What is Live From Home?
AppDynamics and Cisco Webex are excited to bring you "Live From Home”, a weekly virtual concert series providing relief to nonprofit organizations and supporting artists that have been impacted by Covid-19.
Our goal is to drive donations to featured performing arts nonprofit organizations by streaming live entertainment directly into your home!
Next Show: Tuesday May 26, 2020 4:30pm PT
Dance Night supporting Alonzo King LINES Ballet
Alonzo King LINES Ballet is a renowned contemporary ballet company and center for dance education in the heart of San Francisco. Named as a choreographer with “astonishing originality” by The New York Times, Alonzo King draws inspiration from the Bay Area’s diverse cultures, global mindset, and natural beauty to reimagine ballet as an inclusive, expansive, and wildly creative art form. LINES premieres new ballets each fall and spring and provides year-round dance training for all levels, including free arts education in public schools. The organization impacts 50,000 global audience members and 10,000 students ages 3-99 each year. All programs advance LINES’ 38-year legacy of shaping a more engaged, healthy, and connected community through dance.
Meet the Artists
Both classically-trained, Nathan and Becky Bliss have made some cool Americana records, lived in Brooklyn, Nashville and Kansas, toured coast to coast, run out of money, toured Europe, run out of money again, won high-falutin' prizes for songwriting in New York, generally not argued, done benefit shows for prestigious US AAA radio stations, given away 200k+ tracks on Amazon, kept writing, built an audience, been named one of Amazon's Top 100 albums of the year, played Lincoln Center & NPR's Mountain Stage, eaten copious amounts of vegetarian food, attracted 19k+ listeners a month on Spotify and opened for Norah Jones & the Lumineers.
Royce Lovett groomed his lyrical skills for years as an underground emcee...growing from influences like Bob Marley, Mos Def and the Motown greats. Lovett has been sharpening his genre bending style since beginning his career over a decade ago. Throughout that time, he independently toured the globe and performed alongside the likes of Wale, Vince Staples, George Clinton P-Funk, and more. Lovett released a series of independent albums and after signing to a major, released two EPs. He stirred up a genuine & authentic style steeped in hip-hop, soul, and rock guitar, receiving acclaim from BET, Jet Magazine, and more. Lovett says, “When listeners hear my music, I hope they walk away feeling heroic,” he leaves off. “Music doesn't change people. That comes from within. I do think that music can push them over the edge. It’d be amazing if I can help do that.”
Matt Lowell of Lo Moon
Matt Lowell is the lead singer and songwriter of Lo Moon. His mantra – if you like – for all the material was their first release “Loveless”, a track he had been working on for five years. After its release, the media were wagging their tongues on this new “mysterious” band who emerged with an epic sprawl of a tune. Lowell and co., however, insist that their intention was never to be opaque. They just didn't have anything else to say at the time. “We thought, 'Let's lead with the music and see what happens',” he explains. “It ended up getting us pretty far and to be honest we were just figuring out what we were gonna do next. We were starting from nothing.”
From nothing has come something astounding. Their self-titled debut album - a dark, luscious collection of songs full of crescendo rock and sparkling electronics - spans the breadth of human highs and lows, mostly inspired by the dissolution of Lowell's relationship in New York and his subsequent move to the west coast.
Right now they are gearing up towards the release of their second album, which he insists will be a fresh exciting direction for the band.
The Brook & the Bluff
Established in Birmingham, AL, The Brook & The Bluff is a four-piece band that consists of front man Joseph Settine, drummer John Canada, guitarist Alec Bolton and bassist Fred Lankford.
The Brook & The Bluff have quickly become recognized for their evocative blend of instrumental talent and vocal harmony. These elements are readily apparent in the band's debut track, “Masks.” Having initially gained momentum via Spotify, the song has helped spur the band forward in their musical pursuits.
The group's start as a full band was widely successful. From charting on Spotify's US and Canada Viral 50 Playlists, performing at the NAMM shows in both Nashville and Anaheim, and selling out shows in NYC, Boston, DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Nashville, Los Angeles and more, the band has had an exhilarating start.
