The NYC Ska Orchestra is an 18-piece big band with a bold new sound, playing strikingly original compositions and arrangements of popular songs across many genres. The members, a who’s-who of top New York players, have been selected to best express the orchestra’s lush musical stylings of jazz, blues, ska, rock steady, and reggae.
Due to the number of band members to be paid, a $10 door fee will be charged.
Book online now!
Co-led by Kevin Batchelor (trumpet) and Andrae Murchison (trombone), with musical direction by extraordinary pianist/composer Sharp Radway, the NYC Ska Orchestra brings tremendous collective talent to uphold the finest traditions of music and culture. See you on the dance floor!
Video from Last Summer on the Thai Rock Deck – Wings of a Dove
NYC Ska Orchestra players:
Co-Leader Kevin Batchelor, on trumpet, grew up playing in the St. Louis public school system and attended Berklee College of Music before embarking on three decades of touring and recording with artists such as Steel Pulse, Skatalites, Marcus Miller, Jimmy Cliff, Maxwell, Rihanna, and Keith Richards. Building on Kevin’s Batchelor’s Grand Concourse, “K.B.’s Dream” has been realized with the creation of the NYC Ska Orchestra.
Co-Leader Andrae Murchison, on trombone, holds a master’s from Queens College, is a member of ska pioneers Skatalites, and has performed with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Roy Hargrove, the Count Basie Orchestra, Abdullah Ibrahim, and Gregory Porter.
Musical Director Sharp Radway, piano, who brings his classic original compositions to the NYC Ska Orchestra, has worked with jazz icons Yusef Lateef, Benny Golson, Slide Hampton, Curtis Fuller, James Spaulding, Louis Hayes, and Candido, in addition to performing and recording reggae, ska, and gospel music. He appeared in the film Cadillac Records with Mos Def and Beyonce Knowles, directs the Sharp Radway Gospel Chorale, and authored the book Musicianship 101 (What They Don’t Tell You in School).
Asst. Musical Director Anant Pradhan, on tenor and alto saxophones, is a Berklee graduate and member of the Brooklyn Attractors, Zongo Junction, and the Full Watts band. He has performed and/or recorded with Shaggy, Gary Bartz, Skatalites, Johnny Osbourne, Sanchez, Mos Def, George Duke, Victor Axelrod, Casey Benjamin, Michael Henderson, Angelique Kidjo, Bobby Brown, Gordon Webster, Jennah Bell, the Toasters, and Vin Gordon.
Paul Nowinski, on bass, won a Grammy for his work with Keith Richards and has been nominated for five others, playing with Tony Bennett, George Benson, Steve Miller, Jeff Beck, John Mellencamp, Aerosmith, Teddy Edwards, Pat Martino, Paquito D’Rivera, Ricki Lee Jones, Patti Smith, Joe Jackson, Amanda Palmer, My Morning Jacket, and many others, including a six-year stint with Les Paul. He performs on Broadway with Betty Buckley, Bernadette Peters, and Brian Stokes Mitchell, plays with the Boston Pops, and works with Oscar winner Luis Resto.
Jonny Meyers, on guitar, leads his own quintet, plays in Kevin Batchelor’s Grand Concourse and their Jamaican R&B duo Kevin & Jonny, and is a guest lecturer on Jamaican music at Vassar College. He toured widely with the Stingers, backing Jamaican ska legends Laurel Aitken and Doreen Shaffer.
Mike Severino, on drums, has played blues, rock, jazz, R&B, and reggae up and down the Hudson Valley and Northeast, performing and/or recording with Levon Helm, Joe Louis Walker, Son Seals, Ari-Up, Judah Eskender, Crucial Bridge, the Congos, and the Tony O Band.
Larry McDonald, on congas and percussion, has recorded with Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Lee Scratch Perry, Manu Dibango, Skatalites, Gil-Scott Heron, Toots Hibbert, Count Ossie, Sly Dunbar, Monty Alexander, Ernest Ranglin, Clancy Eccles, Joe Gibbs, King Tubby, Bob Andy, Taj Mahal, Mick Jagger, Natalie Merchant, Easy Star All-Stars, Victor Rice, Dave Hillyard, Slackers, Bad Brains, and Disney, in a career spanning 50 years.
