Nella Rojas – vocals
Sinuhé Padilla – guitar
Daniel Torres – bass
Ivan Llanes – percussion
Thursday | August 20, 2020 | 7pm
Nella Rojas is a new and unique voice hailing from Isla Margarita, an island in the Caribbean Sea off the north-eastern coast of Venezuela. Named Best New Artist at the 2019 Latin Grammys, her music can be described as a meeting place between her country’s folkloric roots, the influence of her contemporaries, and the music of the Andalusian region. Above all, she inhabits the music with her bare soul.
After coming to the US to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, she met Latin Grammy-winning Spanish composer, producer, and guitarist, Javier Limón, who has worked with several top singers including Fado superstar Mariza and Afro-Spanish singer, Buika.
In 2018, Nella was invited to sing some of Limon’s music in the film Everybody Knows, which was directed by Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi. Nella even appeared alongside the film’s stars, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz.
After the movie was completed, Nella went on a world tour and presented a program that included songs featured in Everybody Knows together with new repertoire written by Limón, along with some Venezuelan folk songs. She enchanted audiences in Spain, Latin America, and Mexico and developed ideas for her first album entitled Voy which was released in May 2019. Since then she embarked on a tour of US cities, including New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago.
Nella has performed with renowned artists such as Alejandro Sanz, Jennifer Lopez, Carlos Vives, Luis Enrique, Susana Baca, Los Amigos Invisibles, Monsieur Periné, Caramelos de Cianuro and Guaco.
See and hear Nella:
Nella's photo by Nina Rodriguez
Wednesday | August 26, 2020 | 7pm
The Matthew Whitaker Quartet
Born in 2001 in Hackensack, New Jersey, Matthew Whitaker grew up surrounded by music. His love for playing music first began at the young age of 3, after his grandfather gave him a small Yamaha keyboard.
At 9, Matthew began teaching himself how to play the Hammond B3 organ. Four years later, he became the youngest artist to be endorsed by Hammond in its eighty year history. He was also named a Yamaha Artist at 15, becoming the youngest musician to join Yamaha's stellar group of jazz pianists.
He's toured both in the US and abroad, performing on prestigious stages around the country including the Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center for The Performing Arts, the Newport Jazz Festival and at international venues in Europe and Asia.
Matthew has performed with an array of outstanding musicians including Stevie Wonder, Christian McBride, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rhoda Scott, Cameron Carpenter, Regina Carter, Jason Moran, Jon Batiste, Cory Henry, Arturo O’Farrill, James Carter, Roy Ayers, D.D. Jackson, The New York Pops Orchestra, and with Hamiet Bluiett and his Bio-Electric Ensemble.
Matthew was the 1st place winner of Showtime at the Apollo in 2016 and has been on many national and international radio and television shows. Highlights include the Today Show, The Harry Connick Jr Show, and the Ellen Show. Earlier this year, Matthew’s extraordinary talents were profiled on the most watched news magazine on television, 60 Minutes!
See and hear Matthew:
Matthew Whitaker's photo by Jacob Blickenstaff
Matthew Whitaker – piano, Hammond B-3 organ
Marcos Robinson – guitar
Karim Hutton – bass
Isaiah Johnson – drums
Friday | September 4, 2020 | 7pm
Matt Nakoa Band
Matt Nakoa is an award-winning songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. A modern troubadour, he makes his home on the highways and concert stages of America and appears regularly with folk music icon Tom Rush. The Boston Globe says of Nakoa, “Between his piano chops and heartfelt originals on guitar, he drops jaws.”
Born on a small goat farm in New York State, Nakoa trained to be a concert pianist before accepting scholarship to Berklee College of Music as a vocalist. He developed his dramatic songwriting style with his college alt-rock band, The Fens, and when the band dissolved, he landed in NYC. It was in Manhattanʼs all-night piano bars that Matt developed an uncanny ability to command the attention of any audience.
