Melissa Kate, vocalist, songwriter

Melissa Kate’s musical career has seen her featured with big bands, jazz, hip hop, R&B and funk bands throughout New York State and around the world. She has traveled extensively with Taylor Made Jazz and the Armed Forces Entertainment, performing for our troops stationed around the globe, and for veterans back home. She has performed with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra at Kleinhans Music Hall for the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame’s Concert from the Heart in 2009 and 2010. She is the lead vocalist of the 18 piece George Scott Big Band, and a member of the historic Colored Musicians Club. Her two original albums, Blind Faithand Kissed by Kate, are available online at iTunes, CDBaby and in some record stores. Her live performance DVD, Kissed by Kate: Live at Allen Hallis also available on sale. Her website holds more details at

Van Taylor, pianist, is the founder of Taylor Made Jazz, an international, award-winning jazz band that has played at Embassies and events worldwide, focusing its mission on using music to create peace between leaders, countries and people of all backgrounds. This has led Mr. Taylor to work closely with organizations such as our Armed Forces Entertainment, FIDOF, and to support non-profits and charities such as the Hunger Project, the Food Bank of WNY, the Colored Musicians Club of Buffalo, and other global initiatives. An artist developer, producer, jazz composer and publisher– and an excellent pianist, Mr. Van Taylor is someone with whom it is an honor and a rare privilege to perform, and to watch play. His support of Melissa Kate has made possible her original music, and the tremendous musicians that surround her.

Other members of the band are:

Richii Valentino, bass. Richii is a bass player from Buffalo, NY. His background in funk, soul and church music make him a versatile and soulful singer, composer and bass player.

Tim Webb, drummer. Tim’s experience with bands in every genre of music—country, church, funk, R&B, blues, musical theater and jazz—have propelled Tim’s skill on the drums to make him one of the most highly demanded drummers in the city of Buffalo, NY. His territory has expanded to Japan, Egypt, Toronto Canada and New York City. He is a compelling person, smooth and able to adapt to every song and style one might throw at him.

Ron Walker, Guitar. Ron Walker, founder of The Exoutics, is a guitar player with decades of experience in funk, soul and R&B. A master lyricist, his songs have topped charts many times over the years. He has brought his serious and intense style of playing, along with co-writing, to Melissa Kate’s songs. His style is embedded in the songs; Ron is a powerful performer and entertainer.

Names of the songs performed at Birdland:

**denotes original song by Melissa Kate and/or Ron Walker

Spain written by Chick Corea, Artie Maren, Joaquiin Rodrigo, as sung by Al Jarreau

Thou Swell written by Rogers & Hart, sung by Natalie Cole

**Just My Luck written by Melissa Kate, Ron Walker

**It’s Only Love written by Melissa Kate, Ron Walker, Van Taylor

**Soulmate written by Melissa Kate, Van Taylor

Rough & Ready as sung by Freda Payne, Alberta Hunter

**Midnight Snack written by Melissa Kate, Van Taylor

**After the Affair written by Melissa Kate, Van Taylor

**Friends First written by Ron Walker

**Western Jewel written by Melissa Kate

**Phoenix written by Melissa Kate

Never Loved a Man written by Ronnie Shannon, sung by Aretha Franklin

**Stand Up Step Out written by Melissa Kate, Van Taylor