Russell Kirk & The Path
Kevin Clark, guitar
Mike Pope, bass
Lee Pearson, drums
Micah Smith, vocals
Russell Kirk, saxophone/compositions
Tickets: $15/$10 students
Saxophonist/Composer Russell Kirk is a distinguished soloist, a rising force of innovative and evocative expression, and a fresh compositional personality, balancing assertive authority with graceful whims. While his compositions stand out as distinctly modern in color and style, they retain the endearing, romantic sentiments of the American songbook. In his playing, as in his composition, he is sincere and provocative, the modern confluence of a world of musical and personal influences.
Following his undergraduate studies at The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University, Russell performed on USO tours of various countries in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, performing for troops with singer/songwriter Jenny Boyle. He was then awarded a scholarship from The Eubie Blake Foundation, allowing him to pursue graduate studies at New York University. While earning his master's degree Russell was an adjunct faculty member in the Steinhardt School at NYU, headed a music outreach program for inner city youths in Harlem and the East Village, interned at Saturday Night Live, and played in various ensembles with artists such as John Scofield, Chris Potter, and Lenny Pickett.
Shortly after Kirk graduated from NYU he toured Japan with his long-time mentor Gary Thomas. Russell has performed and recorded with a diverse array of celebrated groups, ranging from The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic. Other notable ensembles he has performed with include: The Soulful Symphony, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, The Eubie Blake Legacy Band, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Winslow Dynasty, and Rumba Club. Among the distinguished artists with whom he has worked are: Sam Rivers, Terri Lyne Carrington, Dennis Chambers, Michael Formanek, Mike Clark, Wayne Krantz, Kenny Werner, Gary Thomas, Kevin Mahogany, Cuba Gooding Sr., Jill Scott, and Vusi Mahlasela.
He is a Buffet Crampon USA Performing Artist and gives for them annual master classes throughout the United States. He is a 4-time recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council's Individual Artist Award. He has been featured in numerous published articles including an extensive artist profile in The Saxophone Journal Magazine. Kirk’s compositions have awarded him a residency at the John F. Kennedy Center, a position at the Carnegie Hall Creative Composition Workshop, and Baltimore Magazine selected him in 2012 as “Best Arranger” in their annual “Best of Baltimore” issue for his arrangement of Gary Thomas' “Who's In Control?”, performed by The Peabody Jazz Orchestra.
Kirk is currently a recording artist on Greg Osby’s Inner Circle Music, and in 2012 released his second album as a leader. As a leader, Russell Kirk and his band have opened for Herbie Hancock at The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival. Other festival performances have included the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference, The Jazz Educators Network Conference, Milford Jazz Festival, The Federal Hill Jazz & Blues Festival, and many others.
Russell performs in various ensembles while holding numerous teaching positions and continues to compose new works including large ensemble pieces and film scores. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Russell is an undeserving husband to his loving and beautiful wife Rachel, with whom he has two sons.
Mike Pope Bass
Over the years, the New York City music scene has become a benchmark for brilliant bass playing. It's where Mingus went from underdog to top dog; where Jaco jammed up and down 7th Avenue South; and where John Patitucci set the standard for doubling. Following in that rich tradition is Mike Pope, who has earned a reputation as Gotham's latest envelope-pushing plucker. Pope's extensive skills are best summed up by Patitucci, himself: "Mike Pope is a real renaissance man. He is a musician of broad scope and tremendous talent. His virtuosity on electric and acoustic bass is rare even by today's standards. His harmonic sophistication is matched only by his ability to improvise on a very high level with great consistency."
Indeed, Mike's mastery of the 5- and 6-string electric bass has led to live and/or recording stints with a wide array of artists, including Mike Stern, Chuck Loeb, Anton Fig, Jason Miles and Blood Sweat & Tears. His precision and poise on the upright has brought calls from Joe Locke, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Bruce Barth and David Berkman. And his stylistic and technical command of both instruments has led to "doubling" gigs and cross-idiom hits with the likes of Randy Brecker, the Gil Evans Orchestra and Steve Smith. As a recording artist, Pope's playing and composing is showcased on his two fine solo albums. Walk Your Dogma, and Lay of the Land boasting guests such as Michael and Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, John Patitucci, Seamus Blake, Joe Locke and Henry Hey. Fast becoming an in-demand educator, Pope also participates in clinics worldwide and is on the faculty of the Bass Collective in New York City.
Some of Mike's recent credits include an international tour with the Chick Corea Elektric Band, two stints with drummer Bill Bruford, including a live record. Other recent gigs include Chris Botti, John Tropea, drummer Gene Jackson of Herbie Hancock fame, and appearances at Euro Bass day in Verona, Italy with Matthew Garrison and Dominique DiPiazza.
Kevin B. Clark
Kevin B. Clark is a jazz guitarist from Long Island, New York, currently residing in Baltimore, Maryland. He began his musical studies on guitar at age 13. By the time Mr. Clark was 16, he concentrated primarily on Jazz. He performs regularly in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area as both a featured soloist and accompanist, and has performed with numerous premier jazz artists, including John Abercrombie, Gary Thomas, David Binney, Peter Erskine, Jack Wilkins, Dave Pietro, and Warren Wolf. He has performed across the United States, as well as internationally in Japan and Singapore.
In 2008, Mr. Clark performed at the North Texas State Jazz Festival, earning an “Outstanding Soloist” award. He was also designated a finalist for the 2008 Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble, which accepted applicants from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Other awards Mr. Clark has earned include the 2008 Louis Armstrong Jazz award from Garden City High School, the 2008 Barry Manilow Music Scholarship from Garden City High School, the 2008 Max Corzilius Jazz Scholarship from the Peabody Conservatory, the 2011 Charlie Byrd Endowed Memorial Scholarship in guitar, and the James Winship Lewis Memorial Prize in performance.
Mr. Clark’s primary teachers have included Gary Thomas, Paul Bollenback, Stephen Salerno, and Jimi Durso. In 2012, Mr. Clark received a Bachelor of Music degree at the famed Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He is currently enrolled in the GPD program at Peabody under a full tuition scholarship.
Known as one of the most vibrant and electrifying drummers of our time, Lee Pearson continues to captivate the audience with his brilliant musical charm. Always acknowledging God for his musical talent, he is known for saying “To God be the Glory.” The Baltimore native began developing his gift for the drums at the age of two. Lee’s parents, Lee Sr. and Judith Pearson, bought his first drum set at the age of three and the rest was history. From Broadway, to Jazz, to R&B, to Hip Hop, to Gospel, Lee Pearson’s work is consistently excellent.
Lee grooves and moves with some of the finest jazz artists in the world. He has recorded on notable Jazz and Funk recording projects with great musicians such as Hank Jones, Ron Carter, John Hicks, Kenny Barron, Christian McBride, Mike Stern, David Murray with the World Saxophone Quartet, Roy Ayers, Ronnie Laws, Lonnie Liston Smith, Wayne Henderson (from the Jazz Crusaders), Tom Brown and Hamiet Bluiett.
In addition to recordings, Lee Pearson has toured with some of the world’s great pacesetters in Hip Hop and Jazz including Spyro Gyra, Cassandra Wilson, Mike Stern, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu, Roy Ayers, Chaka Khan, Bilah, Lonnie Listen Smith, Gene Con, Bobbi Humphreys, Ronnie Laws, Jon Lucien, Hank Jones, John Hicks, James Carter, Adam Rodger, John Medeski, Bobby Watson’s, Kenny Garrett, Little Jimmy Scott, Tim Warfield, Javon Jackson, Roy Hargrove, Casey Benjamin, Antonio Hart, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, Donald Harrison, Curtis Lundy, Wayne Henderson, David Murray, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno band. He also participated in a world tour with Savion Glover’s four time Tony Award-winning Broadway show, Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk.
Micah Smith of Baltimore, Maryland is an astonishing singer, songwriter, composer and musician of contemporary Gospel and Christian music. Uniquely distinct, his warm and welcoming voice continues to be a vessel that ushers in the presence of God while inspiring the lives of many.
Micah’s decision to become a solo artist formed after seeing the desperate need for change in the music industry, but more importantly the world itself. Since childhood, this burgeoning musician has wrapped himself in the skillful melodies of artists from many different genres. Inspired by modern Gospel artists such as Men of Standard, Mary Mary, and Tye Tribbett; Micah has referenced their abilities to connect and minister to young people. The musical arrangements of Quincy Jones, Darin Atwater and Donny Hathaway have also influenced the creation of Micah’s original compositions throughout his highly anticipated debut project entitled All of My Heart. While The Singers Unlimited, Take 6, and Ella Fitzgerald have influenced Micah with their brilliant vocal arrangements, the lyrical content of artists such as Stevie Wonder, Frank McComb, and many more have helped to conceive the singer, songwriter, and producer he is today.
Micah Smith has shared the stage with many of the top world-renowned artists in Gospel, Jazz and Soul music, ranging from Donnie McClurkin, Kim Burrell, Karen Clark Sheard, Roberta Flack, Kenny Lattimore, Eric Roberson, Lonnie Liston Smith, Roy Ayers, and Wynton Marsalis. Micah is a member of the illustrious Soulful Symphony; a background singer for recording artist Jason Nelson; and a member of an innovative group of singers and musicians called True Destiny. His commitment to music continues furthermore as he dedicates numerous hours to vocal production, coaching, song writing and recording for an extensive list of artists.
As a musician, his mission is to reach the heart of man through the conviction of song, while simultaneously guiding them in the direction of the Father. Micah sincerely and prayerfully welcomes you into the heart of worship that will induce a positive transformation.