April Webb / Sounds Of A&R | S.O.A.R.

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April Webb / Sounds Of A&R | S.O.A.R.
Edison, NJ
Grant amount: $15,000

About the Artist

Awarded and named “Best Jazz Group” at the Hot House Jazz Magazine and Jazzmobile 2019 NYC Reader’s Jazz Awards presented at Birdland Jazz Club, Sounds of A&R aka S.O.A.R. is the brainchild of vocalist April May Webb and trumpeter Randall Haywood. Partners in music and life, April and Randall, have come together to create a distinct sound. The paths of vocalist April May and trumpeter Randall Haywood first crossed at Moore’s Lounge, a jazz club in New Jersey. April May & Randall both took to the stage to sit in on a tune at a jam session, and the musical chemistry was instant without even knowing each other. April May and Randall’s union produce a sincere and hopeful sound. Both April and Randall studied music on the east coast. April May received her Bachelor’s degree at William Paterson University, studying under the late great Mulgrew Miller. Randall received his Master's degree at The Juilliard School in New York City. In 2022, S.O.A.R. was one of ten ensembles selected to represent The United States as U.S. Cultural Ambassadors. Also, In 2022, S.O.A.R. Won “Best Message Video” for their music video “The Skin I’m In” at the 38th Annual Songwriters’ Association Competition (SAW) in Washington D.C. Sounds of A&R also took Second Place at the Songwriters’ Association of Washington for their song “Moments When I Was a Kid” under the category Jazz / Blues. In 2021, Sounds of A&R released their third studio album, “Questions Left Unanswered,” an album filled with an amalgam of lively original compositions and cover arrangements of time-tested classics. This new release presents evocative pieces that speak deeply to both artists' paths and the moment's struggles. It peaked at #12 on The National Jazz Week Charts and landed on Jazz Week’s Top 100 Jazz Albums for 2021. Also in 2021, S.O.A.R. took home the First Place prize at the 2021 River Film Festival for their music video “Moments When I Was a Kid” from their album “Questions Left Unanswered.”

Sounds of A&R have been making their mark in the jazz scene, In 2015, their single “Horizon” peaked at #17 on The Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. Also, their self-titled debut album made the Jazz Week TOP 15 Chart and ended up on Jazz Week’s TOP 100 albums of the year 2017. In that same year, S.O.A.R. began touring relentlessly with legendary Jazz drummer Thelonious Sphere Monk III, aka T.S. Monk. Randall is also the musical director of The T.S. Monk Band. April and Randall are undoubtedly a dynamic duo, but they are also outstanding as individual musicians. Randall was the youngest member to join the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra at age 15. He also was a featured trumpeter in The Peabody Award-winning PBS program “Marsalis on Music.” In addition, April May was the first African American Female to graduate from the Jazz Education program at William Paterson University. Also, in 2021, she took Second Place at the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Competition presented at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey. Sounds of A&R’s success can only be a direct reflection of their love of music & their mission to take the listener on an artistic journey through an array of colors. The ensemble features Jacob Webb on bass, Nathan Webb on drums, and Ryan Tomski on piano. Pulling inspiration from their deep love for one another, S.O.A.R. expresses that love through beautifully crafted compositions with fresh, innovative arrangements that, pun intended, SOARS.


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