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School of The Getdown Youth Arts Camp

 

Faye Carol - Vocals, Co-Producer  

 

The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol is known as an icon in the Bay Area and beyond, highly regarded for her powerful voice, astonishing versatility, and gift of connecting with her audience.  Equally at home in jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, funk, latin, and hip-hop, she has developed her own authentic sound and unique delivery, delighting audiences young and old across the globe. After beginning her career with gospel music, Faye Carol made her name singing with Oakland blues and funk legend Johnny Talbot & De Thangs before forming her own trio and gaining fame in San Francisco's jazz, blues, & cabaret clubs of the 1970s and 80s. Over a 60-year career in music, this living legend has developed her own unique acoustic sound and style in Black Music - drawing from funk, blues, gospel, and straight ahead swingin' - and cultivated an audience that remains as diverse as her uplifting music. She has maintained a high level of musicianship in her groups, mentoring some of the Bay Area's brightest young talent including pianist Benny Green, bassist Marcus Shelby, and her daughter, pianist/composer Kito Kamili. Her vocal proteges include international superstars Kehlani and Ledisi. 

Miss Faye has shared the stage with Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Pharaoh Sanders, Joan Baez, Billy Higgins, Albert King, Bobby Hutcherson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Buster Williams, Azar Lawrence, Steve Turre, Dennis Chambers, Bernard Purdie, Lenny White, Roy McCurdy, Sun Ra, Robert Randolph, Mistah F.A.B., Henry Butler, Gary Bartz, Cedar Walton, Ledisi, Philly Joe Jones, Dorothy Donegan, Pete Escovedo, David Murray, Chester Thompson, Charles Brown, and Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson, among others. Miss Faye is also a dedicated educator and founder of School of the Getdown. She has been honored with the proclamation of a city-wide “Faye Carol Day” in the City of Berkeley and inducted into the Oakland Walk of Fame, the Meridian Mississippi Walk of Fame, and the Pittsburg Entertainment and Arts Hall of Fame, and has received countless awards including the 2014 Bay Area Jazz Journalists Association Jazz Hero Award, Jefferson Award for Public Service, four Cabaret Gold Awards, Top Star Awards Entertainer of the Year, and a prestigious 2021 Hewlett 50 Arts Commission.

Miss Faye has taught for over three decades at programs and schools including Jazz Camp West, Jam Camp West, East Bay Institute for Urban Arts, Berkeley Black Repertory Theater, Blues in the Schools, Oakland School for the Arts, and her own Music in the Community and School of The Getdown programs. Additionally, she has been a guest clinician at countless schools and educational programs including Young Musicians Choral Orchestra, Elevate Oakland, Jazzschool, College of Alameda, and Eastside Arts Alliance. 

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Kito Kamili - Music Fundamentals

Pianist, vocalist, composer, songwriter, producer, and music teacher with over 30 years of professional experience. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, performances include local, national, and international venues.

I am a teaching artist who enjoys teaching music to all age groups, specializing in improvisation and original music. I've successfully instructed students in private lessons, various schools, & group workshops in many different settings. I've developed a style of teaching that recognizes each student's individual way of learning while supporting the expression of their unique voice.

I'm from the school of jazz being handed down from generation to generation in the tradition of the innovators. My informal musical education began in the womb, as my mother Faye Carol was a professional vocalist. Her career continued after my birth, providing a special musical environment for me to grow up in. My formal musical education began at the age of 3, with my father James Gamble teaching me piano & music theory.

At age 16, I became the pianist & Musical Director for The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol, gaining invaluable experience that also included the business of music. I continued my studies at UC Berkeley in the Young Musician’s Program, Laney College, and the California Institute of the Arts.

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Kev Choice - The Art of Rap

Pianist. Emcee. Producer. Bandleader. Sideman. Music historian. Kev Choice wears many hats, and all of them fit. Blessed with prodigious talent, plus the skill and dedication to his craft to pull it off, the Oakland-based artist is redefining what it means to be a musician in this day and age. Not too many classically-trained pianists who hold Master’s degrees in jazz can rock microphones with blazing-hot 16s.Yet such versatility comes natural to Choice, whose diverse array of influences ranges from Prince to Rakim to A Tribe Called Quest to Stevie Wonder to McCoy Tyner to Chopin and Ravel. “I grew up in the Hip-Hop era,” he explains. “I had love for Hip-Hop before I even knew what classical music really was.” Hip-Hop, he says, “was always the music that helped me express myself the most,” while “Classical music gave me a broader understanding and appreciation for music beyond Hip-Hop.”

Choice remembers being “heavily into vinyl” as a young child, which helped him to develop his ear for music. He began playing piano at age 11, and was soon recognized as a prodigy. As a teenager,

 

Choice played in classical and jazz ensembles as part of the UC Berkeley Young Musicians Program and Skyline High School in Oakland. After receiving scholarship offer on a college tour, he continued his studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans)–where he graduated with a (BM) in Music (Piano Performance) He then received a fellowship to study at Southern Illinois University (Carbondale)–where he graduated with a (MM) in Music (Piano Performance).

Post-grad school, Choice became an in-demand sideman, recording and touring with the likes of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Lyrics Born, Too $hort, Ledisi and Goapele. In 2007, Lauryn Hill asked him to be her musical director, a gig which took him to 12 countries. Hill, he says, “was very influential in my musical development as an artist ” – exposing him to Ethiopian and world music, rock and reggae. Working with L-Boogie, Choice reflects, “showed me that I was capable of anything and that I should always be pushing myself musically, never get comfortable in your abilities, and always speak and say what you feel in your music without compromise.” He’s since added to his international resume by touring Europe with The Coup, and has also worked with Dwele, Martin Luther, Amel Larrieux, Omar, Joi, and Souls of Mischief.

But Choice isn’t just a sideman. As a solo artist, he’s opened for Robert Glasper, Mos Def, Digable Planets, DJ Quik, and J Davey. He leads a jazz-hip-hop-funk big band, the Kev Choice Ensemble, in addition to producing and performing his own material, which includes original jazz and classical compositions as well as classical- , jazz-, and funk-inspired hip-hop. Choice has composed hip-hop sonatas and recorded rhymes to classical melodies, recorded a new song per day for an online series called The Daily Dosage, and has recorded several solo projects, including The Bailout and The Inauguration mixtapes, which highlighted his lyrical skills as well as his musical talents.

Being able to read and play music gives Choice an advantage over average emcees and producers, he says. “I can communicate my musical ideas in multiple ways… I can take a beat that I make, and write it out for a band or an orchestra, or any configuration of instruments.” As an emcee, Choice has superb flows, and consistently conscious, intelligent subject matter– reminiscent of a West Coast version of Talib Kweli or Nas. It’s tempting to sleep on his vocal abilities, given his musical excellence – until you’ve seen him freestyle on stage, nonchalantly ripping verse after jaw-dropping verse.

Currently based in his hometown of Oakland, Choice has also spent considerable amount of time in the South and Midwest, attending college in Louisiana and Illinois and living for awhile in Atlanta. “I may travel and dip to different places from time to time, but The Town will always be home,” he says. “I grew up in Oakland so I definitely have a strong connection to the city and community.“

Today’s state of black music, particularly mainstream rap, is a concern for many, including Choice, who imparts, “the subject matter is often very offensive, and centered around money, sex, drugs, and other subjects that aren’t positive… I definitely feel we need more of a balance again.”

Choice aims to not only return hip-hop to the cultural standards it once had, but surpass the genre’s creative peak by adding new layers of musical nuance into beats, rhymes, and swaggadoccio. His artistic vision, he says, is to be “an artist that combined Hip-Hop with a type of musicality that has never been done” and to “make conscious Hip-Hop music that is also accepted on a mainstream level.” The absolute truth is that hip-hop in particular and black music in general, desperately needs a Kev Choice: a true musician, cultural historian, and urban griot dedicated to cultural expression and the art of making quality music. Sometimes, the most unique, original Choice is the best Choice one can make.

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John Adams - Drum Corps

 

 John "OMAYGA" Adams, is an MC/musician from Richmond, CA. His musical interests started at age 3 when he started playing drums, he started rhyming at age 10. Throughout high school OMAYGA competed in, and won, various drum competitions and rap battles in the San Francisco Bay Area. He received a drum scholarship to Berklee College of Music his junior year of high school where he studied music business. He has shared the stage with world famous acts such as Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Terri Lynn Carrington, Robert Glasper, Meshell Ndegeocello, local legends such as Kev Choice, Pete Escovedo, Sheila E.,Dwayne Wiggins, Too Short, E-40, The Jacka, Zion I and The Oakland Symphony. OMAYGA is also a talented musical director who's worked on projects with multi platinum selling, multi grammy award winning producers G Koop (Drake, Future, Migos) Bobby Ozuna (Raphael Saadiq, Erykah Badu, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce), Phil Greene (New Kids On The Block, New Edition, Steely Dan) and Jeff Dorenfeld (Head Of Berklee College Of Music Business Dept). As a solo artist he's been featured on various mixtapes and albums and has performed in venues from across the country. He has thousands of downloads of his projects and continues to steadily create buzz by releasing music under his P360 Entertainment imprint.

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Jesus Diaz - Percussion

 

Cuban born percussionist and vocalist Jesus Diaz arrived in the United States from Habana in 1980. He quickly identified the Bay Area music scene as the grounds to establish his new home. His local and worldwide performances in collaboration with world renowned and acclaimed artists are recognized for their contributions to the richness of an ever expanding musical genre.

A multi-instrumentalist, arranger, and vocalist, Díaz has established himself as one of the most in-demand performers and studio musicians worldwide. As an educator, he has participated in several prominent clinics and workshops including Berklee College of Music, SFJAZZ, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Drummers Collective NY, and Jazz Camp West to name a few. In collaboration with his group Talking Drums, which includes fellow percussionists Michael Spiro and David Garibaldi, he has contributed to various Warner Brothers instructional books and videos. For more instructional videos, please visit congamasterclass.com.

Jesus Diaz has performed, toured or recorded with such artists as, Stevie Wonder, The Dave Mathews Band (DMB), Carlos Santana, Andy Narrell, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobbie Womack, Steve Coleman, Caribbean Jazz Project, Planet Drum, Talking Drums, Pete Escovedo / Sheila E, José Luis Quintana "Changuito", Giovanni Hidalgo, Rebecca Mauleón & Round Trip, Omar Sosa, Columna "B", John Calloway, and Conjunto Céspedes, among many others.

Jesus Diaz is endorsed by Pearl Drums and Percussion, Innovative Percussion sticks, Istanbul Cymbals, Audix Mics, and Remo Drum Heads.

Traci Bartlow - Dance

 Traci Bartlow, a native of Oakland California, is a multi-facted visual and performance artist, consultant and, entrepreneur. Ms. Bartlow's first love is dance.  She is proficient in many styles using African, Jazz and Hip Hop dance as a base for her choreography. Her early dance influences were funk and hip-hop social dances, styles that were partially innovated in California in the 1960's, 70's and 80's. As a teenager she won a scholarship to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and moved to New York City where she trained with world-renowned teachers and choreographers by day, by night she kept her Hip-Hop skills in tact by dancing in legendary New York City Hip-Hop and House music dance clubs.

Ms. Bartlow has been a principal dancer for Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater and, Forces of Nature Dance Company both in New York City. In the Bay Area she has worked with Newstyle Motherlode, Cultural Odyssey, Robert Henry Johnson, recording artist Martin Luther, S.I.L.K.E., The Coup, and the Walter Hawkins Love Center Mass Choir. She is also honored to choreograph the Sisyphus Syndrome a Jazz/Opera by revolutionary poet and playwright Amiri Baraka.  In 2011 Ms. Bartlow was recognized for her many years of teaching and performing Lindy Hop and authentic jazz dances from the Harlem Renaissance  in  the African American community in Oakland and was given a Frankie Manning Ambassador of Lindy Hop award.

 

Ms. Bartlow has been mentoring and teaching for more than 20 years developing the curriculum for many youth and after school programs through out the Bay Area. She has also performed extensive research of black social dance  and is a sought after teacher and lecturer.  She has taught Hip-Hop dance at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts, been a consultant and guest teacher for CalShakes in the Bay Area, Illadelph Legends Hip Hop dance festival in Philadelphia, Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco, Herrang Dance Camp in Sweden, B-Boy Summit in Los Angeles, as well as an guest faculty in the dance department at UC Davis and guest lecturer for the Fromm Institute at the University of California San Francisco.

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Joe Warner - Accompanist, Co-Producer

 

Pianist Joe Warner is one of the Bay Area's brightest young talents, quickly gaining recognition for his compelling style and exceptional performances. He has performed as Pianist and Musical Director for The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol for over ten years, leads the Joe Warner Trio, and has also performed or recorded with Houston Person, Jeff 'Tain' Watts, Buster Williams, Gary Bartz, Azar Lawrence, Mistah F.A.B., Mary Stallings, Steve Turre, Robert Randolph, Kenny Washington, Billy Hart, Marcus Shelby Orchestra, Johnny Talbot, Stephanie Crawford, Elena Pinderhughes, Roy McCurdy, Marvin 'Smitty' Smith, Lenny White, Casey Benjamin, Dennis Chambers, Bernard Purdie, The California Honeydrops, Willie Jones III, Jules Broussard, Freddie Hughes, Derick Hughes, Martin Luther, John Santos, Oakland Symphony, Rickey Woodard, John Handy, Valerie Troutt, and Denise Perrier, among others. 

 

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