Every now and then a uniquely talented artist, through fresh and innovative musical content, transfers a resurgence of life into the veins of a genre. This is indicative of Greg Manning’s passion to reach his listeners through melodic tunes that reach your soul. Greg Manning, who is the former keyboardist and music director for GRAMMY® Award-nominated artist Jonathan Butler and keyboardist for Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright, Will Downing, Richard Elliot, Brian McKnight, Chante Moore, and Kirk Whalum, just to mention a few, guides his listeners on a journey of life’s influences compiled into his highly anticipated solo project titled The Calling. The Calling, which features the talents of acclaimed guitarist Keb’Mo’ and smooth jazz artists Kirk Whalum and MIndi Abair, is the convergence of jazz, soul, and funk, combined with musical inspiration from artists such as, Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock. After touring extensively for ten years throughout the U.S., Europe, South Africa, and the U.K., Greg made a conscious decision to come off the road. Not too long thereafter, he started composing music for film and television. Yet, he felt it was time to do his own project. “I think for any sideman, he says, there always comes a time when you hear your own voice and you want to do your own thing,” and that’s exactly what he did. Greg began writing for The Calling in 2004 and officially released his solo project worldwide on iTunes on April 5th, 2010. “I wanted the project to be a great, coherent, accessible CD and not some hybrid thing that doesn't please anybody fully.” There is a lot to be said about Greg Manning the artist, but it would only take away from what his music has to say. Greg Manning is a Berklee College of Music alum and an amalgam of cultures. He was born in Nigeria and raised in Switzerland. Greg moved to Los Angeles in 2002 and has had an incredible career. He is a three-time certified platinum producer for Universal Music Switzerland, and has had several Swiss Chart toppers since 1996.
Greg Manning, the man and his music. Soul-Jazz at its best!
Jeff Ryan is one the most essential young voices in contemporary jazz today. From his uniquely relatable emotive tone to his explosive performance and stage presence, it's no question why he is a staple across the country in the jazz festival scene. Jeff has held consistent radio successes with 5 Billboard #1s, the 2020 Billboard Artist of the Year and Song of the Year in 2021 with his track “Sentimental Soul.” In 2018, his first year on the scene, he was awarded the JazzTrax Breakout Artist of 2018 and the Smooth Jazz Network Debut Artist of 2018. One of Jeff’s primary goals has always been in connecting to the audience through music and performance. From his first radio single, “Up and Up”, to now, he has shown how his soul-drenched sound and delivery is key to the future of smooth jazz. “I know what relates to people, from the bottom to the top of the horn, there’s a lot of variety to dig deep into peoples spirit and get them feeling the groove,” said Ryan. Jeff spent his teen years “cutting his teeth” with traveling soul bands and weekly performances at rowdy bars with a not-so-legal ID. “It was a lot of fun playing those early bar shows,” said Jeff, “I had to stay on the down low about my age, but the nightly experience performing for engaging crowds really helped pave the way to the performer I am today. He has performed as a featured solo artist coast to coast in the largest jazz festivals in the country. He has also been performing alongside performer/producer Greg Manning, where they have performed across the country and internationally at festivals such as the Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival.
Ryan was influenced by smooth/urban icons like Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright, Dave Koz and Grover Washington to jazz legends Michael Brecker, Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon. Some of his other influences include Jeff Lorber, Norman Brown, Rick Braun, Wes Montgomery, Lee Ritenour, Earl Klugh and Jonathan Butler. Taking the baton from his mentors, he has shown with his consistent quality and feel, he is not just a saxophonist, but an essential artist worthy of your attention.