Kenny Garrett Returns to Blues Alley


” Someone should post a storm warning before a Kenny Garrett concert”

                                                                                        – The Washington Post

      Legendary saxophonist Kenny Garrett recently returned to the DMV for an in-demand (eight shows in four nights) at the historic Blues Alley in Georgetown. As crowds lined the alley outside of the venue and down the alley, it became apparent that DC was well aware of the high-energy inspiring set that Garrett continues to deliver and knew they were in for a treat. As the summer festival season begins to heat up, so does the intensity of Kenny Garrett’s musical prowess touring across the globe and particularly in the U.S. Just days after a four night run to celebrate the grand opening of the newly opened premier jazz venue Keystone Korner in Baltimore, MD, Garrett was just down I-95 in the nation’s capital playing the intimate Blues Alley for a stellar series of shows with his powerhouse quintet giving devoted jazz lovers an amazing performance which seems to be even better than his uplifting performances just last year at Blues Alley. 


Kenny Garrett has played alongside some of the jazz greats including Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard, Pharoah Sanders, and McCoy Tyner just to name a few. A ferocious saxophonist exuding all of his might into every note, Garrett is truly in a league of his own when it comes to the saxophone. His extensive catalog of works portray his breadth of music experience, knowledge, and creativity. Garrett is an avid listener of all types of music, expanding his ear beyond the realm of jazz and incorporating it into a beautiful melody that we can all identify and relate to. Essentially, Kenny Garrett bridges the gap between traditional jazz and progressive jazz while adding in every other genre in between. One could argue that Garrett is one of the greatest saxophone players around today.


His current quintet line-up includes: DC native Corcoran Holt (bass), Vernell Brown, Jr. (piano), Samuel Laviso (drums), and veteran Rudy Bird (percussion). The quintet incorporates the perfect mix of veteran musicians along with  younger creative minds to deliver a sound that could only compliment Garrett’s fierce style of playing. His set included favorites as “Chasing the Wind“, “Haynes Here” (a tribute to Roy Haynes), “Sing a Song of Song“, and “Wayne’s Thang” ( a tribute to Wayne Shorter). Garrett closed the show with the help of the audience in moving renditions of “Wheatgrass Shot”, “Do Your Dance“, followed by an exceptional five minute saxophone solo that totally brought the house down! And finally after the band exited the stage, Garrett enlisted the crowd once again in an acoustic vocal exchange of syncopated melodies bringing the crowd to a thunderous applause. 


 Kenny Garrett’s performances bring to mind a quote by The Washington Post,                            –  “Someone should post a storm warning before a Kenny Garrett concert.” 


For more info / tour dates:


 –   Jamaal Bailey 


Jazzmeia Horn’s D.C. Hang

    Dynamically empowering vocalist, Jazzmeia Horn, recently graced the DMV  with a stunning performance at The Library of Congress‘ historic Coolidge Auditorium followed by an amazing impromptu appearance on stage at Takoma Station with DC’s own Vybe Band. Clearly, the Grammy nominated jazz vocalist made the most of her birthday visit to the nation’s capital sharing her remarkable voice while gaining an immediate following of fans in the process. A truly magical day of music in the DMV with historic vibes to remember for quite some time.


    Jazzmeia Horn, a Dallas native now living in New York City, recalls singing “This Little Light of Mine” at 3 years old for her grandmother Harriet Horn – a jazz pianist who named her Jazzmeia. Deeply rooted in the church, music was always a constant in the tightly-knit Horn household. An alumni of Dallas’ famed Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts along with the likes of noted alumni Erykah Badu, Norah Jones, and Roy Hargrove. Jazzmeia Horn’s mesmerizing voice gained global attention after winning the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Competition in 2013 and the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2015. Her debut album, “A Social Call”, is a beautiful blend of Horn’s subtly smooth voice along with a powerful defining message in her music of spiritual, cultural, and social awareness that immediately received worldwide accolades among the jazz community earning a Grammy Award nomination. Her musical influences include Betty Carter, Sarah Vaughan, and Rachelle Ferrell (All highly respected vocal giants that Horn’s exceptionally gifted voice affectations bring to mind). Jazzmeia performs around the world, from jazz festivals in France, South Africa, and Australia to jazz clubs in Moscow, Tokyo, and Taiwan. 


     As part of the Library of Congress Concert Series, Horn performed in the Coolidge Auditorium with her quintet: Tadataka Unno (piano), Henry Conerway III (drums), Barry Stephenson (bass), and Irwin Hall (saxophone). An exceptional group of young musicians that compliment Horn’s undeniable voice. She keeps them on their toes with her call and response among her band, often directly matching note for note and beat for beat with each musician. A dynamic that Sarah Vaughan and Betty Cater perfected. Horn captivated the audience delivering an inspiring set and even including a heartwarming rendition of DC’s own Marvin Gayes‘ classic “What’s Going On” which drew thunderous applause from the audience. How fitting to have Jazzmeia Horn performing on the very stage that Jelly Roll Morton recorded some of the very first jazz recordings some 80 years ago.


After a stellar performance at The Library of Congress, Jazzmeia stopped by Takoma Station in uptown DC to check out the DMV’s go-go scene and celebrate her birthday with the Vybe Band while in town. What followed was nothing short of EPIC! Horn is invited onstage after the band’s first set and brings the house down with a soulful rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady”! Using her vocal talents, Horn scats and belts out rhythmic harmonies all so familiar in the go-go realm. Her saxophonist, Irwin Hall joined in with a rousing solo while mixing it up with the Vybe Band brass section. It was an experience that brought together two very important genres of music for an amazing night that would have made Chuck Brown, Sarah Vaughan, and Betty Carter proud!

Jazzmeia Horn is set to release her highly anticiapted sophomore album this summer. With her extensive touring and cultural awareness, Jazzmeia is developing an already promising career as a powerhouse vocalist able to cross musical genres and inspire the future of jazz! Thank you for sharing your gift with the DMV and making your performance a very memorable one in the go-go community. We look forward to the return of Jazzmeia Horn here in the DMV! 


For more info on Jazzmeia Horn:



-Jamaal Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory)



Jazzmeia Horn: The New Queen of Jazz

The jazz community has been abuzz lately about a young emerging vocalist by the name of Jazzmeia Horn. Her dynamic and soulful voice can be heard at festivals around the world earning her a 2018 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. With a beautiful vocal range and humble appreciation of her musical past, Jazzmeia Horn brings forth memories of greats like Sarah Vaughan, Betty Carter, and Nancy Wilson. Her debut album “A Social Call” is an eclectic mixture of vintage jazz and contemporary jazz laced with R&B influence. As a rising jazz vocalist and conscious artist to the social and cultural issues plaguing our generation, Jazzmeia Horn is making her voice heard in the jazz community and the response has been overwhelming. 

Photo By: Eric Bailey (UHA/AMCL Media)

   Urban Heat Advisory recently caught up with Jazzmeia Horn after her inspiring performance at the Richmond Jazz Festival in Richmond, VA. 

  Filmed & Edited By: Eric Bailey (UHA/AMCL Media) / Executive Producer: Eric Bailey (UHA/AMCL Media)  / Co-Producer & Interviewer: Jamaal Bailey (UHA)  / Co-Producer: William Bailey (UHA)

 Jazzmeia Horn (her original birth name) was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Raised in the church and of a musical household, she developed an early interest in music.  She later attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Dallas’ prestigious arts school with notable alumni as Erykah Badu, Norah Jones, Roy Hargrove, among others. Moving to New York City in 2009 to pursue her solo career, Horn won the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition in 2013 and later captured the top honor at the Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition. Jazzmeia’s debut album “Social Call” was released last year and named #1 ranking in 2017 according to JazzWeek. Relevant to the title, this album speaks to the soul. With classic R&B ballads mixed in with jazz standards, Jazzmeia Horn is able to share her musical gift with listeners both young and old while displaying her gratitude to the jazz community. Her remarkable voice is uplifting and her conscious message is always inspiring. Jazzmeia Horn is one beautifully gifted artist that you don’t want to miss! 

Photo By: Eric Bailey (UHA/AMCL Media)


More info @:

Written By: Jamaal Bailey (UHA)





The 2018 DC Jazz Festival Merges Traditional, Modern and Emerging Jazz Excellence

      The 2018 DC Jazz Festival, held on the beautifully renovated  District Wharf waterfront, proved to be one of the most successful and vibrant jazz showcases the area has experienced in many years. A week long exhibition of many various jazz artists capped off with a free weekend festival on the DC waterfront and closing show at the newly opened Anthem Theater. This year’s festival introduced an array of exceptionally talented artists that are taking the jazz world by storm. 


