The New York based Eli Yamin Jazz Quartet combines the modern spark of swing and bebop with the healing power of the blues to perform classic compositions by the big FOUR American composers: Thelonious Monk (M), Duke Ellington (D), Charles Mingus (M), and Mary Lou Williams (M). The group has toured extensively as cultural ambassadors on behalf of The U.S. Department of State bringing swinging jazz and blues to enthusiastic audiences in Russia, Mali, China, India, Montenegro, and Guatemala. They have also performed music from their CD, You Can’t Buy Swing, at the Obama White House and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.
Eli Yamin is a pianist, singer, composer, co-founder, Managing and Artistic Director of The Jazz Drama Program, a non profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to building imaginative, diverse, and compassionate communities through education in jazz music, theatre and dance. Eli has performed in New York at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, in Washington DC at the Kennedy Center and The White House and on tour in over 20 countries as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. His blues band toured Russia in 2012 and 2015 electrifying audiences in St. Petersburg, Moscow, the Urals and Siberia with their heartfelt music. His CD’s include Louie’s Dream, for our jazz heroes with clarinetist Evan Christopher, You Can’t Buy Swing with jazz quartet, I Feel So Glad with The Eli Yamin Blues Band, and his socially conscious jazz musicals for children co-written with Clifford Carlson, Nora’s Ark, about breaking social dogma to address environmental crisis, Holding the Torch for Liberty, about the fight for women’s suffrage and the newly released Message From Saturn, a space odyssey about the healing power of the blues inspired by Sun Ra and Mary Lou Williams. Eli is the founding director of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy and led the program for ten years providing a groundbreaking model for youth, creativity and culture-centered jazz education. To share this work more widely he filmed over 50 instructional videos for the online learning portal, The Jazz Academy, and co-authored a manual for teaching jazz to middle school students. He is writing a book with LaFrae Sci entitled So You Want To Sing The Blues, to be published in 2018 by Rowan and Littlefield in partnership with the National Association of Teachers of Singing. Eli was raised on the bandstand and mentored by jazz masters Walter Perkins, Barry Harris, Illinois Jacquet, Mercedes Ellington and Amiri Baraka. He is level III certified teacher of Somatic VoiceworkTM, the LoVetri Method and holds a Masters degree in music education from Lehman College, City University of New York. Eli lives in New York City with his wife, Lorraine and 11-year old daughter, Manika.
Antoinette Montague has a love of humanity and mission to bring joy to people through music. Known as one of the hardest working women in jazz and blues Antoinette has played at New York City’s major clubs and concert halls including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Kitano, Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, and is a regularly featured favorite at the popular Harlem-based Jazz Mobile Concert Series at Marcus Garvey Park’s Richard Rogers Theater and Grants Tomb. Overseas she has performed with the 46-piece Ashdod Orchestra in Israel and the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia. NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath says, “Antoinette has the instrument, delivery and enunciation, when performing, that touches my soul.” Like Sarah Vaughn, Whitney Houston, James Moody, Melba Moore, Antoinette Montague was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. She was drawn to the music by her mother who was always singing and sounded like Ella Fitzgerald. Montague’s interest was further jump started by her dad. “On Saturdays my dad would drop me off at the Newark Public Library on his way to work. There I would listen to Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.” Years later Montague met up with the renowned Carrie Smith and Etta Jones who became her mentors. “Etta encouraged me. It’s going to be wonderful,” she said. Montague released her first CD, Pretty Blues, in 2006, and Behind The Smile in 2011 featuring renowned pianist Mulgrew Miller, drummer Kenny Washington, saxophonist Bill Easley, and bassist Peter Washington. Her new release, World Peace in the Key of Jazz – 2015, is a celebration of American roots and peace music recently submitted to the Grammys. Ms. Montague has appeared on the cover of Hot House, Jazz Improv NY Magazines and on two book covers of Who’s Who in Jazz, Cabaret and Music.
Russell Hall was born in Kingston, Jamaica and currently resides in the New York City. He started playing the double bass at the age of 14 when he was invited to attend Dillard
Center For the Arts part of the jazz ensemble. While at Dillard, Russell took part in the internationally acclaimed Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition where the ensemble placed first from 2011-2012 and second place in 2010. Additionally, Russell was awarded the prize of “Most Outstanding Bassist” all three years of his participation. While in high school, he also garnered national acclaim as a member of the 2012 Jazz Band of America, the Vail Jazz Workshop, as well as being a Young Arts and Grammy Jazz Ensemble Finalist. A highlight included a write up in Jet Magazine by jazz ambassador Wynton Marsalis as being “A Jazz Star of The Future” while at the tender age of 17. Russell is a graduate of the prestigious Julliard School where he was a student of master bassists Ron Carter and Ben Wolfe. Currently, Russell can be seen at some of New York’s most renowned jazz venues such as Jazz At Lincoln Center, Small’s, Smoke, The Blue Note, The Jazz Standard and Ginny’s Supper Club with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Roy Haynes, The Heath Brothers, Joshua Redman, Jon Hendricks, Kathleen Battle, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, and Joey Alexander. Russell was also a part of the EMMY nominated film “HBO: Masterclass with Wynton Marsalis” where he along with other students were coached by Marsalis and featured in a performance with him. Russell has also been fortunate to bring the joy of jazz around the world at venues in Japan, Russia, Europe, Cape Verde, South America and the Caribbean. It is Russell’s mission to uplift and inform audiences of the beauty of individuality and the importance of being FREE.
Dwayne “Cook” Broadnax was born in Philadelphia but now lives in Brooklyn, New York where he teaches Trap Drum Set Concepts at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University. He received his B.A. in jazz performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston. Cook was the drummer for the late great jazz vocalist Little Jimmy Scott for 14 years up until his death in 2014. He has also played with Kevin Eubanks, Johnny Copeland, Savion Glover, Eartha Kitt, Rachell Ferrell and saxophonist Illinois Jaquet. Mr. Broadnax has recorded with actress/model/singer Vanessa Williams, Jimmy Scott, Vanessa Rubin and Grammy Award winner Johnny Copeland. Mr. Broadnax performed in the blockbuster-hit Spike Lee movie Malcolm X and recently appeared on the hit television show Madame Secretary on CBS. Drummer for Concord church for over ten years, his self produced debut CD is entitled Finally Mine. Cook is the proud father of 2 children.
The Jazz Drama Program (JDP) was founded in 2003 as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization by jazz musician Eli Yamin and teacher Clifford Carlson to get young people involved in and excited about jazz.
By commissioning new jazz musicals, recording CD’s, distributing scores and scripts, offering professional development for teachers and concerts and workshops for students and their communities, The Jazz Drama Program builds new audiences and stakeholders in the jazz arts through the mediums of storytelling, music, theatre, dance and visual arts. Jazz Drama Program musicals Nora’s Ark, about climate change and accepting difference and Holding the Torch for Liberty, about the fight for women’s suffrage have seen over 85 performances in fourteen states and four countries literally involving thousands of young people and their families in sustained exposure and involvement in the jazz arts. The Jazz Drama Program has co-sponsored with the U.S. Department of State, five international concert and workshop tours including the European premiere of Nora’s Ark in Montenegro and the Euro-Asian premiere of Message From Saturn in Yekaterinburg, Russia!
This summer in New York City, The Jazz Drama Program will offer its third Summer Jazz Arts Institute for teachers and teaching artists to develop and refine artistic tools that ignite the unique power and creativity of the jazz arts in multiple contexts. Jazz Drama Program musicals can be licensed for local productions and concert and residency packages are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.