Jazz musicians perform May 11 at Wineseller

May 03, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo Miles Griffith

The Classic Wineseller, 20 Church St., in Waynesville, is hosting a  Mother’s Day Weekend Live Jazz and Dinner event at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 11, with internationally known jazz musicians Miles Griffith, vocals and Michael Jefry Stevens, piano. They will be joined by Mike Holstein bass.
In just a few years, Griffith's bold approach to music has placed him on the forefront of the modern jazz scene. Noted jazz critic, Ira Gitler of the Jazz Times said, "Griffith's balladry bows in the direction of the romantic baritones of the '40s and '50s," while Bob Young of the Boston Herald writes, "his oblique Betty Carterish approach shows off his dark phrasing and penchant for melody." Miles Griffith's musical roots emanate from the Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, A.M.E., and Yoruba ministries. However, he attributes his percussive vocal style to his Trinidadian roots.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Griffith began his professional performance career at the age of six. His first major gig was extra work in One Trick Pony, Paul Simon's biographical movie. At age 11, he became a member of the esteemed Boys Choir of Harlem, which led to extensive touring and performances for the young musician. He was accepted into New York's LaGuardia High School of Music and the Performing Art, where his concentration was classical voice.
Griffith earned a master's of Jazz Vocal Performance Degree from Queens College and a bachelor of fine arts degree from Long Island University. In 2005, Griffith received the new Vocal Jazz Instructor position at Columbia University Jazz Department in New York City. Griffith taught 12 years at the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music, four years at Jazzinty in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, one year in Izola, Slovenia with the Plesni Dance School and one year at the Groningen Conservatore in the Netherlands. He brings his performance energy to the education realm to excite, encourage and empower his students.
Griffith's non-traditional use of the voice as a percussive instrument, combined with his  harmonic sense, has made him a prime choice for many musicians. He has been a member of T.S. Monk Septet, James Williams' ICU, and Jack Walrath's Masters of Suspense. Griffith has collaborated with such revered ensembles as the Jon Hendricks' Explosion, Jimmy Heath's Big Band, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Stanley Cowell Quintet, and the Bill Saxton Quartet.
Stevens began piano lessons at age five but his lessons were cut short at age eight when his parents moved from NYC to Miami Beach, Florida. He first heard jazz music as a high school senior, and by the time he turned 20 years old, he dropped out of college to turn his full attention to playing jazz piano and composing. 
Through Stevens’ exposure to other cultures and sharing his music, a series of relationships developed with musicians from different cultures. He has released more than  more than twenty CDs, many with his musical connections outside the United States. In 2009 Mr. Stevens was named a “Steinway” Performing Artist (the first ever for the City of Memphis). He currently resides in Black Mountain, NC and is artist-in-residence every year at the jazz workshop at Educacion Musicale in La Plata, Argentina.
Bassist/composer  Holstein has also been playing music since early childhood. His first instruments were guitar, violin, piano, and drums. It wasn’t until he was a student at  Western Carolina University that he discovered the bass. Within a few years he was performing regularly and has now become one of the most sought after bassists in the Southeast. He joined the creative young jazz group, the Taken Back Quartet. This ensemble soon became a fixture on the thriving Asheville music scene.
Holstein has been a member of the band Cotangent, a New York based group led by pianist/composer Bill Gerhardt. He has played on two recordings with this band, “Stained Glass” and “Thrive”. Mike Holstein  performs in jazz clubs in New York, the Carolinas, and continues to be a force with the Asheville Original Music Series.
The evening includes a four-course dinner prepared in the Wineseller’s kitchen. The price is $34.99 per person, before tax and gratuity. Call 452-6000 to reserve your table or email requests to info@classicwineseller.com. Seating is limited.