GET TO KNOW SHELLY BERG’S VOCALISTS: VERONICA SWIFT AND BILLY VALENTINE
This weekend the JAS Cafe will be presenting Shelly Berg Trio, Shelly Berg is a five-time Grammy-nominated pianist, arranger, orchestrator, and producer. His album projects The Deep, The Nearness of You, Blackbird and The Will are critically acclaimed. He is also an award-winning educator with 39 years of leadership in higher education. He is Dean and Patricia L. Frost Professor of Music at the Frost School of Music at The University of Miami. In 2000 the Los Angeles Times names him one of three “Educators of the Millenium.”Shelly and his trio will not be up there alone though. He is bringing in two amazing vocalists to accompany them: Veronica Swift and Billy Valentine. Get your tickets now by clicking here and get to know a little more about them here:
At age 24, Veronica Swift is now being recognized around the country as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene.In the fall of 2015, she won second place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. In 2016 she was asked to perform a concert of her own at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City and she was a guest artist with Michael Feinstein at Jazz atLincoln Center with the Tedd Firth Big Band and Marilyn Maye and Freda Payne. Veronica’s first appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center was at age 11 when she performed at the “Women in Jazz” series at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.In the summer of 2016 she headlined at the Telluride Jazz Festival, her 10th appearance there – but her first as a headliner. She first appeared there at age 10 with Dave Adams’ Young Razzcals Jazz Project and the great saxophonist Richie Cole and later she sang a duet with the featured artist, Paquito d’Rivera. Then in April, 2017 she started her residency a the infamous Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. On into 2018, Veronica began touring with her trio (Emmet Cohen Trio) as well as Benny Green Trio, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and Chris Botti appearing at Jazz Showcase, Monterey and Montreal Jazz festivals, two runs at Jazz at Lincoln Center: Shanghai, China, and Marians’ Jazz Showroom in Bern, Switzerland.Veronica grew up on tour with her parents, renowned jazz pianist Hod O’Brien and celebrated jazz singer and educator/author Stephanie Nakasian. It was with them where she first appeared at The Jazz Standard, and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. Veronica recorded two CDs as a child – one at age 9 with Richie Cole and her father’s rhythm section and her mother, and one at age 13 with saxophonist Harry Allen.Her 2015 Album “Lonely Woman” features some of the hottest young jazz players on the scene including Emmet Cohen, Benny Bennack III, Daryl Johns (with whom she shared the Grammy Choir/Band experience), Matt Wigler, and Scott Lowrie.In addition to performing the Great American Songbook and Bebop and Vocalese classics, Veronica is also a passionate devotee of 20s and 30s music and has sung with Vince Giordano, Terry Waldo, and Drew Nugent.Veronica will be releasing her next album on Mac Avenue Records in early 2019, which will feature the great pianist Benny Green and his trio as well the Emmet Cohen Trio.
Multitalented vocalist Billy Valentine’s varied career has taken him across the United States, throughout the many countries of Europe and even to Oman, a small country in the Middle East. Lately, he’s been frequenting local Los Angeles clubs, such as Café Cordiale in Sherman Oaks, and both The Vic and The Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica. Since its premiere in 2004, his glorious singing voice can be heard every week on the television series, Boston Legal, from the theme song right through to the end of each and every episode.Billy began his professional career as a solo artist opening for such luminaries as Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack in the 1970s. He also was the lead singer for the group Young Holt Unltd.Billy and his brother John went on to form the duo The Valentine Brothers, touring and producing four albums from 1975-1989. The duo co-wrote the memorable hit single “Money’s Too Tight (To Mention),” which appeared on their album First Take. “Money’s Too Tight” gained widespread popularity in 1986 when it was released as a single, and on video, performed by Simply Red.Billy’s singing career quickly expanded into theatre and film. In 1977, he toured with the first national touring company of The Wiz as one of its main orchestra voices, staying with the show for over 3 years. In the mid 1980s, he sang lead vocals for the documentary, Champions Forever, a film about Ali, Frazier and Foreman. In the early 1990s, Billy was the singing voice for the lead vocalist character in Robert Townsend’s feature film, The Five Heartbeats. He joined the show It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues, performing at the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles and the San Diego Rep in the late ’90s.Billy’s singing talents have also been in demand as a demo recording artist for such high-profile producers and writers as Gerry Goffin, Mark Isham, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.Keeping pace with his expanding singing career, Billy has written numerous songs, collaborating with such greats as Will Jennings and co-writing three songs on the Neville Bros. Family Groove album. He also co-wrote the title track “My World” for the incomparable Ray Charles.During the ’70s and ’80s, Billy tried his hand at producing with several projects, including “Crazy For You,” by Sly Stone and Jesse Johnson, two songs on the feature film soundtrack, Soul Man, and the album Vesta from Vesta Williams for A&M Records.As a musical artist, Billy feels he has been most profoundly influenced by the soulful talents of Otis Redding, Nat King Cole and Carmen MacRae.