     Urban Heat Advisory was in attendance to capture this year’s festival and share some of the highlights of one of the most distinguished jazz events on the east coast. Featured artists included: Leslie Odom, Jr., Maceo Parker, Robert Glasper, Christian Scott,  Pharaoh Sanders, Terrance Blanchard, Terri Lynn Carrington, Roy Hargrove, and a countless mixture of seasoned and emerging jazz artists. This years event will definitely go down as one of DC’s best, thanks to the tireless work and meticulous planning from DC Jazz Festival Executive Director Sunny Sumter and Artistic Director Willard Jenkins. 

Christian Scott  (aTunde Adjuah) performs a stellar set @ The 2018 DC Jazz Festival                        District Wharf Pier – 6/16/18
Addison Frei of AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton @ The 2018 DC Jazz Festival performing at DC Wharf Pier  6/16/18


Robert Glasper speaking during the DC Jazz Festival meet & greet session at DC Wharf Pier 6/16/18
AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton at the DC Jazz Festival 6/16/18
Leslie Odom, Jr. electrifying the crowd @ The 2018 DC Jazz Festival at The Anthem, DC 6/16/18


Behind the Scenes at The 2018 DC Jazz Festival 6/16/18



– Jamaal Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory) 

photo / video: Eric Bailey / William Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory) 

Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival 2018 Brings Caribbean Music, Cuisine and Culture to DC



Washington, DC has long been recognized as a capital city with a large reggae following. A city that has hosted almost every major and emerging reggae act from Bob Marley & the Wailers @ Capital Centre in Landover (1978) to Peter Tosh live at the Bayou in Georgetown (1979). Bunny Wailer has played the MCI Center in Chinatown and Third World has frequented various different venues in and around DC. Reggae music thrives in a politically driven city with a remarkably diverse mix of culturally and conscious music lovers, making it perfectly fitting that the capital city hosts a definitive festival showcasing Caribbean culture. An annual event giving locals and tourist the opportunity to taste delicious island jerk cuisine while watching performances from an array of reggae artists. The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival does just that – placing DC on the map among reggae festivals nationwide and continuing to grow each year. 


   Now in it’s third year, the DC Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival 2018 continued to deliver an excellent showcase of reggae artists, delicious island cuisine, cultural exhibitions, and a Caribbean themed marketplace – making it the largest Caribbean Food Festival in the country.  Held at the RFK Stadium Lot – this years sponsors included: Grace Foods, VP Records, Shoppers Food, PNC Bank, Giant Food, Guinness, and Ablazin Radio. Festival-goers enjoyed free cooking demonstrations and food tastings from various celebrity chefs at the Shoppers Food Culinary Pavilion. Along with a host of Jerk infused dish options offered by food vendors from many different Caribbean eateries based in and around DC. 

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 1.08.05 AM

    This years festival presented a powerhouse line-up of both veteran and emerging reggae heavyweights – Third World, Elephant Man, Alison Hinds, New Kingston, and Xyclone. Additional performers included Sounds of Culture, DJ Ricky Platinum, and the Malcolm X Drummers & Dancers.

Vendors lined the festival trail around the transformed stadium lot with beautifully hand-crafted merchandise and memorabilia. But it was the inviting aroma of island cuisine that permeated throughout the festival, luring festival-goers to experience delicious jerk dishes from Caribbean eateries representing the entire DMV and beyond! Offering up savory dishes of jerk chicken, curry goat, oxtail, rice & peas, jerk shrimp, and almost any island dish you could imagine. The festival also included a beef patty eating contest in which one lucky young winner walked away with the $500 grand prize! 

On a weekend where the forecast called for thunderstorms and heavy rain, the festival endured under a cloudy overcast setting without a single drop of rain – making the perfect setting for this years Jerk Festival!  Festival organizers did an excellent job of transforming the huge RFK Stadium Lot into an island-themed park complete with a cozy VIP area and impressive stage sound and lighting set-up. 

Opening the show were the locally-based Sounds of Culture and the Malcolm X Drummers & Dancers, setting the vibes early providing an excellent cultural demonstration of percussive song and dance representing the sounds of the African diaspora. Another local act, Xyclone warmed up the growing crowd with selections from his Billboard chart hit release. In between artistst sets, DJ Ricky Platinum kept the swelling crowd moving spinning reggae and dancehall favorites. Emerging young group New Kingston delivered an inspiring set bringing their trademark sound to the DMV audience. The group, based out of Brooklyn New York, consists of three brothers (Tahir, Courtney Jr., and Stephen Panton) along with their father (Courtney, Sr.) and are rapidly making their imprint in the reggae community.

Reggae artist Xyclone (top left); Malcolm X Drummers and Dancers (top right), and New Kingston performing at the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, RFK Stadium Lot, Washington, DC   6/10/18

Veteran reggae legends Third World opened their set with a medley of chart topping hits from their extensive catalog of music which spans some 45 years. Many festival onlookers sang along with the group on hits such as “96 Degrees in the Shade”, “Now That We Found Love”, “Try Jah Love”, and “Committed”. Founding member Stephen “Cat” Coore later performed a heartwarming solo rendition of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” on cello – honoring past reggae legends Bunny Rugs (former Third World lead vocalist), Peter Tosh, Bob Marley as well as dedicating the tune to former president Barack Obama. Third World continues to deliver their signature classics and bring the energy and crowd to its peak. They still remain true “Reggae Ambassadors” as their signature song implies.

     Third World performing at the 2018 Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival @ RFK Stadium Lot, Washington, DC   6/10/18

The Caribbean Queen – Alison Hinds brought the crowd to it’s feet with high energy soca hits including “Roll it Gal”, “High”, and her newly released “Shellings”. Hinds, the Queen of Soca, delivered a sizzling set transforming the festival into a frenzy of soca dancing. Closing out the show was “The energy God” Elephant Man. His electrifying performance transformed the festival into full dancehall mode with popular hits including “Signal the Plane”, “Pon Di River”, and “Sweep”. Towards the end of his set Elephant Man called audience members onto the stage to show off his signature dance moves, but it was his daughter Haley who stole the show taking center stage and showing the jerk festival that she had a few dance moves of her own. 

“The Energy God” Elephant Man firing up the crowd at Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival DC

     The energy and crowd turnout undoubtedly made this years Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival one of DC’s most successful Caribbean themed festivals this city has ever hosted, leaving fans eagerly anticipating next years festival. For those who may want to experience this high-energy event or who may have missed out on this years DC festival, Grace Foods will host another installment of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival at Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica-Queens, New York on July 22nd followed by a closing Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival on November 11th at Markham Park in South Florida. 

For more info:       (NYC Festival) 

                     (South Florida Festival)

    Special thanks to all of the hard-working festival staff for brilliantly coordinating and executing a remarkable day of delicious food, amazing live entertainment and cultural awareness. Of note, we would also like to thank Richard Lue (VP Records) and Naisha Nicholson (Urban Relations) for graciously allowing Urban Heat Advisory access to this years amazing festival experience! 


 – Jamaal Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory) 


An Evening with Esperanza Spalding @ Library of Congress

Four – time Grammy Award winner, activist, educator, and multi-talented musician Esperanza Spalding was recently recognized by the Library of Congress in Washington, DC – where she performed a stellar set in front of a sold-out Coolidge Auditorium. Spalding –  a composer, vocalist, lyricist, bassist and violinist has established herself as a progressively innovative artist who continues to inspire and uplift her listeners. A voracious live performer – she has shared the stage with musical legends like Herbie Hancock, Prince, Alicia Keys and performed for former President Barack Obama several times at the White House and during his Nobel Peace Prize awarding ceremonies. It was only fitting that during her recent performance, Spalding was recognized and honored with a beautiful piano and violin commissioned by the Library of Congress.


   The historical element of Coolidge Auditorium at The Library of Congress will always hold significant value. It was where Jelly Roll Morton – one of the jazz music’s first arrangers, spent countless days and nights recording his catalog of compositions back in 1938 (which many consider one of the first jazz recordings). Renovated many times over the years, the auditorium overlooks the U.S. Capitol and is remarkably elegant and cozy. Concertgoers rushed inside the halls on a warm Friday evening in May to get a seat at this special concert which was free by rsvp but sold out in minutes!



    Spalding’s ensemble included Francisco Mela on drums, Leonardo Genovese on piano, and Olivia de Prato on violin. Opening the concert, Genovese and dePrato gave a rousing artistic demonstration on both piano and violin bringing the crowd to laughter and ending with dePrato slamming her violin to the stage floor destroying it in comedic frustration. Esperanza opened with an intimate conversation with the audience while sitting on the steps of the stage and reading some of her collection of poetry inspired by those whom she draws inspiration from which included a beautiful poem dedicated to jazz singer Cassandra Wilson.  After her poetry reading, Spalding delivered a soulful set of arrangements by both Genovese, dePrato, as well as her own. With an amazingly smooth voice and exceptional vocal range, Spalding danced around the stage while singing a Brazilian inspired tune. Soon after, she grabbed the bass and delivered a rousing set of selections bringing the crowd to a thunderous applause. Spalding was awarded a commissioned piano and violin from the Library of Congress (which explains the smashing of the violin early in the show).


    Esperanza Spalding is a truly remarkable artist with an abundance of creativity and talent. Her stage presence is overwhelming yet so laid back. A beautiful young lady with a beautiful spirit. It’s unfair to simply call her a musician, because her many works cover all aspects of the artistic scope. But her voice is golden and her musicianship is extraordinary! Esperanza Spalding is focused and passionately driven to share her work with the world.


*** Special thanks to Ann McLean @ Library of Congress!


-Jamaal Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory) 




Legendary Jazz Drummer Billy Cobham brings his Crosswinds Project to Birchmere


Urban Heat Advisory’s Preview Video of Billy Cobham’s Live Performance @ The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA   4/2/18



World renowned drummer and fusion jazz pioneer Billy Cobham has recorded and performed with countless greats in the music industry. From his early works with Miles Davis, Horace Silver and John McLaughlin to his later collaborations with Quincy Jones, George Duke and Joe Sample. Not only is he a drumming virtuoso, but also a well-respected percussionist, composer, producer, photographer and educator. Cobham, who will celebrate his 74th birthday next month, continues to travel the world sharing his musical creativity. On April 2nd, he returned to The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA with his Crosswinds Project commemorating the release of his 1974 Crosswinds album. Playing in front of a packed house of drummers, musicians, and longtime fans – Cobham reminded listeners why he remains one of the few remaining pioneers of a remarkable era of fusion jazz that showcases pure musical talent and creativity. 

Billy Cobham’s Crosswinds Project @ The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA   4/2/18

“Crosswinds” (released in 1974) was Cobham’s sophomore album following his debut release “Spectrum“. It featured Billy Cobham on drums with George Duke (keyboards), John Abercrombie (guitar), Michael Brecker (woodwinds), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Garnett Brown (trombone), Lee Pastora (percussion), and John Williams (bass). The album is a strong reflection of Cobham’s musical prowess and intellect along with an enormously talented group of supporting musicians. Not to mention the album’s cover art – a beautiful photo of a beach skyline photographed by Cobham himself. 

Fast forward to today – Some 40+ years and over thirty albums later, Billy Cobham brings his group of seasoned musicians to The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA while finishing up the last few dates of the American leg of his Crosswinds Project 2018 tour. The line-up: Scott Tibbs (keyboards), Tim Landers (bass), Fareed Haque (guitar), and Paul Hanson (bassoon / sax). All of which have substantial musical resumes. 

Billy Cobham 2018 Tour FINAL

      Billy Cobham and his Crosswinds Project perfectly revisited the Crosswinds album – paying homage to those original musicians that recorded it some forty plus years ago. Scott Tibbs, a musical virtuoso himself, delivered riveting keyboard solos complimenting Cobham’s lightning-quick rudiments with sharp deliverance and an array of different overtones and melodies. Veteran guitarist Fareed Haque added the perfect blend of lead and occasional acoustic guitar to each song and stirred up the crowd with an amazing solo. Bassoonist Paul Hanson’s unique effects brought back memories of the late great George Duke’s earthly harmonized style of playing. All the while, Billy Cobham’s drumming provided each composition a layer of meaning and remembrance making the performance even more special. 



    After delivering a stellar set of compositions from Crosswinds, Cobham performed a touching piece he wrote after the deadly 2011 tsunamis in Japan. An amazing medley that began slow and haunting and builds with Cobham’s tom rudiments ultimately ending just as slow as it begins. For an encore, fans were thrilled to hear Cobham’s most popular hits “Red Baron” and “Stratus” resulting in a well-deserved standing ovation from the crowd. Cobham’s international popularity among jazz fans worldwide makes catching a live performance rare. His next performances will take him through Hungary, Ronnie Scott Jazz Club in London and a return tour in the States over the spring and summer months. In September at the Blue Note in New York City, Cobham joins a trio including Donald Harrison and Ron Carter. Keeping busy touring and educating aspiring drummers has kept Billy Cobham quite occupied doing what he loves – and to be able to share that with the world makes it all the more gratifying.


Urban Heat Advisory briefly spoke with Cobham after the show. He remains a humbled and focused musician with a past history of musical experiences that could fill volumes of books, having worked with the likes of Miles Davis, James Brown, Chaka Khan, Stanley Clarke, George Benson, even playing with Grateful Dead – just to name a few. If you’re in the NYC area this fall, be sure to calendar in Cobham’s next appearances in mid-September. 

For Tour Dates & Info:


-Jamaal Bailey 


Urban Heat Advisory with Billy Cobham @ The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA 4/2/18


Kenny Garrett Delivers on Recent Visit to Georgetown’s Blues Alley


      Blues Alley – long known to be one of DC’s most cherished and memorable jazz clubs, has hosted countless jazz greats over the years. Founded in 1965 and located in a quaint Georgetown alley, this historic venue has been a favorite of early jazz legends as: Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughn, and Ramsey Lewis to contemporary artists as: Grover Washington, Jr., Tony Bennett, Rachelle Ferrell and Wynton Marsalis20180422_121628

Jazz musicians who have recorded a Live at Blues Alley album include Dizzy Gillespie, Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, Wynton Marsalis, Stanley Turrentine, Eva Cassidy and Grover Washington, Jr.

Urban Heat Advisory recently visited Blues Alley to catch one of our favorite saxophonist – Kenny Garrett perform with his quintet. Garrett was in town for a grueling four day / two shows a night stint before traveling up to NYC to do yet another at the famed Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village. A testament to the longevity and touring experience of one the greatest saxophonist of our time. Kenny Garrett was born in Detroit, Michigan and first joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1978 led by Duke’s son Mercer Ellington. He later released his first recording as a band leader in 1984 entitled “Introducing Kenny Garrett” and has since recorded an extensive catalog of groundbreaking albums. Over the last thirty years Garrett has performed and recorded with countless jazz greats such as Art Blakey, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, and Pharaoh Sanders – but most notably, his five year stint as sideman of the late great Miles Davis. Kenny Garrett has always brought a vigorous yet melodic, and truly distinctive, alto saxophone sound to each musical situation. The Kenny Garrett Quintet displayed that distinctive sound for a packed house in DC!



    It was the final show of the Blues Alley gig on a rainy chilly Sunday night. A line quickly began to form outside the club and down the alley. The early show could be heard from outside and Garrett’s saxophone was in full blast with the crowd erupting in applause. The Kenny Garrett Quintet consist of Kenny Garrett on saxophone; McClenty Hunter (Drums); Vernell Brown (Piano); Corcoran Holt (Bass) and Rudy Bird (Percussion). An eclectic mix of younger musicians form this amazing quintet that support Garrett’s sound remarkably well. Both Corcoran Holt and McClenty Hunter are DC natives, making this tour stop even more special. Holt’s aggressive play is highlighted with funky riffs and basslines that set the foundation for Garrett’s compositions. Hunter’s drumming is strong yet defined and reminiscent of the great Elvin Jones with an added youthfulness and familiarity of other musical genres including DC’s own go-go music. Pianist Vernell Brown provided an interesting melodic approach on some of his more complex solos, aligning with Garrett’s soul-tinged saxophone sound. Veteran percussionist Rudy Bird has also performed and recorded with Miles Davis – among others as The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and NAS. Bird’s rhythmic timing and patterns add the extra dynamic to each composition. Garrett’s quintet is sharp and precise – a testament to his ability to recognize talent and to also fuse newer creative influences to his timeless arrangements. 



