The Most Fun, but Most Challenging Genre in Music:
An Interview with Lon Ivey at the AirTrain Jazz Festival
Last Thursday, the Airbar at the JFK AirTrain terminal offered an escape from the LIRR station’s typical chaos. Travelers and businessmen slowed their rushing steps to stop and listen to the sounds of Lon Ivey’s 4th Millennium Band. The third annual AirTrain Jazz Festival hosts jazz artists on Thursday every week through May. Lon Ivey’s band is made up of musicians who have lead groups of their own and performed with top artists spanning the entire globe. Our World on Sutphin had the opportunity to interview the talented band leader Lon Ivey.
Vocalist, drummer, and band leader, Lon Ivey, has been practicing his art for about thirty years, getting his start in music by singing and playing piano at a young age. His passion for percussion blossomed when his father took him to a concert where a man named Max Roach was banging the drums. The 13-year-old Lon Ivey was inspired by this fantastic drummer who was “one of the guys who changed the whole dialogue in music” according to Ivey. After the concert, Lon Ivey describes telling his father to “get rid of this piano and clarinet, and get me some drums!” He finds truth in the notion that “we stand on the shoulders of giants,” and Max Roach was one of them for Ivey. Other influential figures for Lon Ivey were his teachers like Tony Williams, Roy Brooks, Walter “Baby Sweets” Perkins. He says “you also have got to love Buddy Rich, Bobby Mason, Steve Gadd—there’s so many great musicians, and I’m considered one of the best in my field.” His lively performance on the drums and vocals was evidence of his experience and standing in the world of music. Lon Ivey now has students of his own and teaches them about the deep roots of jazz music which stretch back into the blues rhythms that originated from West Africa.
Though the AirTrain Festival centers on Jazz, Lon Ivey takes pleasure in playing many different styles of music, including R&B, Hip Hop, Funk, Metal and Classic Rock. He’s also been playing contemporary gospel as a drummer at the First Baptist Church of Glen Cove (attended by Grammy award-winning singer, Ashanti) for five years. Despite his love for playing everything, his opinion on jazz is that it’s “the most fun, because it’s the most creative.” Apart from it being the most fun, he mentions that it’s the most difficult kind of music to master. His explanation is that “jazz is a discipline. There are some definite ensembles you play together in a group, but its variations on a theme. You take a core theme and you improvise around that core, central idea. That’s really what makes it so great, and so challenging. You almost have to sculpt air. When you play pop music, or heavy metal, you play a repetitive form. The difference in jazz is that it allows you to completely deconstruct and reconstruct the piece of music. No other style of music does that.”
With hit movies like “La La Land” bringing up the discussion of jazz music’s relevance in our society, it spurs the question: Is jazz dying? Does it need to be saved? Lon Ivey’s response is “I don’t think so,” and continues to explain, “Jazz has always traditionally had a smaller audience, but a very loyal audience. Most of the major universities have jazz pedagogies. I teach at a school called mind builders in the Bronx, affiliated with Julliard and JALC. So jazz is not dying—we would like to see more outlets for it, of course, and we play a lot of it.” Another factor that may contribute to the difficulty of being a jazz musician and the perception that the craft is dying is that it isn’t as easy to earn a living by playing jazz music. Even when a musician plays as much jazz as they do R&B, funk, or gospel, a greater reward is usually offered to those who play the latter.
Lon Ivey’s 4th millennium band will be playing events all over the city. They often play festivals like the AirTrain Jazz Festival and the past eight Fort Green Jazz festivals in a row. He plays with four other groups as well, and you can catch him playing venues such as Cleopatra’s Needle in the city, and other locations in the outer boroughs. There’s an open mic Jazz series at Rustik on 478 Dekalb Avenue every first Tuesday of the month where Eric Fraizer, who was on the conga drums with Lon Ivey’s band at the AirTrain Festival, has played with Eric Fraizer’s Trio for 12 years.
These are only a few of the wonderful jazz events you can attend when you’re in need of a little relaxation after a long day. Mark your calendars, because the next AirTrain Jazz Festival will take place from 6pm to 7pm on Thursday October, 19th, and it’s an event you won’t want to miss.
“THE PURPLE ONE”
Party like it’s 1999 at this one-night-only tribute show to “The Purple One” at Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College! On March 2nd, Marshall Charloff’s Purple Xperience will bring the greatest and most authentic production of Prince and The Revolution in the world to audience members of all generations.
