Dennis Adu Quintet - San Jose Jazz

Dennis Adu Quintet

Sat, Feb 18
7:00pm doors; 8pm showtime (Pacific)
$30; $35 door / SJZ Break Room

Composer, arranger, and educator Dennis Adu is one of Ukraine’s most in-demand trumpet players. Dennis’s Winter Fest set will be his first for an American audience, and include an appearance by saxophonist Borys Mohylevskyi, a prominent voice in Kyiv’s improvised scene. They will be supported by bassist Marcus Shelby, pianist Luis Peralta and drummer Ben Espocito.

Dennis was born in Ghana, and moved with his family to Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine when he was 2 years old. He started playing the trumpet at 7. When he turned 8 he was invited to play with the Alexander Gebel Orchestra. At the Do#Dж Junior competition, Dennis was awarded Best Trumpet Player (2007), Best Arrangement of Jazz Standard (2009), and Best Musician in Ukraine (2009). 

He has shared the stage with such artists as Frank Lacy, Gregory Porter, Curtis Fuller, Jim Rotondi, Roy and Ofer Assaf, Steve Slagle, Javon Jackson, Larry Willis, Quincy Davis, Dana Hall, Jason Brown, Jimmy Bosch, Mitch Froman, Pete Nater Frankie Vasquez, Wayne Escoffery, Michael Dease, Mambo Legends Orchestra, Seamus Blake, and fellow Winter Fest artist John Hollenbeck. 

Dennis and his ensembles have been featured at several international festivals and competitions, including Millau en Jazz and Fel du Sher (France), Jazz A Vienne (Austria), and Alfa Jazz Fest (Ukraine), among others. (244) He leads a Quintet, Sextet, Septet, and Big Band, and has released two albums, Influences (2017) and Sunlight Above the Sky (2021). (235)

“I am very excited [to perform] side-by-side with some of the best American musicians. This is the dream of many musicians, and I am no exception. It will be very interesting to talk with them and dive into their creative process,” shares Adu of his upcoming performance, adding that the visibility of his work is critically important at this moment in Ukraine’s history. “Music was and still is very influential in developing modern democratic society. Music and culture go alongside history and are an integral part of it, and a country cannot exist without its history. It's vital to convey to the world that many talented musicians live in our country. As modern representatives and ambassadors of this culture, we should spread it as much as possible.”

Composer, performer, bandleader, and educator Marcus Shelby is one of the Bay's first-call bassists. His work focuses on the history, present, and future of African American lives, social movements, and music education.

Marcus has composed several oratorios and suites, including “Harriet Tubman,” “Beyond the Blues: A Prison Oratorio,” “Soul of the Movement: Meditations on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” and “Black Ball: The Negro Leagues and the Blues.” Currently, he is the Artistic Director of Healdsburg Jazz and an artist in residence with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
Dennis Adu Instagram

Streaming Options

This concert will be live-streamed on SJZ’s YouTube and Facebook pages.


Hybrid Event, Modern Jazz, Straight Ahead, Ukrainian Artist


Dennis Adu - trumpet Borys Mohylevskyi - saxophone Marcus Shelby - bass Luis Peralta - piano Ben Espocito - drums

Winter Fest

The "cool" counterpart to our annual Summer Fest, Winter Fest presents the best new discoveries in jazz, blues, Latin, salsa, Americana and more.

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