Black History Month Celebration - Jazz in Pink
Jazz in Pink, celebrating 10 years of women in music, is an all-star ensemble of musical women that projects talent, beauty, power and femininity as they embrace the stage.
Get to know Jazz in Pink!
Gail Jhonson - Keyboard, Band Leader
The First Lady of Smooth Jazz is a distinction that Gail Denise Jhonson has worked a lifetime to achieve. She was born and raised in the city of Philadelphia. Gail’s fascination with the endless possibilities of the piano began at the young age of 10. By 14, Gail had played her first professional gig, starting her on a journey that has seen her travel the world, touching lives through her gift of music.
From her humble beginnings on the streets of Philly to the height of her success on the stage and in the studio, Gail has lived a life fully committed to music. Gail graduated from the Berklee College of Music, with a B.A. in Composition. Gail made the move west, to Los Angeles, where she established herself in the vibrant heart of the music industry.
Gail’s impressive resume as a recording artist and touring musician includes appearances with such notables as Norman Brown, Mindi Abair, Bobby Womack, Ray Parker jr, Pink, Milli Vanilli, Morris Day (Time) & Rain Pryor. TV appearances on The Jay Leno Show, BET, several videos, Gospel Theatre, Jazz Festivals with Cindy Bradley, Peabo Bryson, Jeff Lorber, Patti Austin, Marion Meadows and many others.
In 2010 and 2011, The American Black Music Association awarded Gail a Spotlight Award at the red carpet event in Los Angeles; for which she won “Best Jazz Musician.” Her daughter Tamina performed and won “Best Jazz Vocalist.”
In 2009, Gail’s CD Pearls garnered the nod in the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, a featured artist on the SummerStorm Tour, hosted by Norman Brown, for whom she has been a music director for many years.
Zuri Appleby - Bass
Zuri Appleby is a professional bassist, vocalist, model, and educator. The daughter of musicians and educators, Zuri’s involvement in music began as a 5-year-old singing in the church choir, and her love of music has continued from the moment she picked up a guitar at age 7. She was active in all of the performing groups that her middle, junior, and high schools had to offer, playing the violin, French Horn, guitar and bass, and by the age of 15 she was recruited to play for various musicals, and performance groups in and around the Western New York area. By the age of 16, Zuri was playing weekly gigs as bassist with numerous well-known musicians at copious venues, while continuing to sing every Sunday in her church choir. That same year, Zuri’s advanced talents in music and athletics garnered the attention of the United States Marine Corps, she was one of a very elite group of young adults asked to audition for the prestigious USMC Band. She was enthusiastically accepted and just 3 days after her graduation from the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, she was escorted to begin her service in the Marine Corps as the first and ONLY female bassist of color to ever play in the USMC Band. After graduation from boot camp, Zuri went on to complete the Marine Combat Training Course, and graduated from the Little Creek Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, Virginia. She was then stationed in New Orleans where she served active duty for 4 years. She toured the country with the USMC Band as an electric bassist and percussionist, providing music to thousands. Upon her honorable discharge as a Sergeant in 2009, Zuri pursued higher education at Buffalo State College, diligently and consistently following her dream to become a musician in high demand.
Zuri’s versatility enabled her to open for national recording artists such as PJ Morton, Sisqo, Anthony Hamilton, Orgone, Alan Evans Trio, Grammy Award Winning Snarky Puppy, Bernard Purdie, and Avery Sunshine. She has also played with national recording artists such as Ginuwine, Silk, Grammy Nominated Artist Maysa, Soulive, Christopher Williams, Marvin Sapp, Martha Munizzi, and Steve Miller’s own keyboardist, and 3-Time Grammy Nominated artist, Joseph Wooten. Zuri was also weekly accompanist for Ephesus Ministries Church with Walter Kemp, Musical Director and co-founder of Buffalo’s award-winning band, Gruvology, from 2009-2015, she was the featured bassist for Miller and the Other Sinners, who opened for The Steve Miller Band in August of 2015 at Artpark, and was bassist for a special Stevie Wonder Tribute Concert with the prestigious Buffalo Philharmonic. Sinbad requested Zuri to be the musical director and bassist for recent shows in Buffalo and Rochester and was also flown to Nashville in 2015 to be part of the band in a video produced by Mutt Lange for up-and-coming artist, Ashley Clark.
Zuri also has a passion for education and had taught for Young Audiences of Western New York, where she worked with children in junior and senior high schools. In 2016, Zuri was chosen to lead an Artist in Residency Program for the Buffalo Public Schools, and led a Music Symposium for Administrators of Western New York at Kelinhan’s Music Hall. Zuri was also asked to speak at “Mathematics, Physics, and the Future of Multimedia and Music” at The New School in New York City, and gave a talk entitled “Duty of the True Me” at the TEDxYouth@Buffalo event. Whenever time allows, she continues to share her skills and knowledge of music through workshops, seminars, and private instruction for bass and vocals.
Zuri was awarded Best Jazz Bassist of 2016 in the City of Buffalo, was honored with the Changemakers 30 Under 30 Award, and was runner up for the highly coveted Sparks Award presented by the Arts Services Initiative of Western New York.
