KSO presents Who's Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band - Symphonic World Premiere - November 7, 2015 at Miller Auditorium | Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
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KSO presents Who's Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band - Symphonic World Premiere - November 7, 2015 at Miller Auditorium

Who's Bad

Kalamazoo, MI October 13, 2015–  To kick off this season’s KSO Pops! Series the KSO proudly partners with Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band for the symphonic world premiere of their Who’s Bad show.

Excitement is building for everyone as the show approaches. “I know you’ve been practicing your moonwalk, dancing around your living room.  Well, it’s time to take it to the concert hall.  The KSO is backing the Michael Jackson Tribute Band on November 7th in a tear-down-the-roof performance,” states Music Director and Conductor, Raymond Harvey. “For the first time ever, the MJ Tribute Band is including full orchestra with their amazing group.  And you know all the songs:  Wanna Be Startin’ Something, Billie Jean, Rock With You, Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.  The list goes on. We’re gonna burn up the stage.  And you’re gonna sing your lungs out.  I’ll Be There.  Will you?”

Who’s Bad vocalist and choreographer Taalib York shares, "I'm super excited. I believe it’s very "Michael" to be involved in such a musical and artistic experience. And I hope he will be proud of the outcome and the audience will love and appreciate it."

Who’s Bad is the longest-running Michael Jackson tribute band and the only one to predate his untimely passing.  Their live performance is an unrivaled celebration of pop music’s one true king. They have wowed audiences the world over with their jaw dropping, power-packed performance of Michael Jackson’s expansive music catalog. In their 10 years of performing they have sold out some of the world’s most famous venues including Hunan Grand Theatre in Chengsha, China; Los Angeles’ Gibson Amphitheatre; Romania’s Sala Palatalui, as well as Taetro do Bourbon Country (Porto Alegre, Brazil).

Who’s Bad has gained international recognition with their uncanny reproduction of Michael Jackson’s unique sound and their studious attention to MJ’s distinctive groove and gravity-defying dance moves. Who’s Bad founder, composer and saxophonist, Vamsi Tadepalli, assembled Who’s Bad in 2003 with a cast of North Carolina’s premiere musicians and extensively trained professional dancers. Front men Joseph Bell and Taalib York provide the ensemble with rich vocals and a choreography typical of the one and only King of Pop. Who’s Bad’s six-piece band provides the group with deep rhythms, synchronized dance routines, and booming horns that deliver a performance with soul and precision superseded by no one but the King himself.

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, The Backstreet Boys, The Four Tops, Boys II Men, and hip hop superstar, Pitbull, are just a few superstars with whom they have shared the stage. Captivated fans include LIVENATION’s Anthony Nicolaidis who calls Who’s Bad, “the real deal,” and Michael Jackson’s longtime friend and manager Frank DiLeo who proclaimed, after the Who’s Bad show in Nashville, TN, “the show was great….Michael would have been proud!”


Raymond Harvey

This season Maestro Harvey celebrates 17 years as Music Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. He previously held the top post at the Fresno Philharmonic (California), Springfield Symphony (Massachusetts), and El Paso Opera (Texas).

Maestro Harvey has appeared as guest conductor with many of America’s leading orchestras, including those of Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Buffalo, Detroit, New Orleans and Minnesota, as well as the New York Philharmonic’s Young People’s Concerts and the Boston Pops. He has also had engagements with the Maggio Musicale Orchestra of Florence, Italy, the Pusan Symphony of South Korea, and the National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica. He regularly performs as a pianist, both in chamber music and as pianist/conductor in works of Gershwin, Mozart, and Rachmaninoff.

In addition to his commitment to Kalamazoo, Dr. Harvey has been named an Associate Professor at the University of Houston, where he serves as Music Director of the Moores School of Music opera department.  His operatic repertoire is extensive, including favorites such as Carmen, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, Turandot, and Aïda; as well as the more rarely performed The Consul, The Rape of Lucretia, and Samson and Delilah.

The Kalamazoo community continues to embrace Raymond Harvey through appreciation of his compelling performances and engaging lectures.

