A unique, electric ensemble with a contemporary edge performs for the next Monday jazz session @ Quinn’s. Mod Squad NYC is:
Nioka Workman: cello
Marvin Dolly: guitar
JS Williams: trumpet
Dorota Piotrowska: drums
Check out some of their recent work on Soundcloud:
An innovative cellist from a family of celebrated bassists; uncle Arthur Harper (J.J. Johnson) and father Reggie Workman (John Coltrane). Nioka Workman has worked hard to develop a distinct, original sound and style of her own. She performs regularly on acoustic and electric cello. Very experienced in many forms, Nioka has credits in music, dance, performance art, theater and television. Having recorded with several artist including most recently with her Firey String Sistas! she has recording credits with NeoSoul and R&B artists India Arie and Joe. She has toured throughout Europe and the USA appearing on Canal + and the Chris Rock Show promoting a Sony Music CD by spoken-word artist Saul Williams. They also performed at the world famous Montreaux Jazz Festival with Live Human, Ronnie Size, Nikka Costa, Blackalicious , Michael Franti/Spearhead. Very familiar with urban forms, Nioka joined a mini tour with Kanye West, Jay-Z and Common performing at a Pepsi Smash Festival. In theater, 2015, Nioka composed musical scores for the Mingus Takes readings directed by Talvin Wilkes. She performs regularly in a one man show with singer Artuo Padilla and pianist Dan Furman. She has also appeared at Hudson Opera House with John Kelly’s ‘Escape Artist’. Nioka’s chamber and orchestral experiences include performances with the New York Women’s Ensemble, Art of Memory by Kitty Brazzleton, Opera Ebony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Trilogy Opera Company, the Avery Brooks/Craig Harris Project (Harlem Gatehouse), Cassandra Wilson’s Traveling Miles Orchestra (Chicago/Lincoln Center) , David Murray’s ‘A Salute to Duke Ellington’ Orchestra, the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra and a featured Jazz solo with the Uptown String Quartet at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Jazz and new music groups have included Anthony Braxton, Anthony Davis/Molissa Fenley’s ‘Hemisphere’, Butch Morris Conductions, and recording/performances with Greg Osby’s ‘Symbol of Light’ project at Joe’s Pub and the Village Vanguard. The Cooper Moore’s Keyboard Project at Son D’Hiver Festival France won the best project in All About Jazz. Her TV and film credits include appearances on Oxygen, Good Morning America, Saturday Night Live and music for the Maid of Manhattan. Nioka studies the moving body connected to sound. In 2013, Nioka received the American Composer’s Forum Award/Live Music for Dance to create an electronic score for “Malignant” by Thread’s Dance Co. director Karen Charles, performances in Minneapolis and Atlanta. More commissions of Nioka’s music include compositions for the Joffrey Experience, Alvin Ailey ll and solos with the Errol Grimes Dance Company. Her work has premiered at the Joyce Theater, Late Nite in Minneapolis, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Rush Arts Gallery, Blue Heron Theater, Symphony Space and Martha Graham Studios. Nioka works extensively with Rent choreographer, Marlies Yearby. Her work on “Woomen” has evolved into healing, sound and movement workshops. Nioka performs regularly with her Firey String Sistas! As a producer, she creates a yearly season for female string improvisors at the Firey Strings Company. She is dedicated to ‘giving back’ community. She has begun to create a library of new works, arrangements, CDs and workbooks through the Firey Strings Company. Nioka’s passion for the cello, it’s evolution and endless possibilities keeps her busy extending into the future.
Nioka is a native New Yorker, has attended the High School of Music & Art. She has a BM from the Aaron Copeland School of Music, Queens College, additional studies at the New School Jazz and Suzuki Certification from School for Strings in New York.
Passionately driven to create good music; arranger and composer Marvin Dolly combines his love for jazz with broad influences from calypso and Brazilian music to create his signature style. Originally from the beautiful Island of Trinidad and Tobago, Marvin started playing the guitar at very young age studying the classical guitar and taking part in various music festivals in the Caribbean. Gaining popularity Marvin began touring extensively throughout the Caribbean, United States, Canada, and Europe. Feeling the need to pursue his musical career further Marvin moved to London to study at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance where he had the opportunity to study with great musicians from around the world including : Chris Newland , Dario Cortese, Amit Chatterjee (Joe Zawinul, Richard Bona, Etienne Mabappe) Gianluca Corona, Iain Scott, Phil Capone, Mike Stern (Miles Davis, Blood Sweat and Tears, Michael Brecker ) .
Moving back to Trinidad, Marvin was quickly hired by the University of the Southern Caribbean as a guitar tutor, teaching over a hundred students a week and holding master classes to help students to develop their improvisation skills in a live situation. He also played in parties and wedding on weekends. Marvin has an optimistic outlook on life and feels that every experience is charged with the capacity to transform. Working heavy on the New York scene Marvin has played with top musicians like: Lonnie Plaxico, Mcclenty Hunter, Freddie Bryant, Wess “Warndaddy” Anderson, Ben Williams, Jon Coward, Dayna Stephens, Renee Neufville, Paul Beaudry, Neal Smith, Nioka Workman, NirFelder, Luques Curtis, Mark Shim, Alvester Garnett, Willerm Delisfort, Obed Calvaire, Etienne Charles and Mimi Jones just to name a few.