Zuri’s first high-profile music gig, came in the Fall of 2015, when she was sought out to play bass for Nick Jonas. After quickly being hired, Zuri toured with Nick’s band until the Spring of 2016. During that time shows included numerous national and international headlining dates and opening for stars like Justin Bieber, The Weekend, DNC, DeLaSol, and Demi Lovato. Special events included The Lifebeat MTV VMA’S Pre-Concert Show in Holywood, iHeart Radio Music Festival in Vegas, The Jingle Ball Tour in numerous cities, The BBC Radio One Teen Awards at Wembley Stadium in London, and a widely-acclaimed featured performance at the 2015 American Music Awards. There were also several promotional television appearances such as The Ellen Show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and the taping of the Victoria Secret Swimsuit Special on St. Barth’s Island that aired on CBS in March of 2016.
Since completing that tour, Zuri has relocated to Los Angeles to pursue continued opportunities in the music industry.
Tamina Khyrah-joi, Vocalist
Tamina Khyrah-joi has been singing and playing the piano since the age of two. She has participated in choirs and stage plays throughout her youth. Tamina attended CHAMPS Charter High in Los Angeles and Berklee College of Music in Boston. She has been singing with her mom Gail Jhonson and Jazz in Pink for five years. In 2015 Tamina recorded a Gospel-Pop CD with her group Fidelody.
Tomoka Nomura-Jarvis, Saxophone, Flute
Originally from Gifu, Japan, Tomoka earned a Bachelor of Arts (Cum Laude) from Buffalo State College and a Masters in Music from the State University of New York at Buffalo in saxophone performance. While maintaining a private teaching studio for small children to adults, Tomoka performed with or was a member of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Dortmund Symphony Orchestra (Germany), and Bemus Bay Pops. In Jazz, R&B, and Latin settings, she performed for numerous music festivals such as the Catalina Jazz tax festival, Long Beach Jazz Festival, Queen City Jazz Festival, Lewiston Jazz Festival, M&T Plaza, and Albright Knox Jazz Series. She also appeared on ABC “Jimmy Kimmel Live” with Fat Joe, Remy Ma and Ty Dalla $ign.
Tomoka worked with Armed Forces Entertainment, performing in over 40 countries for soldiers, ambassadors and other diplomats at U.S. embassies and military bases. Among the countries visited were Kuwait, Kosovo, Ecuador, Germany and Mozambique, just to name a few. Tomoka has performed extensively for the Young Audience Program and Lecture Series for students in Western New York. Now she is working as a teaching artist giving workshops in elementary schools in Los Angeles Area for Dream A World Education led by Grammy Award winner Bunny Hull. Tomoka also has experience in musical theater, having been hired for pit orchestra and on-stage playing.
Tomoka is a member of all-female Jazz Group Jazz In Pink and The Saxations.
Darlene D’Love” Moreno - Guitar
Turn on your computer, your television, or your radio. Open a magazine or go to a concert. Go to the theatre to see a play. Whether it be The Tonight Show with Jay Leno or Live in Europe with Luciano Pavarotti, chances are you’ll see the face and hear the sounds of Darlene Moreno. From the time of her move to Los Angeles, this lady guitarist has been seen and heard with the likes of Gerald Albright, Montell Jordan, Paul Taylor, and many more.
She came onto L.A.’s music scene in 1995 as lead and rhythm guitarist for the Maestro of Love, Barry White. At the time he was touring the U.S. and abroad with his hot new CD release “The Icon Is Love”. Mr. White was celebrating his huge hit single “Practice What You Preach”, and also his hit with El DeBarge entitled “Secret Garden” by the great Quincy Jones. Darlene became a seasoned veteran with the double Grammy-winning artist and his Love Unlimited Orchestra, touring with him internationally for more than seven years and doing radio and television shows like Ally McBeal, Arby’s restaurant commercials, and many other spots
While continuing to work with Mr. White she also had the opportunity to work with some of the hottest platinum, double platinum and Grammy-winning artists and producers in pop and urban music such as vocalists Mya and Tevin Campbell just to name a few.
You can check out her work on the CDs of various artists. She wrote and produced with R&B vocalist Jon B on his CD entitled “Jon B’s Greatest Hits-Are U Still Down”. In 1995 she composed the music and the hook, and played guitar and bass on the first single released by vocalist Tonya on Malaco’s R&B label J-Town Records entitled “You Ain’t Right”. The single went to 35 on Billboard magazine’s R&B chart.
After an extensive run with Urban/R&B, she discovered Smooth Jazz. After gigging with artists such as Rick Braun and Jeff Golub she did a hit with saxophone great Gerald Albright. It was the beginning of a long ride which still continues today.
Darlene has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers-including an article in L.A.’s Smooth Jazz News Magazine and various other magazines out of Los Angeles. She also had a three-page feature story in Houston Scene Magazine that included an interview and photos. Then there are the two years that Fernandes Guitars gave her full-page ads in their catalog with a full-length photo and her own guitar line.
She’s played with orchestras consisting of more than thirty pieces and bands consisting of only four. With music ranging from easy listening to reggae, hip hop to pop, rock to jazz, and more.