Connection Works is an artist-run non-profit organization that engages the Brooklyn community with world-class jazz performances and educational events. Our programs promote and facilitate new work by established and up-and-coming artists alike. We provide a forum that supports the astonishing number of brilliant artists in our borough. We at Connection Works believe in and encourage the practice of creativity as a means to nourish the mind, body, and spirit.
Connection Works is a vibrant non-profit organization formed in 2007 by jazz musicians to engage the Brooklyn community with a cultural center featuring the performance, presentation, development, and education of jazz and other creative music. It has since earned a reputation as a premiere organization that values its performers and their work. Its programs promote and facilitate new work by established and up-and-coming artists alike. Connection Works provides alternatives to the jazz nightclub experience in forums that support the astonishing number of brilliant artists in our borough.
Connection Works has two resident ensembles: the trio WORKS and the seven-piece chamber ensemble Wide Open.
WORKS, featuring Michel Gentile (flute), Daniel Kelly (piano) and Rob Garcia (drums). Bandleaders in their own right, these artists embrace the unique instrumentation of WORKS to forge a distinct and powerful voice. WORKS has garnered increasing attention from the media and the public alike, consistently receiving critic’s picks from The New York Times and Time Out New York. With their debut self-titled recording, WORKS, the trio of Gentile, Kelly and Garcia documents the creative original music that has been captivating audiences for eleven years. Downbeat named the CD one of the “Best Albums of 2013”. The Village Voice says WORKS is “a bright light on the Brooklyn scene.”
Since 2007, Connection Works has presented close to three hundred concerts, master classes and workshops, propelling the organization to the forefront of the Brooklyn jazz scene. The trio WORKS has initiated many adventurous projects. They have composed for and performed with chamber orchestra, composed for string quartet, commissioned big band pieces featuring the trio (with the Joel Harrison Large Ensemble & the Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble), composed for and performed with octet, and collaborated with a long list of esteemed guests, including such jazz heavyweights as Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Sheila Jordan, Joseph Jarman, Scott Colley, Mike Formanek, Dave Binney, Linda Oh and many others. The group has also performed at the Lake George Jazz Festival, Smalls Jazz Club, Cornelia Street Cafe, Littlefield, Douglass Street Music Collective, Atlantic Avenue Art Walk, as well as benefit events for the Atlantic Avenue LDC and numerous schools throughout New York City.
In 2017, the name of our premiere concert series was changed to Wide Open Works (formerly Brooklyn Jazz Wide Open) in order to better reflect our artistic direction. While it is undeniable that our roots are in jazz, the music presented in this series incorporates new directions that must be recognized.
The 2017-2018 season also saw the creation of Wide Open, an ensemble of composers/performers developing new music for larger instrumentation. The group supports and features rising voices of the Brooklyn scene. The unique instrumentation of flute, violin, saxophone, trombone, piano, bass and drums allows composers to develop work that draws equally from jazz, classical, world and folk music traditions. One of the highlights of the season was the inception of a series of performances in Brooklyn Public Libraries completely free to the general public. These concerts attract audiences that are not otherwise able to attend, including families with young children and the elderly. These concerts generate great excitement with the library staff and the library public. The compositions performed had strong literary connections creating a bridge to yet another creative community.
Me, Myself and Eye, started in 2015 is a series of solo concerts at the Brooklyn art gallery, 440Gallery. Each month a different improviser performs solo surrounded by a new art installation in the gallery. The series has brought the visual art and music communities together. In fact, the coming season will feature artist’s renditions of the musicians who performed during the last four seasons.
In addition, Connection Works has led a wide array of innovative programs:
Performance and Workshop for Young Musicians has been a focal point of our community outreach. It provides aspiring musicians an opportunity to perform and receive feedback from seasoned professionals. In the past 11 seasons we have witnessed wonderful progress with the many returning students who participate in this popular series. We will be continuing this series this coming fall at the Brooklyn Conservatory.
Composer’s Workshop invites composers to develop new work with WORKS at their disposal. Participants experiment with new material in a nurturing and creative environment.
Jazz Connection allows the ensemble to work in tandem with educators to shape school assemblies and workshops to the needs of their specific curriculum. We have worked with PS 154, PS 10, PS 770, PS 131, the Frank Sinatra High School of the Arts and the British International School of NY.
Underground Works is a weekly series run in collaboration with Brooklyn Jazz Underground. These concerts are presented at small Brooklyn venues allowing groups freedom to develop their creativity in front of live audiences.
Jazz Wide Open Spaces brings live music to various neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn at free outdoor events.
Musicians that have performed at Connection Works events include:
Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Lee Konitz, Billy Hart, John Abercrombie, Sheila Jordan, Cameron Brown, Scott Colley, Vic Juris, Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara, Michael Formanek, Tony Marino, Marko Marcinko, Matt Darriau, Anat Cohen, Howard Alden, Wycliffe Gordon, Steve Coleman, Gene Bertoncini, Dafnis Prieto, Mark Turner, Larry Grenadier, Jeff Ballard, Dave Valentine, Scott Robinson, Tony Malaby, Nasheet Waits, John Hebert, Loren Stillman, Bill McHenry, Chris Lightcap, Dan Tepfer, Noah Preminger, Joe Martin, Dan Weiss, Avishai Cohen, Jean Rohe, Manuel Valera, Hans Glawishnig, Chris Tarry, Massimo Biolcati, Rodney Green, Judi Silvano, Michael Formanek, Gerry Hemingway, Bill O’Connell, Myra Casales, Kyoko Kitamura, Scott Lee, Gary Versace, Jeff Hirshfield, Andrew Rathburn, Jonathan Finlayson, Tim Albright, Jen Shyu, Miles Okazaki, Shane Endsley, Nir Felder, Briggan Krauss, Matt Pavolka, Nate Radley, Roland Schneider, Joel Frahm, Kenny Wessel, Jim Whitney, Yosvany Terry, Osmany Peredes, Obed Calvaire, Vince Giordano, Peck Allmond, Barney McAll, Aaron Diehl, Zaid Shukri, Joel Harrison, Fima Ephron, Jordan Perlson, Tareq Abboushi, Zafer Tawil, Barry Bryson, Herb Gardiner, Jack Stucky, Dave Ambrosio, Matt Renzi, Angelica Sanchez, Anders Nilsson, Nicki Denner, Anton Denner, Andrew Rathbun, Jennifer Vincent, Willie Martinez, Jorge Maldonado, Mark Miller, Christelle Durandy, Brahim Fribgane, Tony Romano, Adam Kolker, Joe Fitzgerald, Ben Monder, Adam Rudolph, Matt Wilson, Paul Sikivie, Jeff Lederer, Gilad Heckselman, Marcus Gilmore, Dave Scott, Gary Wang, Peter Apfelbaum, Patrice Blanchard, David Phelps, Ben Kono, Jeremy Viner, Dan Willis, Bohdan Hilash, Rob Hudson, Mike Christianson, Jacob Garchik, Jeff Nelson, Jon Owens, Tony Kadleck, Dave Ballou, Laurie Frink, Kermit Driscoll, John Hollenbeck, Theo Bleckmann, Kate McGarry, J.C. Sanford, Chris Dingman, John Replogle, Dave Smith, John McNeil, Howard Johnson, Lolly Bienenfeld, Kenny Pexton, Jeremy Udden, Mark Small, Kenny Berger, Danny Weller, Tyson Stubelek, Ron Horton,Tim Horner, John O'Gallagher, Marc Mommaas, Scott Robinson, Nate Eklund, Alan Ferber, Mark Sherman, Frank Kimbrough, Martin Wind, Jason Lindner, Vincente Archer, Anthony Pinciotti, Daniel Kelly, Michel Gentile, Rob Garcia and many more.
Our advisory board includes Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Woody Allen, Bill de Blasio, Dan Zanes, Joel Thome, and David Gonzalez.