Taalib York

Taalib York was born in Brooklyn, NY to an Afro-Arab father from North Sudan and an Afro-American mother. A true artist, Taalib’s passion goes as far as visual art and poetry. York started singing and dancing at the young age of 7, mimicking his lifetime idol Michael Jackson, emulating him at every talent show in his area. Never did he imagine that his obsession would lead to paying tribute to his idol across the globe. He began developing his voice singing songs in Arabic and English. While traveling back and forth to his father’s homeland, York was influenced by Arabic artists such as Cheb Mami, Natasha Atlas, and Nacey Ajram. In addition to recording his own music, he has written and co-written for various pop artists under major labels such as Motown and Def Jam Records. As you can imagine, Taalib has a special knack for the art of dance, which led him to choreographing leading award-winning dance teams. Taalib is also one of the original members of Who’s Bad and hopes to continue his homage and tribute to the King of Pop for years to come; but when it comes down to it, actions speak louder than words. You’ll watch Taalib perform, you’ll see the influence Michael Jackson has had on him, and you’ll agree: the similarities between the two are simply amazing.

Joseph Bell

Joseph Bell, a.k.a. “JoBel”, originally from Hartford, Connecticut, currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a natural performer. To hear and see him sing is to realize you are bearing witness to a legend in the making.  This singer/dancer/songwriter/actor is simply one of the best! He sounds like the King of Pop! He can hit all the high notes night after night! Travis Payne, lead choreographer of Michael Jackson’s “THIS IS IT” tour, and choreographer, Frank Gatson (dancer in the original “Smooth Criminal” video and today’s top choreographer for superstar Beyonce Knowles) both worked with Joseph to enhance his performance.

Joseph Bell’s very first contract was with “Walt Disney World” in Orlando, Florida for Top Of The World Entertainment, singing and dancing in front of orchestras and bands. He now collectively has over 25 years of experience on stages around the world. Joseph has also appeared in the TV movie “The Jacksons. An American Dream”, on Ed McMahon’s Star Search, on the silver screen in “What’s Love Got To Do With It” and sang on live TV for Baby Face and songstress Toni Braxton.

Michael Esteban

Michael Esteban is an aspiring dancer, choreographer, and teacher from Colonia, NJ. His passion for dance was first developed dancing with FR3SH Dance Company - featured on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew (Season 4 - which performed all over the East Coast, West Coast, and Canada. Since then Michael has continued his training in New York City’s professional dance studios, such as Broadway Dance Center and Peridance Capezio Center. Recently, Michael has been training under LaJon Dantzler, who played Smiles in the movie Step Up 2, with his dance collective LaFuerza. Now signed with McDonald Selznick Associates, better known as MSA Agency, he hopes to continue spreading his love and passion for dance to whomever he meets!

Archie Logan

Archie Logan started his life as a musician at the tender age of eight. His uncle saw the gift God had instilled in him and helped Archie nurture this gift in the church. Logan very soon ventured out to play different styles of music.

Archie Logan is known as a hard hitting pocket drummer whose smoking grooves raise the level of excitement in any musical situation. “Archie is a bass player’s best friend, because he locks it in and stays there”; as quoted by bass player extraordinaire Chip Shearin. He is a true work horse and strives to be the best he can be as a musician and businessman.

Archie has shared the stage with many of the industry’s top artists, gospel and secular alike. This list includes the incomparable Roberta Flack, Morris Day and the Time, Vikki Winans, Jennifer Hudson, Charlie Wilson, Karen Clarke Sheard, Dorinda Clark Cole, Smoky Norful, Avant, Mario, Marvin Sapp, Rev Timothy Wright, Naughty By Nature, Malcolm Jamaal Warner and his band Milestone, Yahzarah (aka Purple St. James), independent R&B artists Dirty Sol. He also had the opportunity to play at the Republican National Committee Party with speaker George W. Bush Jr., the 2008 inauguration of President Barack Obama, two Super Bowls, in addition to many arenas and theatres.

Archie is on a continual journey to spread great music across the world while bringing an unrivaled level of excitement to the stage. Archie lives and quotes these rules: “In this acquisition of wisdom the first is silence, the second is listening, the third is memory, the fourth is practice a lot, and the fifth is teaching.” With that being said, he is a musician’s drummer and his goal is to keep making the grooves feel good.

Archie proudly endorses Pork Pie Drums and TRX Cymbals.

