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Music at the Mansion: The Bill Henry Trio

The AHHS and Audra welcome to the Mansion for the first time the Bill Henry Trio. 

Bill Henry (piano) is a pianist, organist, and keyboardist currently residing in Red Bank, NJ. A native of Perth Amboy, he studied with jazz piano with local legend Morris Nanton, and eventually formed his own trio. The trio performs regularly in venues in New Jersey and Manhattan, including the Hopewell Valley Vineyards, Silvana NYC, Bowery Poetry Club, Uvas in Bradley Beach, Café Improv, and the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival. The trio also appears with several local singers.

Bill works as the musical director and organist of the Shrewsbury Avenue AME Zion Church in Red Bank, where the trio performs an annual Jazz Christmas show.  Bill appears regularly with the reggae band Random Test, is a member of the 9-piece Jazz Vanguard hard bop band formed by Harold Van Pelt, and plays in an organ trio with guitarist Jim Josselyn.  For musical samples, visit the trio’s website at http://billhenrytrio.com.

Mel A. (vocals) is a native of the Jersey Shore and has been singing since the age of six when she started in the church choir.  From there she sang in chorale groups in elementary throughout high school and went onto study Music Theory and Voice at Brookdale Community College where she received an Associates Degree. She attended the Red Bank Dance Academy and studied Ballet and Jazz with Rosemary and Bob Boross.  She continued singing with local bands and began working with agencies in North Jersey, Manhattan and Long Island; singing at weddings, corporate affairs and conventions. 

Mel A. has had extensive vocal training with Joe Szostak, Tom Rexdale to name a few, and has also had training in opera. Her influences are Prince, Sarah Vaughan, Chaka Khan and Billie Holiday. She controls many styles of music but Jazz is her niche.  She can be reached at melmagic22@gmail.com.

Ben Cureton (drums) is an active performer in New York City and New Jersey. In 2015 Ben co-founded the jazz-rock group re: Groove in which he fills the drum chair and contributes compositions. In October 2015 Ben released his debut record with re: Groove entitled ‘Opening Statement’. He can also be heard playing drums with the Bill Henry Trio, the Tyler Wilson Band, Untraceable, and various other groups in New York and New Jersey. In addition to performance, Ben is an active private teacher in Central and North Jersey, providing lessons in percussion, drum set, and piano.

In 2014 Ben received his Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University. At Baylor he studied classical and chamber percussion with world-renowned performer and teacher Dr. Todd Meehan. He had the opportunity to perform in a myriad of different ensembles such as the Baylor Symphony Orchestra, the Baylor Jazz Ensemble, and the Baylor Percussion Group. In addition to studying classical percussion, he studied jazz drums with performer, composer, and theorist Dr. Edward Taylor. Ben quickly developed a passion for jazz and decided to further his music education in and around the New York Metropolitan area.

In 2016 Ben graduated with his Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies from Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts. While at Rutgers, he studied drum set with jazz drumming legend Victor Lewis, jazz improvisation with world-renowned saxophonist Ralph Bowen, and composition with composer and pianist Marc Stasio.  For contact information, see http://bencureton.com.

Steve Peterson (bass), a native New Mexican, has been playing the double bass with the Bill Henry Trio for the past 9 years.