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Kris Tokarski Featuring the New Orleans All Stars – Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World
September 7, 2017 @ 7:15 pm - 10:00 pm$30 - $100
Purchase tickets at the bottom of this page
Thursday, September 7, 2017
LIVE Oceanside at The Sonesta Resort OCEAN PAVILION on Hilton Head Island
What a Wonderful World ~ The Music of Louis Armstrong
Pianist ~ Composer ~ Arranger KRIS TOKARSKI
featuring The NEW ORLEANS ALL-STARS
~DUKE HEITGER, GERALD FRENCH, KERRY LEWIS, TIM LAUGHLIN and DON VAPPIE
$100 VIP TICKETS
6:30 PM ~ VIP Reception with cocktails and tapas at the OCEAN PAVILION
Live entertainment before the concert at the VIP Reception
Reserved VIP seating for the concert
$30 GENERAL ADMISSION TICKETS
Doors Open @ 7:15 PM
KRIS TOKARSKI ~ “He knows how to swing and stride — with both hands — and his playing is fluid, supple — never stiff. His accompaniment is the very definition of sweet teamwork, and his solos are full of surprises: you can’t tell where he is about to land, but it’s graceful and satisfying when he does.” –Michael Steinman
Kris Tokarski was born and raised just outside of New York City, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Growing up in a Hungarian – American household, he was raised on classical music and Hungarian folk music.
Kris attended and completed his bachelor’s degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. While there, he would make regular pilgrimages back to New York to study with bebop master, Barry Harris.
In 2011, Tokarski moved to New Orleans to complete a master’s degree at the University of New Orleans. Shortly after moving to the “Cradle of Jazz” he embraced the early piano traditions of the city as well as those of the northeast where he grew up. A keen interest in the music of Jelly Roll Morton, James P. Johnson, and Teddy Wilson; combined with his bebop roots allowed Tokarski to develop an all encompassing voice of his own, deeply rooted in the jazz piano tradition.
Currently, Tokarski is thriving as an in demand jazz pianist performing throughout the city, country, and abroad. He has performed at notable jazz festivals and venues including the Umbria Winter Jazz Festival, The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, the French Quarter Fest, Snug Harbor, The Jazz Corner, and The Green Mill. Kris has had the pleasure of sharing the bandstand with Evan Christopher, Hal Smith, Duke Heitger, Tim Laughlin, Andy Schumm, and many others.
DUKE HEITGER ~ “Heitger has an explosive, ripping trumpet style that’s out of Armstrong by way of Roy Eldridge…and sings with the boozy warmth of Jack Teagarden after hours.” —Jon Garelick, Boston Phoenix..
Since arriving in New Orleans, Heitger has received international exposure leading to work with bands led by such classic jazz stalwarts as Dan Barrett, Engelbert Wrobel (Germany), Marty Gros, Dick Hyman, John Gill and Banu Gibson. He has made a number of guest appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” with Butch Thompson, and has been featured numerous times on broadcasts by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band live from the riverwalk in San Antonio, TX.
Heitger has been featured at the Hollywood Bowl, at New York’s 92nd St. Y, Lincoln Center’s “Midsummer’s Night Swing” series, and Orchestra Hall in Mineapolis, MN. Internationally, he has toured Europe extensively either as a bandleader or as a guest soloist with regular appearances at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival, Nairn International Jazz Festival, and the Ascona Jazz Festival. This summer he played the Caesarea Jazz Festival in Israel as a member of the Statesmen of Jazz which also included Warren Vache, John Allred, Howard Alden and Ken Peplowski.
While not on the road, Heitger maintains a busy schedule in New Orleans, leading his own Steamboat Stompers aboard the Natchez Paddlewheeler, a weekly appearance at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, as well as a heavy dose of spot work.
As a sideman Heitger has recorded widely. While well known among jazz enthusiasts through those many recordings, he also made his mark on popular music with his trumpet work on the Squirrel Nut Zippers million selling disc “Hot”, earning him a platinum record.
GERALD FRENCH ~ To say Gerald French is from a musical family would be an understatement. His grandfather, Albert “Papa” French is one of the pioneers of New Orleans Traditional Jazz and his father is acclaimed New Orleans vocalist and bass player, George French. Gerald is also known as “The Giant” for his own original style of drumming. He has worked around the world with countless musicians including Dr John, Harry Connick Jr. Leroy Jones, Dr Michael White, Lillian Boutee and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. He is also represented on countless recordings and his TV appearances include backing up Harry Connick Jr. for both the Today Show and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Gerald has his own band “Abstract” and has recently taken over the leadership of his grandfather’s and uncle’s (Bob French) band, Original Tuxedo Jazz Band. In addition to being a fourth generation New Orleans musician Gerald is a Mardi Gras Indian with the Wild Magnolias. Mardi Gras Indians carry on a 150 year old tradition of dressing head-to-toe in elaborate, beaded costumes that erupt in a spray of brightly colored feathers and parading through the streets of the New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Mr. French has been featured in Modern Drummer Magazine (October 1996) and is endorsed by Sabian Cymbals and Taye Drums.
