Jazz Series on the Triangle Begins at the Church of the Holy Trinity

John Birdsong is performing at the Church of Holy Trinity this Sunday.

NASHVILLE, TN — The annual series Jazz on the Triangle celebrates its Twenty-third Season at the Church of the Holy Trinity.  Concerts will be April 15, May 20, and June 17, featuring some of Nashville’s finest and most respected talent.  Tickets may be bought at the door or through Holy Trinity members or the Church Office – 615-256-6359. They are $20 each, or three for $50, and those may be used in any combination.  All seating is General Admission.

April 15 – John Birdsong

One of Pulaski, Tennessee’s finest products, John Birdsong (“Bird” to many) is known as “one of the most ‘soulful’ upright bassists around.” It is said that he was intrigued as a child by the bass, but decided to play cornet in the school band because it was easier to carry! He progressed through schools and the TSU Aristocrat of bands, still on cornet, performing with many others who became well-known as musicians. Ask him to tell you about “everybody else will think you are crazy, but you’ll know you aren’t crazy” from the TSU years. John ultimately pursued another career, earning a JD and national certification in Business and Economic Development. He worked with the State of Tennessee for 37 years during which time he served as a Director within the Department of Economic Development for Tennessee and as the State Director of Title VI Compliance Commission until his retirement.

As an adult John continued his love affair with music, and began studying the bass.  John has studied with Earl Gately, Keter Betts, the late Jimmy Smith, Ernest Suyge and  with Rufus Reid. As he developed, he played at local venues 325 Union, Café Unique, Mere Bulles (downtown), F. Scott’s, and Rudy’s Jazz Room. Most recently, we have heard him along with Paula Chavis at the Woodfire Grille in Mount Juliet. John is both a actively pursued sideman and a leader of the John Birdsong Trio.

John’s philosophy is “It’s never too late for me to learn and finally pursue my dreams in music. If I can’t be a star…I consider myself blessed to be among the stars.”  And John is a bright and shining addition to Nashville’s Jazz constellation.

 May 20 – 

Rahsaan Barber

Our second concert features Rahsaan Barber.  Rahsaan is no stranger to Holy Trinity, having headlined here and played with other groups. He is making a name for himself in the jazz world both locally and nationally, having played as with and for folks from The Temptations, to Duffy Jackson, to the Wooten Brothers.  His CD projects range from 2005’s “TrioSoul”, through 2011’s “Everyday Magic” to his latest “The Music in the Night.” One can quickly see and hear that Rahsaan has many influences including John Coltrane, and Stanley Turrentine.

Music was a family affair for the Barbers. Rahsaan’s older brother, Robert, plays saxophone and has sat in with Rahsaan’s bands. Their father, a judicial commissioner in Memphis, plays bass; their mother is a singer. Their grandmother is a gospel, blues, and classical pianist who handed down her love of tenor greats Don Byas, Coleman Hawkins, and Ben Webster to Rahsaan. And his twin brother Roland is an exciting trombonist with his own career – but on occasion you will find them playing together, and that is a treat in itself.

Rahsaan is a graduate of Indiana University, has a Master’s from the Manhattan School of Music and is currently on the faculty of Tennessee State University.  He is a multiple threat on tenor, alto and soprano saxophones as well as on the flute.  He is also a veteran of the Nashville Jazz Orchestra.

And Rahsaan plays it all.  “Some musicians are not interested in tunes that aren’t cutting-edge,” says Barber. “They look on them as being corny. But all of us here in Nashville do all of it. We play with soul singers, rappers, jazz string quartets, fiddlers. You gain a way of hearing and feeling that is lost on young instrumentalists who haven’t been exposed to great artists in a number of genres.”

June 17 – 

Connye Florance

“Velvet and wine.” That’s what singing and songwriting legend Leon Russell (This Masquerade, A Song for You) says about vocalist Connye Florance, whose deliciously smooth jazz vocals won her accolades as Jazz Discovery’s “Vocalist of the Year” in 2000, just after her 1999 independent release, Turn My Heart, won a Nashville Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. Her music has gained international attention from jazz fans and adult contemporary listeners alike.

Connye Florance is an award-winning vocalist (BET Jazz Vocalist Of The Year, 2000) and dynamic actress who has career credits which include stage, studio and screen performances. She has headlined regional and area jazz festivals with her award winning ensemble, performing alongside such notables as Randy Brecker, the late Maynard Ferguson and Beegie Adair. She has toured nationally with Columbia Artists and American Negro Playwright Theater, hosted an educational series for PBS and KET TV, and been the voice of numerous commercials, including Major League Baseball and The WB network. Her most recent work includes her original one-woman show celebrating the legacy of jazz, titled “Jazz Rhapsody.” This tour-de-force performance showcases both her vocal and writing prowess, and, after a recent “standing-room-only” premiere, will tour nationally.

Connye is a favorite of Holy Trinity crowds. Come hear why for yourself. Come celebrate Father’s Day with us – bring Dad, Granddad, or that person who has helped you be a Dad or been an auxiliary Dad to you.  But do come.

The Church of the Holy Trinity is located at 615 Sixth Avenue South, the confluence of Lafayette Street, Sixth Avenue South and Ewing Avenue. The Gothic styled building is known for its fine and intimate acoustics. Tickets may be had for $20 each, or $50 for the series of three.  Each concert will begin at 4:00 pm, will include a short intermission, and will be followed by a reception in the Church’s Parish Hall.  For further information, contact the Church at (615) 256-6359 or email cotht@att.net.

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