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Nicki Parrott ~ Justin Varnes ~ Taylor Roberts
October 16 @ 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm
An event every day that begins at 6:30 pm, repeating until October 17, 2020
TWO CONCERTS NIGHTLY ~ 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Justin Varnes studied music at the University of North Florida. After a brief stint with the Noel Freidline Quintet, Mr. Varnes relocated to New York City to pursue a master’s degree in jazz studies at the New School. In New York, Justin toured for six years with vocalist Phoebe Snow, with whom he performed on the Roseanne Barr Show, as well as National Public Radio’s “World Cafe” (he would later perform on “World Cafe” with pop group “Five for Fighting”). He also performed with Phoebe at Madison Square Garden, where he played alongside singers Jewel and Paula Cole.
Mr. Varnes has performed with several jazz greats in New York, including: Ben Wolfe (Harry Connick, Jr.), Aaron Goldberg (Joshua Redman), Wessell Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Printup, Steve Kirby (Cyrus Chestnut), Peter Bernstein, and Eric Lewis (Wynton Marsalis).
Currently residing in Atlanta, Mr. Varnes performs regularly with the Christian Tamburr Quartet, as well as Bob Reynolds, Kevin Bales, Joe Gransden and Gary Motley. Justin is also a top call sideman for touring artists through Atlanta. He has performed with Vincent Herring, Kevin Hays, Victor Goines and recently has been tapped for some work with Earl Klugh.
“She has that special gift you cannot buy in a music store.” – LES PAUL
“Nicki brings clear articulation, beautiful tone, a sense of rhythmic assuredness
and a touch of allure to inventive arrangements.” – JAZZ TIMES
“Nicki Parrott could make anyone love jazz.” – CABARET SCENE
Born in Newcastle, Australia, Nicki started her musical training at age four with the piano, followed by the flute, soon after. Nicki switched to double bass at the age of 15.
After graduating high school she moved to Sydney to study jazz at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music where she began to play with Australian musicians such as Mike Nock, Dale Barlow, Paul Grabowsky, Bernie McGann, and Ten Part Invention. She also toured Australia with Russian musicians Daniel Kramer and Alexander Fischer and American trumpeters Bobby Shew and Chuck Findley. She continued her studies with various bassists including visiting artists Ray Brown and John Clayton.
Nicki was the recipient of two awards, a scholarship to Pan Pacific Music Camps at the age of 16, and first place in the 1992 Jazz Action Society’s Annual Song Competition for her composition “Come and Get It,” which is the opening track of Nicki and her sister Lisa’s debut CD, “Awabakal Suite”. She was also nominated for the annual Australian Young Achievers Award by the Arts Council of Australia who granted her the funds to come to New York to study with Rufus Reid. Nicki came to New York in May 1994.
In June 2000, Nicki began performing on Monday nights at the Iridium Jazz Club with the legendary guitarist and inventor, Les Paul. As part of the Les Paul Trio, Nicki worked side-by-side with guitar greats from Paul McCartney, Slash, Steve Miller to fellow Aussie, Tommy Emmanuel.
Since then she has performed with such notable musicians as Michel Legrand, Joe Wilder, Randy Brecker, Clark Terry, Jose Feliciano, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Patti Labelle & the New York Pops Orchestra, Harry Allen, Marlena Shaw, David Krakauer, Ken Peplowski, Ann Hampton Callaway, Bill Mays, Scott Hamilton, Lillian Boutte, Larry Carlton and Houston Person, just to name a few.
Nicki has also performed in several Broadway shows such as Avenue Q, Imaginary Friends, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Summer of ’42 and Jekyll and Hyde and has made several television and documentary appearances including The Gossip Girls, Chasing Sound and Thank You Les, which recently debuted on PBS.
In 2007 and 2008, Nicki received back to back honors for Swing Journal’s Best Jazz Vocal Album (Moon River and Fly Me to The Moon, respectively).
In 2010 her album Black Coffee (Venus) received Swing Journal’s Gold Disc award.
In 2012, Nicki headlined the Fujitsu Concorde Jazz festival after the release of her eighth CD from Venus Records, Sakura Sakura. She is currently recording her 16th release for the label.
Nicki has performed at most major festivals around the globe including the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Jazz in July at the 92nd Street Y, Litchfield Jazz Festival, Detroit Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival and the Newport Beach Jazz Party, Jazz Ascona and Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland and many others.
“…A rarity, a first-class bassist whose playing is as sublime as her vocals.” – LIMELIGHT 2012
Nicki actively participates in continuing musical education for women, helping them further their careers and remain active in music well beyond their teen years. She takes pride in teaching music to inner-city children, giving them opportunities to express creativity, encouraging them to stay actively involved with school, and opening up brighter options for the future. Nicki involvement has included programs such as: Women in Jazz, New York Pops: Create A Symphony and Musical Mentors, WBGO-FM & NJPAC’s Jazz for Teens and Litchfield Jazz Camp.
Nicki welcomes the opportunity to provide mentoring skills for your advanced music students. Please contact us to discuss how she might help enrich your program.
Since the age of four, music has been the most important thing in Taylor Roberts’ life, for it was then that he met and fell in love with a piano. The mysterious instrument produced the most amazing sounds with the simple press of a key. Though he had been on the planet for a mere four years, his young heart knew that he simply had to master this instrument, and so it was quickly arranged for him to study privately with a teacher at home. Nine years of lessons and joyfully picking out songs from records to play on the piano went by, and at the age of thirteen Taylor got his first guitar. Though he would always admire the piano, and would remember fondly the many hours they spent together, it was clear to him that he had finally found the instrument of his dreams. He made the firm decision to make the guitar his primary focus.
Born and raised in Gainesville, Florida, Taylor found himself in an ideal location for his budding musical career. The supportive local music scene (and his parents) allowed him to play in various bands throughout high school, with sounds ranging from punk and ska to rock and blues. For Taylor, as for so many of us, music was an oasis throughout the tumultuous teenage years. At the age of sixteen, however, he was swept up to entirely new musical heights, rich with emotion and storytelling and…explosions! Yes, he had discovered Jazz. Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery…An entirely new world had opened up!
After surviving high school, Taylor took his diploma and his newly refined focus, and began pursuing a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Being able to study with the internationally-renowned faculty and honing his craft was a dream come true. Today, Taylor has made music performance and teaching his full-time job, and has become very well-respected among his peers. Multiple performances at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and the Gainesville Jazz Festival, active membership in the Ritz Jazz Orchestra, and thousands of gigs at clubs, restaurants and private events throughout the Southeast have helped to build his reputation, professionally and musically.
In 2008, he released a solo guitar album entitled “Short Story,” currently available on iTunes. The praise and recognition he received for the recording has helped to make him a “first call” in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas for solo guitar work. Additionally, he was afforded the opportunity in 2009 to travel to Japan, Russia, and the Dutch Harbor performing with the Christian Tamburr Quintet. Other household names he’s performed with include Bucky Pizzarelli, Linda Cole, Gary Foster, Sal Lozano, Kevin Bales, Tim Hagans, Jon Weber, Toscha Comeaux, and Rene Marie. He currently resides in Florida with his wife and children, performing and teaching regularly.
MUSIC CHARGE: $20.00