Category Archives: Performances

John Ehlis  CD Release “In This Lifetime”

Sunday, March 22nd.  Sets are at 7:30pm and 9:00pm.
at Trumpets Jazz Club, 6 Depot Square, Montclair, New Jersey
Guitarist and composer John Ehlis performs music from his latest release “In this Lifetime” with a celebrated group of musicians including Sylvain Leroux (flutes & dousin’ gouni’), Warren Smith (vibraphone), Max Johnson (bass) and Kresten Osgood (drums).
The personnel on the new recording includes: Karl Berger, Amalia Lopez Chueca, Glen Fittin, Mikko Innanen, Max Johnson, Yasuno Katsuki, Sylvain Leroux, Eloisa Manera, Sana Nagano, Kresten Osgood and Chris White III.
Sylvain Leroux, a pioneer of World music, is at the forefront of new developments in the meeting of African music and Jazz.  He is one of the rare outsiders to have mastered the “tambin” the flute of the Fulani people of Guinea.  Leroux is a pillar of the African music scene in New York City, as a leader of the groups Fula Flute and Source (with Abdoulaye Diabate), as well as a member of Kakande and the Mandingo Ambassadors.

Vibraphonist, drummer and percussionist Warren Smith’s rich and varied background ranges from classical to stints with Nina Simone, Charles Mingus, Nat King Cole, Aretha Franklin, and Janis Joplin.  He made history, along with Max Roach, as one of the founders of the incomparable percussion unit M’Boom and operated the acclaimed loft space, “Studio Wis” throughout the 70’s and 80’s.  His playing on vibes, drums or percussion can be heard on thousands of recordings.

While a high school student in Montclair, bassist Max Johnson toured nationally and internationally with progressive rock artists Jon Anderson and John Wetton, played locally with artists such as Adrian Belew and Vernon Reid, and has since gone on to work alongside artists such as Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Tyshawn Sorey, William Parker, Candido Camero and countless others.  His musical career, has taken him to Germany, Italy, Switzerland, England and Canada; to the stages of Lincoln Center, the United Nations and festivals including the Bern Jazz Festival, Quebec City International Summer Festival, Lollapalooza, and Zappanale.

Drummer Kresten Osgood is at the forefront of musicians from Jutland who are leading the Jazz scene in his native Denmark.  He has performed and recorded with Yusef Lateef, Oliver Lake, John Tchicai, Michael Blake, Peter Brötzman, Derek Bailey and many others. He also cultivates an upbeat rap language of his own invention with the group “Ikscheltaschel”, together with his cousin, the pianist Søren Kjærgaard.

Guitarist John Ehlis fully embraces the creative side of music throughout a wide range of diverse and varied artistic collaborations.

Drawn to traditional and folk music from around the world, Ehlis blends the sounds of many cultures into his own style.  As a multi-instrumentalist, he learned the mandolin busking on the streets of Denmark, Germany and Italy and has studied various woodwind instruments and percussion, including the Balinese Gamelan.  While in Zimbabwe he met local musicians and performed with Motsi Uruka at the Amakhosi Theatre in Bulawayo.  He also performs and studies the music of the Basques.

Wispercussion – Five Portraits of Warren Smith – MVT. 3

Wispercussion is a five-part suite for chamber
orchestra that features percussionist Warren Smith.

Movement three: Tympani in a solo portrait that
explores the melodic potential of this instrument.
This movement is centered on the blues.

The composition ‘Wispercussion/Five Portraits
of Warren Smith/ Mvt. 3’
is taken from the CD entitled,

“Portraits – Wind, Thunder and Love”
produced by Joseph Daley for
Joda Music Records/Catghaut Arts Inc.

Available from CD Baby and
Downtown Music Gallery NYC
cover design by Scott Friedlander

This is a film by Robert O’Haire and Jeff Burns
straw2gold pictures


M’BOOM Performing at Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta



Featuring legendary percussionists: Bobby Sanabria, Eli Fountain, Ray Mantilla, Warren Smith, and Joe Chambers and also KBz Strings and special guests.

Download the program for this event

Saturday, June 14th

8pm – 11pm

Arrive 7pm for Q&A before concert!

Rich Theatre, Woodruff Arts Center

1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30309


M’Boom was the brainchild of Max Roach, the late percussionist, visionary, and seminal figure of modern jazz. In 1970, Roach gathered six notable drummers – percussionists to explore and compose for the myriad instruments in the percussion family and named the group “M’Boom.” M’Boom (pronounced ‘em-boom) has a double meaning: it is an onomatopoeia, or “sound word” that sounds like the object of descrip- tion, i.e. boom, pow, crack, etc., it is also the name of a secret order of drummers in Northern Senegal.

After Max Roach’s death in 2007, original M’Boom members, Joe Chambers, Warren Smith and Ray Mantilla vowed to fulfill the vision originally planned for M’Boom.

Joe Chambers has worked with some of the most influential jazz figures of the last several decades and is a recognized perfomer and composer whose works have been performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. He has recorded more than 500 albums and CDs and performed and recorded with jazz greats like Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie to name a few. Joe Chambers Moving Pictures Orchestra Live at Dizzy’s Coca Cola” was nominated for a Grammy in the Big Band category.

