Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off To Jazz We Go . . .
The Westchester (NY) Jazz Orchestra opened its 2011-2012 concert season September 24 with Grammy-winning saxophonist / composer Joe Lovano as its special guest. Other concerts include Master Keys (December 3), a tribute to the music of Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal and Herbie Hancock; Bossa! Tango! Flamenco! (January 28), hosted by WJO music director Mike Holober; and The Music of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles (April 14). For details, go to www.westjazzorch.org.
Composer / arranger / bandleader Russell Garcia, long a resident of New Zealand, returns to the States this fall to celebrate his ninety-fifth birthday (that's not a typo!) with visits to (and concerts in) Los Angeles and Oakland, CA, and New York City. Garcia will be onstage at Catalina's Bar & Grill in Los Angeles (October 26), Yoshi's in Oakland (November 1) and the Iridium Jazz Club in NYC (November 6), accompanied by singers Shaynee Rainbolt and Terese Genecco, among others. As an aside, Garcia will also be leading his big band at the Los Angeles Jazz Institute's salute to West Coast jazz, "Modern Sounds," October 20-23. A rare chance to see and appreciate a living legend who has not only been a celebrated Hollywood studio composer and arranger but has worked over the years with Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Sammy Davis Jr., Anita O'Day, Julie London, Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Judy Garland, Cleo Laine, the Gershwin brothers, Count Basie, Miles Davis, Johnny Hodges, Stan Kenton, Maynard Ferguson, Harry James, Bette Davis, Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, Mickey Rooney, Henry Mancini, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin, Marvin Hamlisch, Clint Eastwood and Bill Holman. Mind you, that's only a partial list!
The 29th annual Frank Mantooth Jazz Festival will be held Saturday, February 4, at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL, with special guests Nicholas Payton and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble plus performances by the Marquis Hill Black-Tet, the Michigan State University Jazz Orchestra and the New Trier Jazz Ensemble. For details, go to www.ntjazz.com
Rollins, Jazzed Media Honored
Saxophonist / composer Sonny Rollins is one of five outstanding artists chosen to receive the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors, to be presented December 4 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, as a part of the 34th annual national celebration of the arts . The other honorees are singer Barbara Cook, singer / songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo Yo Ma and actress Meryl Streep. Other jazz artists who have received the Kennedy Center honors are Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton,Benny Carter, Quincy Jones and Dave Brubeck. The Honors gala will be recorded for broadcast as a two-hour primetime special Tuesday, December 27, on CBS-TV. Rollins' latest CD, Road Shows, Vol. 2, was released September 13 on Doxy / Emarcy Records.