Jazz Vespers

Theron Brown

A glimpse of gospel, jazz, and soul from the great legends is what inspires the sound of pianist Theron Brown’s music.  But the reason he plays is to encourage and influence people through his talents.

Born and raised in Zanesville, Ohio, Theron currently resides in Akron, Ohio, where he is an adjunct professor of Jazz Piano at Kent State University, and he is immensely involved in promoting jazz and classical music.  Theron is also the co-founder and director of the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival which takes place annually in Akron, Ohio’s downtown historic district.  You can see him regularly performing at many jazz clubs and theaters in northeast Ohio.

Theron received an amazing opportunity as he auditioned for and was cast as young Herbie Hancock in the 2016 released film about Miles Davis, Miles Ahead, directed by and starring Don Cheadle.

Theron is currently working on his debut album titled “Spirit Fruit”, which reflects on essential and fundamental characteristics that bring positive vibes to peoples lives.  This was inspired by Galatians 5:22-23.

 

 

Christopher Coles

Christopher J. Coles is a graduate of Cleveland South High School (2004). In 2009 Chris received his Bachelor Degree in Saxophone Performance from Youngstown State University. It was here that he studied with world-renowned saxophonist and educator Dr. James C. Umble, jazz saxophonist Dr. Kent Englehardt, and jazz bassist and composer Dr. David Morgan. In 2012, Chris received his Master Degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Akron.

Chris has performed with many local and international jazz musicians such as, Eddie Baccus Sr., Melvin Burks, Kenny Davis, Glenn Holmes, Bill Ransom, and Cecil Rucker, Grammy Award winner Slide Hampton, Ralph Lalama, and Allen Vizzutti. Coles recently was accepted to perform in Italy with the Ohio Youth Jazz Orchestra. It was here that Coles performed with Wessell Anderson, lead alto saxophonist for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Chris also played at the North American Saxophone Alliance Regional Festival in West Virginia with the Dana Saxophone quartet, performing at the International Saxophone Symposium in Washington D.C., and premiering a commissioned work by John Hollenbeck at the Whitney Art Museum Composers Workshop. Coles also recorded this work on John Hollenbeck’s album Rainbow Jimmies released in 2009. Some of Chris’s recent accomplishments include being a participant at The Banff Workshop for Jazz and Creative music in Alberta, Canada. It was there that Chris had the distinct honor of studying with some of the great pioneers in jazz today such as Vijay Iyer, Mark Turner, Imani Izuri, Tia Fuller, Billy Hart, Ingrid Jensen, Zakir Hussain, Somi, Yosvany Terry, and Miles Okazaki to name a few. In 2017 Chris was an awardee of the Knight Arts Challenge in Akron, Ohio and in 2018 Chris won grants from GAR Foundation as well as the Cleveland foundation for his multimedia work Nine Lives. This 40 minute work will be preimered in 2019. Chris is currently based out of Akron, Ohio and is on faculty at Kent State University and The Tri-C Creative Arts Jazzfest Academy. Chris is a Yamaha Performing Artist.

Zaire Darden

Zaire Darden began playing drums and percussion in his freshman year of high school. He starting off learning Cuban, Brazilian, and west African drumming traditions which led him to the drum set by his junior year.

Zaire spent most of his time competing in state, regional, and national big band competitions such as New Jersey high school jazz band competitions to the Berklee School of Music high school jazz festival in Boston, MA.  Zaire studied with Philadelphia’s Craig Mciver, who was taught by Philly Joe Jones and Max Roach. By his senior year, he continued to work with various artists and perform in Barack Obama’s Inauguration in 2009.

Zaire continued his musical studies by attending and graduating from Oberlin Conservatory of Music for jazz studies with a degree in jazz drum performance. At that time Billy Hart, Paul Samuels, and Jamey Haddad were his teachers. Now Zaire is touring and recording with different artists, and is based out of the northeastern Ohio area. Zaire has previously worked with Stevie Wonder, Jamey Haddad, Kip Reed, Gary Smulyan, Russ Nolan, Dominic Farinacci, Joe Hunter, Christian Mcbride, Ben Geyer, Chad Lefkowitz Brown, Desean Jones, Sean jones, Donny McCaslin, Robin Eubanks, Ken Peplowski, Theron Brown, Lauren Talese, Orrin Evans, Sullivan Fortner, Dan Wilson, Alfie Pollitt, The Heath Brothers, Rebirth Brass Band and others.

 

 

Jordan McBride

Jordan McBride picked up the bass at age 12 and began to develop a sound influenced by the Philadelphia Jazz scene. As a teen, Jordan studied with jazz greats such as bassist Andy McCloud and Mike Boon, often trailing the musicians into jazz clubs around Philadelphia. Jordan studied classical music earning a position in the

Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, and studied jazz band performance and bass at

Philadelphia’s prestigious Settlement Music School. There he joined a group of young jazz performers and began performing in and around Philadelphia. The group quickly gained a reputation that landed the young musicians gigs for Philadelphia Mayor, John Street, Philadelphia Eagle owner, Jeffrey Lurie, and a New York City performance for Freddie Hubbard’s memorial tribute, opening for jazz legend McCoy Tyner. Before entering college, Jordan had the opportunity to work with jazz legend Jimmy Heath. Jordan McBride holds an Artist Degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he worked with Peter Dominquez and Gerald Cannon. Jordan is a creative arranger and composer, as well, based in Oberlin, Ohio.

 

 

Tommy Lehman

Trumpeter Tommy Lehman is a native of West Akron and graduate of Firestone High School. He has been playing professionally for 8 years, regularly performing with Nathan-Paul and The Admirables, Theron Brown, Bobby Selvaggio,

Dan Wilson, and his own groups — The Squadtet and Acid Cats.

Upon his completion at the renowned jazz studies program at Tri-C in Cleveland, Tommy transferred to the prestigious Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut to continue his collegiate studies with Freddie Hendrix, Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, Javon Jackson, amongst others.