<August 2017>


Five curated, urban, boundless experiences at The Cube this August


Unique and genre-bending artists and events will light up The Max

Detroit, (August 7, 2017) – The Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube, Midtown Detroit’s hub for curated, urban, boundless experiences, will present five innovative events this month. Formerly The Music Box, The Cube was renamed and reimagined in summer 2016 with the help of Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings, who envision the space as a locus of diverse and captivating programming within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, also the home of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO).

The Cube is now wrapping up its inaugural season, which, under the direction of Managing Director and Curator Chris Harrington, saw the expansion of the popular Mix @ The Max and Om @ The Max series and a cavalcade of experiences blending live music, dance, fine art, shopping, dining, yoga, and more. The five upcoming events, all taking place this August, are both a capstone of The Cube’s first season and a catalyst for an even more successful season to come.


The Peter D. and Julie F. Cummings Cube. Click here to view additional photos of the venue and upcoming artists/events.

First up is Om @ The Max on Saturday, August 19, at 10:30 a.m. Certified instructor and Detroit Yoga Lab owner Naomi Gold will lead a class for yogis of all skill levels, accompanied by the live music of Al Ayoub and bassist Dan Kolton, who both frequently perform with the DSO.

Next is The Kris Johnson Group with Lulu Fall, a one-night only concert experience on Monday, August 21 at 7:30 p.m. Johnson, a trumpeter, and Fall, a singer-songwriter, have teamed up for a new project titled The Unpaved Road. A textured blend of jazz, classical, and hip-hop elements characterizes their music, which aims to attack stigmas and stereotypes.

Then, it’s a signature Mix @ The Max event featuring Big Sam’s Funky Nation, on Sunday, August 27 at 6 p.m. The high-energy shot of funk, rock, hip-hop, and New Orleans soul will be surrounded by boutique shopping, food, and drink options scattered throughout the atrium of The Max.

Fourth is a Mix @ The Max featuring Ben Sollee on Wednesday, August 30 at 7 p.m. Sollee, a cellist and vocalist, is known for his raw and refreshing performances. His intricate arrangements land somewhere between folk, pop, and bluegrass, and this Mix @ The Max event will feature exciting shopping, food, and drink opportunities alongside the music.

Finally, the ever-popular Salsa Dance Party returns on Thursday, August 31 at 9 p.m. A salsa dance lesson with Award-winning Latin dancer/instructor Mambo Marci kicks things off, followed by an open dance floor with live music by Cuban ensemble Descarga-ranga, food, and drink specials starting at 10 p.m.

All five events take place at The Cube, across the atrium from Orchestra Hall, within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center (3711 Woodward Avenue, Detroit).

See below for artist biographies and ticket information.

Please note: the DSO does not appear on these performances.

About Kris Johnson and Lulu Fall

Kris Johnson is an award-winning jazz trumpeter, composer, and educator. He has appeared on an impressive list of albums, including two Grammy-nominated releases: Tony Bennett’s A Swingin’ Christmas and Karen Clark Sheard’s All In One. He is currently the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Utah and was formerly director of the Civic Jazz Orchestra—part of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Wu Family Academy.

Drawing from jazz, classical, hip-hop, and neo-soul, Johnson’s writing creates diverse textures that represent his unique musical identity.

Lulu Fall is a singer, songwriter, and actor currently based in New York. A formally trained jazz vocalist with a musical theatre background, and a product of Senegalese and Cameroonian parentage, Fall and her music reflect a global perspective by way of American sensibilities.

Fall’s acting work includes Broadway, Off-Broadway, and touring credits, as well as numerous roles with independent theater companies. On the music side, she independently released her debut EP It’s Official in 2009 and followed it up with the collaborative EP Heal: Part 1 with the LF+JT (Lulu Fall and James Theory) Project in 2015.

The Unpaved Road, a collaborative album between The Kris Johnson Group and Lulu Fall, will be released on August 22, 2017. Concert attendees at The Cube will have the option to purchase the album a day early.

About Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Big Sam’s Funky Nation delivers the Noladelic PowerFunk sound: high-energy music that mixes funk, rock, hip-hop, and jazz into the same pot, gluing everything together with the brassy influence and heavy grooves of New Orleans. The band’s live performances are infectious, filled with blasts of brass, bursts of electric guitar, and the charisma of Big Sam, a frontman who sings, plays, dances, and involves the audience in everything he does.

A native of New Orleans, Big Sam first rose to fame as a member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, whose touring schedule kept the young trombonist on the road for 300 days a year. A fan of artists like Parliament-Funkadelic, Jimi Hendrix, Living Colour, and Prince, Big Sam formed the Funky Nation with some of his friends and favorite players from across The Big Easy—including Andrew “Da Phessa” Bayham, Jerry “Jblakk” Henderson, Alfred Jordan, and Keenan McRae.

Big Sam is proud to not cater to any single demographic. The Funky Nation has appeared at a diverse range of jam band festivals, jazz shows, rock clubs, and funk gigs since forming in 2007. “We play music for everybody,” Big Sam says. “It’s not just funk; that’s the foundation, but the music goes from funk to rock to wild jazz. It’s music about love and partying. Everyone can get down with that.”

About Ben Sollee

Known for a 360º approach to his art, Kentucky native Ben Sollee educates as much as he entertains through his innovative style as a cellist; conveying genre-bending songwriting through electrifying performances and non-traditional album presentation.

His most recent music, Steeples Pt. 2, is the second of three parts in an album release of the same name. Portioning Steeples in this way, Sollee is able to break the traditional album cycle and deliver a diverse array of content to his fans. Within the past year, Ben has complemented the songs of Steeples Pts. 1 and 2 with “The Vanishing Point” (a virtual reality app), film scores, a technology-infused production of Harold and the Purple Crayon, an interactive sculptural installation called Livestream, and much more.

On October 21, 2017, Sollee will release his first album in four years, Infowars. Through the innovative facets of his artistic portfolio he teaches his audience that the modern artist has no boundaries.

Ticket Information

Tickets for all five events can be purchased at dso.org, by calling (313) 576-5111, or in-person at the Max M. & Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center Box Office (3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit).

Tickets for Om @ The Max are $18 for children and $25 for adults.

Three ticket options are available for The Kris Johnson Group and Lulu Fall: $10 General Admission tickets; $20 General Admission Plus packages including general admission seating and a CD copy of Unpaved Road (one day before its release); and $50 VIP Experience packages including reserved premium seating, an Unpaved Road CD, and a free drink.

General admission tickets for Mix @ The Max feat. Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Mix @ The Max feat. Ben Sollee are $15.

General admission tickets for the Salsa Dance Party are $15.

About the DSO

Hailed by The New York Times as “cutting edge,” the internationally acclaimed Detroit Symphony Orchestra is known for trailblazing performances, visionary maestros, collaborations with the world’s foremost musical artists, and an ardent commitment to Detroit. As a community-supported orchestra, generous giving by individuals and institutions at all levels drives the continued success and growth of the institution. Esteemed conductor Leonard Slatkin, called “America’s Music Director” by the Los Angeles Times, became the DSO’s 12th Music Director, endowed by the Kresge Foundation, in 2008. Acclaimed conductor, arranger, and trumpeter Jeff Tyzik serves as Principal Pops Conductor, while celebrated trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard holds the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Jazz Creative Director Chair. With growing attendance and unwavering philanthropic support from the Detroit community, the DSO’s performance schedule includes Classical, Pops, Jazz, Young People’s, and Neighborhood concerts, and collaborations with high profile artists from Steven Spielberg to Ben Folds and Lang Lang. In July 2017, the DSO embarked on its first international tour in 16 years, making its debut in China and first visit to Japan in 19 years. A commitment to broadcast innovation began in 1922, when the DSO became the first orchestra in the world to present a radio broadcast, and continues today with the free Live from Orchestra Hall webcast series, which also reaches tens of thousands of children with the Classroom Edition expansion. Making its home at historic Orchestra Hall within the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, one of America’s most acoustically perfect concert halls, the DSO actively pursues a mission to embrace and inspire individuals, families, and communities through unsurpassed musical experiences.


For Press Inquiries, please contact:

Ben Breuninger
Public Relations Coordinator
bbreuninger@dso.org | 313.576.5196