Hear more than just standards at URI’s Fall Jazz Series, Nov. 29-Dec. 8

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 9, 2011 – Area jazz fans look forward to the twice-yearly jazz concert series offered by the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Music. This year’s four-night Fall Jazz Series starts on Nov. 29, and the URI Saxophone Studio is also offering a separate recital embracing both jazz and traditional concert music on Nov. 30. All concerts will be held in the URI Fine Arts Center at 105 Upper College Rd., Kingston, but two will be held in the rehearsal hall rather than the concert hall, so check the individual event details below. Admission for each jazz concert is $10 general, $5 students; the saxophone concert is free.

November 29: The Jazz Series kicks off on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7:30 p.m. with the Standards Combo directed by Dave Zinno, performing in the C100 Rehearsal Hall in the Music wing of the Fine Arts Center. The group will play jazz standards and selections from the Great American Songbook. The combo features Nick Suchecki on tenor sax and flute, Bruce Hagist on guitar, Harrison Hartley on double bass, and Christopher Cooney on drums.

December 2: The series continues on Friday, Dec. 2 at 8:00 p.m. with the B101 Big Band in the regular Concert Hall. This full big band of traditional size and instrumentation will feature Ben Marcoux on lead tenor solos, Don Dupre on lead trumpet, and Mich Muller on drums, with vocalists Mikaela Nelson and Marina Ferri. The group is focusing on “really heavy swinging numbers,” according to director Jared Simms. Their program will include Walkin’ Shoes (the Gerry Mulligan style arrangement), Duke Ellington’s Things Ain’t What they Used to Be, and heavy Basie-style swingers like Wind Machine and Potatoe Face. The vocalists will sing renditions of God Bless the Child, I Remember You, Alright, Okay You Win, and Round Midnight.

December 5: Concert III will feature three ensembles on Monday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m., in the Concert Hall. The URI Jazz Collective, coached by Mark Berney, will perform the music of Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordan, and Horace Silver. The group features: Charlie Larson, tenor sax, Clay Nordhill, guitar; Matt Passeroni, bass, and Mich Muller, drums. The World Jazz Ensemble, coached by Steve Langone, leans toward the Afro-Cuban and will offer Footprints by Wayne Shorter, Blues For Alice by Charlie Parker, Summer Samba by Marcos Valle and Sergio Valle, Dona Luisa by Marta Gomez, and Bye Ya by Thelonious Monk. Performers are: Chris Zimmerman -bass, Chris Botelho -tenor sax, Alex Lovett –guitar, and Josue Rodriguez –drums. The third group is a jazz ensemble coached by graduate students Mark Medeiros and Kyle Barbosa.

December 8: The fourth and final Jazz Series concert will be Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall, featuring the C100 Big Band, directed by John Monllos, and the Jazz Messinger Project, directed by Eric Hofbauer.

The C100 Big Band will perform a wide variety of big band music swing music in the tradition of Count Basie. Their featured vocalist Bianca Sperduti will sing jazz standards like Fly me to the Moon and You’re Nobody till Somebody Loves You. The lead trumpet player in the band, Don Chilton, will present a three song tribute to Harry James. Monllos says, “Don is a graduate student in Music Education and a very exciting lead trumpet player, you don’t want to miss this performance.” The band will also present classic compositions like Rhapsody in Blue.

The Jazz Messinger Project will offer pieces by two important members of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers from the early 1960s. The program includes The Chess Players and Lester Left Town, both by Wayne Shorter, plus Calling Miss Khadija and Pisces, both by Lee Morgan. The Project members are: Justin Sharkey -tenor sax, Jake Davenport –guitar, Brendan Moore –piano, Dylan LaGamma –bass, and Matt Gilmette –drums.

Recital, November 30: In addition to the Jazz Series, URI is offering a Saxophone Studio Recital on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 pm in the C100 Rehearsal Hall. This free concert will feature two saxophone quartets, students playing solo pieces, plus a jazz combo, and will offer a mix of jazz and traditional concert music. Faculty Artist coach Jared Simms says, “We will be celebrating the saxophone and its wonderful sound. It is a hybrid instrument that is at home in all settings and we are sharing what we are working on at URI.” View a sample Youtube video.

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/music.

Shown above: (L-R)Saxophone players Charles Larson, Molly Hammell, and Chris DeLouis are among the students who will perform in the Fall Jazz Concert Series. They play in the B101 Big Band, slated for December 2.