Luke Penella, on alto saxophone and flute, is a member of the Lifted Crew, Brooklyn Attractors, and Westbound Train, and has performed with Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Smif-N-Wessun, Leo Genovese, Easy Star All-Stars, and Bad Rabbits. A Berklee graduate, his studio credits include Beyonce Knowles, Reggie Watts, and Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s.
Fred Reiter (AKA Rock Steady Freddie), on alto saxophone, is the leader of the New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble, which has performed at major jazz festivals in over 30 countries; their cover of “Take 5” has over 1,000,000 YouTube views. He has recorded for Lou Reed and the Toasters, has appeared on MTV and Nickelodeon, and his composition “Arachnid” can be heard in the Academy Award-nominated HBO documentary Redemption.
Tony Orbach, on tenor saxophone, has performed and recorded with rock, ska, reggae, funk, R&B, and hip-hop artists including Common, Angie Stone, Beastie Boys, Fleshtones, the Toasters, David Yazbek, and Bob Dylan. A native New Yorker, Tony was a longtime member of award-winning NYC funk/rock/ska pioneers Urban Blight.
Paul Vercesi, on baritone sax, has recorded with Bob Dylan, Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, Lisa Stansfield, Fleshtones, the Toasters, and David Yazbek. He is a founding member of Urban Blight, has performed with Queen Latifah, Beastie Boys, Dog Eat Dog, Big Mountain, and Brian D’Arcy James, and is an original cast member of the Broadway production of The Full Monty, nominated for 10 Tony awards.
Satish Robertson, on trumpet, has performed and recorded with acts including Spirit of Life Ensemble, Chris Rob, Talib Kweli, Jessica Care Moore, Marc Cary, UTFO, Chaz Van Queen, the Emily Wolf Project, Will Calhoun, and Argentinean reggae artist Fidel Nadal. He is a member of the music ministry at Harlem’s St. Luke Baptist Church, and his organ trio is popular at Showman’s Jazz Club on 125th Street.
James K. Smith, on trumpet, began his career in the Army and Air Force before winning a Grammy with Burning Spear and garnering nominations with Aswad, Kymani Marley, and Stephen Marley. He has played with the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra, the New York Big Band, Charli Persip, the Ray Abrams Orchestra, Johnnie Taylor, Billy Paul, Toni Menage’s Project Orange, CCB, and Mephiskapheles.
Nate Birkey, on trumpet, has performed with Diana Krall, Madeleine Peyroux, Roger Kellaway, Gerald Clayton, Helen Sung, Mark Soskin, Doug Carn, Steve Rudolph, Phil Woods, Dave Liebman, Bill Goodwin, Ignacio Berroa, Buddy Williams, Mike Clark, Francois Moutin, and David Piltch. An ASCAP award recipient, he has played on 60 recordings, is featured in the Random House book The New Face of Jazz, and has made appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America.
Buford O’Sullivan, on trombone, has performed and/or recorded with the Scofflaws, the Toasters, Easy Star All-Stars, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Lee Scratch Perry, Dave Hillyard and the Rock Steady Seven, Dub Is a Weapon, Gov’t Mule, the Impressions, Sinead O’Connor, and the Roots. He appears on Pharrell’s song “Brand New” featuring Justin Timberlake, and his compositions have appeared on HBO and Turner Movie Classics.
Robert Stringer, on trombone, earned his master’s from the New England Conservatory of Music and has recorded and/or performed with Rihanna, Eric Benét, Shaggy, Gregory Porter, Ruben Studdard, Javier Colon, Gladys Knight, Ne-Yo, Skatalites, the Count Basie Jazz Orchestra, Aretha Franklin, Big Daddy Kane, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, and the New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble. A four-time Grammy-nominated artist, he is a faculty lecturer at York College.
Jack Jeffers, on bass trombone, has played on over 100 recordings, performed on Broadway, and toured the world in a career stretching over 50 years. He has played in the bands of Clark Terry, Maynard Ferguson, Count Basie, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Chico O’Farrill, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, the New York Classics, Frank Foster, and James Brown.
Summer 2017 Music Concert Event Schedule:
June 29 – Dead Cruise with the Electrix, Click Here for event info
June 30 – The Southern Drawl Band, Click Here for event info
July 27 – Beatles Cruise with Penny Lane, Click Here for event info
August 12 – NYC Ska Orchestra, Click Here for event info
August 17 – Rock The Boat Sunset Cruise, Click Here for event info
Aug 31 – Big Squid Cruise, Click Here for event info