Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jazz Ain’t Dead Performs at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival

See Jazz Come to LIFE onstage with JAZZ AIN’T DEAD!

Jazz Ain’t Dead® 
with Lafayette Harris, Jr.

Saturday, February 18, 2012


@The Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival
Ronnie Wells Main Stage
Hilton Hotel & Executive Meeting Center
1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852

Featuring Tap dance artist, Baakari Wilder, from the Broadway Cast of Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk,
Dancers from Jazz Ain't Dead® and Choreography by Candice Michelle Franklin

plus Two World Premiers of New Music Composed by 
Kenneth Salters, and Lafayette Harris, Jr. 

Lafayette Harris, Jr., Music Director, Candice Michelle Franklin, Artistic Production Director
Click Here for Official Press Release

See jazz come to life onstage with Jazz Ain’t Dead®!  Noted jazz pianist, Lafayette Harris, Jr. (Musical Director for Bring in da' Noise/Funk and Color Purple) and concert choreographer, Candice Michelle Franklin (SHAKTI, BLACK TAXI, BRASCO,Deadbeat Darling, Macy Gray) combine their artistry to present a high energy performance of song and dance with their production of Jazz Ain't Dead®, a live jazz music and dance production featuring live singers, live dancers, and live musicians.  Special production will be shown for one day only at 1:30pm, Saturday, February 18, on the Ronnie Wells Main Stage as part of the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival transpiring at the Hilton Hotel & Executive Meeting Center in Rockville, Maryland. 

For the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Jazz Ain’t Dead® will present a theatrical jazz interpretation of the blues and classic
standards such as “My Funny Valentine,” and fun hits like “Fever,” “Bye Bye Black Bird,” and Louis Jordan’s “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby,” plus two new world premieres:  “My Heart Belongs to NoLa” a tribute to New Orleans Katrina victims featuring spoken word by Mo Beasley and original music composition by Jazz Ain’t Dead’s drummer, Kenneth Salters, and, a hot new dance number, “Zombie Blues”, composed by music director, Lafayette Harris, Jr.  Also on hand is Baakari Wilder, tap dancer from the hit Broadway production of “Bring in da’ Noise, Bring in da’ Funk.”

Tickets are $50 and may be purchased on the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival website at  
For more information about Jazz Ain't Dead, visit

 An Evening of Jazz Straight Ahead with Lafayette Harris, Jr. and Jazz Ain't Dead®
Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Official Program
              • My Funny Valentine
                (Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart)
              • Summertime (George Gershwin)
              • Is You Is, Or Is You Ain't My Baby (Louis Jordan)
              • Black Bird (Ray Henderson and lyricist Mort Dixon)
              • Love Poem (Text by Mo Beasley/Music straight ahead)
              • Zombie Blues (New Composition by Lafayette Harris, Jr.)
              • Life's a Bowl of Cherries/Tap Jam Session
              • Fever (Peggy Lee)
              • Goodbye (Benny Goodman)
              • Someone's Steppin' In/Down Home Blues (Z.Z. Hill)
              • Miss Celie's Blues (Rod Temperton, Quincy Jones, Lionel Richie)
              • My Heart Belongs to NoLa (New Composition by Kenneth Salters)
              • Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac (Dizzy Gillespie) 

Program for Live Show Subject to Change by Artists' Discretion



Artist Biographies...

About Jazz Ain’t Dead
Produced by Candice Michelle Franklin, Jazz Ain't Dead® is a dance collective based in New York City that performs house, acid, funk, and soul songs with an urban
jazz sensibility.  Featuring live dancers, singers, musicians, and live DJ, Jazz Ain't Dead's signature sound is taking popular classical jazz standards and re-igniting them into house, acid jazz, funk, and soul. Also in repertory are contemporary and Nu Jazz covers, original works, and straight-ahead classics all theatrically performed by the Jazz Ain’t Dead dancers and talented musicians. Guests and Sit-ins rotate frequently. Recent sit-ins or guest spots include Bob Baldwin, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Lou Myers, V. Jeffrey Smith, Chris Rob, M. Nahadr, Sofia Coffee, and Stix Bones and the Bone Squad.  Choreographer for Jazz Ain’t Dead® is Candice Michelle Franklin (Choreographer for SHAKTI, BLACK TAXI, BRASCO, Deadbeat Darling, MACY GRAY).  Musical Director for Jazz Ain’t Dead® is Lafayette Harris (Musical Director for Bring in da’ Noise/Funk and Color Purple).

