The Royal Bopsters

London, Meader, Pramuk & Ross

The Royal Bopsters is a vocal jazz quartet made up of New York's most seasoned professional jazz singers.  Amy London, Darmon Meader, Dylan Pramuk and Holli Ross arrange and write lyrics for classic bebop solos and compositions. Together with the guest appearances of jazz masters, Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Sheila Jordon, Bob Dorough and the late Mark Murphy, their recent release on Motema Records has garnered rave reviews and made four top jazz CD lists of 2015 including Downbeat and Jazz Times.   

With singers ranging from age 33 to 93, The Royal Bopsters Project is a multi-generational vocal summit on which the talents of singers London, Meader, Pramuk and Ross unite in harmony to pay tribute to the art of vocalese singing and to the forefathers and mothers of their favored art form. This homage features five vocalese pioneers, each of whom helped to invent the bop-vocal or ‘vocalese’ art form. Six-time Grammy nominee Mark Murphy (1932–2015), considered one of the most influential vocalists in jazz, appears on four tracks, including an outstanding new version of Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay,” a song which stands very tall among Murphy’s many breakthrough recordings. Four of the ‘Bopsters’ – NEA Jazz Masters and Grammy Award-winners Jon Hendricks (b. 1921) and Annie Ross (b.1930) who represent two thirds of the pioneering vocalese group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross; NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan (b.1928); and Arkansas Hall of Famer and Schoolhouse Rock mastermind Bob Dorough (b. 1923) have one feature track on this recording.

Four years in the making, The Royal Bopsters Project was initially conceived by producer/vocalist/arranger Amy London as a twilight years feature for her musical hero and close friend Mark Murphy, who she cites as a key influence, (as do scores of other successful jazz singers.) One by one, the other ‘Royal Bopsters’ signed on for the project at London’s behest. “ I can’t believe my luck to have all of my vocal jazz heroes on this one recording,” says London, a jazz vocal hero herself at this point, having helped to found the prestigious New School Jazz BFA Vocal program, one of the first and most respected such programs in the country, out of which many top young vocalists have emerged. “I wanted to honor these elders and bring their music to a new generation who may not be aware of their importance to this music.”

Amy London Amy London is known and loved in New York City jazz and Broadway circles for her effortless sound, impeccable  musicianship and depth of emotion. Her two critically acclaimed Motema CD's as a leader, 'Let's Fly' and 'When I Look In Your Eyes' feature some of the world's top jazz musicians, and have led her to engagements in Russia, Italy, Turkey, France, Brazil, England, Belgium, Czech Republic and Canada, as well as cities across the US. London's fully seasoned career also includes three years in the 6 Tony award winning Broadway hit 'City of Angels' (singing on its Grammy nominated original cast album), and City Center's production of 'Promises Promises' starring Martin Short, plus tours with Charles Aznavour, Larry Elgart and Tom Browne. Ms London has enjoyed more than 25 years of performing at New York's top rooms, such as Dizzy's, The Rainbow Room, Lincoln Center, Birdland, Blue Note, The Kitano, BB King's, Cornelia Street Café, North Square Lounge and more. Ms. London’s latest CD, ‘Bridges,’ is a retrospective of her recordings from the 1980’s and 90’s with such jazz stars as Fred Hersch, Bob Mintzer, Darmon Meader,  Dr. Lonnie Smith, and many others. A world renowned jazz educator, Ms. London was one of the principal architects of New School’s Jazz BFA vocal program, has been faculty there since 1992, and in partnership with Dylan Pramuk, recently opened the Vocal Jazz Program at Jazz House in Montclair.  Ms. London has been directing summer jazz camp vocal programs worldwide since 2008. “Swinging and Sophisticated” New York Times“ An immense talent deserving of national attention” JazzTimes “Lovely choice of songs, underdone, but new and imaginative. What I liked best is her showing us what joy is!”  Mark Murphy, legendary jazz singer Amylondonsings.com  

Amy London

Amy London is known and loved in New York City jazz and Broadway circles for her effortless sound, impeccable  musicianship and depth of emotion. Her two critically acclaimed Motema CD's as a leader, 'Let's Fly' and 'When I Look In Your Eyes' feature some of the world's top jazz musicians, and have led her to engagements in Russia, Italy, Turkey, France, Brazil, England, Belgium, Czech Republic and Canada, as well as cities across the US. London's fully seasoned career also includes three years in the 6 Tony award winning Broadway hit 'City of Angels' (singing on its Grammy nominated original cast album), and City Center's production of 'Promises Promises' starring Martin Short, plus tours with Charles Aznavour, Larry Elgart and Tom Browne. Ms London has enjoyed more than 25 years of performing at New York's top rooms, such as Dizzy's, The Rainbow Room, Lincoln Center, Birdland, Blue Note, The Kitano, BB King's, Cornelia Street Café, North Square Lounge and more. Ms. London’s latest CD, ‘Bridges,’ is a retrospective of her recordings from the 1980’s and 90’s with such jazz stars as Fred Hersch, Bob Mintzer, Darmon Meader,  Dr. Lonnie Smith, and many others.

