GRandJazzFest announces complete lineup for FREE Aug. 17-18 event

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – April 28, 2013 – GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation is pleased to announce the lineup for the FREE two-day jazz festival coming to Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids this Aug. 17-18:

  • Nick Colionne – HEADLINER
  • Deon Yates
  • The Paul Keller AT SUNDOWN Quintet
  • Sheila Landis & Brazilian Love Affair
  • The Kinsey Report
  • Randy Marsh Organ Trio
  • Mind’s Eye
  • Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde
  • Edye Evans Hyde
  • Phil Denny

Chicago-based guitarist and vocalist Nick Colionne headlines GRandJazzFest, now in its second year. With the festival expanding to two days, more performances have been added, for a total of 10 jazz performers/bands slated. A student jazz jam session has also been added.

“We’re so excited to be expanding the festival and bringing internationally known jazz guitarist and vocalist Nick Colionne and his band to Grand Rapids to headline our festival,” GRandJazzFest Founder Audrey Sundstrom said. “The complete lineup is an eclectic offering that expresses the full diversity of the jazz art form.”

In addition to Colionne, artists for 2013 include saxophonist Deon Yates, The Paul Keller AT SUNDOWN Quintet, Sheila Landis & Brazilian Love Affair, The Kinsey Report, Randy Marsh Organ Trio and Mind’s Eye. Performers returning from GRandJazzFest 2012 include Lansing-based saxophonist Phil Denny and the homegrown Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra (GRJO). Popular local vocalist Edye Evans Hyde returns to perform with GRJO and also performs with her own band at the festival. Street-funk blues-rock band The Kinsey Report hails from Gary, Ind., and Colionne of course from Chicago. The other bands and performers are all from Michigan.

In keeping with a format modeled after the highly successful River Raisin Jazz Festival in Monroe, Mich., GRandJazzFest 2013 will open with the returning Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra. “We always plan to open with big-band jazz, and here in Grand Rapids, that big band is our own Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra,” Sundstrom said.

GRandJazzFest Artist Selection Committee members have been researching performers since December. “Phil Denny is back by popular demand, headlining on our second day of the festival. He was a big hit and well received at the 2012 GRandJazzFest,” committee member Steve Hilger said. “He is a rising national star, a great performer and we are excited to have him perform again at the festival.”

Hilger, in addition to serving on the Artist Selection Committee and having performed at the 2012 GRandJazzFest, will lead a special “student jazz jam session” to be held during GRandJazzFest 2013. Hilger and his Trio Jazz Band are in the process of vetting potential student performers. Jazz students interested in being considered for this opportunity are encouraged to learn more here: (condensed URL:

The GRandJazzFest 2013 lineup announcement occurs during Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), a music festival held every April in the United States in honor of jazz as an original American art form. JAM was created by John Edward Hasse, curator of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. According to the website

The National Museum of American History has designated April as Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). In partnership with the National Endowment for the Humanities as well as several other national organizations, JAM sponsors a number of programs to promote jazz, including concerts, lectures, educational materials and exhibitions. Details about events and materials related to JAM can be found at the website Smithsonian Jazz. April was chosen for JAM, now in its twelfth year, in recognition of the birthdays of jazz greats such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Gerry Mulligan and Tito Puente. In 2013, JAM honors jazz legends Lionel Hampton, Andy Weston, and John Levy. Learn more about these three great musical innovators at the JAM website. Download the 2013 JAM Poster, a 1997 portrait of Lionel Hampton by the late Frederick J. Brown, an African American artist whose passion for jazz, blues and American culture provided the artistic inspiration for this work.

Also, International Jazz Day is April 30. Learn more about this international event at

More information on GRandJazzFest can be found at

Bios provided by the artists:

Nick Colionne – HEADLINER 


Press kit:

Red-hot guitarist and vocalist Nick Colionne of Chicago continues his blazing success into 2012. BET Jazz has described him as one of the most exceptional performers to come along in a long time.

His latest CD Feel the Heat marks his debut on the prestigious Trippin n Rhythm label, and takes his unique combination of jazz, funk, R&B, blues and soul to new heights. Long known for his dynamic, musically eclectic “live” performances, Feel the Heat demonstrates his dynamic command of the guitar, rich baritone vocals and varied music styles, all of which make this latest CD a reflection of why he is a true force when performing in concert.

