The Ballad Project is a collaboration between bassist Doug Rich and alto saxophonist Willie Sordillo. Doug and Willie have been playing together in jazz ensembles, gospel groups, R&B and funk bands for over 20 years. As The Ballad Project, they perform primarily without additional instrumentation, providing a spare, spacious setting in which to explore reflective, often meditative moods. Their repertoire draws from original works composed for this duo, some jazz ballads by other composers, and wholly improvised material created in front of the audience.
At Roots and Wings, Doug and Willie will be joined by vocalist Zoë Krohne and dancer Joanie Block for portions of the performance.
In addition to leading the R&B/funk ensemble, The RPS Band, Doug has served as the bassist for such groups as the Voices of Myrtle, the Worcester Mass Choir, Enfusion, and the Manny Santos Quintet. He has worked with Lionel Hampton and as an opening act for the Winans with Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Some of his long term accomplishments include the bass chair for the Jazzman Big Band (1984-1989) and the Ray Felder Quintet (1985-1989) as well as ongoing work an in-demand sideman with a number of groups in the Greater Boston music scene.
Willie co-led three-time Boston Music award winners Flor de Caña and leads his own ensembles as well as freelancing in a variety of settings and performing in a duo with vocalist Zoë Krohne. He has performed throughout North America and internationally. Willie’s original compositions have appeared in numerous song books, magazines and college texts and he has contributed music to several films and the television show ER. He has performed with or opened shows for Pete Seeger, Ruben Blades, Kurt Elling, Richie Havens and Tito Puente, among others. Since 2005, Willie has served as music director for a weekly jazz worship service at Old South Church in Boston and brings jazz to churches throughout Massachusetts.