Click to view more about each event:
SMOOTH CRUISE: Jonathan Butler, Warren Hill & Maysa - Spirit of New York, Pier 61/Chelsea Piers
TICKETS *** PAST EVENT ***
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 6:30PM
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 9:30PM
New York’s Premier Summer Jazz Series Returns…
Join us Wednesday, August 1st for a Smooth Cruise with Jonathan Butler, Warren Hill and Maysa at 6:30pm or 9:30pm aboard the Spirit of New York.
Celebrate the Smooth Cruises’ 15th year on the Hudson, aboard The Spirit of New York, located at Pier 61, Chelsea Piers (23rd St & West Side Hwy). Experience this one-of-a-kind LIVE JAZZ concert series as you cruise down the river enjoying stellar views of the Statue of Liberty and the breathtaking Manhattan skyline.
The Smooth Cruises sell out quickly, so get your tickets today!
Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Jonathan Butler spent his youth under the shroud of apartheid, and official government policy of political, legal, and economic discrimination against non-whites. His escape was music. The youngest of twelve children, he began singing publicly in South African townships at age 7. Not yet in his teens, Butler’s talents as a singer and guitarist were recognized and he soon found himself touring his poverty stricken country in a traveling variety show. In his travels, the young entertainer could neither comprehend the extreme destitute nor the harsh treatment he endured and bared witness to under the reign of Apartheid. Afrikaans was his native tongue, but he learned English on the road.
After signing his first record deal as a teenager with British record producer Clive Caulder’s Jive Records, Jonathan’s premier single made him the first by a black artist to be played on white South African radio stations. The single won a Sarie Award, South Africa’s equivalent to the Grammy. His self-titled debut album also put him on the map internationally and garnered two Grammy nominations; one for the R&B-pop vocal statement “Lies” and the other for “Going Home,” a poignant instrumental.
Butler’s 2005 album, “Jonathan” is both rich in content and joyous in emotion. Though his musical abilities were able to take him away from the world he grew up in, Jonathan will neither forget the plight of people nor the man who ultimately led them to freedom. The second track, “Mandela Bay” is a lively instrumental tribute to the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Tributes of Jonathan’s past continue on the album, as all the songs are tinged with world music sensibilities, relics of his childhood in Africa.
Other releases include 2006’s “Gospel Goes Classical” with Juanita Bynum, “Brand New Day” in 2007, and his most recent, 2010’s “So Strong.” This latest album touches on his prior year with the loss of his mother as well as one of his closest friends, Wayman Tisdale and his support of his wife Barenese in her battle against cancer. Referring to “So Strong,” the talented Butler noted, “It’s been a tough year. It’s been trying and challenging, but we’re still standing.” A testament to his uplifting and inspirational spirit.
Toronto born and raised, Warren Hill’s musical journey began on the guitar and vocals at age 7. In his first lesson, his guitar teacher asked him “tell me your favorite songs and I’ll teach you how to play them.” It was this simple question that set the stage for Warren’s entire musical future: playing the music that he loved.
Within a couple of years, Warren had an encyclopedia-sized songbook and a growing desire to learn more music. This led him to a music camp where he met bassist and hit music producer Matthew Gerrard. At age 14 and 15, the two formed a rock band, gigging all over Toronto. Eventually Warren began to incorporate his growing desire for the saxophone into the band, which led Gerrard and Hill to Rochester for a summer music camp at the acclaimed Eastman School of Music. Warren brought both his guitar and his sax, but once he arrived, someone played him a cassette with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Warren was instantly hooked on this undiscovered style of music called “jazz.” That summer, he was so engrossed with the sax that his guitar never left the closet! From there it was back to Toronto where he quit his rock band and formed a fusion group, playing Weather Report, Pat Metheny, Spyro Gyra, Grover Washington Jr., and David Sanborn.
As a high school senior and “A” student with a passion for math and physics, Warren had a tough decision to make. He was accepted into the prestigious program of Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. It seemed his “logical” choice was to sideline music and pursue a more stable career in Science. Thus began one of the most difficult years of his life. His studies were so demanding, he was only able to play music once a week. This made him realize even more how important music was to him. Then the sudden tragic death of his older sister made Warren re-think his life path. Realizing that life was precious and his time on this earth was short, he decided that he’d better be doing what he loved. So he applied to Boston’s Berklee College of Music and received a full scholarship. In his words it was the best “career” decision he ever made. Ten albums and numerous guest spots later, this undoubtedly rings true.
While Maysa is no newcomer to the music scene, her ninth solo release, 2011’s “Motions of Love” that boasts cameos by the legendary Stevie Wonder and neo-soul crooner Dwele, has brought the veteran soul and smooth jazz vocalist to the widest audience of her career. First gaining fame as the featured voice on British acid jazz band Incognito’s defining `90s hits including “Don’t You Worry About A Thing”, “Still A Friend of Mine” and “Deep Waters,” she then launched a concurrent solo career with the hits “Am I Wrong (For Lovin’ You),” “Friendly Pressure” and “Hypnotic Love.” With a sultry alto on par with Phyllis Hyman and Patti Austin and worthy of an urban mainstream following, Maysa has earned a loyal underground audience.
In 1995, she recorded her self-titled debut, followed by 2000’s “All My Life”, “Out of The Blue” in 2002, “Smooth Sailing” in 2004, “Sweet Classic Soul” in 2006, and “Feel The Fire” in 2007. In 2008, Maysa’s “Metamorphosis” peaked at No.1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz top 100 chart and no.13 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. In 2010, “A Woman in Love”, debuted at No.1 on the Contemporary Jazz Charts.
She has also collaborated with well-known jazz performers like Gerald Veasley, Rick Braun, Will Downing, Jason Miles’ Soul Summit, Rhythm Logic, Jonathan Butler, and Pieces of a Dream. During the past few years, Maysa was also featured in The Angela Bofill Experience with an array of top artists including Dave Valentin, Phil Perry, Marion Meadows, and Kim Waters.
Catch Jonathan Butler, Warren Hill and Maysa aboard The Spirit of New York on Wednesday, August 1st and enjoy their music in an intimate Smooth Cruise setting!