The quintet performed multiple arrangements from Kenny Garrett’s latest release “Do Your Dance“.  On the mesmerizing tune “Philly“, Garrett delivered a riveting solo. The title track captured the audience with Garrett passing the microphone around the audience having everyone sing out “Do Your Dance!” The response was amazing transforming the tiny jazz club into a funky backyard party with jazz-goers on their feet dancing at their tables. Garrett also delivered his tribute to Wayne Shorter entitled “Wayne’s Thang” which offers an interesting mix of swing and soul backed by the dynamic rhythmic drumming from McClenty Hunter and blues infused bass line from Corcoran Holt. For an encore, Garrett let the band highlight their talents over a solid go-go beat bringing the DC audience to their feet! Garrett improvised along with the musicians for a rousing close to a stellar performance! 

A remarkably humble musician with an incredulous resume – Kenny Garrett gave the crowd another excellent performance here at Blues Alley in DC. Similar to his amazing performance last summer here at DC’s Jazz Festival, Garrett gives his all in each and every show. His ability to bridge musical talent from past to present to future is evident on his sound and allows for the preservation of a cherished music. You know the concert was stellar when you find yourself looking up his next tour dates shortly after leaving the venue.


For info / tour dates:


 –  Jamaal Bailey




Emerging Young Jazz Ensemble “AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton” Delivers a Stellar Set @ BMCC Tribeca

The jazz world has gained a new and dynamic sound with the young ensemble AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton. This trending new jazz group delivers powerful and inspiring compositions that take the listener on a journey into the creativity and chemistry of an astoundingly talented vocalist and an amazing trio of musicians.  



  Jazz In Progress: The Next Faces of Jazz is a partnership between BMCC (Borough of Manhattan Community College) Tribeca Performing Arts Center and the DC Jazz Festival. DC JazzPrix (which is part of DC Jazz Fest) is a global competition created to recognize and support top rising jazz band talent and designed to help launch and promote the careers of emerging jazz ensembles. Last year’s competition was held at the University of the District of Columbia on June 15, 2017. Among the finalist competing were the Ernest Turner Trio, SULA, and DC JazzPrix winners AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton.  

 Urban Heat Advisory was in attendance last June to see the talented competition in which all three bands performed exceptionally well. But it was the final performance from AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton that captured the audience and grand prize at DC JazzPrix. Almost instantly, their sound and deliverance captured the audience. It was during this extraordinary set that we were almost instantly reassured in the future of excellent jazz music. Musically, the ensemble compliments each other exceptionally well exuding a powerful stage presence. The music is well composed and conscious, providing plenty of substance that every listener can relate to. They have a special chemistry when performing together and with the young ensemble beginning to create a buzz in the jazz community, expect AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton to reach new heights!  


AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton receiving the grand prize after winning the 2017 DC JazzPrix Competition @ University of District of Columbia, Washington DC (6/15/17).

    Comprised of vocalist Tahira Clayton, pianist Addison Frei, drummer Matt Young, and bassist Perrin Grace, AMP Trio was formed in 2011 while students at the prestigious University of North Texas Jazz Program. Their first release “Flow” (Armored Records) was followed by performances at the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and the Velvet Note in Atlanta. In 2015, they introduced vocalist Tahira Clayton with their release “m(y)our world” which received international airplay and reached #24 on the JazzWeek Charts. During this time AMP Trio performed nationwide at such venues as: the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival (Rockville, MD), Kerrytown Concert House (Ann Arbor, MI), The Kitchen Cafe (Dallas, TX) and the Cell Theatre, Rockwood Music Hall, and Shapeshifter Lab (New York). Their most recent release “Three” was highlighted by a Japanese tour which included a cultural exchange workshop sponsored by the US Consulate of Sapporo. With winning the 2017 DC JazzPrix, AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton will be performing as part of the line-up for the 2018 DC Jazz Festival alongside jazz greats and receiving the exposure deserved for this young up and coming jazz ensemble. 

Perrin Grace

AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton:  (from left to right – Perrin Grace (Bass), Tahira Clayton (vocals), Addison Frei (Piano), Matt Young (Drums)


On a chilly rainy night in Manhattan, AMP Trio took to the stage unleashing their unique sound to a diverse audience of jazz lovers both young and old. Their opening set began with just the trio, each performing a selection from their own compositions as the crowd watched in excitement and the energy began to build. Soon after, vocalist Tahira Clayton joined the trio onstage perfectly adding her silky smooth vocals to the more recent songs such as “Dallas” and “Stand by You” – two of their more popular selections. The trio of musicians often locked into their own instruments pitch adding both substance and depth into each selection. Tahira Clayton’s vocals pour over the melodies perfectly, lending to a remarkable chemistry that makes their own sound very distinct and enriching. The audience could only watch in amazement as Clayton belted out beautiful improvisational scats that bring to mind the great vocalist such as Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald. The group’s ability to cover traditional jazz standards as well as incorporate modern musical techniques is what makes them so uniquely gifted. 


   Addison Frei – a piano genius in his own right, binds the group into each melody. His diversity is ever present while incorporating many different forms of music into one tune. A remarkable talent able to combine classical, jazz, blues, and many other musical genres all into one composition. Bassist Perrin Grace has a unique style of perfectly adding just the right bass sound to each song. The ever present and important eye contact is always there when he dives into his solos, he has definitely mastered the upright bass and at a remarkably young age. Drummer Matt Young redefines the art of drumming on each tune, adding sounds from every part of the drumset along with using crafty instrumentation to deliver sounds that we never knew existed. His rudiments are sharp and precise which make it even more enjoyable to watch him perform. Vocalist Tahira Clayton brings the trio together each time she adds in her beautifully melodic voice to a piece. Her vocal range is exceptional, and she sings with a boldness and passion that project her promising future in music. These musicians are well versed professionals regularly performing solo and various projects in New York City and Texas and occasionally internationally making it extra rewarding to hear them together as that tight knit unit that they are and will always be. 

Amp Trio Live @ BMCC, Tribeca, NYC

  The more you hear of AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton, the more captivated you become to their uplifting sound. Be sure to check them out this summer as they perform in June @ the 2018 DC Jazz Festival with Maceo Parker, Robert Glasper, Leslie Odom, Jr. and many more. 

Check out the AMP Trio Website:

@amptriomusic on Facebook

@AMPTrio on Twitter

Urban Heat Advisory w/ AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton

Urban Heat Advisory w/ AMP Trio featuring Tahira Clayton after their performance at BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center 2/10/18


-Jamaal Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory)

-Eric Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory)

-William Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory)

Photo courtesy of: Will Meyerhofer 

From Art to Activism and Awareness: An Interview with Graphic Designer Maria Papaefstathiou

 ART –  /ärt/  – the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

ACTIVISM – /ac·tiv·ism/ – the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.

AWARENESS – /a·ware·ness/ – concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development. knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.

       The use of art as a means to bring about awareness and activism to the many moral and social issues affecting us as a society is not uncommon when considering the performing arts (such as music and film). The artist is able to capture the attention of the audience and instill a passion to take a stand and become an activist for change. However, with art in the visual form (painting, graphic design, sculptured), there must be a strong connection between the artist and the viewer. A connection through visual understanding and recognition that forms and drives our consciousness. Images that draw us closer to the art and ultimately to the message being portrayed in the piece. For example, it could be the eyes of the subject in the artwork or the color scheme used that gives us a special connection to the art and ultimately a need to become more involved in bringing an issue to the forefront. The famous quote “Art Imitates Life” could not be more true right now more than ever, where our global society is in dire need of upliftment and a collective desire to bring about change. 

    The amazingly talented graphic design artist and activist Maria Papaefstathiou is a shining example of how some of today’s most acclaimed artist are using their artistic excellence to bring about awareness and activism to some of today’s most serious and challenging issues. Her work has been featured across the world – from exhibitions in Johannesburg, South Africa to South Korea to Mexico and Taiwan. Maria’s art can be described as boldly-radiant and detailed, but more importantly her works are thought-provoking, informative and educational.  She has joined countless crusades against injustice and inhumanity all over the world and raised awareness to some of the many social issues that plague those whom may not have a voice to be heard. 


Freedom of Expression

“Freedom of Expression with Responsibility” by Maria Papaefstathiou (2015)

   Maria is a native of Athens, Greece – which could only contribute to her vast knowledge and understanding of great art. Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world and a mecca of architectural history, archaeological study, and ancient art. At age 15, she began designing her own simple advertisements just for fun – which soon turned her attention to graphic design helping to fuel her passion for various forms of art. It was in 2011 when Maria designed her very first social design piece after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. From that moment forward, she has lent her artistic talents to produce artwork designed at raising awareness on many issues such as: poverty, rape, education, autism, lymphoma and breast cancer. Her artwork relies on her own formula for success – by creating strong and powerful images that bring attention to social issues. Images so powerful that they engage the viewer and make them actually read the message, which are often strong one-word messages that intrigue the viewer to research and grow interest about the issue being brought to light. 


