As a part of the livestream music series MUSIC SPEAKS: AMPLIFYING BLACK VOICES, CouchMusic.Live and Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center are excited to present a special rescheduled event featuring jazz vocalist Samirah Evans accompanied by jazz veterans Ron Smith, Greg Snedeker, Mary Ann McSweeney, and Jacob Smith, as well as a special appearance by Franz Robert. This show will feature selections composed by or made popular by black artists with a spotlight on black female composers and artists in celebration of both Black History and Women's History Months. Please join us in this celebration of how Black music enriches our collective culture! THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS: River Valley Co-op, Atkins Farms, Belly of the Beast, Greenfield Savings Bank, MASS MoCA, GCTV, Montague Community Television Original Image: New Dawn Photos Bobby D SAMIRAH EVANS “Samirah Evans is a skilled, energetic vocalist who fosters a magnetically charged relationship with her numerous fans. Perhaps that’s because she puts so much of herself into her art – she makes each song her own by probing its essence and then imbuing it with her own, authentic, heart-felt personality.” -Eugene Uman, Vermont Jazz Center Artistic Director “Evans assets -- which once made her the toast of pre-Katrina New Orleans -- include her sultry, sometimes silken, always smoking hot vocals and vibrant stage presence. Add to this gumbo of saucy ingredients her passion for connecting with her audience while she’s moving and grooving on-stage.” - Owen McNally, WNPR Jazz Corridor Samirah Evans is known for her dynamic, soulful approach to jazz and blues, among other genres. Her style is also heavily influenced by the New Orleans sound where she was one of the city’s most in-demand singers. Her 1990 debut at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival began a stint of 15 consecutive years performing there as a leader or featured vocalist, and she was a fixture in both clubs and concert venues throughout the Crescent City, including Snug Harbor, Tipitina’s and the House of Blues. During her career, she has toured North and South America, Europe and Asia, sharing stages with a multitude of New Orleans notables and legendary artists, including James Brown, B.B. King, Dr. John, Levon Helm, Aaron Neville, Charles Neville, Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison, Jr., Poncho Sanchez, Bob Dorough, Irma Thomas, Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty and Sam Kininger, and Sheila Jordan. Hurricane Katrina caused Samirah to relocate to her husband’s hometown of Brattleboro, Vermont. She assembled a band called Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils and developed notoriety throughout New England touring upon their 2009 CD release “Hot Club” Live at the Vermont Jazz Center, Evans 3rd release. Website: www.samirahevans.com THE BAND Ronald Smith (saxophones) Ronald Smith is a highly skilled Saxophonist, Bassist, Percussionist and Ethnomusicologist. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Smith is currently the director of Jazz programs and bands at Northfield Mount Hermon School. He holds a B.S in Music from Tennessee State University, a Music Production / Engineering Major from Berklee College of Music, and studied Ethnomusicology at Dartmouth College. Smith has performed with jazz legends such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, George Coleman, Nat Adderley, Ray Brown, Billy Taylor, Wynton Marselis, Roy Hardgrove, and Antonio Hart, not to mention as part of a Summer Tour with the one-and-only B.B.King. Jacob Smith (drums) Following in the footsteps of his father, Jacob Smith has quickly become a well respected up-and-coming Jazz drummer. Born in Gill, MA, Jacob is currently a Senior at Northfield Mount Hermon school, where he has achieved much recognition in the form of numerous awards and accolades. These include being the YoungArts Winner in 2019 and 2020, and Berklee College of Music’s Most Outstanding soloist and scholarship winner. He has been the Western District Festival Jazz Ensemble Drummer in 2019/2020/2021, a Jazz in July residential artist scholarship winner in 2018/2019/2020. Jacob is a Member of Isosceles Groove Jazz Trio. He is in the process of applying to Julliard, Manhattan School of Music, Berklee College of Music, University of Miami ( Frost School of Music ), and Michigan State University to pursue a career in Jazz Studies and Music Business. Greg Snedeker (piano) A resident of Gill, MA, Greg Snedeker is an experienced composer, cellist, jazz pianist, and recording engineer/producer. He holds a B.A. (Economics) from Boston University, a M.M. from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a D.M.A. from the Hartt School, University of Hartford. He has taught full-time as a music faculty member at UMass/Amherst, The Hartt School, and is currently the Instrumental Director at the Stoneleigh Burnham School in Greenfield, MA. He also owns and operates Riverview Productions, a recording studio that specializes in producing acoustic recordings. Dr. Snedeker’s compositions have been heard throughout the U.S., with performances by Yusef Lateef, the UMass Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble, Central Washington University Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble, The Denver Air Force Big Band, among others. His recent collaboration Anishana: Corners Of The Sky with Hilary Noble was featured on All About Jazz in 2020. He has recorded with such musicians as Yusef Lateef, Hilary Noble (Zoho Records), Kate McGary, Randy Howard, and film composer Steven Schoenberg. As a recording engineer/producer, he has produced and engineered thousands of recordings, including releases for John Williams (composer), Michael Zaretsky (violist, BSO), Victor Romunal (violinist, BSO), BMOP (Boston Modern Orchestra Project), Derek Bermel (clarinetist/composer), Emanuel Borok (concert master, Dallas Symphony), and Nigel Coxe (pianist), receiving favorable reviews from Fanfare, Strad Magazine, Gramaphone, and American Record Guide. Mary Ann McSweeney (bass) Born in Aptos, California, Mary Ann McSweeney started playing piano at the age of 5, and began to study violin at age 8. In high school, she fell in love with the acoustic bass while watching Ray Brown perform at the Concord Jazz Festival. At age 16, she was chosen to play at the Monterey Jazz Festival with the All-Star band fronted by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis. McSweeney has played with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Joanne Brackeen, Lee Konitz, Gil Goldstein, and Bucky Pizzarelli. She has also played for renowned conductors, Leonard Bernstein, Lalo Schifrin, and John Williams. McSweeney has performed with Renee Rosnes, Vic Juris, Ken Peplowski, Dennis Mackrel, Lewis Nash, and Larry Goldings. This is just a portion of her impressive list of collaborators. McSweeney has toured Europe, and has performed with David Krakauer’s Klezmer Madness and five-time Tony award winning vocalist Audra McDonald. Her orchestrations can be heard on Chita Rivera’s CD entitled “Now I Swing” and her version of “Avenue Q Swings” is available on iTunes. McSweeney performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival with Claire Daly and the Baritone Monk Band, which was rated in the top ten on jazz radio in the USA. In 2019 She performed the music of Charles Mingus, arranging and orchestrating for the new ensemble sponsored by the Bronx Arts Ensemble. For more information go to www.maryannmcsweeney.com *** There will also be a special Hawk’s & Reed original video, recorded live in The Pushkin, featuring Samirah and her original accompanist for this show, Franz Robert. Franz started in his early teens as a church organist and pianist. He became enamored with the vast world of jazz and improvisation, composing and arranging all of the music for his debut album, On Putney Mountain at the age of 17. A devotee of Bach and Haydn. Robert continues to study and perform both classical music and jazz. The potential of Robert’s musical abilities and imagination are limitless. ABOUT HAWKS & REED PERFORMING ARTS CENTER www.hawksandreed.com Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center is a multi-venue event space in downtown Greenfield, MA. Bringing the best in art and entertainment, from nationally recognized touring acts, to experimental theater, festivals, community events, and more, their mission is to present music and the arts in an accessible, compelling and hospitable manner to benefit the social and economic well being of our regional, national and worldwide community.