Featuring Steel Pan Virtuoso, Leon Foster Thomas & Caribbean Jazz Band, Afrobeats meets Trinidad’s Steel Pan in Miami Beach on February 11th at 8pm
From London to Jazz at Lincoln Center, Leon Foster Thomas, one of the leading Trinidadian Jazz band maestros and steel pan superstar, will bring the house down with exciting performances of new works on steel pan, 2 pianos, and Jazz band to coincide with the world premiere of his album “Calasantius” at The Rhythm Foundation’s Miami Beach Bandshell.
Dranoff2 Piano Foundation presents West African Beats, an annual concert celebrating the soul of high art and music that was brought to the Americas, along with the steel drum, as expressed by Leon Foster Thomas’ internationally acclaimed Jazz ensemble. West African Beats is a contemporary inspiration of this exciting and important music and will be embodied and interpreted by fellow Trinidadian, choreographer Peter London, who’s eclectic dance company calls Miami home.
Pre-concert talk at 7PM brings together Leon Foster Thomas, Peter London, and musicologist of the African diaspora Melvin Butler, for a discussion of the influence of West African song and dance on contemporary music and the spirit of the Caribbean heritage in Jazz.
West African Beats series was originated by Dranoff 2 Piano with the support of the Funding Arts Network’s AWARE grant in celebration of FAN’s 25th year of philanthropy in Miami and created by Dranoff 2 Piano’s Artistic Director, Martin Bejerano.
Tickets are available online at www.Dranoff2Piano.org
For 37 years, the International Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation has been the world’s leading champion of exclusively two piano repertoire and artistry. It is the only international foundation, accredited by the World Federation of International Music Competitions, to discover, promote, and award honors to top professional duo piano artists through its competition, commissions, and presentations of duo piano concerts. The Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation promotes awareness in a new generation of students of the transformational power of music and the arts through its multi-disciplinary, educational, and inspirational concert program, PIANO SLAM
The new album “Calasantius” described as a book of songs dedicated to his dear mother, Hillouise Calasantius Foster, showcases a unique blend of Caribbean influence and spirit evolving from Foster’s Trinidadian heritage combined with dexterous and innovative Jazz complexity. The compositions generate an unmistakable vibe born out of the traditions of the West Indies and seamlessly incorporate the discipline and sensibilities of modern Jazz music alongside this. The result is a sound that is beautifully calming and vitally energetic in equal measure.
More about the Artists
Leon Foster Thomas’ band features pianists Tal Cohen and Devin Shaw, Michael Piolet (Drums), Michael Ramos (Bass), Troy Roberts (Saxophone), Jesus Mato Jr. (Trumpet), and Magela Herrera (Flute).
Leon Foster Thomas is a gifted international jazz musician and steel pan virtuoso. His music is a blend of his Caribbean roots with the harmonic and improvisational complexities of jazz, creating a lively and eclectic meld all his own. Leon’s deft and ambitious command of the steel pan has transcended beyond the instrument’s novel stereotype to being featured at world stages such as New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, Adrienne Arsht Center of the Performing Arts (Miami), Moscow International House of Music, Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Perm International Jazz Festival (Russia), Miami Downtown Jazz Festival, International Festival of Contemporary Culture (Kazakhstan), and Pittsburgh Jazz Live International Festival.
He has also worked with artists such as: Hugh Masekela, Randy Brecker, John Daversa, Sammy Figueroa, Vince Mendoza, Richard Smallwood, Ky-Mani Marley, Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Dolly Parton, Igor Butman, John Beasley, and many more. Winner of the World Steelband Music Festival’s Soloist and Duet competitions in 2002 and 2004, critics laud him as “the next big thing on his instrument”, “…an enthralling improvisor…” (All About Jazz); “…masterful with impeccable musicianship” (When Steel Talks); and “a benevolent wizard” (Venice Magazine). Having two well-received solo albums under his belt, March 2023 marks the release of Calasantius, the forthcoming album by Leon Foster.
As one of the leading steel pan jazz virtuosos in the world, now he is set to showcase his inimitable talent once again, with a new body of recorded work that encapsulates the intricacy, energy and sonic brilliance that Leon Foster creates on his instrument of choice. Calasantius exemplifies his growth and maturation as a musician. Honing his in-depth talents as a musical storyteller, Leon has produced an album which perfectly illustrates his transformative journey.
A native of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, Peter London is the Founder, Artistic Director and Choreographer of The Peter London Global Dance Company founded in 2011. Regarded by The Miami Herald as “a revered and beloved dance teacher,” As a principal dancer of the prestigious Martha Graham Dance Company, London worked closely with the legendary Martha Graham who created the role of the “Shaman” for him in her 1988 ballet ” Night Chant”, and recreated roles for him in her ballets American Document and El Penitent which he danced with Michael Baryshnikov at New York’s City Center Theater.
London’s principal roles included The Shaman in the “Rite of Spring”, Paris in “Clytemnestra”, The Man In White in “Diversion of Angels”, the Chief Male Celebrant in “Acts of Light”, Tiresias in “Night Journey” and The Snake in “Circe” among others.
London danced in the Graham company City Center’s theater season in Twyla Tharp’s world premiere of “Demeter & Persephone” and Robert Wilson’s ” Snow on the Mesa “. He is a faculty member at the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance and performed worldwide with the Graham company. London has created over fifty choreographic works based on African dance retention in the Caribbean and contemporary dance fusion of modern, classical and Afro Diaspora dance techniques.
London recently commissioned original scores from composer Ezra Haugabrooks for his 2019 production of “Black Men Stories” and 2020 “WOMEN ROSES WATER” premiered at the Adrienne Arsht Center. London is an honors graduate of The Julliard School and serves as a distinguished professor of dance at Miami-Dade College / New World School of the Arts.
Martin Bejerano is an acclaimed pianist and composer and has performed/recorded with numerous jazz luminaries including his 20 year association with GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award-winning drummer Roy Haynes, Christian McBride Band, Dave Holland, Pat Metheny, Ignacio Berroa, Ron Carter, Russell Malone, Dafnis Prieto, Roxana Amed, Brian Lynch,, Adam Nussbaum, John Faddis, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Strickland He is featured on over 25 recordings, including the GRAMMY nominated Fountain of Youth with the Roy Haynes Quartet, and Roxana Amed’s Latin GRAMMY nominated album Ontology.
An award-winning bandleader, Martin’s trio has performed at such notable venues as Symphony Space, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, The Jazz Gallery, Barquisimeto Jazz Festival, El Hatillo Jazz Festival, St. Petersburg Jazz Festival, Festival Miami, and Lucerne Piano Off-Stage Festival. His most recent recording, Trio Miami, was selected as Downbeat Magazine’s “Editor’s Choice was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY award. Currently, Martin heads the Jazz Piano Studio at the acclaimed Frost School of Music, University of Miami, is serving as Artistic Director for the world-renown International Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation