April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and True Blue Jazz is celebrating with a special performance by Washington, D.C. sax phenomenon Elijah Jamal Balbed and his group Saturday, April 30, at The Wheelhouse in Lewes.
Tickets are $25 and are available online at truebluejazz.org. The evening features Tony Ventura and Friends up front, followed by the Elijah Jamal Balbed Quartet. Doors open at 5:30 for dinner and drinks service. The show will take place from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Jazz is the one true art form that belongs to the United States. It represents American creativity, intelligence, determination, joy, sorrow and reflection of the surrounding world. Jazz Appreciation Month was founded in 2001 by John Edward Hasse, curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
In November 2011 the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed April 30 as International Jazz Day, bringing together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about the art of jazz, its roots, its future and its impact. True Blue Jazz is honored to have been chosen as an official partner with International Jazz Day and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz in 2016.
Guitarist Tony Ventura is a Delaware native who has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe and China, performing with such artists as Ben Vereen, Sammy Davis Jr., Melba Moore, Jimmy Darrin and Mitzi Gaynor. These performances also included television appearances on “The Johnny Carson Show,” and with Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, and Sammy Davis in Acapulco.
Ventura has done countless recording sessions in Philadelphia, New York and Los Angeles with artists crossing the spectrum of jazz, funk, R&B and rock. He teaches jazz-related courses at the University of Delaware, as well as jazz guitar performance. He is joined by three consummate and in-demand Delaware Valley musicians, all of whom are music educators – Jeff Knoetner on piano, Rob Swanson on bass and Larry Marshall on drums.
Headliner Elijah Jamal Balbed is one of the premier jazz artists in Washington, D.C. He has been named Best Tenor Saxophonist and Best New Jazz Musician by the Washington City Paper, and has been featured in many other media outlets including Capital Bop, Smithsonian Magazine, OnTap Magazine (now District Fray), and The Washington Post. An alumnus of the legendary Jazz Studies program at Howard University, Balbed has established himself as a versatile musician with several musical projects and interests. He and his band the EJB Quartet were the winners of the 2020 DC Jazz Prix for their performance of his acclaimed body of work "The Karma Suite."
From 2013-15, Balbed participated in residencies at The Kennedy Center (Jazz Ahead Program), Strathmore, Bohemian Caverns and 202Creates. In 2018, he was named a 202Creates resident artist. Currently, he is a resident artist and instructor at Suitland High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, as well as the Bethesda Blues & Jazz Youth Orchestra.
Establishing himself as an international artist, Balbed has performed in Japan, the United Kingdom, Qatar, and on the Capital Jazz Cruise. He has performed with Lalah Hathaway, Jonathan Butler, Benny Benack III, Emmett Cohen, Warren Wolfe, Raheem DeVaughn and Avery Sunshine, to name a few.
Balbed will be joined by a most excellent roster of well-tenured jazz musicians that features legendary Philly bassist Mike Boone, stellar pianist Tim Brey and young lion drummer Kelton Norris.
For more information and tickets, go to truebluejazz.org.