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Kev Choice Ensemble
January 16, 2014
Oakland Riviera Release Party!
Thursday, January 16
8pm $17 adv / $20 day-of
Pianist. Emcee. Producer. Bandleader. Sideman. Music historian. Kev Choice wears many hats, and all of them fit. Blessed with prodigious talent, plus the skill and dedication to his craft to pull it off, the Oakland-based artist is redefining what it means to be a musician in this day and age. Not too many classically-trained pianists who hold Master’s degrees in jazz can rock microphones with blazing-hot 16s.
Yet such versatility comes natural to Choice, whose diverse array of influences ranges from Prince to Rakim to A Tribe Called Quest to Stevie Wonder to McCoy Tyner to Chopin and Ravel.
He began playing piano at age 11, and was soon recognized as a prodigy. As a teenager, Choice played in classical and jazz ensembles as part of the UC Berkeley Young Musicians Program, and continued his studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans)–where he graduated with a (BM) in music– and Southern Illinois University (Carbondale)–where he graduated with a (MM) in music.
Post-grad school, Choice became an in-demand sideman, recording and touring with the likes of Michael Franti and Spearhead, Lyrics Born, Too $hort, Ledisi and Goapele. In 2007, Lauryn Hill asked him to be her musical director, a gig which took him to 12 countries. Hill, he says, “was very influential in my musical development as an artist ” – exposing him to Ethiopian and world music, rock and reggae.
He’s since added to his international resume by touring Europe with The Coup, and has also worked with Dwele, Martin Luther, Amel Larrieux, Omar, Joi, and Souls of Mischief.
But Choice isn’t just a sideman. As a solo artist, with his band, Kev Choice Ensemble, he's established quite a reputation with his power house performances. He has been voted Best Musician and Most Multi-Talented Musician by East Bay Express, and was nominated Best Soul/Funk artist by SF Weekly 3 times. They have opened for the likes of Robert Glasper, Mos Def, Digable Planets, DJ Quik, Talib Kweli, The Coup, Zion I and more. He leads the jazz-hip-hop-funk big band, which features some of the best young talented musicians and artist in the Bay Area. Including a solid rhythm section, horns, and often strings, the Ensemble brings Kev Choice's vision to life. His original vision with the Ensemble was to create a band similar to what Duke Ellington would create if he were alive today.