Maria Papaefstathiou pictured with her Portrait of Emperor Haile Selassie I poster (2016)

    While browsing the internet looking for inspiring works, Maria stumbled upon a gallery of amazing posters on the Flickr account of Michael Thompson aka “Freestylee”. A native of Jamaica, Thompson was quite talented with graphic design and lived in the U.S. in Philadelphia. As an avid fan of reggae music, he began to grow concern and disappointment at how the culturally-rich and poignant music of his homeland was being exploited for huge profits in other countries such as England, France and America while the people of his country (where the true origins of reggae began) continued to live in poverty. This frustration sparked his vision to establish the International Reggae Poster Contest aimed at redefining the visual language of reggae and shining a creative spotlight on the music’s positive global impact. The poster contest is held annually across the globe raising money to help fund the Alpha Boys’ School in Kingston, Jamaica – a non-profit vocational and educational school for at-risk boys and young men from Kingston’s impoverished inner-city communities. Michael Thompson’s poster became the new school logo. 



“Alpha Ska” by Michael Thompson (2013) is now the official logo of the Alpha Boys’ School in Kinsgton, Jamaica

   Through a mutual love of graphic art design, reggae music and raising awareness, a strong and productive creative partnership was formed between Maria Papaefstathiou and Michael Thompson. The realization of Thompson’s vision began to come to fruition, with the two producing a large collection of powerful artwork honoring icons in the reggae industry as Thompson also wanted to create a reggae hall of fame to give thanks to the many artists that helped make reggae music a global music.  Unfortunately, Michael Thompson passed away suddenly in 2016, leaving behind a large collective of mourning family, friends, fans and supporters of his work. However, his vision and passion still remain strong with Maria continuing to drive his legacy and carry out the International Reggae Poster Contest. Just recently, the IRPC hosted it’s 20th Art of Reggae Exhibition at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica and a beautiful tribute to Michael Thompson titled “Freestylee Roots Art Exhibition” in Kingston, Jamaica.


Maria Papaefstathiou and the late Michael “Freestylee” Thompson, co-founders of the International Reggae Poster Contest

   We at Urban Heat Advisory are forever grateful to have had the opportunity to know Michael Thompson aka “Freestylee”. Thompson shared his own wisdom and guidance with UHA during our initial launch which helped us on our own concept and vision. His mentorship and support was strong and assuring, as he was always willing to share his knowledge and wisdom with those around him. We cherish the time spent with him at both his “World A Reggae” Exhibitions held at the Jamaican Embassy and OAS Headquarters in Washington, DC.  Urban Heat Advisory first met Michael Thompson in 2013 through mutual friend Tania Dwyer.  Dwyer, a longtime supporter of the International Reggae Poster Contest and The Alpha Boys School, refers to Maria Papaefsthiou as her best friend.

“Maria has such a kind-hearted humanitarian soul – always striving to enlighten and awaken the world to the issues affecting society through her incredible artwork. She is the driving force behind the IRPC after the sudden passing of our good friend Michael, and has taken it upon herself to represent and fulfill the vision of the International Reggae Poster Contest.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             – Tania Dwyer

We recently spoke to Maria Papaefstathiou to give an in-depth Q&A on her artwork, career and future. 

UHA: Were you born in Athens, Greece? Have you always lived there? 

Maria: I was born in Germany to Greek parents and came to Greece to live at 4 years old. 

UHA: Does being from such a historic country with so many ancient landmarks inspire your passion to create works of art? 

Maria: Being here and encountering the many different art influences from ancient times to the present have definitely inspired me. Even if I don’t consciously realize it, the images are engraved in my mind. 

UHA: When did you realize your passion and gift for art? What was your first significant piece? 

Maria: I’ve been drawing since early in my childhood, but what made me choose Graphic Design was my inclination around the age of 15 to design my own simple advertisements just for fun. Knowing myself and how easily I get bored with any kind of job, I was looking for a career in the future that could constantly inspire me. And I thought I would keep being enthusiastic about Graphic Design. The more I was getting into it though, the more passionate I became about all kinds of other art. One of my dreams is to one day have a big room full of works of art where I would spend all day. 

UHA: What directed you towards graphic design? Was there any one specific issue that inspired you to concentrate on designing artwork that included a message towards social issues? 

Maria: My very first pieces of social design were done in 2011 after the big earthquake in Japan. Since then, I’ve designed posters on poverty, rape, lymphoma awareness, breast cancer awareness, autism and education. 



“Stop Poachers” art design (inspired by the Kenya: Save Our Heritage Initiative) by Maria Papaefstathiou (2013)


UHA: Your art is extremely powerful and captures the soul . On many of your pieces, the portraits are exceptionally detailed and so much is revealed in the eyes of the great people that you illustrate. Any specific reason for that? 

Maria: Thank you for your wonderful words! I’m glad that you noticed the eyes in my portraits. Truth is, I spend more time on them the rest of the design because eyes reveal who we are. Many people tell me that I manage to capture their soul through my art. And it is said that the eyes are the window to our souls. 

UHA: Can you explain the process of being able to bring attention to the many social issues that affect us all by expression and communication of graphically designed illustrations? 

Maria: To bring attention to the social issues what you actually need is a strong image. Something that will capture the viewers attention and make them read your message. Then you need a strong message – even it’s just one word, anything you believe would intrigue the viewer to either search and read more about the issue you are speaking about or to motivate them to start thinking about it. 



Tribute to the late Greek film actress Zoe Laskari by Maria Papaefstathiou (2017)


UHA: The late pioneering graphic artist and activist Michael Thompson was, and will always be a tremendous source of inspiration and wisdom for us here at Urban Heat Advisory. We thought of him as a mentor and dear friend and were proud to have known him. How did you first meet Michael? 

Maria: I met Michael Thompson through my blog – I was looking for inspiring works on the internet and stumbled upon Michael’s Flickr account and his amazing posters. One, two articles at the start. An interview later and a linkup on Facebook were the first steps to an amazing collaboration and friendship. 

Michael shared with me the idea to create the International Reggae Poster Contest (IRPC) as a platform to kick-start a catalyst idea and a global campaign to create a museum to narrate the experience of global reggae. A museum that will celebrate the richness of the music’s history and attract reggae-lovers from all over the world. Michael’s vision was to see the erection of a Reggae Hall of Fame Museum and Performance Center on the beautiful Kingston Harbor in the capital of Jamaica. 


CD cover art for reggae artist Puma Ptah’s release of “In One Accord” by Maria Papaefstathiou (2015)


     Thompson, who grew up in Jamica in the sixties, was disappointed that countries such as America, France and England were making huge profits from the island’s music. And the people of his country (where reggae music started) continued to live in poverty. At the same time, new great talents were rising… and that was the spark of his dream! 

    The International Reggae Poster Contest was established to help redefine the visual language of reggae and to shine a creative spotlight on the music’s positive global impact. The term “Reggae” to us represents all the popular Jamaican musical genres: Ska, Rocksteady, Roots Reggae, Dub, Dancehall and the unique Jamaican Sound System. As the world-famous reggae band Third World rightly sings – “How can a BIG music come from a little island?”

   It is our recognition of what reggae has achieved globally that led us to launch the International Reggae Poster Contest. Reggae is no longer Jamaican music, but now belonging to the whole world. It’s a music that brings people together. The theme of the contest – “Toward a Reggae Hall of Fame: Celebrating Great Jamaican Music” is the mantra that drives our work and the embedded message in the contest and exhibition. 

 Another grand vision of the contest is to celebrate the amazing Jamaican institution, Alpha Boys’ School, which nurtured this music. Alpha Institute is a non-profit vocational and general educational school for at-risk boys and young men from Kingston’s impoverished inner-city communities. Since 1884, the Religous Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic order of nuns, have been running the school as part of their mission to serve the poor, the sick and the uneducated. The primary objective of Alpha is empowerment and transformation of young men through education and skills training , particularly those who have little or no opportunity for education. 

  Since the early 1890’s, the Alpha music program has been the most prolific with graduates becoming respected internationally for their accomplishments in jazz, ska, reggae and pop music. From Blue Note jazz musicians like Dizzy Reece to ska music pioneers the Skatalites and reggae icons such as Johnny Osbourne and Winston Foster aka “Yellowman” (a 1997 Grammy nominee), Alpha’s past ‘boys’ are synonymous worldwide with the development of Jamaican pop music. Alpha is a “dream factory”, according to National Public Radio (NPR), for “legendary musicians” (Jamaica Gleaner) who “helped release the spirit of one of the most musical islands in the world” (The Telegraph / UK).

