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Alexander Claffy Quintet ft/ Luke Carlos O’Reilly and Benny Benack III
Friday, January 14$35 – $45
Seating times: 7:00pm, 8:30pm, & 10:15pm. Doors open 30 minutes early.
TICKET AVAILABILITY: IF SELECTED TICKETS ARE “SOLD OUT”, PLEASE CHECK AVAILABILITY FOR ANOTHER TIME AND ANOTHER SEATING TYPE
JAZZ@theEDGE! Alexander Claffy Quintet Feat. Luke Carlos O’Reilly and Benny Benack III
Luke Carlos O’Reilly – Piano
Benny Benack III- Trumpet
Chris Lewis – Tenor Sax
Joe Peri – Drums
Alexander Claffy – Bass
From birth, Alexander Claffy was raised in a musical household (his father is a pianist, his mother, a vocalist), and had many of his earliest lessons on bandstands in the heart of Philadelphia. As a teenager, Claffy was fortunate enough to find a mentor in many Philly natives, and has continued his study of the double bass with some of the world’s finest musicians, including Ron Carter, Dwayne Burno and Orin O’Brien. Since moving to New York City in 2011, he has had the honor of working with many of his living heroes, including Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, Harold Mabern, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Christian Scott, Joey Alexander, Wallace Roney and many more. In the past 3 years he has recorded for the Verve, HighNote, Positone, RopeADope and LaReserve record labels.
Luke Carlos O’Reilly is an award winning pianist who has always had a passion for music. Whether it be Jazz, Soul, R&B, Gospel, Latin Jazz, Classical or any other genre, Luke was drawn to good music at an early age. When he was four years old, he and his mother started taking group piano lessons together. By age ten he had began to study the saxophone as well. It was the introduction of Oscar Peterson’s music at the age of fourteen that steered Luke in the direction of Jazz. Until then, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Earth, Wind and Fire and Otis Redding had been his heaviest influences.Through years of practicing and support from his family, Luke became well known on the music scene in the Boston area, where he spent most of his childhood. Before the age of 17, through his high schools music program, Luke had been given the opportunity to play with Clark Terry, Joshua Redman, Walter Blanding, and Steve Turre, as well as to play on a 15 day tour in Europe. He also took part in several international music festivals at Berklee, IAJE, and University of New Hampshire as well as participating in All-District and All-State competition bands.
After graduating from Lexington High School in Massachusetts, Luke moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to attend Esther Boyer School of Music at Temple University on a academic and music scholarship. There, he studied under Terrell Stafford, Mulgrew Miller, Bruce Barth, Tom Lawton and many other world renowned jazz educators. Before graduating in 2004, Luke had fully immersed himself on the Philadelphia jazz and r&b scenes. While in school and after graduating, he recorded and toured with Curtis Fuller, Dave Valentin, Billy Paul, Slide Hampton, Nicholas Payton, Fred Wesley, Red Holloway, Steve Turre, Musiq Soulchild, Carol Riddick, K’naan and many others.
In 2011, Luke independently released his debut solo album, ‘Living In The Now’. The album featured several of his own compositions, as well as a few arrangements on some popular standards. Playing with Luke on the album are several of Philadelphia and Brazils finest musicians. The album has nearly sold out.
At the end of 2013, Luke released his second independent album, ’3 Suites’. This album contains three very distinct elements: Songs composed by Luke’s trio, creative arrangements of some unusual covers featuring a vocalist, and. a cluster of compositions written by recently deceased jazz pianist George Duke, Cedar Walton and Mulgrew Miller.. At this time, Luke can be found traveling up and down the east coast playing with other artists as well as playing with his own groups. He plans to continue writing, performing and recording, and hopes to be able to further his work as an educator.
By age 28, trumpeter and singer Benny Benack III has proven to be a rare talent: not only a fiery trumpet player with a stirring command of the postbop trumpet vernacular in the vein of Kenny Dorham and Blue Mitchell, but also a singer with a sly, mature, naturally expressive delivery in the post-Sinatra mold, performing standards and his own astute songs with a thrilling sense of showmanship. His superb intonation and bracing virtuosity enable him to handle astounding feats of originally composed vocalese (complex solos with written lyrics). And he’s a highly capable pianist as well.
Benny performs widely as a frontman for Postmodern Jukebox, the vintage music collective famed for canny old-school covers of modern pop. In early 2020, he released A Lot of Livin’ to Do, the follow-up to his well-received 2017 debut album, One of a Kind. This sophomore effort, richly varied in mood and brimming with bop inflection, features bassist extraordinaire Christian McBride and drummer/producer Ulysses Owens, Jr., as well as the radiant Takeshi Ohbayashi on piano and Rhodes.
Benny’s been showcased in international headliner tours at Jazz at Lincoln Center Shanghai, JALC’s “NY Jazz All-Stars” (Mexico) and extensively all over Asia and Europe. He has headlined domestic tours around the U.S. including the Vail Jazz Party, Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival, Pittsburgh JazzLive International, the Vancouver Jazz Festival and the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival in East Lansing, MI, to name a few. Benny’s been featured at Birdland, Mezzrow, Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle and other leading New York venues. Alongside his work as a leader, he has played in the house band for NBC’s “Maya & Marty,” and appeared as a trumpet soloist across genres with the Christian McBride Big Band, Diplo/Major Lazer, Ann Hampton Callaway, Melissa Errico, Josh Groban, Ben Folds, fashion icon Isaac Mizrahi and more.
Benny was a 2014 finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition, and winner of the 2011 Carmine Caruso International Trumpet Competition. He is highly sought after as a clinician and educator, leading workshops for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Jazz for Young People program, as well as the New York Youth Symphony’s Education department. In 2020 he will lead a panel at the annual Jazz Congress on Audience Engagement, together with Christian McBride, Marilyn Maye and Veronica Swift.
Third in a generational line of Pittsburgh jazz notables, Benny follows in the footsteps of his trumpeter/bandleader grandfather, Benny Benack, Sr. (1921-86), and his father Benny Benack, Jr., a saxophonist/clarinetist who gave the young Benny his first professional experience. Benny, Sr. hailed from a Pittsburgh lineage that also produced Roy Eldridge, Earl Hines, Art Blakey, Billy Strayhorn and so many more. He recorded the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 1960 theme song “Beat ’Em Bucs” and toured with Tommy Dorsey and Raymond Scott, among others. Benny III returns to Pittsburgh often to perform, saluting his family forebears and the jazz heritage as a whole, nonetheless staking his bold and highly individual artistic claim.