Orice Jenkins is a vocalist, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and arranger from Hartford, CT. His music ranges from Lauryn Hill-like hip-hop anthems to powerful Beethoven-like piano pieces, and encompasses nearly everything in between. His newest project, "Around the Piano," is actually not new at all; it's a collection of songs that were put together in his early stages of musical development in 2008. The EP will finally be released on August 1st, 2014.
Orice realized his love for performing after joining a steel pan
ensemble that was suggested to him by his 8th grade guitar teacher. The ensemble led him to a multi-cultural arts program held at Central Connecticut State University that required him to buy a note-taking journal, which ended up being his first songwriting notebook. A first draft of the "Around the Piano" project was written at this program, including the title track.
Even though most of his time was spent writing, Orice's talents on keyboard instruments overshadowed his songs. He was asked to perform with and arrange for the Orchestra, Wind Ensemble, and Marching Band at East Hartford High School upon entering as a 9th grader. His love for the music of Alicia Keys and other piano-based pop music made him popular with his classmates. His peculiar knowledge of classic soul and rock masterpieces made him popular with teachers and administrators. He began playing regularly at St. Michael's, his family church in the notorious North End of Hartford, while he submitted his pieces in the All-State Composition Festival. He was invited to perform his music at the Connecticut Convention Center at the age of 14.
As a sophomore, Orice became interested in playing jazz piano and singing The Great American Songbook. He received a scholarship to attend Litchfield Jazz Camp for 3 years, studying piano, voice, and bass. While at the camp, he was also able to study composition with Mario Pavone, Dave Ballou, and George Schuller and was given the opportunity to perform his music at the Litchfield Jazz Festival. He released two CD's as a jazz pianist and bandleader and produced community recitals throughout Hartford County. After performing on the 2010 annual Hartford Jazz Society Cruise, he was discovered by local drummer and bandleader, Alvin Carter, Jr. Orice was recruited into the Alvin Carter Project, a band that also featured iconic pianist Warren Byrd. The experiences of playing in this band taught Orice how to effectively lead an R&B/jazz group in a world that seemingly doesn't embrace live soul music.
He started his first band, "The SoulTransRelation," while attending the prestigious Hartt School, majoring in Music Composition. He made a point to study with a vast array of professors including David Macbride, Larry Alan Smith, Ken Steen, Nat Reeves, Shawnn Montiero, Andy LaVerne, and many more. Orice is now a junior and has premiered several pieces and arrangements featuring himself and the instrumentalists of Hartt. Finishing "Around the Piano" is his current top priority and he is excited to finally share this music to the rest of the world.
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