CD Release Concert with Jazz Percussionist Quentin Baxter

By | March 8, 2011

The College of Charleston School of the Arts will present a performance by the Duda Lucena Quartet, featuring percussionist and music faculty member Quentin Baxter, on Monday, March 14, 2011.  Additional performers are Duda Lucena (vocals/guitar), with College alumni Gerald Gregory (piano) and Kevin Hamilton (acoustic bass). The concert, part of the College’s Monday Night Concert Series, will take place at 8 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Simons Center for the Arts, 54 Saint Philip St. Admission is $10 at the door, free for College of Charleston students.

The Duda Lucena Quartet will perform Brazilian jazz originals and classics by Antonio Carlos Jobim and Gilberto Gil, among others. Song selections are from the group’s newly released CD, “Duda Lucena Quartet Live.” Baxter comments, “This CD is special in that it accurately captures the spirit of cultural collaboration.”

Quentin Baxter comes from a family of drummers. Both his mother and father played drums in church, as well as his three brothers. While in his teens, he was regarded as one of the most “in demand” and respected musicians in gospel as he was first-call for numerous regional concerts and served as minister of music in his home church, drummer for Christians United for Christ Community Choir and youth musician for Gospel Music Workshop of America.

Baxter attended the College of Charleston, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory & Composition and still serves on the faculty as Adjunct Professor of Jazz Percussion. He also serves as musical director for the Charleston Jazz Initiative, a multi-year research project that explore the jazz history and legacy of African American musicians from Charleston and other places in the Carolinas.

As he continues toward his peak with a prodigious work ethic, he performs, composes and arranges, teaches, designs sound and leads bands. He is an extremely versatile drummer having played numerous styles of music during his career. He facilitated the drum position at Serenade, a “state-of-the-art” production/musical review, toured throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, Korea, Guam, St. Croix, Hawaii, Jamaica, South Africa, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Mexico, Scotland, Ireland and Greece, and is now regarded as one of the most sought after musicians in the Southeast. While at home, Baxter still serves as musical director of The Charleston Grill in Charleston Place Hotel, performs locally with the Gradual Lean, Brazil, Q. Baxter Jazz Ensemble, the faculty and students of the College of Charleston, as well as live recordings with his own group, Emanon Art Ensemble. He also leads and writes for Franklin Street Five, a modern jazz band affiliated with the Charleston Jazz Initiative that pays tribute to the famed Jenkins Orphanage Band tradition and other local roots of jazz.

Baxter has worked with other great artists including Monty Alexander, René Marie, Allan Harris, Fred Wesley, James Spaulding, Bobby Watson, Ira Sullivan, Billy Childs, Eddie Henderson, Donald Byrd, Charlie Byrd, Gregory Hines, Sonny Fortune, Doug Carn, Wycliff Gordon, Marcus Printup, Terry Gibbs, Buddy DeFranco, Frank Gordon, Malachi Thompson, Obie Jessie, Ronald Westray, Marcus Roberts, Me’Shell NdegéOcello and India.Irie.

As deeply rooted as he is in entertainment, cultural and spiritual tradition, Baxter is no bland neoclassicist. He keeps moving forward, building all the time. In January of 2005 Baxter performed a world premier concert in Tokyo of koto and drumset. A little later that year, he wrote music for a 21st century avant-garde sound and visual installation titled Art Moves Jazz, a collaboration between his Emanon Trio with saxophonist Kebbi Williams and bassist Delbert Felix and Charleston digital visual artist John Duckworth. In October of 2006 Baxter scored and arranged the music for local filmmaker Brad Jayne’s “Song of Pumpkin Brown.”  In November, he performed, engineered, and co-produced René Marie’s “Experiment in Truth,” which was released during their performance for the Wachovia Jazz Series of Spoleto Festival USA in 2007, thus recognizes him to be the first Charleston native ever to play the series. Baxter is currently working on a solo drum recording, “Gullah Breadbasket: A Drummer’s Perspective.”

Duda Lucena, singer and composer from Pernambuco (Recife, Brazil) creates exquisite, romantic music, reminiscent of all the great Brazilian vocalists of the sixties who first introduced the rest of the world to Brazil’s unique sound, but with a modern freshness and originality,” wrote Marilyn M. Graham, music critic for Destino magazine in Los Cabos, Mexico.

As a child, Duda Lucena spent nearly every afternoon in the back of Santa Isabel Theatre (Recife, Brazil) listening to the Pernambuco Symphonic Orchestra. These musical experiences helped to inspire Lucena, at the age of twelve, to compose his first songs. By nineteen, he was studying classical guitar and receiving musical training from the distinguished Music Conservatory of Pernambuco. In that moment Lucena began working as a professional musician performing in the best theaters throughout his hometown Recife such the Apolo Theatre, Teatro do Parque and Valdemar de Oliveira Theatre. In 1987, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, seeking more knowledge by studying musical arrangement, composition and harmony at CIGAM, a school based upon the Berklee College of Music. Since this time, Lucena has been influenced by and peformed with musicians from America, England, Cuba and Mexico playing with them throughout Brazil, Mexico and the USA.

Always including his original music, Lucena has performed in a variety of nightclubs, theaters, festivals and venues, such as the Footlight Players Theatre, Charleston Music Hall as a featured guest of the Charleston Jazz Orchestra, Piccolo Spoleto Festival, Pawleys Island Festival, Charleston Grill, Big Sur Spirit Garden (Big Sur, CA, Diana Wortham Theatre for the Western North Carolina Jazz Society, Charleston Jazz Society, Sala Baden Powell Theatre with the Outrossim Musical Movement (Rio de Janeiro – Brazil), Los Cabos Jazz Festival (Los Cabos – Mexico), Cenpes Theatre of the of the Petrobras Company (Rio de Janeiro – Brazil) and many others.

PRESS: CharlestonToday.net, March 15, 2011