Lynn Riley

Lynn Riley - Musician

Lynn has been described more than once as “Superwoman” of the sax. Born in Washington, D.C., and raised outside of Philadelphia, Pa., she received a B. A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawaii. Her time spent in Hawaii was influential in developing her sensibility to, and awareness of, different musical cultures.

She continued her musical studies at the University of Missouri Kansas City, studied privately with Doris Sellers (principal flutist of the Kansas City Symphony), and immersed in its rich jazz tradition, apprenticed and performed with many of KC’s jazz legends. She became involved with the Women’s Jazz Festival, an international festival highlighting women musicians. There she had the opportunity to play with luminaries like Carmen McRae, Marian McPartland, Shirley Scott, Emily Remner and Blossom Dearie. After 5 years on the Board of Directors, she headed back east.

Superwoman of the saxSince returning to Philadelphia, Lynn has performed with many great artists like Grover Washington Jr., Philly Joe Jones, David Bromberg, Rachelle Farrell, Charles Earland, Gerald Veasley, David Murray and Johnny Pacheco, as well as leading her own groups. She was chosen to perform at the Painted Bride Arts Center for their series Women Leaders in Jazz in 2000. She has opened for artists such as Najee, Spyro Gyra, Nelson Rangell, Nester Torres, Andy Narell, the Indigo Girls, Brenda K Star, the Mahotella Queens and Compai Segundo of the Buena Vista Club. She has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. Touring with diverse groups such as Sharon Katz and the Peace Train (”the South African band that rocks”), Ellas y Amigos (Funky Caribbean Latin Jazz) and FVC (Motown to Miles) has introduced new audiences to Lynn’s playing and gained her enthusiastic fans worldwide.

More recently Lynn has been expanding her composing vocabulary and style by traveling and performing in countries such as Cuba,
South Africa, Bolivia and Brazil. This multi cultural exposure gives Lynn’s music a unique traditional ethnic sound blended with her original ideas and jazz roots, culminating in a funky accessible world influenced mix.

She received a Window of Opportunity grant from the Leeway Foundation in 2004. Her proficiency has been recognized by the Trane Stop Resource Institute, which presented her with an award acknowledging her contribution in preserving and promoting Afro-American Classical Music. Lynn has been on the faculty of the Performing Arts Department of Drexel University since 1998 and she is the Artist in Residence for Opera Seabrook’s 2008-09 seasaon.

Collaboration with long time friend, and co-band member Rubin Edwards has generated many magical musical moments, from riveting live performances to beautiful compositions to production of Lynn’s new album Too Cool.

Lynn Riley

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Dwayne Kerr

Duane Kerr

His masterful mix of sounds and grooves is the memorable variable that makes flutist Dwayne Kerr, of the Erykah Badu Band (Neda Stela), a rising figure in contemporary music today. Playing an instrument that traditionally has been heard more often than seen, Kerr has put the flute up front on display with his unique playing style in his debut CD, Flutation, which was released on DManns Records in January 2003. His latest CD, Higher Calling, is a maturation of an artist that has evolved over several years in both the live setting and in the studio.

Kerr was hired to play as a band member for Grammy Award-winning Erykah Badu in 1998. While touring with Erykah, Dwayne has played in Africa, Italy, Japan, throughout Europe and Scandinavia, on the all-female artists Lilith Fair Tour and television appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, MTV’s Real World, The Oprah Show, Live! With Regis and BET Live.

While touring and recording with Erykah Badu for the past several years, Dwayne added his sound to recordings including Ms. Badu’s version of the Chaka Khan hit, “Hollywood,” which is on the soundtrack/CD to the Spike Lee movie, Bamboozled, on Motown Records and Erykah’s song, “Today,” which is on the Red Star Sounds compilation CD on Epic Records. Kerr played on Erykah’s latest CD, Worldwide Underground, and her previous CD, Mama’s Gun, on Motown Records.

Raised and still residing on Long Island, New York, Kerr attended New York colleges Nassau Community College, SUNY-Stony Brook and SUNY-Old Westbury, where he was trained classically and in jazz. Kerr is a brilliant flutist who is moving the flute into other genres of music not often explored. Connecting with the audience both in a live setting and on recordings is a trait well-respected by others in the industry. “I’ve seen Dwayne inspire many people all over the world with his sound,” said RC Williams, Producer/co-songwriter Higher Calling and Producer/Songwriter/MD for Erykah Badu.

