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Alvin Waddles

Pianist, singer, composer, director, Alvin Waddles began studying the piano at the age of eight in his hometown of Detroit. He continued his studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the University Of Michigan School Of Music. After returning home to Detroit he immediately immersed himself in the rich musical culture of the city, benefiting from the diverse influences that would eventually shape his own unique style.

Mr. Waddles has worked in the Detroit and Ann Arbor Public Schools and currently serves as Musical Consultant/Musical Director for the Mount Vernon Public Schools, Performing Arts Dept in New York. He has also served as Music Ministries of several churches; among them, the historic New Bethel Baptist Church, Hartford Memorial Baptist and Hope United Methodist in Southfield, Michigan where he has served as the Director of Music since 1995.

He has been musical director and/or pianist for numerous theatrical productions including: The Wiz, The Color Purple, Dreamgirls, Chorus Line, West Side Story, Sophisticated Ladies. He served for a decade as Musical Director for The Three Mo’ Tenors, aka Cook, Dixon & Young and their touring productions and recordings.

He received rave reviews as a featured performer in the Detroit Music Hall's long running production of Ain't Misbehavin'. During the 2010-2011 season his diverse gifts were on full display when, within a two week period, he sang the role of Crown for Bolling Green University's production of Gershwin's 'Porgy and Bess' and played the composer's 'Rhapsody in Blue' with the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.

Mr. Waddles has delighted Detroit music lovers with performances in a variety of musical events including the international Detroit Jazz Fest and the Detroit Festival of the Arts. He is the featured piano soloist in the often-sold-out annual productions of "Too Hot to Handel" in both Detroit and Chicago and can be found performing wherever music is celebrated from festivals to jazz clubs, and performing arts venues. Waddles received the 2010 Excellence Award from Detroit Musicians Association and the Detroit City Council's 2015 Spirit of Detroit Award. This year he was the 2018 Artist in Residence at the Tuba Bach Festival in west Michigan.

Mr. Waddles' engagements as a soloist and featured artist have taken him to a variety of destinations including Barbados, Beijing, Paris, Barcelona and Ghana, West Africa. He has been blessed to work with some of the world's finest musicians including Robert Shaw, Margaret Hillis, Brazeal Dennard, Minister Thomas Whitfield, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Placido Domingo, George Shirley, Marcus Belgrave, Jack Jones, Haley Westenra, Stephanie Mills and Tramaine Hawkins.

Fats Waller's Review

Initially performed in 2004 to celebrate the centenary of Thomas "Fats" Waller's birth, Alvin Waddles' Fats Waller Review has continued, bypopular demand, to play to capacity crowds ever since. This tribute to the late, great 'King of Harlem Stride Pianists' features Mr. Waddles' signature pianism and rich baritone voice and draws from over 50 songs written and / or recorded by Fats Waller.

Audiences in Detroit, Chicago, New York and Dallas have delighted to hear such favorites as "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehavin'", "Feets Too Big" and "Handful of Keys" all performed with a wit and panache reminiscent of the legendary entertainer.

Gene Parker - saxophone, Alvin Waddles - piano, Djallo, Djakate - drums, Marion Hayden - bass.

Leonard Bernstein 100th Anniversary Tributes

Waddles takes you on a jazzy journey through this American- born Citizen of the World's works from his early academic compositions and Broadway hits like On the Town and Wonderful Town to his operetta Candide, the iconic masterpiece, West Side Story and his ground breaking Mass. This tribute premiered at the 2018 Detroit International Jazz Festival.

Jumpin' Jukebox, A Salute to Louis Jordan

After you hear Alvin's salute you will wonder why more is not known about this musician, songwriter and bandleader affectionately called King of the Jukebox. One of the most successful African-American musicians of the 20th century, he is credited with creating and popularizing jump blues, and is described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as "the Father of Rhythm & Blues" and "the Grandfather of Rock 'n’ Roll.

Evening With Alvin Waddles


Get ready for a truly unique concert experience conceived and produced by a true Detroit Original, Alvin Waddles. Classical, Opera, Jazz, Blues and Gospel.

Rhapsodising on Gershwin

From Porgy and Bess to Rhapsody in Blue, this tribute to George Gershwin is both a salute and an opportunity for Waddles to showcase his love and dexterity at the piano- and like Gershwin, his ability to delight audiences with works in a variety of genres.

Save the Date

January 13, 14
Chicago, IL
Auditorium Theatre
Too Hot to Handel
with Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke, Karen Marie Richardson and others
February 3
Detroit, MI
Palmer Woods Music in Homes
Mardi Gras Celebration
with Marion Hayden and Djallo Djakate
February 6
Detroit, MI
Metropolitan United Methodist Church
African-American Music Series
with Marion Hayden and Djallo Djakate
February 8
Toledo, OH
Toledo Museum of Art
Flying Aces
with Marion Hayden, Leslie Deshazor and Djallo Djakate
March 10
Big Rapids, MI
Tuba Bach
Songs from the Americas
with Kira McGirr, Jeffrey Norris and Edward Mallette
March 14
Ann Arbor, MI
Michigan Theater
Piedmont Blues: A Search for Salvation
with Gerald Clayton and the Hope UMC Gospel Choir
March 24
Southfield, MI
Hope United Methodist Church
Gospel Choir 27th Anniversary Concert
March 29
Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan Hospital
Gifts of Art Solo Performance
April 21, 22
Memphis, TN
Orpheum Theatre
Too Hot to Handel
with Rod Dixon, Karen Richardson, Marion Hayden and Leo Davis
May 12
Detroit, MI
Boston Edison
House Concert Series
with Greg Ashe and Kimwana Doner
June 10
Toledo, OH
Doermann Theater
Toledo Choral Soceity
Tributes Concert
June 17
Big Rapids, MI
Big Rapids Band Shell
Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival
with Dominic Waddles, Ed and Noah Mallett
June 24
Detroit, MI
Orchestra Hall
"Thank You Detroit" Concert
with Rodrick Dixon, Karen Clark-Sheard,
Bishop Marvin Winans
July 18 - 21
Grosse Pointe, MI
Dirty Dog Jazz Café
with Ralphe Armstrong and Djallo Djakate
September 3
Detroit, MI
Detroit International Jazz Festival
Leonard Bernstein 100th Anniversary Tribute
with Marion Hayden, Dave Taylor, Gene Parker,
Shahida Nurullah and others
September 15,16
Big Rapids, MI
Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival
New Orleans Concert
with Doreen Ketchens and Ed Mallett
September 23
Detroit, MI
Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church
Jazz at JAPC Series
September 29, 30
Big Rapids, MI
Tuba Bach Chamber Music Festival
Detroit Gospel Concert
with Testimony Sings and Ed Mallett
November 18
Detroit, MI
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church
Jubilee Chorus Concert
November 21,23,24
Grosse Pointe, MI
Dirty Dog Jazz Café
with Marion Hayden and Djallo Djakate
December 1
Detroit, MI
Detroit Opera House
Too Hot to Handel
with Rodrick Dixon, Alfreda Burke,
Karen Richardson, Rackham Choir
December 8
Birmingham, MI
Congregational Church of Birmingham
Cranbrook Music Guild
An Encore Holiday Gift

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