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New England Jazz Ensemble to Release Fifth CD at June 5 Concert Featuring Giacomo Gates, Ali Ryerson

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The 16-piece Big Band Celebrates 20th Birthday In Performance at Hartford's Polish National Home

HARTFORD, CT—"It's a Grand Night for Swinging," The New England Jazz Ensemble's long-awaited fifth CD will be released on June 5, 2011, at a concert at the Polish National Home in Hartford. The 4pm concert also features guest vocalist Giacomo Gates and flute soloist Ali Ryerson.

The concert includes jazz and blues standards that have been arranged by Jeff Holmes, John Mastroianni, and Walt Gwardyak, all part of the band's arranging staff. The new CD was recorded at the same venue exactly one year ago, and its release is part of the big band's 20th-birthday celebration.

Giacomo Gates' most recent release, LUMINOSITY, spent over three months in the top 20 of the Jazz Week charts. Gates has been nominated as Jazz Vocalist of the Year (2010) by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Ali Ryerson put alto flute in the spotlight in her years of duet concerts and recordings with guitarist Joe Beck. She has also performed with Frank Wess and Holly Hofmann.

New England Jazz Ensemble was created in 1991 by trumpeter Mike Jones as a weekly rehearsal band and a forum for new compositions. The leader, pianist and composer Walt Gwardyak, has been the music director from the beginning.

After three studio recordings, the band's most recent recording, “Live at the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival," was so successful that they decided to repeat the format, this time with guest artists. In addition to Gates, the CD also features the noted flutist Ali Ryerson, and guitarist John Abercrombie. The concert and recording are supported by a grant from The Greater Hartford Arts Council and other generous donors.

The tickets cost $20 for adults, $10 for seniors and students; children will be admitted free. Tickets can be purchased online at NEJE.org, or by calling 860-243-9964

The Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue in Hartford, has a world-class theater where artists of all musical genres perform. The Home's acclaimed dining facility will be open before the performance; lunch reservations can be made separately at 860-247-1784.

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