Tania Grubbs: I AM, Volume 4 ColorWednesday, August 14, 2019 @ 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Join us for an evening of original jazz with vocalist Tania Grubbs.
I AM: Volume 4, Color explores the emotional effects of color in literature, poetry, and musical composition. This volume celebrates color’s glorious presence as an integral part of our everyday existence. Notes have color, sounds have color, people can see and feel color, colors is therapeutic, it can calm us, ignite us, spark inspiration. Visual artist Sasha Phillips will interact with the music by creating visual art live throughout the concert as Jeff, James, Cliff, and Tania set the colorful musical backdrop of sounds to inspire.
I AM is a series of 60-80 minute concerts filled with original music, well known, and some less known standards along with interesting stories and researched facts. Tania describes the series as “a live documentary with a point of entry approach.” All performances include video footage, photography, and narration.
Vocalist, Producer, Composer Tania Grubbs has an extensive vocal range and has a interesting take on unique literature. Grubbs has been singing as long as she can remember, in many different venues & genres. A graduate of Youngstown State University, located in Youngstown, Ohio while a student there she gravitated toward singing and learning about jazz starting with the classic American Songbook. Tania focused on listening to every vocalist she could get her hands on. Whenever possible, she would sing, and a little over 20 plus years ago at a jazz session is where she met her now husband bassist, Jeff Grubbs. While in Florida Tania sang in many jazz clubs, performed in numerous concert setting and theatre productions. Tania was a featured vocalist with the Florida Philharmonic, and a “voice” of Boca Raton Pops Orchestra for 3 years. Today you will most likely hear Tania fronting their own jazz quartet, The Tania & Jeff Grubbs Quartet, featuring Jeff on Bass. She is also a part of TRAVLIN’ an exciting quartet of musicians who play soulful, beautiful, honest, accessible songs. One of Tania’s dreams is to travel the globe sharing her voice, music and passion for singing. Tania is the CoMusic Director of the Fairmont Pittsburgh helping to oversee Jazz I , a 3 night per week series located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While in Pittsburgh, Tania has been a four-time recipient of the Ready for Life Grants, founded by the Heinz Foundation, working with young children through music and movement. She has also been a featured vocalist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Jazzlive Series, Pittsburgh Jazz Society, Washington Jazz Wine & Jazz Festival, Westmoreland Jazz Society as well as Butler Jazz Society. Tania remains active by touring nationally and conducts masterclasses for high schools and colleges. The I AM creative is artistically encouraged and supported by the City of Asylum and the Heinz Endowment Small Arts Initiative. In 2014 Tania released her debut CD; Lost in the Stars…”as a mother of three and a woman who has been given the privilege to revisit the thing she loves to do-sing; I feel that now more than ever I have something to sing about” Jeff and Tania are proud parents of three great kids, and they are honored to call Pittsburgh their home and to be part of its rich musical legacy.
Visual artist Sasha Phillips recognized how truly powerful art could be before she turned three, when she drew fairies in a permanent marker all over her bedroom to protect it from monsters. It worked. Years later Sasha went on to graduate from the Moscow Art Academy in Russia, and later received her BFA from Shepherd University and her Masters in painting from the University of Maryland. While in school, she lead several initiatives which provided art therapy and creative engagement for local community. After graduating, Sasha participated in various national and international juried and invitational exhibits, received numerous awards and was represented by several art galleries. However, becoming a single parent to four children compelled her to consider a career change. After receiving her law degree from Pitt Law, she put down her brushes to raise her family and to practice law, but quickly picked them back up – to cope with the stress of fast-paced high pressure profession and to teach these skills to others. She began teaching art for wellness in her community and recently launched an Art for Wellness program at Reed Smith where she is a litigator in the Global Commercial Disputes group. The program involves painting workshops, a firm-wide virtual art exhibit, art spaces in common areas and seminars on connection between art and wellbeing, and has been very successful in its first year.
Jeffrey Grubbs joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1996 after playing in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra. Grubbs, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, received his musical training at Youngstown State University, The Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Southern California and is a student of Lawrence Angell, Paul Ellison, Ralph Jones, Anthony Knight and Tony Leonardi. He started as a violinist at the age of 9 and later switched to the double bass at age 18. With this late start, Grubbs gained a great deal of experience as a student by working very diligently and becoming very active in the Northeast Ohio‑area music community performing with many of the symphony orchestras in that region. While a student at USC, he won the position of orchestral fellow with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra through the Music Assistance Fund, now the Sphinx Organization, which gave him the opportunity to perform as a full-time member of that ensemble for two seasons. In addition to his orchestral achievements, he is also an accomplished jazz bassist. In 1986, he won Downbeat Magazine’s “Dee Bee” award for Best Collegiate Bass Soloist from a submittal of a recording of his work with the Youngstown State University Jazz Ensemble. He has performed and recorded with many touring internationally known jazz artists, including Nat Adderly, Kenny Burrell, Joe Lovano, Diane Schur, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Ira Sullivan and Joe Williams. Grubbs is currently quite active performing in the Pittsburgh jazz community. Grubbs has served as a faculty member of Carnegie Mellon University, Florida International University, Clark-Atlanta University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Brevard Music School and Slippery Rock University. He also served as associate professor of jazz double bass at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and is currently serving as adjunct professor of string bass at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Grubbs enjoys living in the City of Pittsburgh with his wife, Tania, and their three children.
Described as a musical chameleon with wide-ranging talents, James Johnson III adapts comfortably to a variety of genres. He began his musical journey playing drums at five years old. His father, Dr. James Johnson Jr., a nationally known pianist and educator, sparked his passion for music. Precursory to his worldwide career, he attended Pittsburgh’s high school for the creative and performing arts (CAPA) where he was mentored by jazz great Roger Humphries. This laid the foundation for a stellar career that has included performing as a regular member with legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal. His musical adventures have led him to play prestigious venues around the world such as North America, Europe, Africa and Japan. As a part of his portfolio he has performed with jazz masters George Coleman, James Moody, Geri Allen, Bob James, Kenny Garrett, Benny Golson, Mulgrew Miller, Bob Mintzer and Kenny Werner. James serves as Artist in Residence at The University of Pittsburgh School of Music and is faculty at the Afro American Music Institute—a Pittsburgh institution that preserves the heritage of African American music. As a versatile percussionist, composer and producer, James maintains a diverse freelance career. Currently, he has two solo projects: Between and Full Circle.
Ohio native, pianist, organist & bassist Cliff Barnes is an accomplished and versatile musician spanning several genres with a firmly rooted foundation in gospel and jazz. Barnes has performed with many notable names in the music industry, including David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Pieces of a Dream, Gerald Veasley, Phil Perry, Johnny Gill, Toney Terry & Monifa to name a few. Cliff Barnes serves as the Music Director for the Black Nativity Production at the University of Pittsburgh and is currently on the piano faculty at West Virginia University. Barnes appeared on the 2015 Marcus Miller album Afrodeezia and Miller’s most recent release Laid Black 2019, both on the Decca Records label (a division of Universal Music)