Reggae artist showing support for The Alpha Boys School; (from left to right), Chronixx, Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace and Jesse Royal. 


  On my first trip to Jamaica, I had the pleasure of getting to know the teachers, the students and the buildings of the Alpha Boys School, where music is high on the curriculum. One of Michael Thompson’s posters became the new school logo. The poster was silk printed by the well-known printer “Tind” in Greece. This poster was the inspiration for talking to students and teachers about this method of printing. They immediately loved the technique and soon included it in the program when they began printing their first t-shirts with the new school logo to be sold online. 

UHA: Outside of art, what are your interests? 

Maria:  My first interest outside the world of art is the art of raising children. I mean my children. And then the art of giving. I believe this world can change if we all give to each other. And I’m not referring to money – but to love, help, anything each of us can share. Not everybody has money, but we all have a heart. Ad this art of giving is what made me accept Michael’s invitation to start the IRPC. From the very beginning he said, “there is no money in it.”

UHA: What are your future goals? 

Maria:  Well, I wouldn’t say that I am a person with future goals. My only goal is to keep learning and to keep trying. I wish to have the strength to continue the International Reggae Poster Contest and to showcase the work of Michael Thompson. I have started a series of portraits on Greek cultural personalities. I want this to grow. Parallel to that, I want to continue working on Jamaican cultural themes. 

UHA: With the current ever-changing issues that we are currently plagued with, what role can the arts community play in shaping the future? 

Maria:   Designers around the world are using posters as a global platform to carry messages on several issues that are globally troubling. Successful posters, whether cultural or social, can communicate their messages to anyone in any country in almost any language. The poster itself and the art community will not change the world. But we have the most beautiful weapon to provoke discussion and challenge individuals to answer the call to action.


– (2012)  Posters for Japan exhibition curated by Green+You in South Korea
– (2012 – 2017)  World A Reggae” and “The Art of Reggae exhibitions by the International Reggae Poster Contest in Jamaica, Athens and Thessaloniki Greece, Mexico, Washington, Spain and Cuba
–  (2013)   Innovation for Education exhibition in Turkey
–  (2014)   Nelson Poster Project in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa and  other international cities
–  Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital a Permanent Exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa
–  (2014)  Jazz wRuinach in Poland at the 10th International Jazz Festival
–  (2015)   ε/Design your Expression in Greece curated by Toolkit Startup
–  (2015)  W|Design for life Breast Cancer Awareness in Greece curated by Toolkit Startup
–  (2015) 1st International Poster Festival of Shenzhen Exhibition in China by Li Xu
–  (2015)  Right to Decide exhibition at AEIVA Gallery, by Posters Without borders, 2015
–  (2016)  BikeArt in Athens, Greece
–  (2016 – 2017)  Women’s Rights Are Human Rights exhibition, curated by Elizabeth Resnick and exhibited in USA, Taiwan, Mexico, and Poland

–  (2017)  BoobsArtcurated by FactorySeeds in Belgium


Check out Maria Papaefstathiou’s Portfolio @:

Maria Papaefstathiou’s blog:

The International Reggae Poster Contest website:



*** Urban Heat Advisory would like to thank Maria Papaefstathiou for her time and energy and for allowing us to share her talents with the world. Be sure to check out her beautiful collection of art. 
*** We will be releasing a tribute feature in honor of our good friend Michael Thompson aka “Freestylee” very soon! 

-By: Jamaal Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory) 

Photos by: Fanis Logothetis




UHA Artist Spotlight presents: Bernadette Thompson – Celebrity Nail Art Manicurist

(Urban Heat presents: “Artist Spotlight” – A monthly in-depth feature highlighting artists locally and around the globe who excel in the Arts.)


When it comes to nail art, Bernadette Thompson has it NAILED! The world-renowned nail art manicurist has been a driving force and trendsetter in the fashion and beauty scene for over 25 years. Her nail art has been worn by many of today’s most high-profile celebrities such as: Beyonce, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Rihanna – and that’s just to name a few.

Bernadette has become one of the most sought-after nail artist in the industry with her work gracing the covers of almost every major fashion magazine in circulation: Vogue, Elle, Allure and Essence to name a few, while also working closely with iconic fashion designers Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Louis Vuitton amongst many others.


     The Bernadette Thompson Nail Collection – her trending colorful line of nail polish with catchy names as: “Effortless Beauty”“Say My Name”, “Leap of Faith” and “Orange You Lucky” all have their own unique and significant meaning behind each radiant color. Recently being honored by the Museum of Modern Art as part of their current exhibit “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” (on exhibit through January 28, 2018) are Thompson’s “Money Nails” (created in the mid 1990’s) which debuted in a Vogue magazine photo shoot and later worn by Bad Boy artist Lil Kim and inspired from her Junior Mafia single “Get Money”.  As a very close friend of the Urban Heat Advisory family for many years, we affectionately know her as “Bern” – a truly creative artist with a beautiful spirit and personality and we’re honored to have her take time out of her busy schedule to give us the opportunity to present her as our featured artist in the spotlight.


   While working in her Yonkers, NY nail salon back in 1992, Bernadette had just finished up a nail manicure and polish on her childhood friend LaTonya. LaTonya’s sister whom happened to be recording her first album at the time excitedly asked LaTonya ” Who did your nails?” and when she responded “Bernadette”, the artist excitedly asked “Bernadette from Yonkers? Get Bernadette over here!” That up and coming artist working on her first album (LaTanya’s little sister) happens to be current nine time Grammy winner Mary J. Blige! A limo was sent to pick Bernadette up from her salon and she recalls spending three days at her home talking, laughing and doing nails. From that moment on, Bernadette was regularly manicuring and polishing Mary J Blige’s nails weekly and after introducing her to Sean “Diddy” Combs she became a regular manicurist for Diddy’s label artists. Combs would soon refer her to internationally acclaimed photographer Guzman opening the door for Bernadette Thompson to receive her first major photo shoot assignment for a Louis Vuitton ad campaign which would last another six years. 


     Soon after the ad campaign with Louis Vuitton, Bernadette Thompson quickly became a highly sought after nail art manicurist for some of the top names in both the fashion and entertainment industry. Her skillful artistry was soon showcased on centerfold covers in Allure, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Essence and so many other fashion circulations. Her nail expertise and skill quickly became a must have for fashion designers like Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Hugo Boss. Whether on the set of a movie, on tour with a major recording artist, part of the make-up team for a celebrity wedding, or providing nail services on the set of a major fashion show photo shoot – Bernadette’s beautifully crafted nail art was now in high-demand and brought forth a new respect for the nail artist profession while justifying how having perfectly manicured and polished nails can be just as important as the make-up applied or even the outfit worn. Now, more than ever, nail art is a big business that is rapidly trending in the fashion and entertainment industry, a skill that requires commitment and passion which Bernadette exemplifies in her exclusive works of true artistry. 


“As a result of my runway and editorial work, I have the privilege of being actively involved in the creation and interpretation of fashion trends before they hit the streets,”                                                      – Bernadette Thompson


     Back in the mid 1990’s while working on a Vogue magazine shoot, Bern created a unique nail design replicating actual dollar bills printed onto the nails as part of the design. Soon after, while working with hip-hop artist Lil Kim aka “Queen Bee”, Bernadette used Lil Kim’s newly released single w/ Junior Mafia titled “Get Money” as her inspirational theme and re-created the “Money Nails” nail art. The end result creating a buzz and fashion trend for years to come.


    It was also during her work with Louis Vuitton that she created a nail art design matching the Louis Vuitton monogram commonly seen on their handbags. Bernadette’s creativity and innovation in fashion combined with the demand for her nail art and manicuring led to her successfully launching her own signature nail polish line in 2001 – The Bernadette Thompson Nail Collection. Offering a wide variety of beautifully radiant colors in her collection in which each individual color has it’s own unique meaning and explanation of the mood it sets when applied. With colors themed “Bern Baby Bern”, “Dare Me”, “Slowly But Shirlee”, and “Tainted Love” you’re able to customize your nails to match the occasion and mood. Her “Justice” themed color is a beautiful dark red and Thompson explains her inspiration for this particular theme as a result of her own desire to help produce substantial change in the community and more importantly demonstrate compassion. Proceeds from the sales of the “Justice” polish are used to help members of our society to rebuild their lives after being affected by tragedy and social decline. She stresses that the root of many of the social problems we face today stem from a lack of compassion and unification.


