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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI's Spring Jazz Series begins April 21

Media Contact: Music Department, 401-874-2431

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 8, 2011 -- The four-night Spring Jazz Series at the University of Rhode Island offers something for every lover of jazz, whether you like big bands or small, swing, Latin, Afro-Cuban, or some other style of jazz. The concerts will be held in the URI Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, 105 Upper College Road, Kingston, on Thursday April 21, Tuesday April 26, Thursday April 28 and Friday April 29. The three weeknight concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., and the Friday concert begins at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $10 general public, $5 students for each concert.

In addition, on Wednesday April 27 the URI Percussion Ensemble directed by Ron Stabile will perform their spring concert, at 7:30 p.m. Admission for this “drum-head-banging music” program is free and open to the public.

The Jazz Series opens on the 21st with the C100 Big Band, directed by John Monllos. The concert will feature a variety of Big Band Swing, Funk and Latin music including pieces by Pat Metheny, Arturo Sandoval and Frank Foster. One of the highlights of the show will be Gordon Goodwin's Too Close for Comfort. The band consists of 15 instrumentalists with vocalist Marina Ferri.

Session II on Tuesday, April 26 will feature small group jazz played with soul and skill. The URI Standards Combo directed by Dave Zinno will offer Invitation by Kaper, Groovin High/ Wispering by Bird, Green Dolphin St. by Kaper, Minority by Gigi Gryce and Better Get it in Your Soul by Mingus. The combo members are: David Murphy alto sax , Tom Prichard viola , Kevin Turco guitar, Dan Sherman piano, Matt Passeroni bass, and Josh Rodriguez drums. The URI Jazz Collective directed by Mark Berney will offer a selection of tunes including world premieres of original compositions by ensemble members Ben Marcoux, Brendan Moore, and Joe Grilli, along with other selections by Steely Dan, Rodgers and Hart, and more. The members of the group are Andrew Gugliotta, trumpet; David Powers, alto sax; Ben Marcoux, tenor sax; Brendan Moore, piano; Jacob Davenport, guitar; Joseph Grilli, bass; and Matt Gilmette, drums.

Session III on Thursday April 28 will offer more small surprises by URI student combos, notably the “Monk & Rollins Project” directed by Eric Hofbauer, and the Langone Combo directed by Steve Langone.

The final concert in the series on Friday April 29 will be a double-bill featuring the Bl0l Big Band, directed by Jared Sims, and the URI Concert Band, directed by Brian Cardany. These two wind-based ensembles will explore the common ground between jazz and classical. The B101 Big Band program promises a mix of vocals sung by Mikaela Nelson and “some really hard hitting instrumental solos by a bunch of players in the band,” says Sims. Several original works are on their program, including a mambo arrangement of Love for Sale by Sims, a tune called Jump Up Josie by Brian Thomas, and arrangements of the tunes One by One and Just One of those Things by Alex Lee-Clark. The band has 18 instrumentalists, including graduating seniors Ed DeArruda, Seth Bailey, Sarah Ferry, David DiMaio, Chris Gagnon, Ben Shaw and Kevin Turco.

Seating for all concerts is on a first-come basis. The box office opens 45 minutes before each concert. The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road. For more information, please contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website: www.uri.edu/artsci/mus.