SAUCE: Sessions at National Sawdust
Roopa Mahadevan featuring Joshua Banbury, Ladybug, and Robbie Lee's open jazz session
Ladybug is a soul-filled, grooving ambient-vibe project with an emphasis on the female perspective of relationships and sexuality. Writing in the valleys of the Appalachian Mountains, the flower fields of Aspen, and the Catskill quarries and waterfalls, this project explores the relationship between love, sex, and nature. It’s Jacklyn Thomas sharing her highs and lows in love and relationships, with groovy melodies. Empowering everyone to celebrate love and connect with each other’s pain. A soulful potion for your emotions. Much Love.
Born in the desert terrain of Tucson, Arizona, Robbie Lee is a pianist, vocalist, saxophonist, and composer that brings his amicable personality to his music. Throughout the years Lee has had the opportunity to play with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Candido Camero, Charles McPherson, Ray Drummond, and Brice Winston. He has played in numerous jazz festivals across the globe, including the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival, and the Montreux Jazz Festival. He has received awards in performance and composition from DownBeat Magazine, YoungArts, the Essentially Ellington Festival and Competition, and the Next Generation Jazz Festival.
Lee has been inspired and mentored by world-class musicians such as Scott Black, Doug Tidaback, Brice Winston, Mike Kocour, Ted Rosenthal, Jeremy Manasia, and Phil Markowitz. Growing up in Tucson, Lee was exposed to a broad range of jazz, from traditional to post-bop styles. As he gathered information from this plethora of music, Lee was encouraged to develop his own voice and keep an open mind. He is commonly regarded as a first-rate pianist/vocalist who draws musical inspiration from Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, and many others. While he mostly performs songs of the Great American Songbook and the jazz idiom, Lee also enjoys composing new works featuring himself and his peers. Every Friday night, Lee leads a trio that showcases these avenues of music, and hosts a jam session at Cleopatra’s Needle. The trio itself features Danish bassist Felix Moseholm and Floridian drummer Charlie Steiner. Moving forward, Lee hopes to captivate audiences through his music, spreading joy and compassion to all corners of the globe. Robbie just recently completed his bachelor’s degree in jazz piano performance at the Manhattan School of Music this past spring. This coming fall, Lee will be attending Juilliard as part of the Artist Diploma program in the Jazz Department.
Roopa Mahadevan is known for her powerful and emotive voice. At home in many eras and styles, she is versatile among Carnatic (South Indian classical) performers, bringing the art form and her explorations in genre, text, and theater to audiences in the US, India, and South Asian diaspora. Roopa frequently collaborates with artists in jazz, improvised music, and R&B/soul genres and has her own crossover ensemble Roopa In Flux. Roopa also directs the innovative Carnatic choir Navatman Music Collective and is an active member of Brooklyn Raga Massive. She is a highly sought-after vocalist and composer for Bharathanatyam (South Indian classical) and contemporary dancers. Through her creative endeavors, Roopa is driven by an instinct to find joy, build community, and celebrate difference.
Joshua Banbury, originally from Austin, Texas, has enjoyed a developing career as a classically trained jazz singer, arts administrator, and playwright. He has studied classical voice since the age of sixteen, and has won numerous national competitions and prizes ever since. Accolades include top prizes from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (YoungArts) in Classical Voice and Music Theater, a national finalist award from the International Sarah Vaughan Vocal Jazz Competition, top prizes at various Classical Singer Magazine competitions, and a full scholarship to study at the Austin School for Performing and Visual Arts. Joshua is currently an emerging vocal artist in the New York City jazz scene. Recent singing engagements include his performance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and a summer residency at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival. In 2017 he made his professional debut with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra as a featured soloist in a staged production of Porgy and Bess, under the baton of Marin Alsop. In addition to his passion for music, Joshua is also a promising librettist and playwright. In 2018 he won a grant from the Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts to write and produce his first opera in DC. This summer he is workshopping his first play, Payday at Coal Creek, a peculiar story about a black Ivy League student who travels to Kentucky to study folk music. Joshua also has a drive to create opportunities for other artists and communities to consume art, having worked with institutions such as Carnegie Hall and the Tenement Museum. Joshua is currently pursuing the final semester of his undergraduate degree in Arts Administration at the New School.