LOVE IN BLOOM PERFORMER BIOGRAPHIES
LEOPOLDO F. FLEMING
As a musician, composer, lyricist, and arranger Leopoldo is a great personality with a rich and multicolored palette. His inspiration stems from his Latin–Afro–Indian roots, his childhood in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, his many years as highly active on the jazz and beyond music scene of New York, and his international experience from since his youth collaborating and touring with US, Caribbean, and African stars all over Europe, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Orient and Australia. Since 1951 Leopoldo’s home is New York, however, from 1987 to 98 he had residence in Vienna, Austria, and since 2006 he has a base in Copenhagen, Denmark, too.
Though mainly a jazz musician, Leopoldo goes about well versed in several musical genres – jazz, funk, R&B, Caribbean, Cuban, Brazilian, African, gospel and spirituals. He is a brilliant accompanist, a fascinating soloist, has a special melodic gift in his playing, and his performances sparkle with surprises, sophistication, grace, and exquisite timing.
Besides his own music and theater projects, Leopoldo has played, recorded, toured with a cornucopia of other great artists such as Nina Simone (for 31 years off and on), Miriam Makeba, in recent years “Sing The Truth” (w. Dianne Reeves, Lizz Wright, Angélique Kidjo, Simone Kelly, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Stacey Kent and more), The Symphony of the New World, Harry Belafonte, Monica Zetterlund, The String Reunion, Eartha Kitt, The World Bass Violin Ensemble, Beaver Harris, Novella Nelson, Lonnie Liston Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Sonny Stitt, Richard Grove Holmes, Queen Esther Marrow, Leon Thomas, Randy Weston (in big band format and in a trio including Ron Carter), Archie Shepp, Bob Cunningham, Kenny Barron, Horace Parlan, David Murray, The Boys’ Choir of Harlem, a number of local world class musicians in Vienna and Copenhagen respectively, the all–stars Lou Caputo Not So Big Band, and once a year he tours the Far East with the New York Harlem Singers.
Jeannine Otis Jahneen has an eclectic array of experiences as a performer, educator and music director. She has performed all over the world as a vocalist, including the Pori Jazz Festival with Heikki Sarmanto. Her segment at the Pori Jazz Festival was recently included in a film about that festival with Jazz greats such as Miles Davis, the Brecker Brothers and Maynard Ferguson. Her recording with Mr. Sarmanto and the Helsinki Philharmonic entitled "Magic Songs," is available on Warner European Records. In addition, Ms. Otis has a long–standing collaboration with jazz great Vishnu Wood, working on music education projects under the auspices of the United Way as part of Safari East Cultural Productions, founded by Vishnu Wood.
She is the Director of Music at the historic Saint Marks Church in the Bowery, as well as Theaterworks USA’s yearly production of Freedom Train, a piece about the young Harriet Tubman that travels all over the country including TownHall, the Fox Theater in Atlanta, and The Grand Ole Opry. Ms. Otis is the only black recipient of the Presser Music Foundation Award from Wellesley College as well as a Teaching Fellow award from Emerson College, Boston. She continues to collaborate internationally, nationally, and locally as a consultant with arts programming while performing and teaching.
SYLVESTER "SLY" SCOTT
Sylvester “Sly” Scott is a multi-instrumentalist who is versed in a wide array of musical genres.
Sylvester first began his music studies at Curtis High School on Staten Island, where his first instrument was the clarinet. He later played the alto saxophone before switching to the tenor sax and flute. Under the tutelage of Isaac Commerchero, he began studying jazz. Sylvester went on to the College of Staten Island and studied Jazz Harmony and performance with Professor Joseph Scianni. He also studied at the Charlie Washington Stapleton Jazz Workshop. He eventually earned a scholarship to study with saxophone legend Caesar DiMauro at the Jewish Community Center. His jazz studies continued at the Castellano Music Studios in New York City, where he
played baritone sax, and at the Harlem Jazzmobile, he studied jazz theory with such greats as: Charles Davis, Stanton Davis, Jimmy Heath and Frank Foster while playing tenor sax in the big band.
Sylvester has performed at the Cool Jazz Festival; The JVC Jazz Festival; the Cactus Festival in Bruges, Belgium; the first annual Nubian Festival in Egypt; The Tanjazz Festival in Morocco and many others. He has played at the legendary Blue Note as well as Jazz at Dizzy’s at Lincoln Center, The Cutting Room and The Somethin’ Jazz Club. In Paris he has played at the notable clubs LeReservoir and New Morning. He has also performed at special events such as the Philosopher’s Conference at UNESCO in Paris, France, and many other venues.
Sylvester has performed and toured with the hip hop group The Force MD’s. He was a featured player in the James Brown Tribute World Tour, organized and lead by Bootsy Collins, and appears in the YouTube videos. Presently, he is a member of The Eric Person Big Band, in which he received a favorable mention in Downbeat Magazine. He performs with the multi-genre band Circular Time, also serving as writer, musical consultant and arranger. He has performed and written an arrangement for Rhonda Ross, the daughter of the legendary Diana Ross. You can see Sylvester in numerous YouTube videos playing anything from Jazz to R&B to Peruvian music by searching for
Sly Scott is the saxophone soloist on a recording for Fred Schneider of the B52's and can be heard on numerous others. And he is expanding his musicianship as he delves into the world of composing.
Sylvester “Sly” Scott is in the formative stages of his band The Brahma Collective and is writing music for that world project. Follow him at Sly at the MC Squared.
Jazz Vocalist extraordinaire, artist and teacher Betty Shirley is blessed with all the range and tonal control one might expect from a first–class Jazz singer. Ms. Shirley can scat, propel, coax and hang on to a note. She improvises with unerring instincts and delivers exactly what a song needs, spinning notes like silk.
Her extensive repertoire ranges from original compositions, Jazz (modern and traditional) and Blues to R&B, and Bossa Nova. She has sung with some of the best Jazz musicians in the world: Ellis Marsalis, Art Blakey Jr., Benny Green and Bross Townsend, to name a few and her tours have included Europe and Brazil. Her credits include the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the Pensacola Jazz Festival, Essence Fest and the Women in Jazz Series.
As a recording artist, Shirley has 3 critically acclaimed CDs to her credit as a leader. Unveiled (1995), Betty Shirley Sings (with the Chuck Chaplin Trio, 2002), and Close Your Eyes (released March 2007). Her latest work, Close Your Eyes, was completed just at the time Hurricane Katrina was rolling in.
A 2012 inductee to the NYC Blues Hall of Fame, Karlus Trapp has been playing music since he was 5 years old, and has been teaching guitar and making a living playing music for over 30 years. His music has been featured on network TV, as well as international markets around the world. In 2012, Karlus produced and released his latest CD, S’Allright. Last year, he contributed guitar and vocals to the debut recording by singer/songwriter, Gina Catalino. He’s shared the stage and played in bands with members of renowned groups like Bon Jovi, The Modern English, The Band and The Paul Shaffer Band. He’s opened concerts for Richie Havens, Tuck and Patti, and was the 2008 winner of the Bob Dylan competition at the New York Guitar Festival. His CD WOW Karlus Trapp with Magumbo, was co–produced by Grammy–winning producer, Bob Cutarella (Les Paul).
As a music educator, Mr. Trapp has been bringing his music and talents to Staten Island schools for over 20 years. One of his most notable accomplishments was in 2002, when he worked with the education department of Snug Harbor Cultural Center, the New York Times School Arts Rescue and over a half–dozen schools, which resulted in close to thirty original songs co–written with school children directly affected by September 11th.
A multi–instrumentalist and producer, Karlus recently co–produced several tracks on the new CD of New York songwriter, Joan Nerlino Caddel. His music melds together pop/rock songs with bluesy guitar and the rhythms of New Orleans, Jamaica and Africa. A solo performer as well as band leader, Karlus regularly performs across NYC, is currently producing new young artists, and is collaborating once again with Kenyan songwriter, Kahoro Kibochi. Learn more at karlustrapp.com
Kiane Zawadi is a New Yorker originally from Detroit and comes from a family whose tradition is rooted in music. Mr. Zawadi has performed and recorded with many legendary musicians, including his mentor, Barry Harris, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Roland Alexander, Freddie Hubbard, Art Farmer/Benny Golson Jazztet, James Moody, Lionel Hampton, Frank Foster, Aretha Franklin, Clifford Jordan, Wynton Marsalis Live at Lincoln Center, Rodney Kendrick, Archie Shepp, Randy Weston, McCoy Tyner, Larry Ridley, Yusuf Lateef, Sun Ra and Dexter Gordon.
Kiane was voted Downbeat Magazine’s “Artist Deserving Wider Recognition” and received a National Endowment for the Arts Performance grant. His teaching experience includes Jazzmobile, NYC Housing Authority After–School program; Washington Irving HS Music in the Schools program, The New School Jazz Studies program, The Crown Heights Youth Collective, and Duke University’s Master Music Performance Program.