Marvin has perfected his technique over the years and 80% of his gigs in New York City are solo gigs. With the attention he has already received, Marvin is pushing himself to have his voice defined in music, both as a sideman and as a bandleader.
With a style and passion for music unmatched by any, JS Williams has established himself as one of this generation’s most eclectic artists. He combines every element of music he has been influenced by to create sonorities that resonate with each listener.
As a New York City native, Williams began honing his musical skills at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts under renown educators Justin DiCioccio and Bob Stewart. Upon graduation, he perfected his gift for the trumpet at Howard University under accomplished trumpeter Fred Irby, III for a year. His education in trumpet performance was completed at The New School under the tutelage of Cecil Bridgewater, Reggie Workman, Jimmie Owens, Charles Tolliver, and Valery Ponomarev. Williams’ education in composition and arranging was refined at Queens College under acclaimed trumpeter/arranger Michael Philip Mossman.
JS Williams has been fortunate enough to perform at some of the world’s most famous venues to include: The BlueNote (New York City and Japan), Avery Fisher Hall (Lincoln Center), Bohemian Caverns, Blues Alley, Smalls, and Ginny’s Supper Club. He has graced the stage with a wide array of artists to include: Bilal, Gregory Porter, Cheryl Pepsii Riley, Winard Harper, and Marc Cary.
Williams’ acumen for sight-reading and musical versatility has given him the opportunity to perform with The Revive Big Band, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The New Ray Charles Orchestra, The Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, The Valery Ponomorev Big Band and The Chuck Brown horn section.
Trumpeter of the Year (2013)- tied with superb trumpeter Donvonte McCoy, Washington DC City Paper, Honorable Mention, John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and Honorable Mention, USA Songwriting Contest are a few of the awards JS Williams has been fortunate to receive in his career. Also, JS Williams’ debut recording, “The Late BLUEmer”, has garnered acclaim for its thought-provoking melodies, lush harmonies, and shines with a group of stellar, young musicians.
Aside from his work as a performing artist, JS Williams also conducts clinics around the country on improvisation, music history, and music theory. His propensity for extending the oral tradition of music has garnered him praise from mentors and contemporaries alike.
JS Williams continues to study, educate, and perform music of various styles and genres around the country.
Drummer Dorota Piotrowska, originally from Lubin, Poland is known on the New York jazz scene for her swing feel and compositions that encompass modern themes rooted in traditional rhythms. Her band is comprised of a lively mix of musicians that seamlessly blend neo-bop and Latin influences in a progressive eclectic sound that references her background in dance and literature.
After studying classical piano from the age of seven to thirteen, Dorota discovered the freedom of the drums when a high school friend invited her to his band’s jam session. She recalls sitting in a corner when the friend handed her a pair of drum sticks and jokingly demanded she play. “I thought he was nuts but when I sat down at the drums, I discovered something new,” she said. ” I found my voice within. It was natural and I had something to say that was different than when I played piano,” she continued. “I was converted.”
Dorota attended the University of Wroclaw where in 2006, she received a B.A. in French Philology, which gave her a life long appreciation for story telling and the structure of form. She combined her college studies with her love of music, performing and touring with a Cuban ensemble. After University, she decided to continue her passion for jazz at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam where she was introduced to the music of Ralph Peterson. A person of strong commitment, Dorota was inspired to move to Groningen, Holland to study with Mr. Peterson who has since become her musical and life mentor. A one week college trip to NYC resulted in her enrolling in an exchange program at Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY and later transferring to The New School where she earned a B.A. in Jazz Performance with a concentration in drums in 2012. Dorota’s interest in international affairs led her to pursure a Master degree in International Relations which she obtained in 2015 at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership in New York.
Ms. Piotrowska gained valuable performance experience everywhere she studied. While in Amsterdam she met and toured with internationally famed trumpeter Saskia Laroo and also came under the tutelage of drummer Nasheet Waits whose initial confidence inspired her to commit to a career in jazz and to seek out the opportunity to study in the United States. Since arriving in the US in 2010, Dorota has performed at Carnegie Hall with classical composer Bob Chilcott, Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall with classical composer Will Todd in a piece conducted by famous Elena Sharkova and with jazz notables George Garzone, Jeremy Pelt, Lonnie Plaxico, Rory Stuart, Sam Newsome, Stacy Dilliard, Mike Rodriguez, Lafayette Harris, Benito Gonzales, Anthony Wonsey, Eric Wyatt, Greg Lewis, Carlo De Rosa, and The Curtis Brothers. In 2013 Ms. Piotrowska performed with her band and a special guest Jeremy Pelt at Jazz nad Odra Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. She has also participated in clinics led by Jeremy Pelt, another of mentors and appeared at Iridium, Smalls, Zinc Bar and Harlem’s famed Lenox Lounge.
Dorota’s music is an expression of her life experiences. Her parents are doctors but she chose to be a musician which to her is another way to heal people. She grew up partly on a farm where folkloric music was a daily reality. French chanson was introduced to her by her first French teacher. “I owe so much to Ms. Kujawiakowska who taught me to dream and be crazy enough to imagine that things are possible, that they can happen. She at 60, was so much more open-minded than I was at 16. I was inspired to live my life my way and my mum’s love and support made it possible.” Her studies with master drummers Kenny Washington, Ralph Peterson, Gregory Hutchinson and Nasheet Waits have led her to find new avenues to tell her story through collaborations with choreographers and poets.