Well-known trumpeter and vocalist Ray Codrington has gathered together a cadre of jazz musicians and vocalists for a cabaret-style concert on May 11.
The concert is part of the Laurinburg’s year-long jazz series honoring musicians Jimmy and Morris Morgan. The Storytelling & Arts Center in downtown Laurinburg began this year-long series in October with the world famous New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
The evening of music and dance begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The cover charge is $15, with a cash bar and snacks. Table reservations can be made by calling 277-3599
The event will also feature Ray’s son saxophonist Reggie Codrington, pianist Grant Osborne, drummer Skip Walker, and vocalist Kia Walker. Jazz dancer Jeffrey Polston will perform a solo.
Codrington is a native of Fayetteville and a graduate of Howard University. A trumpeter with a smooth voice, Ray has performed with many great musicians, jazz, Motown, big band, over his nearly 50 year musical career. He has performed with Patti Labelle and Martha and the Vandelles; toured with Little Richard; and joined forces with soul-jazz saxophonist Eddie Harris. He has played at the famed Apollo theatre in New York, the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C., and festivals and clubs all along the East Coast. Ray served as adjunct professor at East Carolina University and is great demand among musicians across the Southeastern United States. Ray was a performer at the Presidential Inauguration in 2013.
Pianist Grant Osborne is a well-known Raleigh musician. Osborne began playing professionally at fourteen for churches and local theater groups. He became a student of jazz when he attended East Carolina University, where he was already supporting himself as a musician. Grant now is the pianist for Grammy nominated jazz bassist John Brown. In addition to piano, Grant plays accordion and harmonica for rising country singer Jeanne Jolly. He has performed with Vince Gill and Amy Grant and opened for contemporary jazz greats David Sanborn and Joe Sample.
Saxophonist Reggie Codrington, taking on his father’s love of jazz, has been a staple in his hometown of Fayetteville for many years, playing gigs at most of the city’s high-end clubs and restaurants. Throughout his career Reggie opened for numerous legends including Ramsey Lewis, keyboardist Kevin Tony, and Frankie Beverly and Maze and Charlie Wilson. His recently produced 9th CD is getting rave reviews for its high energy, beautiful arrangements, and super melodic and rhythmic sounds. Reggie is truly inspirational in both his music and his life story. As a child Reggie was diagnosed with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy, a chronic condition that effects muscle coordination and depth perception. On his 18th birthday he received a curved soprano sax that led to a major transformation. He could play in a comfort as he had never before experienced. It was magic for him and transformed his life and future.
Vocalist Kia Walker combines the influences of Eva Cassidy, Sade and Rosa Passos and then add her own spiritual twist. In additional to singing she is a songwriter and instrumentalist, the guitar. Her music is a blend of smooth jazz melodies with a twist of soul. Kia has released a CD “Troubadour,” with Jazz hymns and spiritual songs. Kia has a sincere desire to serve others and inspire others along life’s journey with her passion for performance, ministry, education and artistic development.
Skip Walker is a drummer, songwriter, producer and music educator. He embraces an eclectic array of musical genres but loves jazz and funk. He was honored as a youngster by winning a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where he interacted with many of the musical greats of the time. He has produced his first CD with several great jazz artists and is planning his second CD.
Dancer Jeffrey Polston, a native of North Carolina, began his formal training at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem, NC. Upon graduation, he joined the Boston-based Impulse Dance Company, Dir. Adrienne Hawkins. During this time he also worked in Tokyo, Japan with F.E.N. Promotions Company, a nationally broadcast television show. Jeffrey moved to Philadelphia after being invited to become a First Company member of Philadelphia Dance Company.
Polston performed for Pope John Paul 11, For World Youth Day, in Toronto, Canada, with the Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble before an audience of more than 600,000.