KERRY LEWIS ~ Kerry’s one true love out of all those passions is music. He started his professional career as a bass player for the consummate performer Banu Gibson and her Le Hot Jazz group.
The thrilling Leroy Jones Quintet also kept Kerry very busy jamming to up-tempo jazz tunes into the late nineties. And in this decade, the very accomplished Michael White has utilized Kerry’s laid-back style in his Traditional Liberty Jazz Band.
It has been Kerry’s utmost pleasure and honor to play with and learn from these talented musical veterans. In addition, Kerry has been recorded on numerous CDs for various other musical artists covering the blues, country, rock and jazz genres. His love for all kinds of music has no bounds.
The newest venture in Kerry’s professional career revolves around the musical group he co-founded, Abstract. With fellow members Gerald French, Joel Hamilton, Paul Longstrength and Marc Adams, the group generates musical tracks that are on fire with juicy grooves and tantalizing rhythms.
TIM LAUGHLIN ~ A native of New Orleans, Tim Laughlin fell in love with the sound of the clarinet before he ever held one after hearing a childhood friend practicing his clarinet. He has recorded a dozen solo CDs among which “The Isle of Orleans” (2003) is an award-winning collection of Laughlin originals.
With this, he was the first and only New Orleans clarinetist to ever write and record an entire album of originals. The success of this CD caught the attention of “Music Minus One” and prompted Laughlin to license the master for the 2004 issue, along with “New Orleans Classics.” The CDs in the two publications include hand-picked musicians with whom students of all ages can play along. As Hurricane Katrina brought her devastation on the Gulf Coast, Laughlin and his band drove overnight to catch their flight and perform at a festival in South America.
From there, they watched the aftermath of what was to become the worst natural disaster in US history. Just a week after, the US State Department asked Tim to perform a one month goodwill “thank you” tour in Peru, Mexico and Canada. All had given aid to Katrina evacuees. The October 2005 tour included public concerts, benefits and master classes to elementary, middle and high school students as well as college students. With the students, the band performed and discussed the relevance and importance of their instruments and New Orleans Jazz, Benefits included one in Merida, Mexico, raising over $30,000 to help replace instruments and equipment for the New Orleans Center For the Creative Arts.
Recently in 2009, Laughlin along with his good friend Pete Fountain opened the legendary Blue Room at the newly renovated Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans, quickly selling out both nights. These days, one can catch Tim performing at some of his favorite clubs in New Orleans like The Palm Court, Bombay Club, Snug Harbor and The Steamboat Natchez. He has been a contributing columnist for Jazztimes and Offbeat magazines.
DON VAPPIE ~Don Vappie is a world renown jazz musician and presenter from New Orleans. He leads the Creole Jazz Serenaders, a classic New Orleans jazz orchestra, as well as his various jazz and R&B combos. He has produced and recorded numerous CDs and film sound tracks and is star of the PBS documentary AMERICAN CREOLE: NEW ORLEANS REUNION.
Known for his virtuosic banjo skills, Don is a stellar bassist, guitarist and vocalist. Add to that his commitment to the cultural creole music of New Orleans he calls “creole jazz”.
As an educator, he has participated, presented and/or performed for programs at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Tulane University, Historic New Orleans Collection, NPR, Smithsonian, Appalachian State University and many more. He currently serves as jazz guitar instructor at Loyola University and is a member of the Loyola Jazz Faculty Combo. He is also an instructor at the Don “Moose” Jamison Heritage School of Music sponsored by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. In the span of his 43 year career he has performed with Peggy Lee, Joel Gray, Carol Channing, Danny Barker, Wynton Marsalis, Otis Taylor, Terence Blanchard, Johnny Adams, Eric Clapton, Cheick Hamala Diabate, Bassekou Kouyate (both of Mali), Demma DIa of Sengal, Bette Midler, Ellis Marsalis, Diana Krall and many more. As a headliner, he’s performed at numerous festivals and venues around the world. His transcriptions of early jazz recordings are available from Warner Bros. Publishing and his orchestral arrangements for banjo and orchestra are distributed worldwide on the NAXOS label.