Leading the Ottaway Family Band, Jay Ottaway is an award-winning songwriter and producer who studied songwriting and blues guitar at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Garnering multiple honors by American Songwriter Magazine, the USA Songwriting Contest and the International Songwriting Contest, he “cut his teeth” in Nashville as a singer/songwriter. Joining him onstage is his sister Alexandra Ottaway, a classically trained pianist, composer, singer and music educator, and his 7-year-old son Jakob, an actor and trombonist, who has been performing since the age of 4. Rounding out the impressive lineup is Jay’s father, James H. Ottaway, Jr., a retired newspaper publisher and New Paltz resident, who plays the djembe drum passionately.
The Cohen Family Band members are Jeff, Jonny and Julia Cohen. The group’s patriarch, Jeff, is a guitarist and singer/songwriter who founded the band Trilogy, studied with Art Garfunkel, has performed in many New York clubs and has recorded two CDs of original music. Twenty-two-year-old son Jonny, a keyboard player and songwriter, has performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and played solo jazz piano at private parties for dignitaries such as vice president Al Gore and first lady Laura Bush. His band, Dr. Funk, headlined at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. Fourteen-year-old daughter Julia sang America the Beautiful at the Waldorf Astoria Gala Honoring Olympic Gold Medal Athletes. She has been featured in Life Magazine, and also performed in Washington, DC at the Gala Ball Honoring Women in Cable Telecommunications. Her local fame comes from having sung the National Anthem at the last three July Fourth Celebrations at the County Fairgrounds and recently appearing onstage at the New Paltz Middle School production of Beauty and the Beast.
The Ottaway and Cohen Family Bands will share the bill at the Unison Arts & Learning Center on Saturday, March 12 at 8 p.m. for what Unison artistic director Stuart Bigley calls “a very sweet show.” Ticket prices for the event are $15 for Unison members, $20 for non-members. Save $2 by calling (845) 255-1559 to order tickets in advance. Unison is located at 68 Mountain Rest Road in New Paltz.
@ Ann Hutton