Melissa Gardiner’s album release show was red hot. “The music was electric. I found myself nodding my head to the beat every song,” Arthur Rees. The show was held at the new SALTspace Theater. The album, Empowered, was performed in entirety with Melissa Gardiner on vocals and trombone accompanied by Andrew Carroll organ/keys, Byron Cage drums (members of MG3) and joined by Mike Dubanewicz sax, Nick Fields trumpet, Anthony Saturno guitar, and Brieanna Hunt, Zahyia Rolle and Melody Rose with vocals. Tia Fuller recounts short stories between songs contributing to the empowered theme. Jeremy Johnston and Alex Lavon did a stellar job with sound engineering at the show as well as on the album.
The album is available on CD Baby and all streaming devices however the amazing album artwork by Robyn Stockdale makes it worth buying a physical CD. Go check it out now. I promise you’ll be impressed. It’s a solid collection of songs that work together as a whole.
“Incredible. Definitely powerful. I’ve seen her perform over the years and wow she just keeps getting better and better,” Amber Messina.
The genius in arrangements could be recognized as only true jazz musicians can pull off. “Byron holds it all together,” Melissa Gardiner said. Brieanna Hunt, co writer and back up singer, performed Let Me Lead with a stomp clap intro and Anthony Saturno screaming in on electric guitar locking it down as a favorite song on the album for me.
I have literally watched Melissa lead the way in this community and beyond with the Unity Street Band, Funk ‘n Waffles weekly Jazz Jam, Teaching at SU and LeMoyne, taking an International jazz competition win, building the SALTspace theater & performing arts studios and more. We are fortunate she chooses to stay and contribute so much to Syracuse.