NEWTON — April May Webb will be making a visit to Newton this month to attend her class reunion. And she will have something to brag about, if she chooses.
"I can’t believe that it has been 10 years. I’m very privileged to have attended Newton High School. I’ve had so many opportunities and it was a great foundation for my musical career," Webb said.
April is the first woman to graduate from the William Paterson University Jazz Education program, where she studied under the leadership of the late Mulgrew Miller. But her accolades only start there. As part of a duo, she has been nominated for an award to be given by Hot House Jazz Magazine and Jazzmobile.
She was part of a musical family, performing locally as part of the Webb Three with her brothers Nathan (class of 2004) and Jacob (class of 2007). Jacob is also a graduate of William Paterson, and in 2018 his single “Belmont Avenue” rose to No. 9 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Charts.
April has been charting as well, hitting No. 17 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart in 2015 and landing on Jazz Week's Top 100 albums of the year in 2017.
"Music is in my blood," April said. "It’s that one element that allows me to fully express myself with the world. I have the most joy being able to be my authentic self and I am my authentic self when I’m able to perform music that touches others."
She has been performing music since the age of 5, first as a member of the children's choir at Second Baptist Church.
A 2009 graduate of Newton High School, she is now a long way from performing on the small stage at the now-closed Karen's Kitchen to celebrate the release of her first album — "It’s All About You" — in 2012.
Her current jazz group, Sounds of A&R, has been nominated for “Best Jazz Group” for the New York City Jazz Awards presented by Hot House Jazz Magazine and Jazzmobile. Past nominees and winners include the late great jazz pianist Harold Mabern, Jimmy Heath, Regina Carter and multi-Grammy Award winner Christian McBride, to name a few. The awards ceremony will take place Nov. 24 at The Birdland Jazz Club in New York.
Online voting for the award is now open to the public at https://fansdecision.azurewebsites.net.
Sounds of A&R, a.k.a. S.O.A.R., is made up of April as vocalist and trumpeter Randall Haywood. The group has been working with booking agent Sheila Baptista, firstname.lastname@example.org, to keep busy performing.
Sounds of A&R have been making their mark in the New York jazz scene, performing on stages such as Dizzy’s Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Birdland Jazz Club, Minton’s Playhouse and the Apollo Theater. In 2015, their single “Horizon” peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. Also, their self-titled debut album made the Jazz Week Top 20 Chart and ended up on Jazz Week’s Top 100 albums of the year 2017. In 2019, S.O.A.R. released its single “The Road To Love’s Destiny." It landed on the Billboard Contemporary Most Added chart and The Smooth Jazz Global Radar Charts at No. 32.