Originally an acoustic duo, Alec and Joseph started turning heads in local venues with clean vocals and expert guitar work. John and Fred noticed the talent and potential of the duo and joined the group, expanding their sound with driving rhythm and four-part harmonies. The band instantly locked in and have been playing high energy shows together ever since.
As The Brook & The Bluff tour in 2020, The Brook & The Bluff continue to grow their fanbase across the country. The Brook & The Bluff’s debut full length album, FIRST PLACE, was released in October 2019 and the band will be on tour for both headline and support shows nationwide to promote the new music.
Adrian Spinelli (Host)
Adrian is a San Francisco based arts and culture journalist. His work appears in the SF Chronicle, Paste Magazine, Noise Pop Podcast and others.
Musical Theatre Night featuring songs of the American Songbook
Branch Woodman is an accomplished actor, singer and dancer who has appeared on Broadway in Crazy For You, the revival of Bye Bye Birdie, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and the recent revival of Hello, Dolly! starring Bette Midler and then Bernadette Peters. He has toured the country in Big, The Musical, Billy Elliot, and Cinderella and has appeared in regional theatres from California to Massachusetts to Florida.
Kojo Littles was recognized as a special talent from a young age. Raised in Daytona Beach Florida, Kojo started singing at the tender age of 4 and grew up in the world of Opera, Jazz, Gospel, Big Bands, Choirs and Vocal Competitions. He has performed in destinations across the US and Europe, both on television and on the stage, including The Staple Center in Los Angeles, The Lyceum Theatre in London, in Switzerland with the Jazzaar Concerts, The XFACTOR, American Idol, The Juilliard School, and Disney Pixar (Animation). Kojo has shared the stage and worked with greats such as Aretha Franklin, Ben Platt, Sir Elton John, Chaka Khan, Kirk Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Pattie Labelle, David Foster, and Celine Dion among many others. A graduate of the esteemed Berklee College of Music, he also received his BFA from Boston Conservatory of Music.
Brody Grant is super excited to perform virtually during this crazy time in the world. He has performed backup to some incredible stars such as Kristen Chenoweth, Shuler Hensley and even sang a duet with Tony-Nominee Chad Kimball at 54 Below in NYC. Currently a Junior at Shenandoah Conservatory, Brody has had the honor of performing dream roles such as Clyde Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde and Shakespeare in the Collegiate Premier of Something Rotten while in school. He hopes you enjoy the performance and that it will bring some much needed peace in this very odd time we’re living in.
Michelle Jasso is a versatile performer with credits encompassing opera, cabaret, theatre, television, commercial, and voiceover. Within her stage repertoire of over 25 leading and supporting roles, favorites include the title role in Puccini's Suor Angelica, Sally Bowles (Cabaret), The Witch (Into the Woods), The Beggar Woman (Sweeney Todd, Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award: Best Featured Actress in a Musical), Ursula (The Little Mermaid), and Lily (The Secret Garden). A Mexican-American California native now based in Chicago, Michelle has been privileged to have steadily worked in the great Chicago theatre scene, and was honored in 2019 with a Jeff Award for her portrayal of Elizaveta Grushinskaya in Grand Hotel. She appeared in a co-star role in the sixth season of NBC’s Chicago P.D., and can be seen as Elizabeth “Betty” Romero in season three of Showtime’s The Chi, premiering June 21st. She was on the national tour of the stage adaptation of David Seidler’s The King’s Speech when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all of live theatre. Michelle is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, and the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA). More at michellejasso.com
Multi-Grammy Nominated and Winning Drummer, Eric Harland is the most "In demand drummer" of his generation. He has already been on over 400 recordings and multiple film scores at his age of 43. Eric has been recognized in the Boston Globe, New York Times, JazzTimes, Modern Drummer, All About Jazz, The New Yorker, DownBeat, L'uomo Vogue and other prominent publications.