His long string of Top 10 hits from his six previous CDs is a testament to his musical talent … Feel the Heat has already added two more to that list. Nick was honored with the prestigious 2007 International Instrumental Artist of the Year Award at the Wave Jazz Awards, succeeding 2006 winner Chris Botti. He was nominated for the award again in 2009. He was nominated as Guitarist of the Year and Entertainer of the Year by the American Smooth Jazz Awards in 2010 and received the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award for his ongoing commitment to mentoring children and his work in the community and nationally in support of breast cancer causes.

Other honors include Alumnus of the Year at Malcolm X College in Chicago, Artist of the Year at the 2011 Rehoboth Beach Jazz Festival and Performer of the Year for JazzTrax Jazz Festivals in 2010 and 2011. Nick is frequently referred to as “the best dressed man in jazz,” and he enjoys an on-going endorsement from the men’s designer line Stacy Adams as well as longtime endorsements with Epiphone Guitars, Gibson Strings and Accessories and AKG Electronics.

The Chicago native learned to play guitar at 9 from his step-father, was a touring pro by 15 and as a teenager he honed his skills playing with R&B legends the Staples Singers, Curtis Mayfield, The Impressions, Natalie Cole and more. He worked with numerous successful groups before deciding to step out front and center and hasn’t looked back since. Colionne has toured all over the world but his passion is mentoring children – he is in his 18th year of mentoring at the St. Laurence K-8 School in suburban Elgin, Ill. He has also developed a special music curriculum for the Florence B. Price Elementary School for the Performing Arts in Chicago.

Nick’s charity work is on-going and generally quiet, but in 2009 he joined forces with Epiphone Guitars, Wine and Jazz Magazine and Tobin James Winery in a national campaign to benefit breast cancer research, and in 2010 he invited his sponsor Stacy Adams to participate in Suited Up For Success, a program with the Urban League of the Carolinas to benefit men re-entering the workforce. Stacy Adams has endowed “his” school, St. Laurence, with a music scholarship in his name to help needy students as well as dedicated a scholarship in Nick’s name to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Awards in Milwaukee, Wis.
It’s no surprise that Nick Colionne’s sustained chart-topping radio history and his incredible live performances, infused with his unique and soulful styling of jazz, funk, R&B and blues along with his rich vocals and engaging stage personality, have made him a force to be reckoned with.

Deon Yates

Websites: and

With the release of his new hit project featuring Jazz Guitarist Nick Colionne, Vocalist Maysa and Soul Trumpeter Lin Rountree, Saxophonist Deon Yates is fast becoming one of the most sought-after emerging talents in jazz. He has shared the stage with contemporary jazz stars Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Nick Colionne and many others. Deon has been recognized as an influential instrumentalist and performer by some of the top music producers in the country, and with endorsements from industry leaders Sax Dakota U.S.A., Theo Wanne (Mouthpieces) and AMT Microphones, Deon has proven himself to be a world-class artist.

Deon grew up on the East Side of Detroit where he was introduced to jazz by teachers Donald Washington and Hosea Taylor. Deon quickly became an accomplished woodwind player, proficient in both jazz and classical music. One of the first gigs Deon landed was with jazz drummer Leonard King (James Carter Organ Trio) at the age of 16, along with bandmates Regina Carter (violin) and Rodney Whitaker (bass). Deon was nominated for an Emmy Award for original music he produced for a PBS Television program in 2001 and has performed as a special guest on concerts with Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Alexander Zonjic, Rodney Whitaker, James Carter, Roy Brooks, Marcus Belgrave, Kem, Dwele, Gerald Veasley, Clarence Carter, Kirk Whalum, The Floaters, The Contours and many others. With the DYJIII, Deon brings traditional jazz style with a contemporary twist.

His current CD Spotlight is available on, iTunes and and features chart-topping smooth-jazz guitarist Nick Colionne, vocalist Maysa Leak (Incognito) and Detroit “Soul Trumpeter” Lin Rountree. Be sure to look for Deon around town and abroad.

The Paul Keller AT SUNDOWN Quintet


The Paul Keller AT SUNDOWN Quintet is a talented group of Michigan-based jazz performers who are dedicated to entertaining and enchanting audiences of all ages with their personalized brand of high-energy, top-shelf jazz and swing. The 2012 CD At Sundown is the joyous culmination of the PK4’s work together in the past year, which has included rewarding performances at the Detroit Institute Of Arts, The Mackinac Island Grand Hotel Jazz Festival, The Michigan Jazz Festival and Glen Arbor Art Association’s Manitou Music Festival.

String bassist, composer, band leader and educator Paul Keller has earned the nick-name “House Bassist For The State Of Michigan” because of the many miles he logs every year traveling to jazz performances across the state. Mr. Keller also travels the world performing with a myriad of jazz luminaries including Diana Krall, Russell Malone, Tamir Hendelman, Benny Green, Bucky Pizzarelli, Stanley Jordan and Scott Hamilton. Since 1989, the 15-piece Paul Keller Orchestra has played every Monday night in Ann Arbor.

Over the years, the PKO’s Jazz Student Outreach Program has made a positive impact on the lives of thousands of middle school, high school and college musicians. Keller conducts clinics and workshops with high school jazz bands throughout Michigan. His exuberance and joy for music making translates quickly to students who enjoy experiencing being in Paul’s orbit.

Vocalist and clarinetist Sarah D’Angelo is a relative newcomer to the Ann Arbor/Detroit jazz scene but she has quickly gained recognition and praise as a smart, charming and entertaining jazz vocalist who connects instantly with her audiences. Sarah’s specialty is delivering heartfelt and personal interpretations of familiar songs from the Great American Songbook. She takes special pleasure in surprising her listeners with lesser-know gems that always enlighten and delight. Sarah’s fresh, laid-back style, friendly delivery and cheerful smile brighten every Paul Keller Quartet performance.  At Sundown marks Ms. D’Angelo’s recording debut and she shines throughout as she gracefully sings or plays the melody on every track. In 2003, D’Angelo earned her master’s degree in Clarinet Performance from the University of Michigan. Sarah’s bandmates adore her and her singing; so do her audiences. Her beautiful clarinet playing is an extra-added bonus.

Pianist Duncan McMillan plays with The Paul Keller Orchestra every Monday night and is the “House Pianist” at Cliff Bell’s Jazz Club in Detroit for their weekly jam sessions. Mr. McMillan is an accomplished jazz organist and is also considered a “first call” pianist in the Detroit area. Duncan is also a talented composer and arranger. His compositions have been featured on several Paul Keller Orchestra CDs. Duncan has a long history of performances with the late, great bluesman Johnnie Bassett, vocalist Odessa Harris and Ann Arbor’s favorite jazz guitarist Randy Napoleon. As a result of his diverse background in music, Duncan is a respected musical director, working as a consultant for regional theaters, churches and local bands.

Saxophonist Ben Jansson is amazing! With every note he plays, Ben pays tribute to his saxophone heroes: Stan Getz, Ben Webster, Lester Young and Dexter Gordon. Mr. Jansson is a home-grown product; He was born and raised in Ann Arbor and graduated from Ann Arbor Community High School where he got his start playing jazz with Mike Grace. Ben received his B.A. in Jazz Performance from Michigan State University and did his graduate work at Humber College in Ontario, Canada. Ben maintains a full schedule of saxophone students who are fortunate to benefit from his deep knowledge of jazz history and pedagogy. Ben and his wife Asuka are brand-new, first-time parents of their wonderful son Oscar, who was born in August. Congratulations, Ben and Asuka!

Drummer Sean Dobbins is an internationally acclaimed musician who proudly resides in Ypsilanti, Mich., along with his wife (Roula) and his three children (Rima, Layla and Matthew). Sean’s boundless enthusiasm for the music literally jumps off the stage and immediately connects with the audience. His easy-going, happy-go-lucky attitude makes him a favorite with jazz musicians and jazz lovers both locally and nationally. Along with a busy performance schedule, Mr. Dobbins also serves as the Director of Jazz Ensembles for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Civic Youth Program. Although he has enjoyed world travel in conjunction with his many musical endeavors, Sean is very proud to say that one of his first gigs was the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival some 23 years ago.