A world renowned jazz educator, Ms. London was one of the principal architects of New School’s Jazz BFA vocal program, has been faculty there since 1992, and in partnership with Dylan Pramuk, recently opened the Vocal Jazz Program at Jazz House in Montclair.  Ms. London has been directing summer jazz camp vocal programs worldwide since 2008.

“Swinging and Sophisticated” New York Times“

An immense talent deserving of national attention” JazzTimes

“Lovely choice of songs, underdone, but new and imaginative. What I liked best is her showing us what joy is!”  Mark Murphy, legendary jazz singer

Amylondonsings.com

 

Holli Ross

Holli Ross has performed in top clubs from New Orleans’ Snug Harbor to NYC’s Blue Note.  Her recording on Miles High Records…”You’ll See is a serious jazz vocal album from a singer who knows how to present a song with a measure of elegance...a top-tier jazz vocalist,” says All About Jazz.  She has performed in Germany, France, Eastern Europe, Japan, Monterey Jazz Festival and the JVC Jazz Festival.  A published ASCAP lyricist, Holli’s songs have been recorded by jazz artists, Janis Seigel with the Count Basie Orchestra, Mark Murphy, and Meredith D’Ambrosio. Holli has performed and recorded with Jon Faddis, Romero Lumbambo, Bob MIntzer, Eddie Monteiro, Rufus Reid, Ted Rosenthal, Claudio Roditi, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Randy Sandke.  She has also recorded several CDs with her female vocal trio, String Of Pearls and is well documented with other vocal ensembles, Mad Romance and Group Five.  More recently she was a featured artist on Bill Kirchner's, wildly acclaimed CD and DVD concert, An Evening of Indigoes, highlighting Kirchner's inspirational compositions.  

Holli is an associate professor of Jazz Vocal Studies at Hofstra University and an adjunct at Montclair State University where she also directs the vocal jazz ensemble, Vocamotion. 

Holli received her Masters for Speech-Language Pathology at Kean University where she immediately set out to pursue a specialty in voice disorders.  As a Singing Voice Specialist, she presents vocal health clinics throughout the country and treats patients at her home practice.

holliross.com

Pete McGuiness Pete McGuinness is the Professor of Jazz Composition and Arranging at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. Since 1987, he has been an active New York City area jazz artist - trombonist, three-time GRAMMY-nominated composer-arranger, and award-winning jazz vocalist (semi-finals of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition, 1st prize in the Jazzmobile Vocal Contest). Pete appears on over 50 jazz CDs as a sideman and has released four recordings as a leader. He also leads his own quartet and a big band, The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra, which has appeared on numerous occasions at such venues as The Blue Note, Iridium, The Jazz Gallery and other NYC jazz clubs. He has appeared on the Downbeat Magazine Critics’ Poll in both 2008 (”Rising Star” category – Jazz Arranger”) and 2015 (“Rising Star” category for both Jazz Arranger and Male Jazz Vocalist). Several of Pete’s arrangements for jazz ensemble are published by the Kendor Music and Smart Chart Music companies. Pete’s website: www.petemcguinness.com  

Pete McGuiness

Pete McGuinness is the Professor of Jazz Composition and Arranging at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. Since 1987, he has been an active New York City area jazz artist - trombonist, three-time GRAMMY-nominated composer-arranger, and award-winning jazz vocalist (semi-finals of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition, 1st prize in the Jazzmobile Vocal Contest). Pete appears on over 50 jazz CDs as a sideman and has released four recordings as a leader. He also leads his own quartet and a big band, The Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra, which has appeared on numerous occasions at such venues as The Blue Note, Iridium, The Jazz Gallery and other NYC jazz clubs. He has appeared on the Downbeat Magazine Critics’ Poll in both 2008 (”Rising Star” category – Jazz Arranger”) and 2015 (“Rising Star” category for both Jazz Arranger and Male Jazz Vocalist). Several of Pete’s arrangements for jazz ensemble are published by the Kendor Music and Smart Chart Music companies.

Pete’s website: www.petemcguinness.com

 

Dylan Pramuk Deeply steeped in the great traditions of jazz and voice, bebop and improvisation, Dylan Pramuk is a remarkable vocalist, improviser, arranger and educator. He has performed at many of NYC’s finest jazz venues, including The Blue Note, Zinc Bar, Joe’s Pub and Birdland. Dylan has performed in saxophonist Billy Harper's Voices; Beat Kaestli’s Vocal Summit, which showcased Dylan’s original arrangement on Mexican public radio; Anne Phillips’ Jazz Nativity at B. B. King’s; and Max Pollak’s RumbaTap, a review for which the New York Times stated, “killer scat singing by Dylan Pramuk.” The New School Vocal Jazz Ensemble has debuted Dylan's original arrangements, performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center and in a sold out evening featuring vocal legend Mark Murphy. In addition to private instruction, Dylan has developed an ongoing course in vocal improvisation entitled Hearing & Singing the Changes. Since January 2014, Dylan has been co-director with Amy London of the Jazz House Kids Vocal Academy in Montclair, New Jersey. 

Dylan Pramuk

Deeply steeped in the great traditions of jazz and voice, bebop and improvisation, Dylan Pramuk is a remarkable vocalist, improviser, arranger and educator. He has performed at many of NYC’s finest jazz venues, including The Blue Note, Zinc Bar, Joe’s Pub and Birdland. Dylan has performed in saxophonist Billy Harper's Voices; Beat Kaestli’s Vocal Summit, which showcased Dylan’s original arrangement on Mexican public radio; Anne Phillips’ Jazz Nativity at B. B. King’s; and Max Pollak’s RumbaTap, a review for which the New York Times stated, “killer scat singing by Dylan Pramuk.” The New School Vocal Jazz Ensemble has debuted Dylan's original arrangements, performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center and in a sold out evening featuring vocal legend Mark Murphy. In addition to private instruction, Dylan has developed an ongoing course in vocal improvisation entitled Hearing & Singing the Changes. Since January 2014, Dylan has been co-director with Amy London of the Jazz House Kids Vocal Academy in Montclair, New Jersey. 

  Darmon Meader (formerly with TRB and on their debut recording) Recognized in both the jazz vocal and instrumental worlds, Darmon Meader is a distinguished vocalist, arranger, saxophonist and music educator.  Darmon has achieved international recognition as the founder, musical director, chief arranger, composer, saxophonist, and tenor vocalist with New York Voices.  As a member of NYV he has released numerous recordings, and has performed and recorded with a variety of artists including Ray Brown, Ivan Lins, Bobby McFerrin, Don Sebesky, Patti Austin, Jon Hendricks, Jim Hall, Paquito D'Rivera and the Count Basie Orchestra.  Touring in the U.S. and abroad, he has performed at such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Blue Note Jazz Clubs in New York and Japan.  In addition to arranging and orchestrating the majority of the NYV songbook, Darmon has arranged music for various artists including Nancy Wilson, the Boston Pops, Ann Hampton Calloway, and Ilona Knopfler.  Darmon is currently an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University, in the Jazz Vocal department, and is actively involved in music education as a conductor and clinician at both the high school and university level.  Many of his vocal jazz and choral works have been published by Carl Fischer Music, Shawnee Press, Hal Leonard and Alfred Music.  darmonmeader.com

 

Darmon Meader (formerly with TRB and on their debut recording)

Recognized in both the jazz vocal and instrumental worlds, Darmon Meader is a distinguished vocalist, arranger, saxophonist and music educator.  Darmon has achieved international recognition as the founder, musical director, chief arranger, composer, saxophonist, and tenor vocalist with New York Voices.  As a member of NYV he has released numerous recordings, and has performed and recorded with a variety of artists including Ray Brown, Ivan Lins, Bobby McFerrin, Don Sebesky, Patti Austin, Jon Hendricks, Jim Hall, Paquito D'Rivera and the Count Basie Orchestra.  Touring in the U.S. and abroad, he has performed at such renowned venues as Carnegie Hall, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Blue Note Jazz Clubs in New York and Japan.  In addition to arranging and orchestrating the majority of the NYV songbook, Darmon has arranged music for various artists including Nancy Wilson, the Boston Pops, Ann Hampton Calloway, and Ilona Knopfler.  Darmon is currently an adjunct faculty member at Indiana University, in the Jazz Vocal department, and is actively involved in music education as a conductor and clinician at both the high school and university level.  Many of his vocal jazz and choral works have been published by Carl Fischer Music, Shawnee Press, Hal Leonard and Alfred Music.  darmonmeader.com


Photographer: Janis Wilkins

Musicians: Dylan Pramuk, Holli Ross, Amy London, Darmon Meader

Next appearance: Mark Murphy Memorial Tribute, March 14, 2016