New York-based flautist and composer Claudia Hayden will take the stage at Center Street Arts, 910 Center St. in Conyers, on March 15 for two shows at 7 and 9 p.m. (Special Photo)
On March 15, Center Street Arts will be the scene of a jazz summit that will showcase two of the more gifted practitioners of woodwinds.
On that evening in Olde Town, Rockdale County resident and saxophonist Derwin Daniels will share the stage with acclaimed flautist and composer Claudia Hayden, whose work — which expertly melds funk, New World music and old-school swing — has made her a favorite of New York City’s jazz community and a well-known radio entity on these shores and in Europe.
Daniels, who will celebrate his 53rd birthday the day of the concert, said his portion of the show will include cuts from his latest album “Stand,” which he started putting together last fall. With three albums already under his belt, Daniels placed his own solo pursuits on the shelf for some five years while he toured with Sugarfoot’s Ohio Players, an offshoot of the incredibly popular funk band from the 1970s and 1980s.
“While I was playing with Sugarfoot, I was still doing some writing, but I basically put my music on the backburner,” said Daniels, who added that the legendary guitarist and vocalist died last January. “I didn’t record much except for when I was putting stuff down for other artists.”
Assenting that his new release is a collage of styles ranging from cool jazz to hip hop, Daniels said the 10-song “Stand” came together with help from a variety of different sources, including producer and composer Zaytoven, who has created beats for the likes of Gucci Mane, Soulja Boy, Usher, Young Jeezy and Nicki Minaj, and producers Earl Fleming and Daniel Jackson.
“The tunes have all been put together and we’re close to mastering it,” said the Texas native, who in the daytime teaches emergency management classes at Georgia Perimeter College.
“Some of the tunes I recorded at my house, and on other tunes I worked with (producers) Earl Fleming and Daniel Jackson, who did the majority of the CD. I also pulled some tracks from a hip hop artist named Zaytoven. We’re doing everything from Duke Ellington to hip hop.”
Daniels and Hayden, a Louisiana native, have played together on a number of occasions and have plans to take their show on the road later this year. Joining Daniels and Hayden at the Center Arts show will be Eric Essix (guitar), Tyrone Jackson (piano), Sean Michael Ray (bass), Vernon Daniels (drums) and Ahsa Ahla (percussion).
“When she comes to town, I play with her,” Daniels said of Hayden. “I’ve been knowing Claudia for a long time now. We opened for (jazz vocalist) Gregory Porter and we’ve played Wednesday WindDowns at Centennial Olympic Park … With the CD release, I’m hoping to do a bunch of shows and Claudia and I are planning to do some things at festivals and sit-down venues as Lady and the Gents.”
Daniels added that he enjoys performing with Hayden due to her abilities and versatility.
“When you hear the tone of her flute, it just grabs you and pulls you in,” he said.
“She gets such a full, round tone, which is hard to get on the flute. And she can play such a wide variety of styles – she’s introduced me to a lot of different kinds of music and she can perform so many different styles. She brings a lot of energy to the stage and she’s also a very beautiful lady.”
Tickets for the concerts, which take place at 7 and 9 p.m. and are presented by the Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts, are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
For more information, visit www.conyersarts.org. For more information on Claudia Hayden, visit www.claudiahayden.com, and for more information on Derwin Daniels, visit www.sonicbids.com/band/derwindaniels.
Chris Starrs is a freelance writer based in Athens. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.