JOHN RUSSELL LAMKIN, III (drums) is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and the son of UMD Jazz Studies professor and trumpeter John Lamkin, II. He began playing drums at the tender age of four. John attended The Manhattan School of Music in New York City and later, Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. John has been recognized by, toured, played and recorded with a number of exceptionally talented recording artists including Donald Harrison, Najee, Michael Henderson, Kenny Garrett, Christian Scott, Warren Wolf, Chick Corea, Pharoah Sanders, the late great Lionel Hampton, the late great Abbey Lincoln, and many others. John maintains a deep respect and appreciation of those who’ve set standards in the music world. John is a hard-driving straight-ahead drummer.
John has been recognized by, toured, played and recorded with a number of exceptionally talented recording artists and maintains a deep respect and appreciation of those who’ve set the standards in the music world.
Music and spirituality have always been fully intertwined in the artistic vision of trumpeter, composer, educator and activist SEAN JONES. Singing and performing as a child with the church choir in his hometown of Warren, Ohio, Sean switched from the drums to the trumpet upon his first exposure to Miles Davis at the age of 10. Twenty-five years later, he still cites Miles’ overall artistic vision and purity of sound as his greatest personal influence.
But it was another immortal visionary who had a most profound impact when Sean was a 19-year old student at Youngstown State University – the magnificent John Coltrane through his masterpiece, A Love Supreme – “All at once, everything just came together for me. My past, my present, my future. I knew the course I needed to pursue.” Already exhibiting a superb control of the instrument through his private studies with master trumpeter and educator Esotto Pellegrini and his intensive listening to his other primary influences, Woody Shaw Freddie Hubbard and Clifford Brown, the young trumpeter committed himself to artistic excellence the pursuit of transcendence.
Five years later, after receiving his Master’s Degree from Rutgers University, Sean had a 6-month stint with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. This marked the beginning of a relationship with Wynton Marsalis, whose personal work ethic and ability to break barriers had already made a significant impact on the emerging artist. Wynton offered Sean a permanent position as lead trumpeter and Jones remained there until 2010.
A highly respected and in-demand musician even while at Rutgers, Sean was prominently featured with a number of artists, recording and/or performing with many major figures, including Illinois Jacquet, Jimmy Heath, Frank Foster, Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Gerald Wilson and Marcus Miller. The relationship with Miller led to another highly impacting experience when Sean was selected by Miller, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter for their Tribute to Miles tour in 2011.
DONALD HARRISON was born in New Orleans in 1960 and grew up in a home environment saturated with the city’s traditional brass bands, afro-new Orleans culture, modern jazz, R&B, funk, classical, world and dance music. His connection to New Orleans’ roots was deepened by his father, a Big Chief, in a new American style of African culture developed in New Orleans. The culture is an offshoot culture of Congo Square, one of the only known places in North America where Africans openly participated in their culture in the 18th and 19th centuries and still participate in it throughout the city. Donald became the Big Chief of The Congo Square Nation Afro-New Orleans cultural group in 1999 and coined the term Afro-New Orleans to describe his culture. He designed and built New Orleans’ first cultural attire to merge African designs with Afro-New Orleans style cultural designs.
Harrison is co-founder and Artistic Director of the Tipitana’s Intern Program and also the founder of The New Jazz School where he along with his hand picked staff of seasoned veterans teach jazz, soul, funk, theory, harmony, composition, and history to students ranging from ages thirteen to eighteen. The Tip’s program is a college preparatory and music-training program for junior and senior high school students. This program has afforded millions of dollars in scholarships for its students, has taught million dollar-selling producers, and has placed many prominent musicians in the professional ranks. Trumpeter Christian Scott, hip hop icon The Notorious B.I.G., trombonist Trombone Shorty, guitarist Josh Connelly, producer Deezle and saxophonists Louis Fouche, Chris Royal and Aaron Fletcher are just a few. His working groups are an incubator for jazz bandleaders such as Christian Scott, guitarist Mark Whitfield, pianist Cyrus Chestnut and bassists Christian McBride and Esperansa Spalding.
If you keep your ear to the ground in the D.C. scene, chances are you’ve heard the distinctive sound of Elijah Easton’s tenor saxophone — whether you realize it or not. Easton is high in demand as a sideman, and he traverses many musical worlds: future funk with Nag Champa, go-go fusion with Marc Cary’s Indigenous People, straight-ahead jazz (he’s played alongside none other than jazz legend Wynton Marsalis), and more. He is a living example of the stylistic melting pot that is D.C. jazz, but he doesn’t let his versatility become a distraction from his intimate understanding of the jazz language. Elijah Easton is not a musician to sleep on.
MARK G. MEADOWS is an acclaimed jazz composer, pianist, vocalist, collaborator, recording artist, teacher, actor, and music director. There is something for everyone in his music, which harmonizes pop gospel, R&B, hip-hop, funk, and jazz. With his lyrics, suffused with meaning, and his velvet voice, Meadows cuts through the noise to speak to all. Debonair on the stage, he is also an entertainer of the highest caliber.
The son of a gospel and jazz vocalist, Meadows-who rereleased his third studio album, “To The People” in 2016 began his musical odyssey at the age of three with the gift of a toy keyboard. At age five, he started formal piano lessons under the tutelage of renowned Russian classical pianist and pedagogue Rosalie LeVant. Then, at age 13, he expanded his training to include jazz piano with the equally renowned Julie Bonk.
Increasingly in demand around the globe, Meadows has performed alongside world-renowned artists, including Bobby McFerrin, Kendrick Lamar, Renee Fleming, Nicholas Payton, Kurt Elling, and Warren Wolf. He has headlined at premier venues, including Jazz at Lincoln Center and Smalls Jazz Club in NYC, Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns, The Warner Theatre and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; and the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD.
Meadows is an adjunct instructor at Shenandoah Conservatory and at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., where he directs and arranges for the Mellow Tones. In August 2016, Meadows made his acting debut as the titular role in the Washington, D.C., premiere of the hit Broadway musical Jelly’s Last Jam at the Signature Theatre.
KRISTOPHER FUNNwas born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He began playing the trumpet at age four and took up the double bass upon entering high school. Through the instruction of his father, Charles Funn, Kristopher performed his first professional bass gig the same year he began learning the instrument. Other early accomplishments included winning the “unsung hero” at the Fish Middleton jazz competition at the East Coast Jazz Festival at age 14. Kristopher attended Howard University, studying computer science and performing in the Howard University Jazz Ensemble.
After graduating with honors, Kristopher decided to pursue a career as a professional jazz musician, performing in several venues in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas. At age 23, Kristopher began touring internationally with alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett. Since then, he has traveled to every major jazz festival in the world, touching six continents, performing with artists including Bruce Williams, Nicholas Payton, Pharoah Sanders, Jeff Majors, Jeff Lorber, and many others. Kristopher has appeared on several recordings including the Christian Scott albums, Yesterday You Said Tomorrow and Christian aTunde Adjuah on the Concord Jazz label. He continues to perform professionally in the Washington D.C. area while touring with the Christian Scott Quintet.