June 17th, 2021 9pm Stage 2
This is a 100% COVID-19 vaccinated event. All guests, staff, and artists must be FULLY vaccinated to enter the building. For full admittance and safety guidelines, please visit https://rockwoodmusichall.com/covid-19
Prior to launching a solo career, British-born, Canadian-raised singer/songwriter Michelle Willis amassed an impressive résumé through a variety of collaborations and work as a session keyboardist. After graduating from Toronto's Humber College jazz program, Willis became active in the city's music scene, eventually expanding beyond its limits to work with a variety of different acts like David Crosby, Zac Brown Band, and Parachute Club, among others. A 2009 collaboration with acclaimed Toronto roots band the Henrys led Willis to form a new group with Henrys' slide guitarist Don Rooke and veteran violinist Hugh Marsh. As Three Metre Day, the trio recorded the 2012 album Coasting Notes and scored the 2013 independent film Still Mine, the latter of which earned them a best original score nomination from the Canadian Screen Awards. During one of their tours, Willis and the band befriended an unlikely ally in former Iggy and the Stooges guitarist James Williamson, who eventually brought them out to California for some shows and enlisted them to play on Pop's 2013 album Ready to Die. By 2015, Willis was balancing her busy schedule touring with Brooklyn instrumental fusion band Snarky Puppy and Canadian indie folk artist Peter Katz while wrapping up sessions for her first release as a solo artist. She was offered a deal with Snarky Puppy founder Michael League's Universal-affiliated GroundUP Music label, which released Willis' debut, See Us Through, in spring 2016.
Portuguese-born, Carolina-bred, and current Brooklyn, NY resident Louis Cato is no stranger to planes, tour buses, recording studios, TV sets, liner-notes, and airwaves. He’s a Grammy-nominated and internationally acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter. He has recorded with Beyonce, Q-tip, John Legend and Mariah Carey, among other household names. He has toured with some of the most influential acts in music, such as Bobby McFerrin, Snarky Puppy, Marcus Miller, John Scofield, David Sanborn, and George Duke. Currently, Cato is featured nightly on CBS’s “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” as a member of Jon Batiste and Stay Human.
Cato completed two semesters at Berklee College of Music, but his education and influence is deeply rooted in the gospel and contemporary Christian genres. He was raised in a musical household, drumming by age two and learning wind instruments by age twelve. Much as the Beatles are known for honing their skills during their multi-hour multi-day residencies in London pubs, Cato mastered his bass, drum, and guitar chops during a five-year period of nightly performances in the underground jazz and soul scene in Boston. It was in 2007 at the North Sea Jazz Festival where Cato first met Marcus Miller and a slew of other heavyweights he would eventually work with.
“He’s a great, sensitive, powerful drummer who also plays bass and trombone and tuba too…very talented…”
Cato has an undeniable ability to craft sonic landscape into timeless masterpiece. After two decades of lending his talents to other projects, Cato is set to birth his first solo release which features six original songs recorded, produced and mixed entirely by the renaissance man himself: “I set out to make an honest record, a documentation of who I am and what I do…I feel like I’ve done that.”
The self-titled EP is due for release fall of 2016.