Jazz Ain’t Dead® has performed at the Apollo, Joyce SoHo, the Iridium Jazz Club, Aaron Davis Hall, the Paradise Theater, the Bowery Poetry Club, Southpaw, DNA, Nuyorican Poet's Cafe, the Adinkra House, Jordan’s Lounge, Sage Theater, The Player’s Club, Rush Arts Gallery, Therapy Bar, and other live music clubs as well as numerous private events, schools, and galas.  Jazz Ain’t Dead® also partners with Mo Beasley’s UrbanErotika, lending musicians and dancers for their monthly UrbanErotika Juke Joint series, performing choreographed features with poets and live music as well as non-choreographed/unscripted, completely improvised jam sessions for both dancer, lyricist, and musician.  During the Summer, Jazz Ain't Dead dancers teach for the Joffrey Ballet Jazz and Contemporary Summer Dance Intensive and, during the year, choreographer, Candice Michelle Franklin, is on faculty teaching advanced jazz to their elite dancers in the pre-professional trainee program.  In addition, Jazz Ain’t Dead® has shared its love of dance with the community by teaching the art of Jazz dance to elementary school-aged children, through Ready, Set, Learn, LLC, a summer day camp and after school program providing free to low- cost activities for children living in the Bronx Housing projects of New York City.  In the future, Jazz Ain’t Dead® hopes to extend our commitment to programs such as Ready, Set, Learn by providing music lessons as well.  For more information about Jazz Ain’t Dead, please visit

About Candice Michelle Franklin (Choreographer)
Candice Michelle Franklin is a professional dancer, choreographer, and producer who has been seen in numerous film, tv shows, music videos, industrials, and, of course, on the live stage performing in plays and dance companies. She owns Dance Industrial Professionals, Inc./The Pro DANZ Group in which she oversees the dance and creative direction of several performance groups, industrials, and stage shows.  Her work has been performed in a host of New York venues as well as numerous casinos on the east coast such as Turning Stone, the Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Trump, Tropicana, Borgata, and Caesar’s.  Most recently, her choreography work has been seen in the webby-nominated music video for the rock band Black Taxi called “Shoeshine” and in the gospel stage play, Blest Be the Tide, performed at Aaron Davis Hall in New York City. Currently, she works as the producer and choreographer for Jazz Ain't Dead, and as choreographer for CEG Productions LLCand a number of independent recording artists as well as the internationally celebrated Bollywood Hip hop artist, SHAKTI, the rapper BRASCO, Buffalo Stance, and Grammy award recording artist, Macy Gray.


About Lafayette Harris, Jr. (Jazz Piano, Music Director)
Known as the “go to” pianist by other musicians and band leaders, Mr. Harris has performed with the Duke Ellington Legacy Orchestra, toured for seven years with Max Roach, and has worked with Al Grey, John Gordon, Slide Hampton, Curtis Fuller, Roswell Rudd, Chico Freeman, and Cindy Blackman, Allan Harris and many others. Lafayette’s two most recent albums are “IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT,” a contemporary funk/fusion project, which was released in 2006 and most recently “TRIO TALK,” a jazz trio outing featuring Winard Harper and Dwayne Dolphin. His breakthrough gig was as a conductor and keyboardist for the smash hit, Bring In 'Da Noise, Bring In 'Da Funk. Harris has since been involved with more Broadway shows including The Full Monty, Ride Down Mt. Morgan, Kat And The Kings, and The Color Purple. Mr. Harris currently tours Europe and the U.S. with four time Grammy nominee-Ernestine Anderson.

About Mo Beasley (Writer/Poet, Performing Artist)
Mo Beasley aka The HeadMaster is a poet/actor, author, and educator. Dubbed as The Head Coach of Erotika, he founded New York City’s longest running erotic performance series, UrbanErotika. This award-winning poet has been featured at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café, The Blue Note, Bowery Poetry Club, Joe’s Pub, erotic reading series: Rachel Kramer Bussel’s In the Flesh and Abiola Abrams’s Kiss & Tell Live. Mo made his debut as a playwright with his critically acclaimed play "No Good Nigga Bluez” (which premiered at the NY International Fringe Festival in 2003 to sold out audiences). The book version of the play, released by Scripted Linguistics (2004), is Beasley’s first published work. His second is “Be a Father to Your Child” (Soft Skull Press, 2008), a groundbreaking anthology on fatherhood and hip-hop. Mo’s one-man show, You A Man Now? premiered at Passage Theatre’s Solo Flights Festival (2009) in Trenton, NJ. Mo’s work has not escaped the attention of the media. He has been interviewed by Rev. Al Sharpton, hip hop legend Chuck D, and has been quoted, profiled, or featured inNew York Newsday, Amsterdam News, rolling out UrbanStyle Weekly, NRG, KISS FM (NYC), XM Satellite Radio, New York 1 News and several other local and national media. In 2006, The New York Daily News selected Mo as one of "50 Unsung New York Heroes." When not at the mic, Beasley teaches poetry & spoken word, theatre, and sexuality education courses/workshops to youth and adults throughout New York City. His current and past clients include Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Children’s Aid Society, Medgar Evers College, NYC Department of Education, Berkeley College, Planned Parenthood, and more.

About Baakari Wilder (Tap Dance Artist)
Tap dancer Baakari Wilder has had an astounding career. A native Washingtonian, Baakari was Savion Glover's replacement in the Broadway production of "Bringin 'da Noise, Bringin 'da Funk" in New York City. At the age of twelve he opened the show at the Kennedy Center for legendary tappers Harold Nicholas, Sandman Simms, Brenda Buffalino and Savion Glover. Baakari studied tap under Glover, Gregory Hines, Yvonne Edwards and Renee Kreithen, and has delighted audiences in places such as Germany, Africa, Japan and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Baakari also has a list of television appearances to his credit, including the 1996 and 1997 Tony Awards. He is currently teaching in the Washington D.C. area and just finished choreographic a piece for D.C.'s own "Tappers With Attitude", the company in which he was the original dance captain.

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