Justin “JC” Martin

Born into a military family on September 1st, 1985, JC Martin didn’t have a musical background as a child. It wasn’t until the later years of high school that he decided to learn to play guitar as a way to impress a particular young lady. Though the girl was lost, the guitar stayed and he has been playing ever since. While still in high school, Martin was given the chance to play with various go-go bands in the Washington D.C. area, until he decided to attend North Carolina Central University. It was there that his musical curiosity began to thrive. Martin began to focus all of his time and energy into emulating his heroes while developing his own unique voice. From Greg Howe to Wes Montgomery or from Spanky Alford to Paco de Lucía, Martin didn’t restrict himself to only one musical direction. It was at this time that he was able to become one of the most sought after guitarists in the state, all while obtaining both a bachelors’ and master’s degree in Jazz Studies.

Over the years, Martin has had the honor of playing with a plethora of great musicians such as Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, 9th Wonder’s “Wonderband”, and many more. Martin is a talented performer, arranger, and composer. He is currently working towards recording an album of original compositions when he isn’t touring with Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band. Martin proudly endorses PRS Guitars.

Ray McCall

Ray McCall has been playing music since the age of 12, initially dabbling in playing the string bass. It wasn’t until Ray made the transition to trumpet that he felt he had found his musical niche. This was exemplified in Ray’s early musical achievements, such as sitting first chair in All-County Band and being a member of the All-District band. Ray also began expanding and building his musical talents by joining his school chorus and show choir. These varying experiences with music at such a young age would be the beginning of a life in which music played a major role.

While attending Triton High School in Erwin, North Carolina, Ray’s musical abilities and interest in music grew with his introduction to marching and jazz band. He continued to receive awards and accolades and, in 1996, he attended North Carolina’s Governor School summer program for music where he studied with some of North Carolina’s best musicians and directors.

Ray continued his involvement in marching and jazz band when he attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at UNC, Ray received much guidance from Jim Ketch and David McChesney, who helped Ray improve his quality and style of playing. Ray credits his years as a “Marching Tar Heel” with building his musical skills but, more importantly, with allowing his personality and charisma to shine.

Ray has been playing and gigging professionally for 6 years, playing mostly solo events in his earlier years and then working most extensively with “Who’s Bad.” Ray brings an energy to the stage that is impossible to fight and will surely get you on your feet, dancing to the King of Pop’s legendary music. “Who’s Bad” brings you a high-energy and powerful show that is rivaled by few, and Ray has made it his goal that it stays that way!

Aaron McCoy Jr.

Aaron McCoy Jr., saxophonist for Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band, graduated from Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, with a BA in Music performance and production and a concentration in Alto Saxophone. Aaron is the Music Director at Mitchiner’s Grove Baptist Church, Franklinton, North Carolina. He has been a woodwind instructor at South East Raleigh High School and Knightdale High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was also the announcer and student instructor for Platinum Sound Marching Band. While at Shaw University, Aaron was a member of the Concert Band, Jazz band and Pep Band, where he became the Pep Band Director. After graduation, Aaron recruited for the Jazz ensemble for the University.

Aaron has performed with such artists as Physhodelic Soul, Liquid Pleasure, Peabo Bryson, The O’Jays, Yolanda Adams, recording artist Coco McMillan, Gerald Hinton, Joey Holloway Project, Donald Lawrence, LeeAnne Faine, Shirley Caesar, Melvin Williams, and his own band Mixed Water Band, which was the house band for Zydeco Downtown - owned by the two time super bowl star Antwan Harris. Aaron has also performed with the North Carolina Symphony and the North Carolina Jazz Bands.

Aaron was born in Norfolk, Virginia. His early schooling was in Virginia Beach, Va., where he fell in love with the saxophone, and music. His craft was enhanced during his high school years at Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, Virginia, under the direction of Mr. Elston Fitzgerald.

Daniel Rychlec

Daniel began dance training at the Nutmeg Ballet in Torrington, Connecticut. His performance will speak for itself, but don’t be fooled — he is no newcomer to the stage. He was an accompanying member of BalletNet in Columbus, Ohio, the Washington Ballet, and the Atlanta Ballet.

Dan also performed with the touring company of the Phantom of the Opera, before joining the Broadway cast for a run of twelve years.  Dan joined with Who’s Bad in May 2010 doing a stint of 10 shows in China and has since then toured the United Kingdom and the continental US with the band, always excited for what the future may bring!

Vamsi Tadepalli

Whether paying tribute to the King of Pop in front of thousands of fans, performing small group jazz for discriminating listeners, writing and arranging, or teaching, Vamsi Tadepalli invests all of his musical pursuits with a confluence of creativity, professionalism and versatility.