Eli Fountain joined M’Boom in 1981. He has performed with Muhal Richard Abrams, the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, Geri Allen. His compositions include the percussion ballet “Play,” written for New York’s Complexions Dance Company and has also served as music director for Yale Repertory Company production of King Lear.

Warren Smith has performed extensively in the studio and on Broadway. As the
1960s and 70s progressed, Smith found himself working amid a flourishing mass of creative personalities in the Motown music scene, empowering his already articulate voice within the jazz community; live performances, recordings, and tours with figures like Dionne Warwick, Nat King Cole, Harry Belfonte, and Aretha Franklin all became part of Smith’s credits through 1978. He remains a prominent percussionist and drummer within the jazz world.

Ray Mantilla entered the interna- tional spotlight in 1960 with flutist Herbie Mann, and later embarked on a series of national tours with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers in Europe and Japan. In 1977, Mantilla became the first North American Latin musician to play in Cuba since the Cuban Revolution. Mantilla has recorded on more than 200 albums.

Bobby Sanabria – drummer, percussionist, composer, arranger, recording artist, producer,
filmmaker, conductor, educator, activist, multi-cultural warrior and 7X Grammy nominee as a leader–has performed with a veritable Who’s Who in the world of jazz and Latin music, as well as with his own critically acclaimed ensembles. His diverse recording and performing experience includes work with such legendary figures as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Paquito D’Rivera, Charles McPherson, Mongo Santamaría, Ray Barretto, Marco Rizo, Arturo Sandoval, and many more. Bobby a total of seven nomina- tions for the coveted Grammy award.

The KBz Strings, under the direction of Kerren Berz, the accom- plished violinist and current Concertmaster of the Columbus (GA) Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Berz has performed with the Atlanta Symphony, the Harlem Festival Orchestra, and the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and shared the stage with musical legends, including Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Joni Mitchell.

Violins: Kerren Berz, Felix Farrar, Angele Lawless

Viola: Lana Teko-Ahatefou

Cello: Alexandra Haines

Special Guests

Howard Nicholson – Woodwinds and Flute

A native of Tuskegee, Alabama, Mr. Nicholson is a multi-reed musician and has been living in Atlanta since 1970. He and Joe Jennings formed the group Life Force in 1973. They have performed in and around Atlanta at local jazz clubs and festivals for many years. He has also played with such greats as Duke Pearson, Nancy Wilson, Steve Wonder, Jimmy Smith, James Brown, and Gladys Knight. Life Force currently performs with the African American Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of John Peek.

Edwin Williams – Bass

Edwin Williams is a native of Wilmington, NC and is the owner of ESS Studios in Atlanta. Mr. Williams is accomplished acoustic and electric bassist. He has toured extensively overseas and nationally with major jazz, R&B, Blues, Big Band artists and performs annually in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s production of “A Soulful Christmas Celebration”. He has performed with the John Robertson Trio for over twenty years and has recorded two CD’s “When Giants Stepped” and his solo project “Chill With Me”. will be released in June 2014.

Episodes Video

Y’All of New York presents 10th Annual Friend of the Family Awards Concert, honoring Warren I. Smith. percussionist, composer, bandleader and featuring James “Jabbo” Ware with the Me We & Them Orchestra at Brooklyn’s Roulette.

“Episodes” by Warren Smith, narration by James “Jabbo” Ware,
slide presentation by Stephanie Walden and “This Is Your Last Move” by James “Jabbo” Ware are performed.

Y’ALL of New York, Inc. mission is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the composition, development, promotion and preservation of creative music. The organization sponsors educational classes and forms, produces concerts and promotes the works of composers of creative music.

Y’ALL of New York is honoring the great percussionist, composer, bandleader and activist of self-sufficiency in the musical community, Warren I. Smith. We are celebrating his contribution as founder and director of Studio WIS, his participation in the ME WE and THEM Orchestra, and role-model citizenship throughout his career of professionalism across all genres of music in New York City and internationally.

Warren Smith has had one of the most varied careers of any improvising drummer, working with artists as diverse as Sam Rivers, Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Bill Cole and Harry Partch. Though originally trained in modern classical percussion, jazz and improvised music became paramount after moving to New York in the late ’50s. He was a charter member of Max Roach’s important percussion ensemble, M’Boom. Warren opened (as founder and director) one of the first and longest-running performance lofts, Studio WIS, in 1967.

If you would like to make a donation to Y’All, you can earmark a donation for one of three areas: Concerts, The Mentoring Musicians Program, or general needs. Visit
for information and go to the “support us” page to make a donation. If you prefer, mail your donation to: YAII of New York, Inc., 101 West 23rd Street, Suite2449, New York, NY, 10011.


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80 Years of WIS-dom

To celebrate eight decades of professional and cultural change, percussionist Warren Smith is sharing his WIS-dom through a series of imaginative NYC concerts showcasing, his brand of music experienced through all senses, presented by Warren himself and Studio WIS.

WIS is a renowned composer, conductor, educator, music activist and family man. His extensive discography spans all genres.

Warren Smith “…might be the only man alive who has played with Nat Cole, and Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and Barbra Streisand, Miles Davis and Harry Partch.”

The debut performance of this concert series is Sunday, May 18th at 7pm at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Harlem. Cover charge for the event is $20.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

700 W 125th St New York, NY

(212) 694‐1777