It has been his privilege to share the stage with masters such as Betty Carter, Joe Henderson, MyCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, Terence Blanchard, Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Savion Glover, SFJAZZ Collective and many others, as well as todays up and coming artist like Esperanza Spalding, Jane Monheit, Taylor Eigsti, Julian Lage, Stacie Orrico, Robert Glasper and so on. His current list of performing groups are "JAMES FARM" with Joshua Redman, "PRISM" with Dave Holland and Kevin Eubanks, "SANGAM" with Charles Lloyd and Zakir Hussain, "Charles Lloyd New Quartet", "OVERTONE" with Dave Holland, Jason Moran, Chris Potter and "VOYAGER" Eric's own widely recognized group. But Eric doesn't stop there, he also manages to fit in many collaborations with world renowned artist like Les Claypool "PRIMUS", "DISPATCH" the band, KRS1, John Mayer, Gigi Hadid, Spike Lee, Steve Miller, Mariah Carey, Randy Jackson from "AMERICAN IDOL" and etc.
Eric Harland was the Resident Artistic Director at the SFJAZZ Center for the 2014-2016 Season. Also was Artist in Resident at the Monterey Jazz Festival 2014 Season. Harland also had the supreme privilege of being invited and attending President Barack Obama’s 2016 White House State Dinner in honor of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Through Harland's extensive travels, he has come to realize that "The deepest secret is that life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation." When Eric Harland contributes... his intention is therefore to create the highest musical experience so that every listener may have insight... into the musical moment.
Hailed as one of the most prodigious guitarists of his generation and “highest category of improvising musicians” (New Yorker), Julian Lage has spent more than a decade searching through the myriad strains of American musical history via impeccable technique, free association and a spirit of infinite possibility. Though only 31, the California-born New York-based musician boasts a long, prolific résumé on his own accord in addition to sideman (alongside such icons as Gary Burton and John Zorn) and duo partner (with Nels Cline, Chris Eldridge and Fred Hersch, among others.) Love Hurts – which marks Lage’s third Mack Avenue LP recorded with a trio, and his first to feature bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Dave King (The Bad Plus) – sees the GRAMMY® nominated guitarist exploring the American song catalog from a truly unique vantage point, performing music written by a range of audacious and original artists, from Roy Orbison to Ornette Coleman, Jimmy Giuffre to Peter Ivers. Lage and his rhythm section build upon the wandering sonic outlook of his previous LPs, further impelling his defining amalgam of jazz fusion, jam band liberation, standards, and embryonic rock ‘n’ roll with virtuosic precision, adventurous improvisation, and a remarkably clear vision.
Gerald Clayton searches for honest expression in every note he plays. With harmonic curiosity and critical awareness, he develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering. The four-time GRAMMY-nominated pianist/composer formally began his musical journey at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where he received the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award. Continuing his scholarly pursuits, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance at USC’s Thornton School of Music under the instruction of piano icon Billy Childs, after a year of intensive study with NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron at The Manhattan School of Music. Clayton won second place in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano Competition.
Expansion has become part of Clayton’s artistic identity. His music is a celebration of the inherent differences in musical perspectives that promote true artistic synergy. Inclusive sensibilities have allowed him to perform and record with such distinctive artists as Diana Krall, Roy Hargrove, Dianne Reeves, Ambrose Akinmusire, Dayna Stephens, Kendrick Scott, John Scofield Ben Williams, Terell Stafford & Dick Oatts, Michael Rodriguez, Terri Lyne Carrington, Avishai Cohen, Peter Bernstein and the Clayton Brothers Quintet. Clayton also has enjoyed an extended association since early 2013, touring and recording with saxophone legend Charles Lloyd.
2016 marks his second year as Musical Director of the Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour, a project that has featured his trio along with Ravi Coltrane, Nicholas Payton, Terence Blanchard and Raul Midón on guitar and vocals. Clayton’s discography as a leader reflects his evolution as an artist. His debut recording, Two Shade (ArtistShare), earned a 2010 GRAMMY nomination for Best Improvised Jazz Solo for his arrangement of Cole Porter’s “All of You.” “Battle Circle,” his composition featured on The Clayton Brothers’ recording The New Song and Dance (ArtistShare), received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Composition in 2011. He received 2012 and 2013 GRAMMY nominations for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for Bond: The Paris Sessions (Concord) and Life Forum (Concord), his second and third album releases.
Capturing the truth in each moment’s conception of sound comes naturally to Clayton. The son of beloved bass player and composer John Clayton, he enjoyed a familial apprenticeship from an early age. Clayton honors the legacy of his father and all his musical ancestors through a commitment to artistic exploration, innovation, and reinvention.
In the 2016-17 year, Clayton turns his imaginative curiosity toward uncovering the essence of the Piedmont Blues experience and expression in early twentieth century Durham. A Duke University commission, Clayton’s evening-length composition will explore a mixed media performance that features some of the most resonating voices in contemporary music.
Bassist extraordinaire, composer, arranger, educator, curator and administrator, Christian McBride, has been one of the most important and most omnipresent figures in the jazz world for 20 years. Sometimes hard to believe considering this man just entered his 40's.
Beginning in 1989, this Philadelphia-born bassist moved to New York City to further his classical studies at the Juilliard School, only to be snatched up by alto saxophonist, Bobby Watson. Since then, McBride's list of accomplishments has been nothing short of staggering. As a sideman in the jazz world alone, he's worked with the best of the very best – Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Pat Metheny. In the R&B world, he's not only played with, but also arranged for, Isaac Hayes, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Lalah Hathaway, and the one and only Godfather of Soul himself, James Brown. In the pop/rock world, he's extensively collaborated with Sting, Carly Simon, Don Henley, and Bruce Hornsby. In the hip-hop/neo-soul world, he's collaborated with the Roots, D'Angelo, and Queen Latifah. In many other specialty projects, he's worked closely with opera legend Kathleen Battle, bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, the Shanghai Quartet and the Sonus Quartet.
Away from the bass, Christian has become quite an astute and respected spokesperson for the music. In 1997, he spoke on former President Bill Clinton's town hall meeting "Racism in the Performing Arts." In 2000, he was named Artistic Director of the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Summer Sessions. In 2005, he was officially named the co-director of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. Also in 2005, he was named the second Creative Chair for Jazz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.
In 1998, McBride composed "The Movement, Revisited," a four-movement suite dedicated to four of the major figures of the civil rights movement – Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The piece was commissioned by the Portland (ME) Arts Society and the National Endowment for the Arts. The piece was performed throughout the New England states in the fall of 1998 with McBride's quartet and a 30-piece gospel choir led by J.D. Steele.
Ten years later in 2008, "The Movement, Revisited" was expanded, re-written, re-vamped, and performed again in Los Angeles at Walt Disney Concert Hall. The updated version now featured the gospel choir, an 18-piece big-band and four actors/speakers. The Los Angeles Times claimed the "Movement" as, "a work that was admirable — to paraphrase Dr. King — for both the content of its music and the character of its message."
Since 2000, McBride has blazed a trail as a bandleader with the Christian McBride Band. McBride's fellow bandmates – saxophonist Ron Blake, keyboardist Geoffrey Keezer, and drummer Terreon Gully – have sympathetically shared McBride's all-inclusive, forward-thinking outlook on music. Releasing two CD's – 2002′s Vertical Vision, and 2006′s Live at Tonic, writer Alan Leeds called McBride's band (affectionately known as the "CMB") "one of the most intoxicating, least predictable bands on the scene today." It is a group that has mesmerizingly walked an electro-acoustic fault line with amazing results.
Betsy Struxness is an interdisciplinary artist and WERQ Dance Fitness Master Trainer and Choreographer based in Los Angeles. After graduating with a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School, Betsy has gone on to all sorts of performing adventures from cruise ships to voiceovers, Broadway to TV, you name it. On Broadway, Betsy made her debut with Wicked, and then very quickly joined the cast of Memphis right before its run into the Tonys. Her first originating experience was with Leap of Faith, to be joined in swift succession by Scandalous and Matilda. Her biggest honor to date has been bringing the smash hit musical Hamilton from the workshop to off-Broadway to Broadway as one of the original cast members. Her performance background makes her a powerhouse instructor who entertains while motivating and Betsy is sought after all over the country. Betsy enjoys her free time as a traveler, especially with her camera, shooting everything from landscapes to portraits to all things dance. Check out Betsy’s Hamilton-inspired series: #StruxSelfie along with her dance series #PatioJams and most recently her work with drag queen Miss Evita Loca on YouTube. www.betsystruxness.com IG: @be_strux
Danny Gardner: Flying Over Sunset (Lincoln Center) Dames At Sea (Broadway), Lady, Be Good! (Encores!, Album), The NY Spectacular starring the Rockettes (Radio City Music Hall). Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, 42nd Street, and Here to Stay (National Tours). Bobby Child in Crazy For You (Signature Theatre), Bert in Mary Poppins (Theatre Under the Stars), Don in Singin’ in the Rain (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre).
Nikki d'Arnault is originally from Miami, Florida where she began her dance training at South Florida Ballet. She spent her high school years training at New World School of the Arts, where she performed works by George Balanchine and Martha Graham. To further her dance training she attended the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase and earned her BFA in Dance. Here, she performed works by Alonzo King, Taryn Kaschock Russell, Norbert De La Cruz, and Kevin Wynn among many others. Nikki is currently a freelance dance artist and teacher residing in New York City. She has most recently been performing with Kins Dance Theater and WyckoffCollective.
Renee Guittar and Rush Benson
Renee Guittar is a professional dancer, choreographer, and dance educator based in St. Paul and originally from Lincoln, Nebraska. Renee is an original company member with Collide Theatrical Dance Company since 2013 and has performed at The Guthrie (The Music Man), The Ordway (In The Heights, A Chorus Line), Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (Beauty And The Beast, Camelot, Grease, Newsies, Holiday Inn, Mamma Mia!) and The Old Log Theater (The Wedding Singer). Renee is a teaching artist with the Cowles Center and The Ordway and a teacher at Ashley Ballet Arts Academy. Renee received a B.A. in Dance with Honors from Gustavus Adolphus College. Renee is lucky enough to spend her life with her dance partner and fiancé Rush Benson.
Rush Benson is an actor, dancer, teacher, musician, and choreographer originally from Minneapolis, MN. Rush has performed at numerous professional theaters around the Twin Cities area including Park Square Theater, The Guthrie, The Ordway, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and The Old Log Theater. Rush has performed in choreographic works by Jared Grimes, Jamal Sims (Choreographer from the Step Up film series), Phillip Flickinger, Stephan Koplowitz, Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, and many more. He has performed in the Twin Cities with Collide Theatrical Dance Company, Flying Foot Forum, the James Sewell Ballet, Artistry, Minnesota Dance Theater and Keane Sense of Rhythm Tap Company Rush is a teaching artist with The Cowles Center, The Ordway, and The Guthrie Theater. Rush graduated with a B.A. in Theatre and Dance from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2013. He enjoys a solid jam session, ciphers, colored pencils, animals, nature, and the feeling you get from a deep intellectual discussion. Rush feels so fortunate to join "Live From Home" and get a chance to perform with his fiancé Renee. Thank you!
When AppDynamics and Cisco teams saw shows and events being canceled or postponed and arts nonprofits struggling, they quickly banded together to create Live From Home.
We want to thank all the performers, nonprofits and the virtual audience members for all your contributions in making the Live From Home series a very special, and impactful event. We would also like to thank Cisco for making an event like this possible through their commitment to employees, communities, and the global ecosystem in these times of uncertainty.
How Donations Work
Each virtual event in the Live From Home series will be highlighting a nonprofit in need. Donations made during the events will go directly into a pool that will be evenly split across all our nonprofits at the conclusion of the concert series. ALSO, Any donations made by Cisco or AppDynamics employees will be matched by Cisco!