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Recording Artist and Educator, Davey Yarborough, while well-grounded in the tradition of jazz greatness, represents a new generation of jazz innovators.

Davey’s impressive musical career has taken two distinct paths — those of accomplished performer and dedicated educator. Earning bachelor and master’s degrees in education and performance, his university studies were augmented by studies on flute with the venerable Frank Wess and saxophone with the legendary Sonny Stitt. As a performer, bandleader, composer and arranger, he has worked with Sir Roland Hanna, Keter Betts, Billy Eckstine, Buck Hill, Shirley Horn, Lena Horne and Joe Williams, to name a few. He has also collaborated with trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis, performing on Marsalis’ Making the Music series on National Public Radio (NPR). Davey also joined Wycliffe Gordon, Herlin Riley, Bill Easley and Reginald Veal on Gordon’s new arrangement for the opening theme for NPR’s All Things Considered. Davey’s sold-out performance for Dr. Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center, Terrace Theater Series at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC was widely hailed as a highlight of the series.

As an educator, he returned to his alma mater, the University of the District of Columbia, as music instructor and director of the Jazz Stage Band. In 1986, Davey was recruited to create the jazz orchestra at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, DC and built what is now an internationally recognized Jazz Studies program and Jazz orchestra “The New Washingtonians”. It is there at Ellington that Davey continues to nurture and mentor aspiring performers in this legacy.

He received the coveted 1998 Mayor’s Arts Award in Washington, D.C., for Excellence in Dedication to the Arts. Recently, Connie Chung featured Davey in a touching, insightful piece on ABC’s 20/20, chronicling his efforts on behalf of his students. The recipient of a 2000 Special Achievement Wammie, Davey also received the coveted Whitney M. Young, Jr. Community Service Award from the Greater Washington Urban League in 2000, for his work with students and within his community as a whole, as well as a DC Emancipation Day Image Award for 2001.

The Washington Jazz Arts Institute, under his directorship is a natural extension of his legacy of education and mentoring. As Artistic Director and Founder, Davey guides this organization to be a conduit to the under served population while keeping the music alive.

From 1988 to 1991, Davey’s sax was part of the memorable background music for The Cosby Show. His composing and arranging talents are heard on the musical soundtrack for the movie Uptown Angel. In addition to performing at the East Coast, San Remo, Italy, and Montreaux Jazz Festivals, Davey has recorded four albums; Collaboration with pianist, Hilton Felton,and It’s Time for Love, Lovetones and Beautiful Friendship with vocalist Esther Williams. A much sought after soloist, Davey appears on many recordings, including Ronnie Wells’ Live at Montpelier and harpist Jeffmajors’ New Age Soul and Sacred.

A dynamic lecturer, Davey conceived and presented the Smithsonian Institution’s Jazz Evenings for Young Professionals lecture series. An overwhelming success, that project led to his Journey into Jazz, which covers the history of jazz by combining a performance and lecture format.

Davey and the legendary Sir Roland Hanna collaborated on JazzMont Records on a compilation of original compositions, and Duke Ellington’s music, coinciding with Duke’s 100th birthday in April, 1999. “Royal Essence”, An Evening of Ellington is an important, historic project in this genre of music.

Esther Williams is a name you're sure to remember once you've seen this sensuous talented entertainer. It is said that in just one set, Esther will take you from a whispered, heart-warming ballad to a swinging, jazzy standard, right into something that gets into your body and makes you move.

Esther started her professional career as a vocalist when capturing the title of Miss Black DC. She toured Germany with the Miss Black America Tour and her many guest appearances included the PUSH Expo in Chicago, the Miss Grand Bahama's pageant and various television and radio programs, including WOL's "Chuck's Corner" WJLA's "Harambee," Everywoman" and "Nine in the Morning." She also co-hosted WHUR radio's "Morning Sound" with Jerry Phillips.

Musical theater was a natural transition for Esther with performances at Ford's Theater in "Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope," as well as "Tambourines to Glory" with the Black American Theater Club and two traveling productions of Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin".

A diverse performer with an extensive repertoire in Jazz R&B, Pop Spiritual and Gospel, Esther carved her niche and enjoyed working and recording with many artists, including Eddie Drennon, Sir Roland Hanna, Charlie Hampton, Bobby Felder and Davey Yarborough.

Esther landed a recording contract with Friends and Company Records after a producer heard vocals she had recorded for others. She subsequently recorded two successful dance albums, "Let Me Show You" and Bustin Out" for Friends and another successful album "Inside of Me" recorded for RCA records.

She has opened for the Temptations, at the Savoy in New York City, and for Peaches and Herb at Baltimore's Harbor Place. Other performances include Magique, Leviticus, Bogarts and New York, New York in New York City as well as Cassanova's in Miami. Esther has also performed for the "East Coast Jazz Festival," "The Chesapeak Jazz Society," "Live Music Now" and the "Mid-Atlantic Jazz Showcase" with Davey Yarborough. Esther recently completed a sold-out engagement at the historic Bohemian Caverns in Washington, DC.

An engaging emcee, Esther produced and directed three successful musical variety shows, "An Affair of the Heart", "An Affair With Esther", and "Esther II", as well as an emcee for the Dumbarton Concert Series of Washington, DC.

Esther and her husband, saxophonist/educator, Davey Yarborough created and are directing the Washington Jazz Arts Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and mentoring young musicians.

News & Events Performances Davey Yarborough Esther Williams Hot Shots & Music Scenes Sample and Purchase Music Links