Waterbury’s Poli Club Summer Jazz Series kicks off June 24

WATERBURY — The 2022 Summer Jazz Series at the Palace Theater Poli Club opens Friday with the Champian Fulton Trio.

According to New England Arts and Entertainment, the presenter of the series, Champian Fulton is considered one of the most gifted pure jazz musicians of her generation. Recognized as a rising jazz star by Downbeat magazine’s Critics’ Poll, Fulton was also named Pianist and Vocalist of 2019 by Hot House magazine’s Readers’ Poll.

Fulton grew up with music at home; his mother and father (trumpeter and jazz educator Stephen Fulton) recognized his fascination with music from an early age. The presence of her father’s musician friends, including Clark Terry and Major Holley, inspired her to focus on jazz. His first paid musical engagement was with his own band at Clark Terry’s 75th birthday party at the age of 10. Since then, her piano and vocal skills have been recognized by her peers and critics as distinctive and sophisticated.

A mainstay of New York’s vibrant jazz scene, Fulton has performed with such musical personalities as Lou Donaldson, Frank Wess, Scott Hamilton, Buster Williams and Louis Hayes. From New York to Barcelona, ​​Champian’s swing style and charismatic performances have made her a guardian of jazz’s legacy. Champian heroes include Bud Powell, Red Garland, Erroll Garner, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington.

Fulton has 14 recordings to his name, according to a statement. His debut album, “Champian with David Berger & the Sultans of Swing”, was recorded after a two-year residency at the famed New York Jazz Club Birdland.

His releases “Sometimes I’m Happy” and “The Breeze and Me” featured his working trio. Champian’s 2016 album “After Dark” featuring jazz luminaries David Williams on bass, Lewis Nash on drums and Stephen Fulton on flugelhorn, features the music of Dinah Washington.


His 2020 release “Birdsong” celebrating the music of Charlie Parker features Scott Hamilton. Called “floating” by the New York Times, “Birdsong” was featured as Album of the Week by WRTI Philadelphia, JazzFM UK and TSF Jazz Paris.

The Summer Series continues on July 15 with the Matt Dwonszyk Sextet. Dwonszyk is an accomplished bassist, composer, arranger and educator from Rocky Hill. He graduated from the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, studying under his mentor and world-renowned bassist, Nat Reeves, then earned his master’s degree from SUNY Purchase College. Based in Brooklyn, NY since 2015, Dwonszyk still returns home to Connecticut to perform and teach.

Throughout his career, Dwonszyk has performed and recorded with many contemporaries as well as legendary jazz artists including Steve Davis, Harold Mabern, Jazzmeia Horn, Bennie Wallace, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Herlin Riley amongst so many. others. In 2018 Dwonszyk toured across Russia outside of the Rainy Days Jazz Festival and in 2019 he toured across Canada with the Oleg Butman Trio. His last tour dates back to 2020 with Jonathan Barber and Vision Ahead on the West Coast of the United States. He performs frequently at some of New York’s top jazz clubs, including Smalls Jazz Club, Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club, Smoke and The Blue Note. Dwonszyk’s debut recording, “Wonderful World”, was released in May 2019. He performs with his band, the Dwonztet, featuring some of the best jazz musicians on the scene today. Dwonszyk has been on the faculty of Manchester Community College since 2019, teaching Jazz Bass and leading master classes. He conducts ensembles at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz and teaches privately throughout New England.

The series ends August 12 with the Eddie Allen Quartet. Trumpeter, composer, arranger, author… Eddie Allen is one of the most versatile musicians on the New York scene. He is called upon to play everything from Jazz (big band as well as small ensembles) to R&B/Pop to Latin, Symphonic and Broadway, and everything in between. He studied music, theory and arrangement at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music in Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin in Green Bay before moving to the East Coast. He has worked with jazz greats like Art Blakey, Billy Harper, Randy Weston, Dizzy Gillespie, Henry Threadgill, Bobby Watson, Jon Faddis, Benny Carter, Panama Francis, Joe Henderson and Steve Turre. He has recorded and performed with, as well as composed for: Louis Hayes, Lester Bowie, Jack McDuff, Etta Jones & Houston Person, Mongo Santamaria, Chico Freeman, Charli Persip, Vanessa Rubin and Muhal Richard Abrams.

Showtimes are at 7 and 9 p.m., with doors and bar opening at 6:15 p.m. Seating is general admission. A serial ticket for all three shows is also available and includes reserved seating. Tickets are available at the Palace Theater box office at 203-346-2000 or at www.PalaceTheaterCT.org

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