“I’m not the first to create nail art. But I introduced it to fashion.”                                                                                                                         -Bernadette Thompson



“There were alot of people on photo shoots who knew about fashion and beauty, but they didn’t really know that much about nails. So they left it up to me.”                                                                                            – Bernadette Thompson


The Bernadette Thompson Nail Collection

The Bernadette Thompson Nail Collection


After 25 years on top of the nail art industry and continuing to remain a pioneer of her craft, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) recently honored Bernadette Thompson as part of it’s exhibit “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” on display through January 28, 2018. The exhibit showcases 111 items of clothing and accessories that have had a strong impact on the world in the 20th and 21st centuries – and how fashion significantly affects our politics, culture and identity . Bernadette’s “Money Nails” are displayed on exhibit with fashion pieces such as the Levi’s 501s, the Breton shirt, the always popular authentic fitted New York Yankees baseball cap, stilettos, and Ray-Ban avaiator sunglasses. An honor that is truly fitting and deserving of Thompson’s reign in nail art in the fashion industry.  The “Money Nails” wardrobe application can be purchased at The MoMA Design Store. 



    Urban Heat Advisory travelled to the MoMA Design Store in New York’s SoHo district of Manhattan to attend an open panel discussion featuring Bernadette Thompson, nail artist Sarah Nguyen, and Vogue magazine Senior Beauty Editor Laura Regensdorf. The panel host, Kristina Parsons, is a Project Curatorial Assistant in the Department of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Well attended by fashion and beauty experts, the discussion proved very informative as both Thompson and Nguyen detailed how they both began their careers in nail art and how much of an impact nail art has developed in the fashion industry. Sarah Nguyen, who moved from Southern California to NYC four years ago, is a trending conceptual nail artist who incorporates jewelry into her sculptural nail art and has worked with Katy Perry amongst many others becoming another well sought after industry nail artist. Nguyen recalled her early humble beginnings as a nail technician in Southern California and explained how she incorporated jewelry into her sculptural nail art. Both Thompson and Nguyen also discussed a recent NY Times article “The Price of Nails” – that details the unfair working conditions of nail shop workers in New York City nail shops. A disturbingly growing trend as the market for nail services skyrocket across the country. Thompson also spoke on her ongoing push to see that nail art gradually receives its deserved recognition in fashion. It was Bernadette Thompson who opened the door to nail art and led the push to see that manicurist are routinely credited in fashion shoots. Her beautifully created nail art has graced the runway at top fashion shows from Paris to New York while continuing to be a mainstay in many urban nail salons in most inner-cities.  Her career relies on taking risks and being a trendsetter in a constantly changing fashion world. And her professional and personal uplifting spirit is just as bold and radiant as the colors that are part of her nail collection. That explains her motto, “I live in Color!” We salute you Bernadette Thompson, Urban Heat Advisory’s Artist in the Spotlight! 

-Jamaal Bailey (Urban Heat Advisory)


The Bernadette Thompson Nail Collection is available online @:







Jazz Icon McCoy Tyner Brings His Trio w/ Joe Lovano to the Concerts from the Library of Congress Series for a Special Musical Evening

    When exploring the history of jazz, we are often reminded of the legendary greats – John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald among so many others. A collective of determined and dynamically gifted musicians that shaped and created a movement through music. A movement deeply rooted in blues and culture, a movement that has  transformed over time and influenced so many musicians generations later. It is very rare that we are able to experience the music live again today that was composed during that cherished time when jazz was even larger than music, but a way of life. There are but a few remaining icons still with us to share their story through music – pianist McCoy Tyner is one of few remaining icons of jazz and on a freezing cold fall night at the Library of Congress, he performed an amazing set of selections in front of a sold-out Coolidge Auditorium (ironically the exact location of Jelly Roll Morton‘s classic jazz recordings that have often been regarded as some of the first recordings of jazz). 

” The piano is like an orchestra. I’m very fortunate that I chose it as my instrument.”   

-McCoy Tyner 


     McCoy Tyner was born in Philadelphia in 1938. At an early age, his parents encouraged him to explore his musical interests through formal training. It was at the age of 17 that Tyner first met John Coltrane (then a sideman saxophonist with Miles Davis).  Coltrane, widely regarded as one of the most significant saxophonist in music history, had developed a strong bond with Tyner and felt that even as a teenager McCoy was ready to join him in recording and performing globally.  In 1960, they recorded the classic album “My Favorite Things” and soon formed the John Coltrane Quartet – which would remain one of the most seminal groups in jazz history. The quartet included Coltrane and Tyner along with drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Jimmy Garrison. From 1960 through 1965, the quartet went on to achieve international renown with recordings such as “Live at the Village Vanguard”“Impressions” and Coltrane’s signature piece “A Love Supreme”. McCoy Tyner’s unique piano stylings gave the quartet an extraordinary chemistry, transcending the conventional style of piano playing with sophisticated chords and an explosively percussive left hand creating one of the most identifiable sounds in improvised music. Tyner has formed the vocabulary of a majority of jazz pianists through his harmonic contributions and dramatic rhythmic devices.  

  After over five years with the John Coltrane Quartet, Tyner left the group to explore his own destiny as a composer and bandleader. In 1967, his album “The Real McCoy” paired his piano talents with saxophonist Joe Henderson, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Elvin Jones. Later in 1972, he released his Grammy award nominated album “Sahara” – breaking new ground by incorporating sounds and rhythms of Africa into his uniquely textured harmonies on piano. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, McCoy Tyner arranged and performed countless beautiful jazz recordings with his own big band and jazz trio which included Avery Sharpe on bass and Aaron Scott on drums. In 2005, Tyner became the first client of Blue Note Management after joining forces with the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York and later forming his own record label “McCoy Tyner Music”. To date, McCoy Tyner has released nearly 80 albums under his name, earned four Grammy Awards, and awarded the title Jazz Master from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has played with jazz greats as: Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Wayne Shorter, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Cobham, George Benson, and Stanley Clarke just to name a few. He continues to leave his mark on generations of improvisers while remaining a modest and humbled spiritually directed man who has always expanded his vision of the musical landscape and incorporated new elements, whether from distant continents or diverse musical influences.


“To me, living and music are all the same thing. And I keep finding out more about music as I learn more about myself, my environment, about all kinds of different things in life. I play what I live. Therefore, just as I can’t predict what kinds of experiences I’m going to have, I can’t predict the directions in which my music will go. I just want to write and play my instrument as I feel.

-McCoy Tyner


        Along with veteran jazz saxophonist Joe Lovano, drummer Francisco Mela, and bassist Gerald Cannon, the McCoy Tyner Trio gave an awe-inspiring jazz performance for the sold-out audience in attendance at the Library of Congress. Lovano – a distinguished jazz saxophonist in his own right, has recorded with jazz greats as: Peter Erskine, John Scofield, Ornette Coleman and Herbie Hancock among others. He led the trio into a medley of Tyner’s earlier works before introducing him on to the stage where Tyner was welcomed by thunderous applause and multiple standing ovations from the emotionally charged audience of jazz fans both young and old. After welcoming the crowd and humbly thanking those in attendance for coming out to see him, Tyner immediately dove right into his Steinway grand piano and belted out some of his most cherished compositions. The audience watched in amazement as Tyner displayed his signature chops and speed along with that powerful left hand explosiveness that has been his signature style for decades. Drummer Francisco Mela added an array of rhythmic patterns and percussive sounds while demonstrating his inspiring method of drumming. A true drummers’ drummer in all regards, you can clearly see how he is able to dance along with his drumming and add extra accents into the music at any given moment. His drumming kept McCoy Tyner beaming with excitement as he played. Bassist Gerald Cannon provided an excellent solo and gave Tyner’s music that classic and vital authentic jazz sound. In between songs McCoy Tyner spoke in a frail soft tone describing his upbringing in Philadelphia and setting up the scene for his classic “Blues on the Corner”. With every sharp chop that Tyner belted out on piano, drummer Francisco Mela was there to perfectly match him while yelling out “Yeah!” It was truly a magical performance from a jazz legend that is still going at age 80! McCoy Tyner is scheduled to perform a few select dates next year in DC at Blues Alley and in New York at the Blue Note. 






” I really love the piano and I feel very fortunate that I am able to play and travel all over the world as my career.”

