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Jazz Arts Group opens Inside Track series with Akina Adderley & the Vintage Playboys

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by Mark Subel on August 28, 2012

The Jazz Arts Group’s Inside Track series opens its 2012-13 season on September 7 at both a familiar and not-so-familiar venue, the historic Garden Theatre (now managed by Short North Stage). First opened in 1920 as a vaudeville and silent movie theatre, the Garden Theatre will be transformed into an intimate jazz cabaret for Austin-based soul band Akina Adderley & the Vintage Playboys.

Front woman, vocalist, primary songwriter and band leader Akina Adderley lights up the stage as “the little woman with the big voice” blending elements of rock, funk, and old-school R&B. Her powerful presence is irresistible, and KUT 90.5 FM declared her “phenomenal vocals call to mind the sounds of classic soul and R&B.” Granddaughter of jazz trumpet great Nat Adderley, grandniece of jazz saxophone legend Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, and daughter of Nat Adderley, Jr. (producer/pianist/band leader for Luther Vandross), Akina brings a distinguished musical pedigree to the Vintage Playboys, who are a tight group of seasoned players from an eclectic musical background.

Akina, born in 1979, never met her grand-uncle “Cannonball,” who died in 1975 at age 46, but she kept a very close relationship with her grandfather, who died when she was a junior in college. “I saw him several times a year,” recalls his granddaughter. “My sister and I went on tour with him to Europe when I was 10. I still have a lot of fondness for trumpet players and cornet players. I often wonder if my playing music where horns are such an integral part is because I listened to soul stuff when I was a kid or because my grandfather played trumpet.”

The brainchild of four inspired musicians, AAVP is now, as declared in the Austin American Statesman, “a dynamite nine-piece driven by [Akina’s] rich, emotive pipes,” and has become a vital part of Austin’s newly resurrected soul scene. The band has been playing for nearly three years, and has shared bills with such acts as Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Budos Band, The Greyhounds, and Carolyn Wonderland. On the heels of tremendously well-received showcases at SXSW ’09 and ’10, tapings for “Radio Without Borders” on KUT 90.5 FM, News 8 Austin’s Summer Rooftop Series, and Balcony TV Austin, an auspicious debut album release, and road shows from Memphis to Los Angeles, AAVP’s fan base continues to grow and excitement surrounding their live performances is steadily increasing. Mayor Lee Leffingwell of Austin, TX even proclaimed June 28, 2012 as “Akina Adderley Day.”

AAVP’s eponymous debut full-length record—which the Austin Chronicle described as having “laid out [Akina’s] dark, rich vocal chops over the Vintage Playboys’ brassy punch”—was released on March 28, 2009. Their sophomore album, Say Yes, is scheduled for a fall 2012 release.

Advance tickets are on sale now for $20 (general admission) and only available online at www.jazzartsgroup.org. Showtime is 8:00 PM.

The 2012-13 Inside Track season also features CJO all-stars Byron Stripling and Bobby Floyd in the post-holiday show “Swingin’ the New Year” (Dec. 28, 2012 at the Lincoln Theatre); Columbus’ favorite neo-funk band Mojoflo in their Motown tribute “Motor City Soul Revue” (Mar. 2, 2013 at the Lincoln Theatre); virtuoso jazz bassist and film composer Kyle Eastwood (Apr. 6, 2013 at Short North Stage’s Green Room); and the ear-bending collaboration of the New Orleans funk of the New Basics Brass Band and banjo-less bluegrass of The Relentless Mules in “Brass & Grass” (Apr. 26, 2013 at Clintonville Woman’s Club). Call 614-294-5200 or visit www.jazzartsgroup.org for more information.

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