Kingston’s Music Community Thrives

By Rebecca Martin

The musicians living in the city of Kingston is really astounding. Artists such as  Tony Levin, Gail Ann Dorsey, Larry Grenadier, Peter Wetzler, Vicente Archer, Peggy Stern and many more all call Kingston home.  It’s fitting that series such as the one we’re posting today are sprouting up here at home.  Follow this LINK to watch their last series performance.

Hope you can make this one. 

LVanHart Presents
Jazz @ WallSpace

Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Meet the Artists at 7p ~ Music at 8p
Music for ALL Ages!
323 Wall Street, Kingston, NY 12401
For Reservations: 845-338-8700
Tickets: $15 (Plus a $10 drink minimum)

LVanHart Presents Jazz @ WallSpace will host its’ second concert on Wednesday, August 18th. After a very successful first performance, we look forward to presentring the talents of Helen Sung (piano), Carolyn Leonhart (vocals) and Rich Syracuse (bass).

Winner of the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Piano Competition, pianist Helen Sung has been called “one of the brightest emerging stars in jazz today”. As an Asian-American artist and composer, she challenges stereotypes with a compelling, unique voice informed by her virtuosity in classical, jazz, & popular music. For this performance she joins forces with vocalist Carolyn Leonhart and a local favorite on bass, Rich Syracuse. Sung has been steadily gaining respect as a fine composer and arranger, in addition to her reputation as a fine pianist. For Jazz @ WallSpace,
she has prepared a program of smart arrangements of jazz standards, duo and trio arrangements of Chick Corea’s “Children’s Songs,” as well as original material from all three performers.

A native of Houston, Texas, Sung attended its High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA). She initially aspired to be a classical pianist but was bitten by the jazz bug (specifically by Tommy Flanagan’s solo on Charlie Parker’s Confirmation) while studying at the University of Texas at Austin. She switched to jazz and was soon after
accepted into the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (@ the New England Conservatory in Boston).

Helen presently lives in New York City, and has gone on to work with such jazz masters as Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson, Buster Williams, Wayne Shorter, Steve Turre, Steve Wilson, T.S.Monk, and Macarthur Fellow Regina Carter. She appears frequently with the Mingus Big Band and is a current member of Clark Terry’s “Big
Badd” Big Band. She was also a featured performer on PBS’ In Performance at the White House for the Monk Institute’s 20th Anniversary Celebration.

Sung is also a budding bandleader and has been featured on Marian McPartland’s acclaimed Piano Jazz show, NPR’s JazzSet w/Dee Dee Bridgewater, and XM Radio’s In the Swing Seat w/Wynton Marsalis. Sung’s band has headlined at the Kennedy Center’s Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, Fontana Chamber Arts Summer Festival, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, Jazz Lucca Donna Festival (Italy), Kalisz International Jazz Piano Festival (Poland), Bern Jazz Festival, Tri-C Jazz Festival (Cleveland), Vermont Mozart Festival, the American Jazz Museum’s Blue Room, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and New York City’s finest jazz venues. She was recently invited to perform at the Aspen
Institute’s ‘Aspen Ideas Festival,’ where she also represented the arts community on a panel on Arts and Social Issues.

Carolyn Leonhart has been surrounded by music her entire life. Born into a family of musicians, Carolyn was singing as soon as she could talk. As a young child she traveled with her father, noted bassist Jay Leonhart, to gigs and watched him accompany legends like Sarah Vaughn, Mel Torme, and Peggy Lee. On her own, she listened to recordings of Vaughn, Carmen McRae, and Johnny Hartman as well as Stevie Wonder, The Doobie Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, and Steely Dan. She attended the University of Rochester, where she earned a degree in Comparative Religion. While at college, she spent much time at the nearby Eastman School of Music, singing with jazz ensembles, big bands, and studio orchestras. While working toward her degree, she also completed two solo CDs for the Japanese record label, Toshiba EMI, one of which included young jazz stars Joshua Redman, Jesse Davis, Christian McBride, and Marvin “Smitty” Smith. And in her senior year of college, Carolyn was the recipient of The Downbeat Magazine  Award for the Best College Jazz Vocalist. After college, Carolyn returned to New York City and shortly thereafter won third place in the Thelonious Monk International Vocal Jazz Competition.

Carolyn is no stranger to mixing things up musically, from performing with the hip- hop group The Real Live Show, writing songs for dance remixes with the group Liquid Solution, and touring as the lead singer in the electronica/lounge project Wax Poetic. The bar had already been set high for Carolyn, who has worked as lead back-up vocalist with Steely Dan through eight years, three world tours, two albums, and four Grammy’s. Since 2000 she has been performing regularly with her jazz group and started the Sunday Vocalists Series at New York City’s Smoke Jazz Club.

Rich Syracuse has been a mainstay on the New York area scene for more than two decades. For several years, he performed in the Nick Brignola Quartet playing clubs, festivals, and recording sessions. Besides his years with Brignola, he has performed with Mose Allison, Brubeck Brothers, Randy Brecker, Warren Bernhardt, Sumi Tonoka,
David Torn, Mike DeMicco, Peter Levin, Sam Morrison, Jimmy Cobb, Bernard Purdy, Adam Nussbaum, Jeff Siegel, Eddie Henderson, Jeff “Tain” Watts and several others. He has toured throughout Europe and Southern Africa. As well as touring, Rich is an in-demand Bassist throughout the northeast region of the USA. For the past 18 years,
Rich has been the Bassist for Pianist Lee Shaw.


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