                                                                                   – McCoy Tyner


     It should also be noted that the Library of Congress deserves a very special thanks for preserving the legacy of those important figures in our past whether it be music, film, art, etc. This program honored a true jazz icon while he is still here to receive his just due and appreciation. It really felt like the spirit of Jelly Roll Morton was there in that same Coolidge Auditorium in which he recorded his first jazz compositions on piano applauding McCoy Tyner from the room. The Library of Congress provided this performance free to the public giving fans that gathered in the historic Coolidge Auditorium on that cold winter night in December an experience to be remembered for a lifetime!


-Jamaal Bailey

(Urban Heat Advisory)


Visit McCoy Tyner’s website:


Jelly Roll Morton in Washington: A Library of Congress Jazz Scholars Lecture w/ John Szwed

    Jelly Roll Morton (1890 – 1941) is regarded as the first true jazz composer. His composition “Jelly Roll Blues” (published in 1915) was the first published jazz composition. An important transitional figure between ragtime and jazz piano stylings, Morton’s impact and legacy on music is often overlooked and underappreciated. Born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe in 1890 and raised in the Storyville red-light district of New Orleans, Louisiana, he began playing piano at the early age of fourteen in a brothel. Morton later worked as a gambler, loan-shark, pimp and vaudeville comedian before perfecting his craft as a pianist, bandleader and composer. With brief touring stints in Chicago, Vancouver, California and New York City, Jelly Roll produced numerous compositions that became increasingly popular such as: “Kansas City Stomp”, “Grandpa’s Spells”, “Red Hot Pepper” and “Jelly Roll Blues” to name a few. However, it was during his brief three-year stay in the nations capital that brought about one of the most complete and unique recordings of his entire catalog of music. Jelly Roll Morton had walked into the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress and gave the world a glimpse into his amazing catalog of ragtime and jazz compositions along with a detailed and intimate narrative of his life’s experiences. These recordings would be posthumously released a full decade after his death and win two Grammy awards in 2006 for Best Historical Album and Best Album Notes. 



       The Library of Congress recently held its Jazz Scholars Lecture Series featuring a conversation with noted jazz historian and scholar, John Szwed, PhD, in the Montpelier Room of the Library’s James Madison Memorial Building. Szwed is Adjunct Senior Research Scholar and former Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University. Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, African American Studies, and Film Studies at Yale University and longtime writer for the Village Voice publication. He was awarded a Grammy  for ‘Doctor Jazz’ (a book on Jelly Roll Morton) and has also wrote ‘Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth’ along with biographies of Miles Davis, Sun Ra and Alan Lomax. The lecture was hosted by Stephen Winick, writer and editor at the Library of Congress American Folklife Center since 2005.  


    Szwed’s tireless research into the mysterious life of Jelly Roll Morton uncovers rare factual accounts that further detail his stay in Washington, DC until shortly before his death. He discussed Morton’s hosting of “The History of Jazz” program which aired on WOL-AM radio station; his attempts to form an interracial film company; promote local boxing matches in DC; and his attempts to partner with heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson to develop auto racing ventures. Szwed also revealed the exact location of The Jungle Inn (where Jelly Roll Morton played) as 1211 U Street, NW – which is the current location of a DC landmark, Ben’s Chili Bowl and Ben’s Next Door. Tragically, while working at the Jungle Inn in 1938, Morton was stabbed following a dispute with a friend of the club’s owner. His injuries were critical but he managed to survive the incident and left Washington, DC soon after.

    It was when Jelly Roll Morton met Alan Lomax in DC that his musical catalog began to finally recieve due recognition. Alan Lomax was a folk-music archivist and newly appointed assistant archive director at The Library of Congress. His concept was to focus on the history of the music (which included blues, ragtime, and stomps) and allow Morton to give his own explanation of his claims to be the true inventor of jazz. Morton also spoke about his public argument with “Father of the Blues” W.C. Handy. These recordings of music and dialogue occurred between May through December of 1938 and resulted in nine hours of edited tapes. The end result – “Jelly Roll Morton: The Complete Library of Congress Recordings”. Mostly biographical and historical in context, it remains one of the first and best oral histories of the ragtime era and the days of early jazz.



    John Szwed’s research and knowledge of the history of ragtime, blues, and early jazz gives the musical history of Jelly Roll Morton new meaning. We find out so much more about the myth and legend and even a more detailed insight into his time here in Washington, DC (although brief). On display at the lecture were historical artifacts from Jelly Roll Morton’s personal collection including handwritten musical compositions and a collectors wooden box-set of his original Library of Congress Recordings. 



–  Jamaal Bailey 

– Photos: William Bailey


UHA “Artist Spotlight” presents: CISSA PAZ – DC’s own Brazilian Songstress

(Urban Heat presents: “Artist Spotlight” – A monthly in depth feature highlighting artists locally and around the globe who excel in the Arts.)


    The energy began to build both inside and outside of the Bossa Bistro & Lounge on a mildly-warm August night in DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood. Fans, friends and family buzzed with anticipation while gathering to celebrate the birthday of the amazingly talented vocalist – Cissa Paz. The Brazilian songstress celebrated her birthday doing what she loves most, delivering her amazing voice and inspiring us all to embrace life and dance a little more.

Continue reading “UHA “Artist Spotlight” presents: CISSA PAZ – DC’s own Brazilian Songstress”

Ziggy Marley Delivers Inspiration and Positive Energy @ Celebrate Virginia After Hours Concert Series in Fredericksburg

Ziggy Marley performing live @ Marks & Harrison Amphitheater in Fredericksburg, VA         Photo Credit: John Cunningham for The Free Lance-Star.

July 15, 2017   –   While on the east coast leg of his “We Are the People” tour, veteran reggae legend Ziggy Marley delivered a powerful and inspiring set to vibrant fans both young and old as part of the Celebrate Virginia After Hours Summer Concert Series at the Marks & Harrison Amphitheater in Fredericksburg, VA.

Ziggy Marley, the eldest son of global reggae icon Bob Marley, performed songs from his latest CD entitled “We Are the People” as well as music from his extensive catalog and also added in timeless classics from his father’s Exodus album (which has been remastered and re-released by Ziggy as “Exodus 40” to commemorate the album’s 40 year anniversary).


   As the sun set on a very hot and humid Saturday evening at the packed outdoor venue, eager concertgoers began to crowd the grassy field in anticipation. The diverse mix of young and old fans of all races and nationalities, from all walks of social life and orientation proves that there is a common bond that unites us all – the love of great music with a positive energy!
     Marley opened with his early hit “Tomorrow People” followed by “Personal Revolution”, and “Wild and Free” before performing his Dad’s classic “Positive Vibration”.  Before each song, Ziggy spoke to the crowd briefly reminding us all that the world is in desperate need of love now more than ever. “How ya feelin’ now? This is your reggae show, ya know! We as humans have come so far. But there is still a level of evolution that we need to achieve to reach the next stage of potential for humanity.”

Ziggy Marley with his band performing live in Fredericksburg, VA on July 15, 2017. The concert was held at Marks & Harrison Ampitheater as part of the Celebrate Virginia After Hours concert Series. John Cunningham for The Free Lance-Star.

The set continued with “Reggae in My Head”, “Start it Up” and “Butterflies” before performing his hits “Love is My Religion” and “Justice”. The encore of songs from Bob Marley’s catalog included “Three Little Birds”, “Stir it Up”, followed by a a passionate extended version of “War”. Ziggy gracefully danced around the stage delivering his message of love and unity in an eerily similar fashion to his father. You could feel the energy and passion in his urgency and deliverance much like that of Bob Marley some 40 years ago. The message in the music was clear and concise, and could not have come at a more needed time.

The show ended on a festive vibe when Ziggy closed with “Exodus” joined onstage by his two young sons (Gideon: age 10 and Abraham: age 6). The Marley legacy is ever-growing and Ziggy’s own children are already instilled with a deep musical talent. Ziggy dancing with his sons was an unforgettable image that reminds us all that there is still hope for humanity, family and most importantly LOVE!

The “We Are the People” tour continues through New York, Vermont and Canada before embarking on the England leg in August.

-Jamaal Bailey (UHA)


Looking for a musical getaway this summer? Or maybe a quick trip to check out your favorite artist? Take a look at Urban Heat Advisory’s Annual Summer Festival Guide and plan your next music festival.


November 4th – 18th

@ NJPAC New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, New Jersey

For more info:








February 15th – 17th 

@  Mana Wynwood Convention Center, Miami, Florida 

For more info:




February 16th 

@ Hotel Paraiso Estudios, Ricuarte, Columbia

For more info: