Gina Rene with Kevin Bales Trio
Gina Rene – Bio
There’s a little irreverence running around in the soul of Gina Rene who’s unafraid to bring it forth in her music. She’ll smooth you with her sweet melodic tones before waking you up with the truth in her words. She writes and sings her own songs, blending R&B and Pop melodies with the wit and lyricism of a true MC. One original of hers, U Must Be was featured in the 2006 film Step Up, released theatrically by Buena Vista Pictures, a part of the Walt Disney Company. Recently Yo-Yo, original female rapper and the sweetest DJ on LA’s first Hip Hop station, KDAY 93.5 FM, sponsored a contest called ‘Throw it up or Slow it up’. Gina’s song Cluck, Cluck won the audience over in 2 rounds. Yo-Yo offered Gina a non-compete slot to open up for KDAY 93.5 and Yo-Yo’s Best of the West contest of Hip-Hop artists. Gina is also a part of the Agape International Spiritual Center, a community that stands for Peace and Unity of all humanity. Agape is also where the world renowned spiritual Teacher; Rev. Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith resides as founder and leader. Beckwith was featured in the film The Secret and has also recently came into the studio and recorded some powerful words of wisdom on Gina Rene’s up and coming single “Be the Change”. This song of Gina’s reflects on what isn’t working only to then bring about a mentality of positive possibility that will inspire us to take even the simplest actions that will bring Great change in these times of war and Pain and extreme climate changes.
Gina Rene sees her music as a tool for her own personal growth, healing and self-discovery. She has had her share of ups and downs, living as an artist in urban America. She sees all of the violence and misunderstanding on the streets and around the globe and feels the need to speak up. Recognizing the influence Hip-Hop music has on youth the world over, Ms. Rene feels a great need for positive role models and she is especially concerned with the imbalance of the role women play in the music scene. Their negative portrayal perpetuates stereotypes that prevent people from seeing how truly powerful women are. Also, it’s not about dissing men either. It’s about understanding the strengths in our differences. Through honesty and taking back responsibility, Hip-Hop becomes the communication tool it was originally intended to be. This energy, of raw creative self expression and glorification of Unity in a diverse world, is what Gina Knows will bring forth global change. Gina speaks on this issue with class and grit, intending on inspiring the possibility of a better world, where all people can create what each of us wants while respecting one another in the process. Life is good. It’s time to Wake up to your dreams.
Kevin Bales – Bio
Musician, Teacher, Performer
By some measures, Kevin Bales was a latecomer to jazz, already 17 when he encountered the sounds and structures and became captivated by the freedom and corresponding challenges of the music. But if late to the party, he wasted no time in immersing himself in the celebration, declaring total commitment to what would be his life’s work and backing his announcement by resigning his job and designated career in computer programming. Kevin could commit to jazz with a reasonable degree of expectation. He was already an accomplished pianist, with classical chops refined since the age of 10. So accomplished he was invited to audition for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, then under the direction of its most storied conductor Robert Shaw, at age 16.
Kevin’s initial career move was to the University of North Florida and a budding if little-known jazz program. There he met and performed with, and went on to record and tour with, a number of monumental artists who had settled into that burgeoning North Florida jazz scene. Giants like Wynton Marsalis, Louie Bellson, Eddie Daniels, James Moody, Ben Tucker, Ira Sullivan, Sam Rivers, and Nat Adderley. He counts among his mentors bassist Ben Tucker, multi-instrumentalist Ira Sullivan, guitar legends Nathen Page and Jack Petersen, and the fiercely individual saxophonist Bunky Green. His meeting with Bunky Green led to five years of tours. His encounter with guitarist Nathen Page blossomed into 15 years of spot tours and four albums. And his work with trumpeter extraordinaire Marcus Printup has become a lifetime association that has included recordings on Blue Note/Capital records. Ten years touring and recording with vocal iconoclast Rene Marie culminated in the a Grammy Nominated album.
Few artists have the patience for teaching – as are few teachers accomplished players. But Kevin has amassed a reputation for his prowess in both professions. While still a senior at North Florida he was drafted into a full teaching load, and continued to be an integral part of the school’s jazz program for upwards of a decade. Today, Kevin manages his own jazz program, overseeing an ambitious schedule of ambitious jazz students.
Kevin has amassed a long list of awards and a reputation as one of the finest jazz pianists performing anywhere. In 1994, less than a decade into jazz, he won the American Pianist Association’s Jazz Piano Competition. In addition to nearly every important jazz venue in the South, he has performed in some of the most acclaimed clubs and festivals in America and around the world: the JVC Jazz Festival in New York, The Bakery in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center jazz series, the Toronto and Edinburgh jazz festivals, and the Moscow Center for the Performing Arts.