Sheila Landis & Brazilian Love Affair

Blame it on the bossa nova, but it all started with the hushed allure of Astrud Gilberto, Brazilian housewife-turned-chanteuse, with her seemingly omnipresent percussive chirp of “tall and tan and young and lovely, the Girl from Ipanema … ” Cocktail jazz for sure, but captivating enough for then 11-year-old “Beatle-maniac” Sheila Landis to take to heart back in 1964. The sinuous melodies of Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim beckoned her, as did the upbeat ditties of “Brazil 66.” Then the 1970s brought the daring wordless vocal flights of Brazilian vocalist Flora Purim to international attention on the jazz scene. Landis continued to meld her own vocal style, as much influenced by Purim as by Joni Mitchell and Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross of Motown fame. Landis is the seven-time winner of the “Outstanding Jazz Vocalist” Award, as bestowed by the Detroit Music Awards.

Two decades later, in the mid-1990s, Landis and guitarist Rick Matle (variously inspired by Jimi Hendrix, Pat Metheny, Carlos Santana and Wes Montgomery) turned their shared love of subtle syncopation into a concert band, “Sheila Landis & Brazilian Love Affair,” enlisting the sure-footed drumming of Wayne State University Music Professor David Taylor. The group soon grew to six pieces, adding a second percussionist, a bassist and a keyboardist, playing concerts all over Michigan.

The heady brew that is Sheila Landis & Brazilian Love Affair musically embraces the bossa nova, samba, batucada, soca, Spanish flamenco and cha-cha. Add a dose of surf-rock, smooth jazz, Detroit style funk and enjoy the ride!

The Kinsey Report

It’s been 15 years since Gary, Indiana’s The Kinsey Report burst upon the blues scene with their blistering brand of street-smart, funky blues-rock. Over the course of four critically acclaimed albums (two for Alligator and two for Pointblank) and endless national touring, the Kinsey brothers – guitarist/vocalist Donald, drummer Ralph and bassist Kenneth – have blazed a modern trail of powerful, original radio-friendly music that grabs both diehard blues fans and rockers who love supercharged guitar and bone-shaking vocals.

With their new release, Smoke And Steel (AL 4860), The Kinsey Report returns to Alligator Records and lays out their modern blues vision for music lovers everywhere to enjoy. Led by Donald’s soulful vocals and explosive guitar playing and powered by the airtight rhythm section of Ralph and Kenneth, Smoke And Steel features seven of 12 Kinsey originals, along with powerful versions of Bob Seger’s Fire Down Below and John Fogerty’s Rattlesnake Highway. From the streetwise lyrics of This Old City and Code of the Streets to the soulful and moving Loved Ones to the foot-pounding urgency of Time ls Running Out, The Kinsey Report fires on all cylinders, the band a precision engine running at full speed.

Recorded in Chicago and produced by the Kinseys along with Alligator Records president Bruce lglauer, Smoke And Steel will no doubt go down not only as a defining moment for The Kinsey Report, but also as a gateway into the next century of blues.

The Kinsey Report developed its singular sound from a lifetime of working and sweating together on stage and in the studio. Their father and musical mentor – Mississippi-born Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey, a bluesman known for his Delta slide guitar and harmonica playing – introduced his sons to gospel and blues early on. Big Daddy’s daddy, firebrand preacher Lester Kinsey, Sr., pastored Gary’s Chase Street Church of God in Christ for close to 50 years. As youngsters, Donald, Ralph and later Kenneth, saw first-hand the emotional power of music in their grandfather’s church. Ralph received his first snare drum when he was 5, the same age younger brother Donald was when he got his first guitar. By the time Donald was 13, he was an accomplished guitarist who performed with Big Daddy around Gary as “Big Daddy Kinsey and B.B. King, Jr.”

During the late 1960s, Big Daddy began taking the family act on the road as “Big Daddy Kinsey & His Fabulous Sons.” The act disbanded in 1972 when oldest brother Ralph enlisted in the Air Force. That same year, legendary guitarist Albert King recruited Donald as his rhythm guitarist. Donald appeared on two of King’s Stax albums, I Wanna Get Funky and Montreux Festival. After Ralph left the service in 1975, Donald left King’s band to form the heavy metal group White Lightning, along with his brother Ralph and former King bassist Busta Cherry Jones. With ex-Mountain bassist Felix Pappalardi producing, the group cut a self-titled debut for lsland Records. They toured nationally, performing with artists like Aerosmith, Yes, Jethro Tull and Edgar Winter.

At an lsland Records reception in New York, Donald met reggae superstar Bob Marley, who in turn introduced him to Peter Tosh. Tosh invited Donald to sit in on the recording of his album Legalize It. Pleased with the results, Tosh invited Donald to join him on his upcoming tour. White Lightning was in the process of imploding, so Donald took the gig. After touring with Tosh for a year, Donald got a call from Marley asking him to overdub some guitar parts for Marley’s album, Rastaman Vibration. Now Marley wanted Donald for his upcoming tour. Donald moved to Jamaica in 1976 and toured with Marley, appearing on the live album, Babylon By Bus. That year, Rolling Stone voted Bob Marley and the Wailers “Band of the Year.” Despite all the success, Donald left the band after he was nearly killed in an assassination attempt on Marley’s life. Donald toured briefly with the Staple Singers before hooking up again with Tosh, playing on his Bush Doctor record and opening several dates with him on the Rolling Stones’ 1978 U.S. tour.

When the tour ended in California, Donald stayed and brought out his brother Ralph and friend Ron Prince to form the reggae funk/blues/rock band, The Chosen Ones. After a short hiatus –Donald rejoined Marley for what was to be his final U.S. tour – The Chosen Ones returned to Gary and recorded an EP in 1981 for the Faulty Products label. Success still eluding him, Donald hooked up again with Tosh, playing on his Mama Africa album and touring Africa and Europe. The album contained a hit version of Johnny B. Goode, arranged and co-produced by Donald, and he and Ralph co-wrote Where You Gonna Run, a single from that album.

The Kinsey Report came together in 1984, with Donald returning home to join Ralph in reforming the family band with Big Daddy. Youngest brother Kenneth took over the bass slot and old friend Ron Prince was added on second guitar. The band, Big Daddy Kinsey and the Kinsey Report, combined the sons’ funky, rock-influenced sound and their father’s Mississippi Delta blues roots. In 1985, Donald produced his father’s debut album, Bad Situation, for Rooster Blues, with backing by The Kinsey Report.

Alligator president Bruce lglauer liked what he heard and saw of the young Gary blues-rockers, and brought his friend, guitarist Roy Buchanan, to hear them live. Roy was equally impressed and asked Donald to play rhythm guitar on two of his Alligator releases. ln 1986, lglauer included one cut (Corner of the Blanket) by The Kinsey Report  in The New Bluebloods anthology.

The strength of the song led lglauer to offer the band a full album deal. Edge of the City burst upon an unsuspecting blues world in 1988, leaving fans and critics open-mouthed with amazement, leading to three W.C. Handy Award nominations. Downbeat declared, “The band is telepathically tight, and its impact is devastating.” Musician called the album “a stunner.”

With great reviews in mainstream press and rock radio airplay, the band quickly grew from one of Chicago’s most popular acts to a national phenomenon. They played clubs, concert stages and major blues festivals both in the U.S. and in Europe. Tour dates with Living Colour, Albert Collins, Dr. John and Hugh Masekela brought them to blues and rock fans all over the world.

Their follow-up, 1989’s Midnight Drive, more than lived up to the promise of their debut. Another set of great songs and eye-popping guitar, along with more non-stop touring, brought the band worldwide recognition and acceptance. Guitar Player called Midnight Drive “one of the most exciting albums ever issued by Alligator … immaculate and soulful.” They signed with Pointblank and released two heavily rock-edged albums, 1991’s Powerhouse and 1994’s Crossing Bridges.

Smoke And Steel marks The Kinsey Report’s return to Alligator, and the group is prepared to take their groundbreaking music to more people than ever before. “We’re excited to be back on Alligator,” says Kenneth.

“l’m glad they’ve opened their arms to us,” agrees Donald, “because the blues is really where our hearts are at.”

