The Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra is a group of jazz artists that have come together to facilitate and explore the bond that exists between musicians from many different countries. The Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra's latest CD is Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.
Originally known as the “International Core-tet", the group was made up of trumpeter Bill Warfield and saxophonist Glenn Cashman from the U.S., saxophonist Jens “Chappe” Jensen from Denmark and from the Czech Republic, guitarist Libor Smoldas and keyboardist Jakub Zomer. Bill and Jakub met each other in the summer of 2012, while they were working together in Graz, Austria. An invitation by Jakub led Bill to Prague a few weeks later where he met Libor Smoldas. The three worked together for a week and found a real “magic” in the music they played. Between gigs and sets they discussed the idea of forming a core group to continue the transcendent experience they had that week.
They made plans to travel together, bringing their mutual love of the music to other countries, including musicians from wherever they went to complete the group. Bill and Jens “Chappe” Jensen met when international saxophone icon Dave Liebman performed a show in Arhus, Denmark, entitled “Le Jazz Hot”, composed, arranged and conducted by Bill. Chappe had arranged Lieb’s appearance. While rehearsing the Kluver’s Jazz Orchestra of which “Chappe” was a member, Bill and he made plans for Bill’s to return following year to compose and conduct a show specifically written for the Danish group. That was the beginning of their collaborations.
With the inclusion of Jens, the group now represented three countries and performed as the Core-tet in the US in the winter of 2015. Joining them for that tour were three mainstays of the New York Jazz scene: tenor saxophonist Glenn Cashman, bassist Steve Count and percussionist Scott Neumann. This is their first recording on this label. The group will continue touring in Europe in the spring and summer 2015.
The Hell’s Kitchen Funk Orchestra performs compositions born of the genres of funk, contemporary and Latin Jazz while embracing the varied backgrounds and experiences of its members. Audiences are treated to high-powered contemporary music that communicates, transcends and inspires. We are excited to be embarking on this journey and hope that you will join us in the coming year and to many unspecified dates in the future.
"Nicole Henry is the consummate performer; beautiful, charming and man, that voice!"-Bill Warfield
In late March 2015 at the 1st Annual Allentown Jazz Festival a new collaboration was born. A rising vocal star and a veteran NYC big band/studio arranger discovered each other empowered by the unyielding deadlines and last-minute emergencies generated by any performance event, no less the maiden voyage of a new jazz festival.
Thrust into the directorship of the festival orchestra with less than 24 hours remaining before the first rehearsal, composer/band leader/trumpeter Bill Warfield sat down with several unseen scores and the recordings of the festival's featured performer, Nicole Henry. By the end of the first rehearsal he was sold. He had been looking to include a vocalist with his new "Hell's Kitchen Funk Orchestra", A Downbeat Editors pick. It had to be the right vocalist; a singer that had roots planted firmly in the Jazz idiom without losing touch with the blues. Nicole was perfect. A gig with her quartet at Dizzy's Jazz Club in NYC was the clincher. "She is the consummate performer; beautiful, charming and man, that voice" says Warfield.
Nicole will be joining Bill and the Hell's Kitchen Funk Orchestra for a tour in the Spring of 2016, followed by a new recording for Greg Pasenko on the BluJazz Label. "We are patterning the recording along the lines of the famous recording made by Cannonball Adderly and Nancy Wilson, where instrumental and vocal Jazz blends into an amalgam of wonderful sound that celebrates both". Tunes to be included are: "Respect", "First Time On A Ferris Wheel", "Bring It On Home", "Rainbow Connection" as well as funky instrumentals. Joining the group for the recording will be such NYC artists as Lou Marini and Paul Shaffer performing the compositions and arrangements of Bill Warfield. This promises to be one collaboration you'll want to experience over and over."