The Purple Xperience is a five-piece group hailing from Prince’s birthplace, Minneapolis, Minnesota. The group has been touring around the country since its inception in 2011 by Dr. Fink, a three-time Grammy Award winner and original member of Prince and The Revolution, and frontman Marshall Charloff.
Since 2011 Purple Xperience has entertained well over 300 thousand fans and has shared the bill with The Time, Cameo, Fetty Wap, Gin Blossoms, Atlanta Rhythm section, and Cheap Trick.
Charloff styles the magic of Prince’s talent in an unmatched multi-instrumental capacity on guitar and piano. Charloff not only bears a strong resemblance to the artist, but he also shares Prince’s vocal range. On this uncanny similarity, Charloff said “I am unaffected, so try not to put on an affect, since my vocals are very similar to Prince. It is such a blessing because I can sing as myself, which happens to sound like Prince and thus come off respectful while emulating Prince.” He went on to say, “We offer a suspension of belief; it’s like being transported.”
Tickets range from $20 to $39. QC students get 10% off with their CUNY ID.
New for the 2018-2019 season, we will offer pre-paid parking for selective shows in addition to free parking on campus and on the streets around Colden Auditorium. Kupferberg Center for the Arts also offers easy access to the Long Island Expressway, and excellent dining options on the campus of Queens College.
The 2018-2019 Season is sponsored by New York Community Bank with additional funding provided by Resorts World. Kupferberg Center for the Arts receives leadership support from The Max and Selma Kupferberg Foundation. Public support provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.
Please visit our website at kupferbergcenter.org or call our box office at 718-793-8080 for tickets and information.
About Kupferberg Center for the Arts
Sponsored by New York Community Bank, the Kupferberg Presents 2018-2019 season features a vibrant lineup of world-class cultural events, concerts, and family programs at Colden Auditorium, LeFrak Concert Hall, Goldstein Theatre, and select off-campus locations for the 2.2 million residents of New York City’s most diverse borough. Since 1961, Kupferberg Center for the Arts has provided accessible and affordable world-class cultural entertainment to the NYC region. From classical and pop performances, to concerts and school residences, to a wide range of family events, over 350,000 individuals attend events at Kupferberg Center for the Arts each year. For tickets and information, visit www.kupferbergcenter.org or call the box office at (718) 793-8080. The box office is open Tuesday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and up to one hour prior to all performances.
Kranium Performance at Massive B Shutdown Free Party in NYC
Kemar Donaldson, more commonly known as Kranium, is known for his melodic flow, clever wordplay, and ability to break all barriers when it comes to his music. Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and raised in Jamaica, Queens, NY, Kranium offers the perfect blend of that authentic Dancehall vibe but with a unique touch of his own.
Kemar Donaldson, more commonly known as Kranium, is known for his melodic flow, clever wordplay, and ability to break all barriers when it comes to his music. Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and raised in Jamaica, Queens, NY, Kranium offers the perfect blend of that authentic Dancehall vibe but with a unique touch of his own. He emerged onto the music scene in 2013 with “Nobody Has To Know ft Ty Dolla $ign.” The summer hit was saluted by FADER as “one of the most enduring dancehall songs this side of the aughts…it’s been a bashment mainstay, perfect for dark corners and sweaty summer nights.” The widespread success of this single helped placed him at the forefront of today’s U.S. dancehall scene and introduced his influential sound as an undeniable staple the world didn’t know they were missing.
Kranium’s name serves as a testament to his unique process of creating. Neglecting pen and paper, he’s known to allow his honest lyrics to flow freely based on the feelings the melodies uncover. Kranium’s distinct sound can be heard on major collaborations with artists such as Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Kid, Major Lazer, Torey Lanez, Rotimi, Bebe Rexha and Ed Sheeran. Kranium has established himself as a global touring artist bringing Dancehall to stages worldwide including Dubai UAE, Albania, Sweden, Germany, Israel, Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania) and more. He can currently be seen headlining a few stages worldwide and heard on a variety of new releases including No Odda & Last Night. Both songs are just a taste of what fans can expect from Kranium with his forthcoming EP. For more info on KRANIUM log on to. https://www.officialkranium.com/