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MILK & JADE by Dana Leong to Bring Electronic Hip-Hop and Jazz Funk to an Energetic, Eclectic Musical Performance at Colby-Sawyer College

NEW LONDON, N.H. – Colby-Sawyer College will host a performance by the renowned quartet MILK & JADE by Dana Leong, who will bring its distinctive blend of electronic hip-hop, jazz funk and rock to campus. The group, formerly known as The Dana Leong Band, will illustrate the musical talent and diverse sounds that make it one of the top urban musical acts in the country.

The performance will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 8, in Wheeler Hall at the Ware Campus Center. Admission to this event is free and the public is invited to experience a unique group that fuses modern electronic music with ethereal jazz rhythms.

MILK & JADE by Dana Leong features the talent of composer Dana Leong, often referred to as a “hi-def Yo-Yo Ma,” who also supplies the group with his expertise on cello and trombone. Rounding out the diverse urban sound of the quartet are Aviv Cohen on drums, Adam Platt on keyboards, and MC Mtume Gant, a.k.a. Core Rhythm, on rap vocals. Leong brings his unique vision and experience to MILK & JADE and uses a laptop during performances to create electronic beats and manipulate the sound of instruments to create a dynamic, genre-blending sound.

As MILK & JADE's bandleader, Leong has revolutionized traditional music and the cello by applying his cutting-edge amplification, lyrical melodies and jazz improvisations. Leong's musical accomplishments as both a performer and composer range from Grammy nominations for his participation in groups such as the Dafnis Prieto Absolute Quintet to collaboration with artists such as Ray Charles, Diddy, Kanye West and Wynton Marsalis.

Aviv Cohen has been playing the drums since he discovered his talent in percussion at age 14 in his native Israel. After graduating from Rimon College of Music in Israel, Cohen moved to New York City in 2005. In New York, he quickly became an in-demand artist and gained a reputation as a musician able to blend multiple international perspectives into a groove that sets him apart.

MC Mtume Gant, a.k.a. Core Rhythm, brings dynamic lyrics and rhythms to MILK & JADE by Dana Leong. Core, recognized as a leading artist in the New York independent hip hop scene, has proved his talent through a fierce and successful debut album, “Nat Turner Reloaded.” He has also performed with hip hop legends such as O.C. and The Juggaknots, establishing himself as a force to be recognized in the hip-hop world.

Featured on keyboards is Adam Platt, who started playing at age four and six years later became the youngest competitor ever to win the solo piano competition at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival. Platt, a graduate of the New England Conservatory and Berklee College of Music in Boston, has released three original jazz albums and is presently working on a soul/hip hop recording.

The quartet has received critical acclaim and attracts audiences as diverse as its sound. New York magazine commends a recent performance at BAMcafé as “hands down excellent,” moving on to describe the attending audience as “a mix of gray curls, flowing caftans, dapper Fonzworth Bentley–style suits, and quite a few zip hoodies.”

The band recently completed a sold-out tour through Asia as part of The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad Program. The program, produced in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Jazz at Lincoln Center, picked MILK & JADE by Dana Leong from a pool of applicants to serve as an urban quartet that best reflected the talent and diversity of modern musicians from across America.

For more information on MILK & JADE by Dana Leong, visit

-Jessica K. McLavey '10

Jessica K. McLavey is an English major and an intern in College Communications at Colby-Sawyer College.