Hartford Conservatory. She has been a performer since the tender age of 5 and it has been her passion ever since. Rachel has been in many theater productions including West Side Story, The Boys from Syracuse, Annie, Nunsense, Fiddler on the Roof and The Apple Tree. Since graduating from the Conservatory in May, Rachel has appeared in a production of Urinetown. While patiently waiting for her next audition, Rachel enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and is a sales associate at Pier 1 Imports (and enjoys every second of her job)!
- Sara Normandin is a senior at Litchfield High School and The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Sara is trained in classical, jazz, opera and musical theater repertoire. Sara is a member of the Litchfield High School Choraleers and also a member of the Academy's "Real Ambassadors" a competition jazz choir. She also sang in a production of La Boheme with the New Britain Symphony Orchestra.
Cassie Martin, Hartford Conservatory
- Cassie studies vocal performance at The Hartford Conservatory. She has studied musical theater, classical, and jazz music. She currently sings with vocal ensemble at the conservatory as well as a madrigal group. Cassie has also been in music theater productions such as The Producers and Oklahoma!- as well as straight theater including Graceland and Top Girls.
MC Rand Cooper, the novelist and travel writer for Bon Appétit, bottom left, with Hartford pro boxer Chip Perez & poet / CCSU Prof Ravi 'I Don't Play The Sitar' Shankar; Ravi performs in New London; Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, the poet, playwright and painter, sings for his supper in New York; poet Kate Rushin does the Ali shuffle; poet Jon Andersen, ready to rumble.
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