NXTHVN Performs: New Haven Jazz
Thursday, February 15
Free and Open to the Pubic
Please register here to attend.
In honor of Dixwell’s rich jazz history, which hosted world-renowned jazz artists alongside local legends in The Monterey throughout the 20th century, we bring together New Haven-based and more broadly Connecticut-based jazz legends for an intimate, intergenerational performance curated by the young and brilliant New Haven-bred drummer, Ryan Sands. The band features Eneji Alungbe (bass), Jesse Hameen II (drums), Jeff Fuller (bass), Haneef N. Nelson (trumpet), and Andrew Wilcox (piano).
Join us for great tunes and complimentary wine. Bring your loved ones to be serenaded by these soul-feeding musicians as we linger in the loving energy of Valentine’s Day.
ABOUT THE MUSICIANS
Eneji Alungbe is a multigenre musician from New Britain, Connecticut. Eneji has studied classical cello and bass from elementary school all the way through college at Central Connecticut State University where he majored in Music Education. While there, Eneji discovered his affinity for jazz as an outlet for freedom of musical expression while maintaining the precision and technical prowess of the classical world. Eneji studied under Nat Reeves and became a jazz bass accompanist for the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music. Eneji also teaches privately and regularly performs at venues across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York.
An integral part of the Connecticut, New York and international jazz scenes, Fuller has toured worldwide and recorded with saxophonists Lou Donaldson and Paquito D’Rivera. He has played with jazz masters from all styles and eras including such diverse artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Mose Allison, “Papa” Jo Jones, Gerry Mulligan, and Clark Terry. Fuller has wide experience in both Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music, having toured with Paquito D’Rivera’s New York/Havana Quintet, the Hilton Ruiz Quintet, Daniel Ponce’s Jazzbatá and Orlando “Puntilla” Rios’ Nueva Generación. He composes and arranges for the top salsa group, Irazú, whose CDs have featured soloists Arturo Sandoval and Tata Güines. Fuller has received commissions from both the New Haven and the Hartford Symphony Orchestras and has twice received project grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. In May 2023, his Afro-Cuban Suite was world-premiered by the Yale Concert Band.
Jesse Hameen II
Born in New Haven, CT, drummer Jesse Hameen II is a musician with a mission. He is dedicated to entertaining, teaching, being beneficially involved in the Greater New Haven community and inspiring others to attain a higher level of spiritual consciousness. Driven by his desire, he encourages others to know that life’s conditions can be changed and improved. Jesse is a “Human Excellence Advocate.” Jesse has performed, traveled and recorded with many jazz legends during his professional music career, which spans over 60 years. He is also a recipient of the prestigious 2023 “Ellington Fellows Award” for Jazz Masters, from Yale University School of Music.
Haneef N. Nelson
Haneef N. Nelson is a trumpeter, educator, composer, and arts advocate who was born and raised in New York, but has made Hartford, CT his home for over 20 years. His earliest jazz education came from the famed Jazzmobile program in Harlem, NY where he would study with Cecil Bridgewater, Dr. Donald Byrd, Mickey Bass, and Charles Davis to name a few. After graduating high school, he would come to The Hartt School to study with the great Jackie McLean. It was during this time that his passion for education and mentoring would get him to think beyond being a performer. Haneef has played with several well-known jazz musicians inclusive of Steve Davis, Nat Reeves, Yoron Israel, Avery Sharpe, Jesse Hameen, Charles Tolliver, George Cables, and Craig Handy among others and is currently on faculty at University of Rhode Island, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Western Connecticut State University.
Hailing from Orange, CT, Ryan Sands is a passionate, energetic drummer on the rise. Ryan’s musical journey started at the age of 4 with Jesse Hameen II at Neighborhood Music School in New Haven. Through Hameen’s 14 years of mentorship Ryan managed to go all state, summer jazz intensives in Amherst, Massachusetts and attend both Educational Center of The Arts during the 2009-2010 school year and Manhattan School of Music Pre-College Division from 2010-2012. Ryan attended New England Conservatory and graduated with a BA in Jazz Performance. He also attended Manhattan School of Music and graduated with a Master’s in Jazz Arts and academic honors. Ryan has performed domestically and internationally in Boston, New Haven, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Prague, London, Shanghai, and Italy to name a few. He’s had the pleasure of sharing the stage with the likes of Wayne Escoffrey, Jimmy Bruno, and Phil Markowitz. Ryan serves as a rotating member of the critically acclaimed Christian Sands Trio for the past 8 years. He’s also a part of the New York based music collective, Altus, where he serves as the primary drummer and composer. Currently, Ryan is working on sharing his debut album, Standing On The Edge of Tomorrow, which was released on April 8, 2022.
Andrew is one of Hartford, CT’s rising young musicians. Originally from Boylston, MA, Andrew moved to Hartford at age 18 and quickly sought out his elders and began building relationships with them. These relationships eventually turned into mentors and employers and Andrew was seen frequently alongside many of these musicians including Haneef Nelson, Nat Reeves, Yoron Israel, Timothy Norton, Abraham Burton, Jonathan Barber, Alex Tremblay and Matt Dwonszyk. A respectful student, Andrew was a student of Rick Germanson, Ralph Peterson, Orrin Evans, and the late great Stanley Cowell. Ralph Peterson introduced Andrew to Jazzmeia Horn, a musician who would time and time again give Andrew chances to prove himself. The most notable test was when Andrew was called as a last minute sub at the Newport Jazz Festival alongside Ms. Horn at the Newport Jazz Festival. Andrew is a frequent performer in the Northeastern United States where he is a regular member of the Haneef Nelson Quintet and Ed Byrne Quartet, among other groups. In addition, Andrew fronts his own trio and sextet that perform his original compositions and arrangements.