They’ll hit the road in support of the album with a national tour kicking off in Chicago. With their crowd-pleasing mix of fiery guitar, funky, telepathic rhythms, streetwise lyrics and seemingly boundless energy, The Kinsey Report will reach from the smoke and steel of Gary, Indiana, to every funky, blues-rocking corner of the world.

Randy Marsh Organ Trio

Drummer Randy Marsh, a third-generation musician, has been professionally active for more than 40 years. Growing up in a jazz background, Marsh has performed in a wide variety of music and entertainment settings. In 1976, he toured Europe with the Mike Grace Quartet, doing a record breaking 72 performances in 30 days! In 1978, he recorded with legendary “Count Basie” tenor sax man Jimmy “Night train” Forrest also featuring jazz organist Shirley Scott. In 1981, the album was released on the Palo Alto Jazz label entitled, Heart Of The Forrest.

At the end of 1985, after a four-year stint with a popular fusion band known as Turning Point, Marsh moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and quickly became a first call drummer on the music scene. From 1986 to 1988 he toured the United States, Canada and Europe with the 1987 Tony Award-winning theater company, the San Francisco Mime Troupe.

Randy Marsh is noted for his ability to adapt to many different styles of music including jazz, fusion, rock, funk, country, blues and Afro-Latin as well as experimental form. Randy is also well known as an innovative harmonica player.

Randy can be heard at various music venues throughout Michigan and the Midwest, as well as CD recordings featuring jazz artists such as Jeff Haas, Paul VornHagen, Paul Keller, Claudia Schmidt, Laurie Sears and Ron Getz. Randy can also be heard with his ongoing jazz organ trios Organissimo and Randy Marsh Organ Trio.

Mind’s Eye


Mind’s Eye is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based jazz quartet playing original music and standards in a modern mainstream jazz style. Cadence magazine reviewer Richard B. Kamins compares the band’s sound to Miles Davis’ mid-60s acoustic group. Mind’s Eye is comprised of four of the most talented jazz musicians and composers in the Midwest region: Rob Smith – trumpet and saxophones; Steve Talaga – piano; Tom Lockwood – acoustic bass; and Keith Hall – drums.

The music of Mind’s Eye has been featured on Jim Wilke’s “Jazz After Hours,” American Public Radio’s nationally syndicated radio program.

The quartet has played many regional venues, including the Montreux/Detroit Jazz Festival; the Grand Rapids Jazz and Blues Festival; the Fremont Jazz Festival; the Flint Jazz Festival; The Crooked Tree Arts Council; Butch’s Dry Dock in Holland; Schuler’s Books and Music; the B.O.B., Z’s, and Billie’s in Grand Rapids as part of the WGVU-FM Jazz Night broadcasts; Dr. J’s Jazz Coffeehouse in Grand Rapids; the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids; Grand Valley State University; Hope College; Aquinas College; and many others. The group has also performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Mind’s Eye has opened repeatedly for the Grand Rapids Symphony at Cannonsburg.

The members of Mind’s Eye have also appeared as guest artists and clinicians at many high school and college jazz events across Michigan and they are on the faculties of some of the most respected Jazz Studies programs in higher education: WMU, CMU, Hope College and Aquinas College.

Mind’s Eye’s compact discs, Angst for the Spoiler, Seasons, Lucky Nine and their latest, Children of the Glacier, are available at Grand Rapids area outlets, including Schuler Books and Music, and online at

Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra with Edye Evans Hyde


For more than 35 years, The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra has been one of Michigan’s premier jazz ensembles, featuring some of the finest musicians in the area playing swinging original compositions and arrangements as well as traditional favorites.

The musicians that create the live sounds are some of the area’s best soloists and sidemen available. Many have jazz projects of their own yet dedicate time to fostering the performance of live big band jazz.

The band was founded in 1977 by the late Bruce Early and has performed with many famous artists such as Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Phil Woods, Pearl Bailey, Kenny Wheeler, Randy Brecker, Maria Schneider, Allen Vizutti, Phil Wilson, Bobby Shew, and has been enjoyed by thousands of people at concerts, dances and festivals throughout the region.

The GRJO performs for shows, concerts and private events and can be heard at Founder’s Brewery the first Sunday of every month.

Edye Evans Hyde


2011 West Michigan Jazz Society Musician of the Year Edye Evans Hyde has been singing jazz, blues and pop music for more than 30 years in West Michigan, Los Angeles, Asia and Europe. Over the years, Edye shared the stage with world-renowned blues singer Linda Hopkins, pop singer Michael Bolton, vocalist Maria Muldaur, actress Connie Stevens, the late Ray Charles and Cuban trumpet player Arturo Sandoval.

Edye’s theatrical performances include principle roles in Dream Girls, Ain’t Misbehavin,’ Smokey Joe’s Café, Little Shop of Horrors, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Intimate Apparel, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Ragtime and Having Our Say. Edye also appears with The Grand Rapids Symphony as a narrator for the Symphony Lollipops and sang with The West Shore Symphony performing songs from her acclaimed albums Girl Talk and Lady with A Song. She recently released her newest album, Magic In His Eyes. You can find the recording on

Currently, you can see Edye on the TBN television series Come on Over, the webseries Backstage Drama, and other film and television productions.

Phil Denny


A shift in the genre labeled “smooth jazz” is happening now and saxophonist Phil Denny enters with a new sound and energy to launch a solo career. Although no stranger to the stage, emerging saxophonist and recording artist Phil Denny is on track to elevate his music career to the next level.

Denny, a Lansing, Mich., native has found that music is his true calling. A former vice president for a mortgage brokerage firm of seven years and part-time performer, tossed in the towel to pursue his passion for music; a full-time journey that has already presented some incredible opportunities.

Much of 2011 was spent in-studio with producer and keyboardist Nate Harasim, working on the highly anticipated debut album Crossover, which released July 26, 2012, and delivers a contagious blend of original music. Denny teamed up with a great cast of musician friends including guitarist Nils, songstress Anna Stevenson, bassist Terrance Palmer and guitarists Gerey Johnson, Matt Godina and Frank Selman on this 10-track album. Inspired by a variety of musical influences, this collection of infectious melodies and in-the-pocket grooves with mature horn textures will be branded as the new identity of this passionate and soulful talent.

A unique style and personality on the saxophone has helped to cultivate a loyal, diverse fan base spanning the globe while building an impressive resume. He has performed with or alongside notable artists Kirk Whalum, Gerald Albright, Darren Rahn, Cindy Bradley, Randy Scott, Tim Bowman, Lalah Hathaway, Howard Hewitt, Nate Harasim, Oli Silk, Gail Jhonson, Julian Vaughn, Lin Rountree, Althea Rene, Demetrius Nabors, Gerard Gibbs, Al McKenzie, Terrance Palmer, Orrick Ewing, and he even had an impromptu jam session with Stevie Wonder. Many of these artists are some of Denny’s most impressionable influences.


About GRandJazzFest

GRandJazzFest presented by DTE Energy Foundation is a community event of the nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization “GR and Jazz” founded in 2012, with the purpose of promoting and bringing awareness of jazz and related arts to new and diverse audiences through educational programs and community events. GRandJazzFest 2013 is a FREE weekend-long event that runs Saturday, Aug. 17, from noon until 10 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 18, from noon p.m. to 7 p.m., featuring jazz artists who are primarily Michigan-based. GRandJazzFest brings together notable jazz performers as well as highlights up-and-coming artists for diverse audiences. GRandJazzFest is being held at Rosa Parks Circle, a central location in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, where attendees can enjoy music, support local businesses and visit other Grand Rapids attractions. The festival is FREE. Sponsors and collaborators to date include DTE Energy Foundation, GR and Jazz, the City of Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority, the Grand Rapids-Kent County Convention/Arena Authority, Experience Grand Rapids, West Michigan Jazz Society, Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, Ellis Parking, Ferris State University, Fifth Third Bank, Founders Bank & Trust, Gilmore Collection, Grand Rapids Community College, Hilger Hammond, IntentPR, Meijer, Mike July Web Design, San Chez Bistro and Café, Saint Mary’s Health Care, Steelcase and The Wege Foundation. More information at Find us on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Media Contact:
Molly Klimas
Twitter: @intentpr
Twitter: @grandjazzfest


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