Northeast State welcomes jazz artist Will Boyd

Published 12:21 pm Thursday, February 22, 2024

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The Northeast State Cultural Activities Committee and the Center for Leadership, Enrichment, Access, and Discovery will welcome jazz instrumentalist and composer Will Boyd for a performance in February, celebrating Black History Month.
Boyd takes the stage on Thursday, Feb. 29, at 6 p.m., in the Entertainment Technology performance lab of the Technical Education Complex on the Blountville campus. Admission is free. The performance is open to all. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
A multi-reed instrumentalist, composer, and educator, Boyd hails from the soul sax tradition of artists Eddie Harris, Hank Crawford, and Yusef Lateef. Originally from Orangeburg, S.C., by way of Queens, N.Y., Boyd’s formidable resume began in his teenage years when he was playing with professional local R&B groups. He continued to polish his skills at South Carolina State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Music Business. He also met his future wife, Kelle Jolly, who is a highly esteemed musician and vocalist.
There, she played on the jazz ensemble that boasted distinguished alumni such as tenor man Houston Person, trombonist Ron Westray (Lincoln Center Alum), and trumpeter Charlton Singleton. In 1997, South Carolina State University honored Boyd by inducting him into their Jazz Hall of Fame. Boyd’s work includes three solo albums, Live at the Red Piano Lounge: Freedom, Soul, Jazz, and Soulful Noise.
He went on to become a staple in the music scene in Columbia, S.C., where he would play with mostly fusion, funk, and soul bands. There, he got opportunities to play with legends in this field, including local guitarist Robert Newton, drummer John Blackwell, trombonist Fred Wesley, and soul singer William Bell. He later earned a master’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Since then, Boyd has had the opportunity to perform with many artists across genres including Leslie Odom Jr (Hamilton), Wycliffe Gordon (Lincoln Center), Doc Severinsen (Tonight Show), Crissy Collins (Beyonce), Four Tops, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James big band. He is also on recordings, which include artists such as Nicholas Payton, Carmon Bradford, Chris Potter, Jeremy Pelt, Tim Green, Russell Gunn, and Darryl Hall.
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