Steinway Piano Gallery

​​​​​Steinway jazz cafe

with Melissa Morgan & Aubrey Johnson, voice, Randy Napoleon, guitar, Cliff Monear, piano & Paul Keller, bass

Wednesday, June 21, 2023
7:00 PM

General Admission: $20
Steinway Society Members: $15
No reservations necessary
Cash or check, payable at the door
(Make checks payable to "cash")

About the Artists:

Melissa Morgan is a soulful singer that tells her story with a vulnerability that endears the audience to go along the journey with her. Her voice is a painting with many colors and textures, and as Joni Mitchell said, “has many blues”.

Jazz wasn’t an early find for Melissa. She started with classical piano and voice, signing with classical choirs and eventually studying opera with Dr. Maredia Warren and Katherine Harris. Melissa found jazz her senior year in high school, thus switching her major from classical voice to jazz, receiving her BA SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. 

She absorbed lessons in harmony and interpretation by frequenting clubs in New York, such as Small’s, The Vanguard, Iridium and Smoke. She held a Sunday residency at Smoke, which allowed her to develop her own sound once establishing her major influences: Nancy Wilson, Dinah Washington and Etta Jones.

In 2004, Melissa was a semi-finalist at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Competition which took place at The Smithsonian, judged by luminaries Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau, Quincy Jones, Flora Purim and Jimmy Scott. This appearance helped her secure a contract with Telarc Records. 

Melissa’s 2009 debut recording “Until I Met You” was recorded with a most eclectic ensemble so fortuitously assembled - Gerald Clayton, Joe Sanders, Kevin Kanner, Randy Napoleon, Francisco Torres, Ben Wendel and Tim Green. This is a treasured memory Melissa often smiles about just thinking how wild it was these musicians were available at the same time. This was an album so warmly received by listeners, radio and writers. 

Her second album released indepedently in 2016, “Days Like This” again captures her dear friends Gerald Clayton, Sam Minaie, Kevin Kanner, Graham Dechter, Matt Garrison and Gilbert Castellanos. This record explored Melissa’s vulnerable side with elastic ballads like “You Don’t Know Me” and “Wild Is The Wind”. She shows her powerful blues on “Some of My Best Friends Are The Blues” and Marlena Shaw’s “California Soul” 

Currently, Melissa is touring, working on a compilation of music that moves as a soundtrack and writing vignettes to accompany this musical story. 

She has been doing jazz workshops at universities and high schools to discuss the art of accompanying a singer for instrumentalists, how a singer connects with a song and engages with a rhythm section. 

Melissa is committed to carrying on the heart of the tradition and the generosity she has experienced from the legends she has been fortunate to encounter onto the next generation of jazz messengers. 

Aubrey Johnson is a New York-based vocalist, composer, and educator. Her debut record, "Unraveled," featuring her original music and arrangements and produced by Steve Rodby of the Pat Metheny Group, was released on Outside In Music in 2020. "Play Favorites," her duo album with the pianist Randy Ingram was released on Sunnyside Records in 2022. Among the 40+ albums Aubrey has appeared on as a sideperson are Bobby McFerrin’s Grammy-nominated release, "VOCAbuLaries," Arturo O'Farrill's Grammy Award-winning album "Four Questions," and Lyle Mays’ Grammy Award-winning "Eberhard." Aubrey holds faculty positions at Montclair State University and Queens College.


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