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Doris Spears, Music of Billie Holiday

June 9, 2018 @ 8:00 pm

Doris Spears

Preservation New Jersey and the New Jersey Jazz Society are pleased to welcome jazz vocalist Doris Spears back to the 1867 Sanctuary, joined by Dave Braham (Piano), Roy Cumming (Bass), and Pete Inverso (Drums). This concert will celebrate the music of Billie Holiday!

“I rarely miss a Doris Spears concert,” said the late Fritz Marston of Princeton’s (NJ) Town Topics newspaper, “and here’s why. Yes, the lyrics may be familiar, but suddenly the song is new. Doris has an incomparable way of getting inside a song, inhabiting it, reinterpreting it, and delivering something all her own—fresh and original. It’s no wonder her smiling sidemen are having as much fun as her audience.”

Doris Spears was born in the Mississippi Delta and partially raised in Gary Indiana and Chicago IL, where as a teen-ager she immersed herself in the music of Jazz, Blues and R & B. By the time, she was 17 she was already singing professionally in Chicago Jazz clubs and concert halls, with musicians such as Von Freeman, Lefty Bates, and Vernell Fournier. Gradually word about Doris’ voice spread from Chicago to St. Louis and New York and points in between. Then in the 80’s Lionel Hampton met Doris at the New York Public Library in Bryant Park, invited her to audition, and immediately asked her to tour with him. The rest, as they say, is history.

Beginning that fall and throughout the decade Doris would tour parts of Europe, the Middle East and the United States; gigs would follow with a veritable who’s who of Jazz up to and including Jack MacDuff, Clark Terry, Egil Kapstad, Grady Tate, David Braham, Radam Scwartz, Pam Morita, Rune Nicolaysen, Paul Weeden, Charles Earland, Thilo Berg, Jack Von Poll, Eddie Green, Big John Patton, Tony Williams, Don Wilner etc, etc. Eight years later, after two highly celebrated CD’s, “The Duchess: Jazz & Juke Joints”, arguably, her most seminal CD was released and greeted with even greater critical acclaim; we are additionally treated to her magnificent gifts as a songwriter and lyricist. “A Tribute to Billie Holiday” was performed in a concert at Trenton’s Fabled Ellarslie Mansion on May 18th 2007. Her regular trio consisting of Master Pianist/Organist David Braham, Drummer Payton Crossley of Ahmad Jamal fame, and Broadway/Jazz Bassist Roy Cummings, backed her superbly. The audience that night gave Doris a standing “O” and lingered after the instruments were packed up to enjoy her conversation. Doris Spears is the mother of Shahran Spears, an Education Administrator in IL and Aries Spears, Comedian and Actor living in CA.

Roy Cumming was born in Orange and grew up in the nearby town of Clifton. Starting on the violin, Roy switched to the bass after high school and began studying jazz. He studied with such noted bassists as Norman Edge and Ron Carter. He also studied bass repair with Lou Fuiro, and continues in the art of bass building and repair to the present day, as well as performing. His work with drummer John Dentz led to his association with jazz piano giants Teddy Wilson, Chick Corea and the great be-bop pianist Al Haig. He had an extensive and productive association with guitarist Harry Leahy and drummer Glenn Davis. Later joined by pianist Mike Melillo, they formed the group “In Free Association,” and performed and recorded together for many years. His freelance work includes performing with such jazz notables as Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Phil Woods, Johnny Hartman, Joe Morello, and Tony Williams. A wonderful composer, he released the CD “Edgeless” on which all of the selections are his own compositions.

Dave Braham, keyboards, has played with jazz notables such as singers Etta Jones and Irene Reid, saxophonists Houston Person and Lou Donaldson, and guitarist Bob DeVos. A dedicated music instructor, he has been teaching in New Jersey public schools since the late 1980s.

Peter Inverso

Peter L. Inverso has established a reputation as both a progressive and versatile drummer in the Metropolitan area. By the age of 15, he became a professional and was able to perform in front of large audiences.

He has performed with many talented musicians such as recording artist Doris Spears. Citing Max Roach, Joe Morello, and Buddy Rich as major influences on his drumming, he studied with renown drummer Tony DeNicola who was associated with big band leaders such as: Freddy Martin, Charlie Ventura and Harry James. As such, his drumming is both compositional and melodic and comes from a strong rhythmic and conceptual foundation.Peter L. Inverso has established a reputation as both a progressive and versatile drummer in the Metropolitan area. By the age of 15, he became a professional and was able to perform in front of large audiences.

Jazz at the 1867 Sanctuary and throughout the Trenton/Princeton area is featured on trenton.jazznearyou.com. Download their app for iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire!

New Jersey Jazz Society
New Jersey Jazz Society

Preservation New Jersey is pleased that the New Jersey Jazz Society (NJJS) is co-sponsoring jazz events at the 1867 Sanctuary. We encourage fans of our jazz concerts and jazz musicians to join NJJS at www.njjs.org so they receive their award-winning Jersey Jazz journal 11 times a year and other special benefits, including a $5 discount on tickets to Jazz Music Series concerts at the 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing!

To Purchase Tickets

  • $20 for General Admission
  • $15 for Members of the New Jersey Jazz Society
  • $15 for Friends of the Sanctuary
  • $5 for School and College students with ID
  • $15 per person for Groups of 10 or more**

Tickets can be purchased online or reserved at the box office for payment by cash, check or credit card by calling 609-392-6409 or emailing 1867sanctuary@preservationnj.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door as space allows.

For online purchases, PLEASE PRINT AND KEEP YOUR RECEIPT emailed from PayPal. You will not be mailed tickets. While our notification from PayPal is usually sufficient, the receipt will provide your proof of purchase, particularly for same-day purchases.

**GROUP RATES (10 or more people). Group rates apply only to advance online sales and must be purchased in quantities of 10 or more within a single purchase. Group rate tickets cannot be purchased at the box office prior to the concert.

Choose Ticket Option (price per ticket):
Group, School or other info:

Become a Member – Sign Up Below !

Become a Friend of the Sanctuary and Save $5 per Ticket!

For only $30.00 per year ($50.00 for families), members of the Friends of the 1867 Sanctuary receive  $5 off our General Admission concert tickets for ALL of 2018!


June 9, 2018
8:00 pm
Event Category:


1867 Sanctuary at Ewing
101 Scotch Road + Google Map