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The Lee Shaw Scholarship Fund

At our next concert (June 11, 2017):

Gals Who Play Jazz

Gals Who Play Jazz is a special project of professional jazz artists and friends, Peg Delaney (piano), Linda Brown (bass), and Patti Melita (vocal). The trio originally teamed up to create a retrospective program for Women’s History Month (March), to showcase the contributions of female composers and musicians of the jazz era.

Gals Who Play Jazz can now be seen and heard throughout the year in an assortment of venues, performing insightful and timeless selections from the Great American Song Book and original compositions in the creative and improvisational idiom of jazz. For this concert, they have been supplemented by a saxophonist and a drummer.

Peg Delaney plays sophisticated piano jazz, drawing from American, Latin and Brazilian idioms. Her trio has Bill Delaney on upright bass and features fine poignant vocals by drummer Earl Davis. The trio is featured on their CD entitled “If I Had You,” a wonderful collection that pays homage to seldom heard melodic gems and jazz standards. Earl's warm voice illuminates the beauty of the ballads and the snap of the swing. Her more recent CD, “Hotline,” features emotionally evocative Latin Jazz melodies with beautiful interplay between guitar and piano. Peg has been a two-time recipient of the New York State Council for The Arts: Meet the Composer Grant and was semifinalist in the Musician Magazine Best Unsigned Band Competition. Author of a book of transcriptions of solos by Nick Brignola, Peg has been recognized by National Jazz Educators, Saxophone Journal, and New York State Music Teachers Association.

Linda Ellen Brown (double bass/electric bass) has performed on many stages in jazz chamber ensembles, big band, musical theatre, radio, and concert venues including Alive at Five, Regatta Fest, Tulip Fest, First Night, Jazz on Jay, Proctors, Victorian Stroll, Falcon Ridge, Dance Flurry, Page Hall (Northampton MA) and Rhythmfest (Asheville NC). Linda was a member of the “Airwaves” jazz group for two decades; leads “Linda Brown Jazz Project”; founding member of the "Gals Who Play Jazz" and can be heard on Michael Benedict’s “The New Beat“ (2006). She studied piano with Grace Walrath, guitar with Jack Fragomeni, theory with Nick Brignola and Leo Russo, electric bass with JB Dyas, and double bass with Steve LaSpina, Mike Wicks and Rich Syracuse. Linda holds a B.S. in arts management from Sage College Troy and a master in public administration from UAlbany. She is a member of AFM Local 14 (Board of Directors 2006-2013).

Patti Melita has become known throughout the northeast for her smooth renditions of traditional swing tunes in tempos specifically suited for dancing. With the Gals Who Play Jazz, she is heard performing tunes of various styles. She was a long-time co-director of the celebrated Dance Flurry Festival and, together with Teresa Broadwell, coordinated the DanceFlurry Organization’s monthly swing dance events for sixteen years. She has been an official consultant at Falcon Ridge Festival in Hillsdale since it began presenting dance events. Patti’s expertise on music that motivates people to dance enabled her to put together a variety of material on her CD, “Swing It!” that defies the listener not to dance or, at the very least, begin the toe-tapping exercise. She is the leader of the dance band, Patti-O & The Hip Hooligans. Her other music-related activities include her position as secretary/treasurer of the Albany Musicians’ Association, Inc., Local 14 AFM; president of the New York State Conference of Musicians, AFM; treasurer of Swingtime Jazz Society; and board member of A Place For Jazz, Ltd.

Kristina Johnson has been directing the music performance groups and teaching music history at SUNY Cobleskill since 2001. The college offers a jazz band and choir which perform for various events such as homecoming weekend, commencement and showcase concerts. On the professional side, Professor Johnson has been playing saxophone for a few decades. She started performing in big band and jazz quartets during high school under the renowned band leader, John Rinaldo in Los Angeles. Her love for jazz and dance bands has continued through the years. For the last 18 years, she has been the lead alto saxophonist for the Joey Thomas Big Band. The swinging Albany-based, Grammy-nominated ensemble performs Sinatra and World War II music. The group has backed up the legendary Temptations.

She also performs in various groups such as The Sam Whedon Band, Brass'O'Mania, The Blues Maneuver that play funky dance grooves while the whole room is dancing and the walls are vibrating ...and of course, The Gals Who Play Jazz.

Academically, she holds a bachelor of arts in music from UC Santa Cruz, bachelor of science in education from SUNY Oneonta and a master's in music education from The College of Saint Rose.

Alyssa Falk-Verheyn is a drummer, percussionist, educator, clinician and composer, based in NY state. Her talents and unique style have led her around the world to perform in a variety of settings including the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival, TD Niagara Jazz, Toronto Jazz Festival and Montreal Jazz Festival, among many others. She has been fortunate enough to share the stage with nationally acclaimed artists such as Christine Jensen, Ingrid Jensen, David Restivo, Pat Labarbara and Steve Wilson, just to name a few. Alyssa is an avid educator, having mentored jazz students as part of the Always on Stage Festival (PEI, Canada) and is also on faculty as part of JazzWorks Canada’s summer program in Ottawa. She has maintained a strong presence in both the NYC and Toronto (Canada) scenes, regularly performing at clubs such as the Iridium, Smalls, The Rex, Jazz Bistro, etc. Alyssa has recorded as a drummer on a variety of different albums. She can be heard most recently on NYC-based guitarist Eric Divito’s album “Breaking The Ice” and is looking forward to her upcoming recording with JUNO-Award-winning Toronto-based pianist David Restivo. She currently resides in the Albany area with her husband and two children and teaches orchestra in the Queensbury School District, while also maintaining a rigorous performing schedule both locally and internationally. Alyssa received a masters in jazz drumset performance from the Manhattan School of Music and a bachelor's in music education/percussion performance from the Crane School of Music.