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March 8, 2020 6:00 p.m.
Hear The Word of God Through Music and Art
A Jazz Vespers Service

Music: Calabria Foti and Friends

Visual Artist: Susan Karhroody

Calabria Foti Calabria Foti (Vocals) Calabria Foti is an American singer, violinist, composer, arranger, author, and educator. A consummate musician and a dynamic entertainer, Calabria is a connoisseur of music, from Classical to Broadway. Ms. Foti's recordings and live shows have been praised by such diverse artists as piano virtuoso Van Cliburn, composer Johnny Mandel, trumpeter Chris Botti, and a host of other music and entertainment luminaries. Upon hearing her CD, "A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening" (2007, MoCo Records), legendary singer Johnny Mathis said, " Listening to a beautiful voice is one of my greatest pleasures in life. Listening to this recording of Calabria Foti's voice is some of the most beautiful and artistic music I have ever heard."

Born into a family of musicians and music educators, Calabria was exposed to classical, jazz, and popular music at a young age. She fell in love with standards and show tunes and started performing from the time she was 12 years old. Passionate about movie musicals and classic films of the late 1920s on, Ms. Foti calls herself a "throwback" , in love with the period of American history that produced the songs of the Great American Songbook and the films from The Golden Age of Hollywood.

Her highly acclaimed CDs, A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening and When A Woman Loves A Man are a testimony to her musical sensibilities, and can be heard regularly on adult standards and jazz radio formats throughout the world. In 2014, she shared the spotlight and the microphone with TV's Seth MacFarlane to record,"Let's Fall in Love", which garnered a Grammy Award nomination.

Equally at home performing musical theatre, jazz, cabaret, or her own original songs, Calabria has been called a "master of improvisation and interpretation", and her voice has graced several major motion picture and television soundtracks.

Also an accomplished violinist, Calabria created the jazz violin sound for Fox TV's Lisa Simpson, performed the virtuosic violin solo for the long-running theme to PBS' Great Performances, and most recently was a featured soloist in the films, Muppets Most Wanted and Sherlock Holmes. She has recorded CDs for Barbra Streisand, Paul McCartney, Josh Groban, Daft Punk, and many others.

With a delightful speaking voice, Ms. Foti has hosted the internationally syndicated radio program "Music Of Your Life" and is heard occasionally as a guest on Sirius/XM Radio's "Siriusly Sinatra", where she enthusiastically discusses and plays the music she loves so much.

Otmaro Ruiz Otmaro Ruiz (Piano) Considered one of the most important jazz pianists in the current scene, venezuelan Otmaro Ruiz is known for his versatility and virtuosity. After working intensively in Venezuela with artists such as Soledad Bravo and Ilan Chester, Otmaro moves to Los Angeles in 1989 to join the group of great names of the jazz world such as Alex Acuña, Justo Almario y Abraham Laboriel, with whom still collaborates in diverse projects.
With an intense musical career, filled with concerts, workshops and recordings worldwide, Otmaro worked for 5 years with Dianne Reeves as a pianist and musical director. During this period, Otmaro participated in the recording project of her CD "In The Moment - Live in Concert", which won the Grammy Award 2001. In that same year, Alex Acuña's album "Acuarelas de Tambores, also with Otmaro's collaboration, was nominated to a Grammy. His collaboration with Weston Woods Studios for the Scholastic Series of animated children videos have won important recognitions like the "2004 Audie Award" in the Children Production Category and Bronze Remi at the 2004 Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival (for the Soundtrack of "Chato and The Party Animals"); Otmaro also received a Life Time Special Award "International Exposure" from the Venezuelan National Artist's Institute (for outstanding career in a foreign country). In 2012, Otmaro was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Musical Arts from Shepherd University. His work as an arranger was recognized by the American Academy of Recording Arts with a 2016 Grammy Nomination.

The long list of re-known musicians with whom Otmaro works, constantly confirms his versatility, proving that this jazz giant sails with ease in many different styles, from Straight-Ahead jazz to Pop-Rock, from the most authentic Salsa & Afro-Cuban to the most exciting Fusion, with unusual ability to express his own language both at the acoustic piano and in the electronic world of synthesizers. Among these amazing artists: John McLaughlin, Randy Brecker & Bill Evans' SoulBop Project, Simon Phillips' Protocol, Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, John Patitucci, Paquito D'Rivera, Jing Chi, Nana Caymmi, Dori Caymmi, Akira Jimbo, Frank Gambale, Peter Erskine, David Weckl, Art Davis Quintet, Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, Alain Caron, Gino Vannelli, Tolu, Frank Morgan, Robben Ford, Vinnie Colaiuta and Jon Anderson.

Regarded as one of the most sought-after keyboardists for recordings in today's scene, Otmaro is still able to dedicate time to teaching, scoring of movie sound-tracks and to the production of his works as a leader with original compositional material, captured in the CDs "Otmaro Ruiz plays Ryuichi Sakamoto", "Distant Friends", "Nothing to Hide", "Latino" and in his most recent album "Sojourn". Released in September 2008, Sojourn encompasses the rhythmic complexity, harmonic sophistication and melodic beauty of his most recent compositions, under the architecture of a constant equilibrium, and presented with his own quartet, with the talented Jimmy Branly (drums), Carlos Del Puerto (acoustic bass) y Ben Wendel (saxophones and bassoon). In 2018, Otmaro released "Elemental", featuring legendary bassist Jimmy Haslip and Jimmy Branly. "Elemental" marks the realization of a long time dream of producing a more electric infused Fusion project.
Otmaro Ruiz worked as Jazz Piano Faculty at University of Southern California (USC), at Cornell School of Contemporary Music at Shepherd University, has been a frequent guest clinician at Los Angeles Music Academy (LAMA), at Musicians Institute (MI) and continues to travel the world not only as a performer, but also as an educator, dictating workshops and Masterclasses in top conservatories.

Bob McChesney Bob McChesney (Trombone) Bob McChesney was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and began playing the trombone in the fourth grade as part of his public school music program. He has since evolved into a world-renowned trombone soloist and an authority on trombone pedagogy. Bob McChesney's trademark as a trombonist is the beauty of his sound, a lightening-fast technique, and his emotional connection to the music. With complete mastery of the instrument and extensive knowledge of jazz harmony, McChesney has distinguished himself as one of the pre-eminent soloists in the world, not only in the realm of jazz and improvisation, but as an interpreter of the most difficult and highly technical Classical repertoire, as well.

Primarily self-taught, at a young age, Bob discovered a unique way of articulating on the slide trombone, called "doodle tonguing". He has since authored what is considered to be the definitive treatise on the subject, called, "Doodle Studies and Etudes". The method book has been critically acclaimed and endorsed by trombonists and music educators all over the world.

A resident of Los Angeles, Bob is a fixture in the recording studios, where he has enjoyed a long career with studio orchestras scoring hundreds of films and television shows. He can also be heard on CDs for Barbra Streisand, Shakira, Michael Buble', Natalie Cole, Rod Stewart, Chicago, Michael Bolton, and the following Grammy-winning CDs: "Ray Charles: Genius Loves Company", Diana Krall's "When I Look in Your Eyes", and most recently, Arturo Sandoval's "Dear Diz", where he was a featured soloist. Legendary composer and conductor Lalo Schifrin exclaimed, "Bob McChesney is a virtuoso and has the gift to bring us the joy of music at the highest level."

A pre-eminent jazz educator and clinician, Bob has been a welcomed guest artist all over the US and Canada. Bob has been featured twice with his Quartet at the International Association of Jazz Educators convention, and The International Trombone Festival, where he has spoken and performed for audiences as large as 5000 in attendance of his demonstrations, workshops and performances.

Bob is thrilled to have worked with legendary composer and entertainer Steve Allen before his death in 2000. McChesney and Allen co-produced what would be the last CD from Allen's prolific songbook, resulting in the highly acclaimed and perennial favorite on Top Ten Jazz CD Lists, "No Laughing Matter - The Bob McChesney Quartet plays Steve Allen".

Mike Gurrola Mike Gurrola (Bass) Mike Gurrola has quickly become an in-demand bassist to musicians on the international jazz-scene who have come to know him for his solid technique, attentive musicianship, and his strong passion and love for the music. Music rooted in the traditions of blues and swing inspired Mike to focus on the bass as a high school student, and he soon found himself under the mentorship of renowned bassist, composer, arranger, Grammy winner, and protégé of the great Ray Brown, John Clayton. Since 2013, Mike has toured and recorded with pianist and recording artist Eric Reed and also stays busy with other jazz A-listers including Benny Green, Jeff Hamilton, Mary Stallings, Ralph Moore, Willie Jones III and Roy McCurdy. The Los Angeles native never fails to impress with maturity, musicianship, and experience that are beyond his years, a walking example of Clayton's mantra: "If you're good to the music, the music will be good to you."

Dick Weller Dick Weller (Drums) Dick Weller is one of the most electrifying drummers in the California area today. His virtuosity has gained him recognition from some of the top jazz musicians in the United States and has earned him the reputation of being one of the most versatile, hard-driving, solid groove players around.

Recent accomplishments include two tours of Japan in 2013, one with the Billy Vaughn Orchestra and one with the Percy Faith Orchestra. Dick also released his own "Tunes Remembered" CD on Primrose Lane Records, which climbed to #49 nationally on the JazzWeek charts. Dick performed on the L.A.6 CD "Frame of Mind," also released in 2013, which has been hitting the charts recently. The L.A.6 were the guest clinicians at the Wenatchee Jazz Workshop earlier this year. Dick was also recording in the studio with the Ladd McIntosh Big Band in 2013.

In the studio, Dick has performed with many musicians, including Alan Pasqua, Bob Sheppard, John Beasley, Alfonso Johnson, Jeff Beal, and Bob Florence. He also appeared on an instructional tape with singer Judy Niemack that featured pianist Fred Hersch and bassist Scott Colley, and he's appeared on the Jazz Network with the Weller Bros.

Dick was an affiliate faculty member at the State University of New York at Purchase, teaching undergraduate level jazz composition, and now enjoys a similar position at California State University, Northridge.

This month's featured Artist:
Susan Karhroody
Susan Karhroody Susan Karhroody was born in Tehran, Iran. Her interest in art, especially in human life and nature, was fostered by social and global issues. She attended Tehran University, where she received her BA in fine art. Her area of concentration was in drawing and painting. She also received a MA in sculpture at California State University, Northridge.

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Vesper Quotes for the Year 2020
"Jazz does not belong to one race or culture, but is a gift that America has given the world."
Ahmed Alaadeen

Psalm 95:1
Oh come, Let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

Remembering some of the Jazz and Music Greats who left us recently:
Hugh Masekela, Leon (Ndugu) Chandler, Hamiet Bluiett, Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, Randy Weston, Bob Dorough, Henry Butler, Cecil Taylor, Bill Watrous, Bill Hughes, Roy Hargrove, Hal Blaine


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