Born and raised in North Carolina to Indian parents, Tadepalli is the first American-born member of his family. His parents, scientists by trade, placed a high value on the arts and on music in particular. Accordingly, he was exposed to Indian classical music and dance from his earliest years. At the age of eight, he began formal musical study on the keyboard at the Yamaha Music School in Durham, NC. Although it wouldn’t be until high school that Tadepalli would study sitar, his early exposure to Indian classical music had a broader impact: its emphasis on improvisation undoubtedly contributed to Tadepalli’s affinity for jazz, America’s improvised classical music.

After taking up the saxophone at the age of 12 and several years of private instruction, Tadepalli entered Charles E. Jordan High School in Durham. Jordan boasted an exceptional jazz combo program rivaling those of many colleges, and Tadepalli began listening to and emulating recordings of such masters as Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane. He also started performing professionally in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Tadepalli continued his study of jazz at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving both academic and music scholarships and majoring in Jazz Performance. He also studied with outstanding altoist Justin Robinson and sought out the expertise of legendary bebop guru and exponent Barry Harris, participating in Harris’ workshop at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He has shared the stage with Harris, Slide Hampton, Eric Alexander, Joe Farnsworth, Antonio Hart, Vincent Herring, and Jamey Aebersold, and has appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival and Smoke Jazz Club in NYC.

Concurrent with Tadepalli’s commitment to jazz was an interest in marching band, both as an instrumentalist and as a writer/arranger. He taught himself to play the mellophone in order to participate in Drum Corps International, marching in Carolina Crown Drum and Bugle Corps and The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, and received the Distinguished Service Award from the latter in 2002. He has written for the UNC Marching Tarheels, the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps, and writes and arranges the wind book for many competitive corps style high school marching bands, including West Johnston High School (a 4 time Bands of America Semifinalist). Tadepalli has also taught extensively, serving as the marching, brass and woodwind instructor at Jordan and West Johnston High Schools, the jazz director at West Johnston High School, the Assistant Band Director at Rogers Herr Middle School, and as a longtime private saxophone instructor.

In 2003, Tadepalli founded Who’s Bad, a group dedicated exclusively to performing the music of pop icon Michael Jackson. As manager, arranger, saxophonist, keyboardist and choreographer of the group for the last 9 years, Tadepalli has had the opportunity to employ his full range of skills, performing saxophone and dance routines at 150+ shows across the globe per year. The group has performed for crowds numbering into the thousands and has shared the stage with Aretha Franklin, Boyz II Men, the Backstreet Boys and The Four Tops.


Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra presents

Pops! Series
Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band

Raymond Harvey, Conductor
Taalib York & Joseph Bell, Vocals
Michael Esteban, Dance/Choreography
Archie Logan, Drums
Justin “JC” Martin, Guitar
Ray McCall, Trumpet
Aaron McCoy Jr., Saxophone
Daniel Rychlec, Dance
Vamsi, Tadepalli, Manager, Arranger, Saxophone, Keyboard, Choreography

To kick off this season’s KSO Pops! Series the KSO proudly partners with Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band for the symphonic world premiere of their Who’s Bad show.

Saturday, November 7, 2015
Miller Auditorium

Tickets: $65- $35
Student and Veteran ticket discounts available


For tickets, visit www.kalamazoosymphony.com/, call the KSO Box Office at (269) 349-7759 or call Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at (269) 387-2300.

Visit www.kalamazoosymphony.com for up-to-date information, details and schedules. Prices, artists, dates, time and program are subject to change without notice.

The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra receives major support from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra also receives generous support from other local, state and national foundations, as well as private and corporate support. For more information, visit www.kalamazoosymphony.com.

About the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra

Founded in 1921, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra is Southwest Michigan’s premier musical organization, providing musical enrichment to over 80,000 adults and youth per year. The third-largest professional orchestra in the state, the KSO has won numerous awards and grants, including the Met Life Award for Arts Access in Underserved Communities, the National Endowment for the Arts for its extensive education programs, and a major Ford Foundation grant to found its innovative Artist-in-Residence program.


Tags: Michael Jackson, MJ, POPS!, Raymond Harvey, Stay Tuned, Who's Bad, World Premiere