2012 and 2014 saw the release of his first solo albums, garnering multiple songwriting awards. Nakoaʼs newest album, Casting Shadows, is a spellbinding blend of pop, soul, and classical influences and tells a story of childhood dreams crashing headlong into a grownup reality. The Ark of Music magazine proclaims, “What we have here is a truly encouraging sign of what pop could once again become …”
See and hear Matt:
Matt Nakoa's photo by Mulcahy
Special Thanks to
for being the
of this concert.
Matt Nakoa – vocals, guitar, keyboards
Mark Johnson – guitar, vocals
Bryan Percivall – bass
Will Haywood Smith – drums
Friday | September 11, 2020 | 7pm
An Evening of
Latin Jazz and More
Starring Paquito D'Rivera and
featuring Edmar Castaneda,
Jorge Glem, and Alex Brown
Paquito D'Rivera, instrumentalist, composer, writer, and educator, is considered one of the greatest creative forces on the Jazz scene today. A fourteen-time Grammy Award winner and recipient of the National Medal of Arts, he has also been named a Jazz Master by the NEA, and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Carnegie Hall for his contributions to Latin music.
While still living in his native Cuba, Paquito was a founding member and co-director of the legendary musical ensemble Irakere. He was also a founding member of the United Nations Orchestra, a fifteen-piece ensemble formed by Dizzy Gillespie to showcase the fusion of Latin and Caribbean influences with jazz.
Paquito has recorded more than thirty albums. And while most of his discography reflects his mastery of Jazz, Bebop, and Latin music, his contributions to classical music are notable and include solo performances with many of the world’s great orchestras and ensembles.
In addition to his extraordinary performing career, D’Rivera has rapidly gained a reputation as an accomplished composer. His numerous commissions include compositions for Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, among many others.
See and hear Paquito:
Colombian born harp virtuoso Edmar Castaneda has forged his own distinctive path in music. Playing an instrument that has generally been used for folk music, he gives the harp a unique sound, branching out into a world of different styles and genres. His wide-ranging career has been remarkable for discovering a brilliant role for the harp in jazz, then continuing to innovate and spark creativity from a wealth of formidable collaborations. Early on, Edmar was fortunate to have been mentored by Paquito D’Rivera. His latest CD, Live in Montreal, features the latest in an ever-growing list of thrilling partnerships including an utterly unique duo with the electrifying Japanese pianist Hiromi. Edmar has shared the stage with a Who’s Who of iconic artists.
See and hear Edmar:
Jorge Glem’s mastery on the cuatro and mandolin has led to three Grammy Award nominations. Born in Cumaná, Venezuela, Jorge has set out with a clear and driven purpose of presenting the Venezuelan cuatro as a universal instrument. His amazing talent and purpose have allowed him to share the stage with renowned musical talents such as Rubén Blades, Carlos Vives, Calle 13, Natalia Lafourcade, Guaco, Desorden Público, Ensamble Gurrufío, Gualberto Ibarreto, and Etienne Charles. While specializing in Latin American music, Jorge also enjoys using his traditional instruments to play jazz, salsa, bluegrass, rock, and pop.
See and hear Jorge:
Grammy nominated pianist and composer Alex Brown is quickly emerging at the forefront of a new generation of artists. Brown has been a member of Paquito D’Rivera’s ensemble for over a decade, performing on and contributing arrangements to the group’s Latin Grammy award-winning album Jazz Meets the Classics. Brown collaborates frequently with vibraphonist Warren Wolf, steel pan master Victor Provost and the classical wind quintet Imani Winds. In 2016, he performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue as a soloist with the Orquesta Symphonica de Mineria led by conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto in Mexico City.
See and hear Alex:
Paquito D'Rivera's photo by R. Mickens
Jorge Glem's photo by Romina Hendlin
Special Thanks to
The Township of Weehawken
the principal sponsor
of this concert.
Paquito D'Rivera – tenor sax, clarinet
Edmar Castaneda – harp, maracas
Jorge Glem – Venezuelan cuatro
Alex Brown – piano
photo by Romina Hendlin
Presented by the Hudson Riverfront Performing Arts Center, Inc., with generous support from the Township of Weehawken, the County of Hudson, and: