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Jazz in the Basement: The Nicole Connelly Quartet

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Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K Street Northwest

#03 (Entrance on 20th St. lower level)

Washington, DC 20006

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Jazz in the Basement is a monthly concert series featuring local jazz artists, organized by the DC Public Library and curated by Bertrand Uberall and John Cook. The concerts are intended to highlight young artists, new composers, or unique jazz sounds to broaden the listening landscape of our Washington, DC audiences. DC Public Library is a proud supporter of our local music community and looks forward to expanding valuable resources to assist musicians in their creative and professional endeavors.

This August, we are excited to present trombonist Nicole Connelly and her quartet featuring Derrick Michaels (tenor sax), Dominic Smith (drums), and Max Murray (bass). The program will include a number of compositions by German avant-garde trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, as well as other pieces.

Admission for the concert is free; limited seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

Nicole Connelly (trombone)
Derrick Michaels (tenor sax)
Dominic Smith (drums)
Max Murray (bass)

Trombonist and improviser Nicole Connelly grew up in the small rural town of Tolland, CT. From a non-musical family, Nicole, alongside her twin sister Erin, started to develop a relationship with music while attending Tolland High School and the Litchfield Jazz Camp. These formative experiences brought long-lasting musical friendships and developed her desire to pursue a musical education and career.

Starting in 2012, as a Jazz and Commercial Music Major at Towson University, Nicole was immersed in the world of improvisation and found refuge in creative music, the “avant-garde”. With limitless possibilities and a landscape of sounds, this gave way to finding her distinct voice.

While still in school, Nicole founded the Creative Music Consortium in March 2016, now co-curated with Baltimore-based drummer Asher Herzog, to provide musicians in the surrounding area with a creative musical outlet. Nicole graduated from Towson University in 2016 with a Bachelors degree in Jazz/Commercial Music. After spending a year playing Trombone professionally in Baltimore full-time, she now resides in New York City where she continues her creative and professional journey.

Over the years, Nicole has studied with a variety of musicians: Alan Raph, while in high school; expanding her post-academic career at Towson University with many faculty members, most notably with Jim McFalls and Dave Ballou. Nicole has also studied with Marshall Gilkes, Ryan Keberle among many others. https://www.nicoleconnellymusic.com/


Derrick Michaels is a Baltimore-based tenor saxophonist | composer | educator, and an inexorable force in the creative music community. Boasting a rich, expressive tone and a propensity for dynamic performance, Michaels harnesses the primordial impulse to create - bringing a kaleidoscopic process of melodic architecture to a myriad of egalitarian improvisational ensembles.

Michaels communicates with vitality, romanticism, and reckless abandon - enveloping listeners into the process of his music as it unfolds into the present moment. His deeply personal approach to performance & instruction favors expressive nuance over idiomatic reverence, invoking the rich expressive history of the tenor saxophone while refracting it through his own prism of creative purpose. Each performance both demonstrates & defies his strong roots in jazz by plunging unapologetically into the unknown.

Over the years, many important musical relationships have developed with the likes of Ellery Eskelin, Susan Alcorn, Michael Formanek, Dave Ballou, John Dierker, Eric Kennedy, Mike Kuhl, Jon Seligman, Zach Swanson, Theljon Allen, Alex Weber, Jeff Reed, Phil Cunneff, Ben Frock, Chris Pumphrey, Sarah Hughes, Jarrett Gilgore & many more. https://baltimoresaxophone.com/


Dominic Smith is a drummer based in the Baltimore/D.C. area with 30+ years of experience playing with the cream of the crop of local players as well as visiting musicians from New York and elsewhere and has appeared as a sideman on more than 50 recordings. https://www.facebook.com/DominicSmithDrummer


Bassist Max Murray began making music at the age of four. The son of a professional musician, music was ever-present in his childhood home near Boston, MA. First drawn to brass & woodwind instruments, the double bass found him at age 13. While in high school, he first studied with Domenic Pantaleo, and then with Boston Symphony Orchestra bassist, Lawrence Wolfe.

At seventeen Max was accepted into the United States Navy Music Program, and joined the Navy after high school graduation. Following boot camp, he attended the Armed Forces School of Music and graduated at the top of his class. He then was forced to endure arduous tours of duty with Navy Bands in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and Newport, RI. In 1985, Max won an appointment to the US Naval Academy Band in Annapolis, MD, where he remained until 2000. During his 20+ years of service he performed a broad spectrum of music, including; top-40, rock 'n roll, R&B, tons of marches, classical literature, show tunes, rap, go-go, country, salsa, big band & small group jazz.

Max is grateful for to have studied with, or participated in master classes with some of his musical heros, including Larry Wolfe, Paul Johnson, John Clayton, Rufus Reid, Glen Moore, Buster Williams, and Lynn Seaton. After hearing Max play, legendary bassist Milt "The Judge" Hinton, said, ".... it ain't gonna get much better than that, that's beautiful.....!"

In addition to the brilliant, inspiring & diverse musicians he collaborates with in the Baltimore/DC area, Max is honored to have shared the stage with nationally known artists, including Henry Mancini, Don Menza, Mose Allison, Jimmy Witherspoon, Lee Greenwood, Neil Sedaka, Louie Bellson, Javon Jackson, Antonio Hart, Gene Bertoncini, Chuchito Valdes, The Four Aces, John D'earth, Dave Samuels, Poncho Sanchez, Rogerio Boccato, Richie Cole, and Donny McCaslin.

An in-demand musical theatre performer, Max can often be found in the pit orchestra of DC area theatres, anchoring productions on both electric and acoustic bass. By day, Max often teaches Jazz outreach programs in Washington DC poublic schools with Washington Performing Arts Society. Max lives with his family near the Chesapeake Bay, where he maintains a steady performing and recording schedule. http://www.maxbass.com/

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Goethe-Institut Washington

1990 K Street Northwest

#03 (Entrance on 20th St. lower level)

Washington, DC 20006

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