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Cynthea Kelley

“Art is never over. And you’re never over, because through your art

you’re continually reinventing yourself and regenerating yourself.”

- Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding is a jazz bassist, singer/songwriter and composer who pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a musician and artist in this age of music. With a catalog of wide-ranging styles, Cynthea Kelley will be performing many of Spalding’s Brazilian-influenced songs (like “I Know You Know” [Esperanza]), R&B/funk songs (such as “Smile Like That” [Radio Music Society]), and her songs in the vein of complex and funky prog-rock (like “Judas” and “Rest In Pleasure” [Emily’s D+Evolution]).

Kelley will be joined by Joel Frahm (saxophone), Giovanni Rodriguez (percussion), Todd Parks (bass),

Alex Murphy (piano), and Madison George (drums).

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Cynthea Kelley: Always in pursuit of a deeper understanding of music and craft, Kelley is a vocalist and guitarist whose curiosity and dedication have defined her unfolding artistry. Her inspiration comes from a wide range of genres—including jazz artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Antonio Carlos Jobim, singer-songwriters Joni Mitchell and Bruce Cockburn, and classical guitarists Heitor Villa-Lobos and Leo Brouwer.  Esperanza Spalding has also been one of Kelley’s greatest influences and inspirations since 2016, and it shines through in her performances of Spalding’s music.  In 2018, Kelley earned a BA in Classical Guitar Performance at Coastal Carolina University, where she received the CCU Music Performance Award. She also spent time in the world of jazz and commercial music, performing with and arranging for the CCU Big Band and the CCU Jazz Combo. As a vocalist at Coastal Carolina, Kelley performed alongside artists such as Victor Wooten, Ron Miller, Becca Stevens, and Steve Bailey.


Joel Frahm is one of the more in-demand saxophonists today – certainly standing among the top-tier players in New York as well as globally.  A player with varied musical sensibility and both traditional and modern leanings, Frahm has worked with a wide variety of jazz mainstays, including icons such as Maynard Ferguson, Betty Carter and Dewey Redman, as well as Lee Konitz, Pat Martino and Andrew Hill. He also worked with near contemporaries or contemporaries such as Wilson, Larry Goldings, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Allison, Ingrid Jensen, Dena Derose and Kyle Eastwood.  In 2018, Joel was a part of two Grammy-nominated CDs, Freddy Cole’s My Mood Is You, and Dafnis Prieto’s Back To The Sunset, which won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Ensemble recording. He has also developed a reputation as a saxophonist who can accompany and work incredibly well with singers.  Among the vocalists he has shared the bandstand and the studio with are: Cyrille Aimee, Rondi Charleston, Laine Cooke, Dana Lauren, Chris McNulty, Jane Monheit, Janis Siegel, Tessa Souter and Joan Stiles.


Giovanni Rodriguez is a Nashville based Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist, born in Italy to Dominican parents. Growing up in Europe, and through the diversity of his parent's music, Giovanni showed an interest in music at an early age and learned to appreciate and respect all genres of music. In 2018, Rodriguez received a Grammy for the percussion work he did on CeCe Winans', "Let Them Fall In Love" record which was went #1 on Billboard’s Gospel Music Chart. He has also recorded percussion on Victor Wooten’s double album titled “Swords & Stones/Words & Tones.”  He has shared the stage and/or recorded with Chris Stapleton, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow, Gloria Gaynor, Taj Mahal, Vince Gill, Macy Grey, Aaron Neville, Michael McDonald, Frank McComb, Donnie McClurkin, James Fortune, La India, David Liebman, Jaci Velasquez, Los Hombres Caliente, The Wooten Brothers, Dara Tucker, Tommy Sims, Eric Roberson, Andy Narrell, Salvador, Bill Dickens, and Kirk Whalum.


Todd Parks is a Nashville based acoustic/electric bassist.  In 2003, after completing two master’s degrees in String Performance and Jazz Studies at the University of Tennessee, Todd moved to Nashville and quickly established himself as an in-demand sideman for a variety of artists from a wide range of genres. Todd’s performance and recording credits include Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Bela Fleck, Garth Brooks, and many more.  Throughout his career, Todd has traveled the globe performing in locations as remote as Djibouti, Africa, and as revered as Carnegie Hall. Todd has served as the house bassist for prominent fixtures such as A Prairie Home Companion and Pelicula Films’ Transatlantic Sessions 3 and 4.  In 2006, while touring/recording with Jerry Douglas, he and fellow band members supported the Paul Simon Surprise tour.  Todd has been touring and recording with mandolin luminary Sam Bush since 2010.

Alex Murphy: Hailing from Chicago, Alex grew up in a family of musicians with parents who emphasized musical exploration at an early age.  In high school, he had the opportunity to study under many distinguished jazz performers and educators at Birch Creek Jazz Camp and began exploring writing his own music as well as iterations of jazz greats. His passion for jazz led him into continued study at DePaul University in Chicago where he was under the tutelage of Ron Perrillo and Dana Hall. Alex has performed at Chicago classics including the Jazz Showcase, Andy’s Jazz Club, Green Mill, and was featured in a master class at Symphony Center with jazz piano great Bill Charlap. He has been featured in the Chicago Jazz Festival and other area jazz festivals throughout the Midwest. Alex has had the opportunity to share the stage with artists Nicholas Payton, Dave Douglas, Bobby Broom, Mark Colenburg, Adonis Rose, Chester Thompson, Joel Frahm, Dezron Douglas, Pharezz Whitted, Mark Colby, Matt Ulery, Dennis Carroll, Roger Ingram, Gabrielle Cavassa and Joe Grandsden. From a growing studio portfolio with jazz and hip hop artists as well as his continued pursuit of live performance, Alex is excited to expand his talent into the Nashville area.


Madison George is a drummer and educator based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Madison began playing drums at the young age of 3.  He attended Western Michigan University majoring in jazz studies, studying under Professor Keith Hall.  His versatility has allowed him to play in a variety of professional settings, including jazz bands, rock bands, theater productions, and everything in-between.  Madison has worked with jazz artists such as Peter Eldridge, Johnaye Kendrick, Don Aliquo, Pat Coil, and Michael Whittaker. Beyond the jazz world, Madison has performed with acts such as Americana duo The War & Treaty, American Idol winner Noah Thompson, “dive-bar soul” singer Philip-Michael Scales, and indie rock band Michigander.  As an educator, Madison has worked as an adjunct drum instructor at Grace Christian University, a private instructor at Kalamazoo Music School (formerly the Jazz & Creative Institute), as well as a faculty member of the Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive.

Cynthea Kelley
Joel Frahm
Giovanni Rodriguez
Todd Parks
Alex Murphy
Madison George
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