A by-product of his ascending career, Kerr signed a deal with AKG Acoustics in 2001 to endorse an AKG wireless headset system. When not touring with Ms. Badu, Kerr is active in his venture as a solo artist, most notable having performed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the Jazz & Broadway Concert at the United Nations and at halftime of several National Basketball Association games. Dwayne has performed on shows with or opened shows for Erykah Badu, Regina Belle, Roy Hargrove, Marion Meadows, Stephanie Mills, Vanessa Rubin and other noted artists.
“As I watch my friend in amazement,” Erykah said of Dwayne, “the high tones and the trills become part of me, helping me to grow on stage. I don’t know which is sweeter, his tone or his soul.”

His latest release, which features a stellar cast to include Erykah, Kirk Whalum and more, is indeed a new chapter in the life of this astounding artist. The making of the project was an organic process that evolved into a musical diary of the musicians involved.
Jeff Feinstein, producer & keys, said, “I think I could write a novel on my experiences with Dwayne and “the cast” of Higher Calling. The most important chapter would be on how much your work can intertwine with life, love and believing in yourself. To me, working on the project represented strong earthly proof of why not to give up on my dreams and God…no matter what.”

Dwayne Kerr

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Monika Herzig

Monika Herzig - Pianist

In 1987, the pedagogical institute in Weingarten, Germany awarded a scholarship for a one-year exchange program at the University of Alabama to one of their students, jazz pianist Monika Herzig. Together with her partner and guitarist Peter Kienle, she arrived in the States on a one-way ticket, with one suitcase of belongings and one guitar in August 1988.

Since then she has completed her Doctorate in Music Education and Jazz Studies at Indiana University, where she is now a faculty member. As a touring jazz artist, she has performed at many prestigious jazz clubs and festivals, such as the Indy Jazz Fest, Cleveland’s Nighttown, Louisville’s Jazz Factory, the W.C.Handy Festival, Jazz in July in Bloomington and Cincinnati, Columbus’ Jazz & Rib Fest, to name just a few. Groups under her leadership have toured Germany, opened for acts such as Tower of Power, Sting, the Dixie Dregs, Yes, and more.

Monika Herzig - Album coverRecently she has received her third “Individual Artist Grant” from the Indiana Arts Commission in support of her newest CD project. Her previous release In Your Own Sweet Voice – A Tribute to Women Composers has received much praise. Thomas Garner from Garageradio.com writes, “I was totally awed by the fine musicianship throughout”. As a recipient of the 1994 Down Beat Magazine Award for her composition “Let’s Fool One” and with several Big Band Arrangements published with the University of Northern Colorado Press, Herzig has also gathered international recognition for her writing skills.

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Mark Kerr

Mark Kerr-Blues Musician

Tennessee native Mark Kerr, never found success beyond his grasp. From the age of twelve his course was clear, and from his earliest days in music he has built bridges that have connected him, not to his peers alone, but to the world at large.

Mark picked up the guitar at the age of twelve and before long, he was receiving recognition for his musical abilities. Where as many kids at twelve years of age may be content to watch television or to hang out with others of their own age, Mark had one singularly focused ambition.

He wanted to become a musician. And so devoted was he to this pursuit, he would often fall to sleep at night with his guitar “strapped on.”

Mark would eventually play with Percy Sledge and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Curtis Mayfield’s Impressions.

After thirteen years of touring, Mark attended Northwestern State University where he studied music theory, while working very diligently on his jazz, blues and rock skills.

Mark was nominated for Musician of the Year by The Academy of Texas Music, for his guitar work on One Drink Away From The Blues.

Mark was inducted into the National Heritage Foundation Blues Hall of Fame.

Mark’s CD has been aired on 300 plus radio stations worldwide.
And has charted in the top 25 on many of these stations.

Mark finished in the top 1500 of the 2007 Billboard Songwriting Competition. And, finished as the second place winner in the 2007 Unisong International Songwriting Competition with his title cut, “One Drink Away From The Blues.”

Mark has achieved these great accomplishments as an independent artist.

As Mark tells it, “I want to continue to be a positive influence in the independent arena.”
“And a role model for all independents to see that through hard work, and a positive attitude, most anything can be achieved.”

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