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Join the Sherman Chamber Ensemble this Thanksgiving weekend for “Jazzing it Up” – a tribute concert celebrating the 100th birthdays of jazz legends Tito Puente, Dexter Gordon, Thad Jones, and Red Garland.

The concerts will take place on Saturday, November 25 at 4 p.m. at Christ Church, 17 Church Road in Pawling; Saturday, November 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Salem Covenant Church, 96 Baldwin Hill Road in Washington, CT; and on Sunday, November 26 at 4 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Church, 1 North Main Street in Kent, CT.

Eliot Bailen, Artistic Director and cellist of the Ensemble, said, “The program celebrates the 100th Birthday of a number of jazz greats, Tito Puente, Dexter Gordon, Thad Jones and Red Garland.” He promises a concert of soulful and swinging music that pays tribute to these legends and their contributions to the genre.

Bailen joins a most talented group of accomplished New York musicians including noted Jazz pianist Ted Rosenthal, Eddie Barbash (alto sax), Thomson Kneeland (double bass), and Susan Rotholz, (flute) in an exciting program. Works include: Oye Como Va (Tito Puente), A Child Is Born (Thad Jones), Billy Boy (Red Garland), Fried Bananas (Dexter Gordon) and Girl from Ipanema (Antônio Carlos Jobim).

Fans of Latin jazz know Tito Puente – the legendary musician who revolutionized salsa, mambo, and jazz. Among his compositions is the cha-cha “Oye como va” popularized by Latin rock musician Carlos Santana and later interpreted, among others, by Julio Iglesias, Irakere and Celia Cruz. Known as the “King of Latin Music,” Puente’s music has influenced countless generations of musicians. His innovative approach to percussion and composition set the standard for Latin music and made him a beloved figure worldwide.

Puente and his music have appeared in films including “Radio Days” (1987) and “The Mambo Kings” (1992), He guest-starred on television shows, including Sesame Street and a 1995 two-part episode of The Simpsons, “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”

During the 1950s, Puente was at the height of his popularity and helped to bring Cuban and Caribbean sounds like mambo, son, and cha-cha-chá, to mainstream audiences. His album “Dance Mania” was released in 1958.

In the course of his career, Puente recorded some 120 albums and maintained a busy performance schedule, appearing with leading jazz musicians such as George Shearing and Woody Herman, as well as with many stars of Latin music and, in later years, with symphony orchestras. He was responsible for introducing American audiences to a number of Latin musicians, most notably Cuban singer Celia Cruz.

Puente received five Grammy Awards as well as numerous other honours. He received the key to the City of New York in 1969 from former Mayor John Lindsay. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Congressional Record, and in 1993 he received the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal from the Smithsonian. In 1990, he received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He played 200 to 300 engagements a year until shortly before his death in 2000. After a show in Puerto Rico, Puente suffered a massive heart attack. Complications developed, and he died on June 1, 2000. He was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

Dexter Gordon was an American jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and actor. He was among the most influential of the early bebop musicians, which included other greats such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Bud Powell.

Known for his soulful sound and effortless style, Dexter Gordon was a true pioneer in the world of jazz. He was sidelined by drugs in the ’50s. He moved to Europe in the ’60s, came home in triumph in the ’70s. Gordon starred in the film “Round Midnight” in 1986, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He also won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist, for the soundtrack album “The Other Side of Round Midnight.”

Called “one of the all-time greatest jazz trumpet soloists,” Thad Jones was an American jazz trumpeter, composer, and bandleader. He became a member of the Count Basie Orchestra in May 1954 and was featured as a soloist on such well-known tunes as “April in Paris,” “Shiny Stockings,” and “Corner Pocket.” Jones left the Basie Orchestra in 1963 to become a freelance arranger and musician in New York City and in 1965, he and drummer Mel Lewis formed the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. They won a 1978 Grammy Award for their album “Live in Munich.”

In 1979 Jones moved to Copenhagen and became the leader of The Danish Radio Big Band, and formed a new big band, Eclipse. He returned to the States in 1985 to take over the leadership of the Count Basie Orchestra, and fronted the Basie band on numerous tours, also writing arrangements for recordings and performances with vocalist Caterina Valente and the Manhattan Transfer. He was forced to step down due to ill health and returned to his home in Copenhagen for the last few months of his life, passing in 1986 at the age of 63.

Also born in 1923, Red Garland was an American modern jazz pianist known for his work as a bandleader and helped popularize the block chord style of playing in jazz piano. He became famous in 1954 when he joined the Miles Davis Quintet, featuring John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, and Paul Chambers.

In 1958, Garland formed his own trio which recorded with Pepper Adams, Nat Adderley, Ray Barretto, Kenny Burrell, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Jimmy Heath, Harold Land, Philly Joe Jones, Blue Mitchell, Ira Sullivan, and Leroy Vinnegar. The trio also recorded as a quintet with John Coltrane and Donald Byrd. He stopped playing professionally for a number of years in the 1960s when the popularity of rock music coincided with a substantial drop in the popularity of jazz.

In 1977 he led a recording, “Crossings,” which reunited him with Philly Joe Jones, and he teamed up with bassist Ron Carter. He continued recording until his death from a heart attack on April 23, 1984, at the age of 60.

General Admission tickets are $25; children ages 16 and under are admitted free. Please purchase advance tickets online at www.SCEmusic.org. Tickets may be purchased at the door, subject to availability. For information or reservations call 860-355-5930.


World Class Music, Close to Home

Founded in 1982 by cellist Eliot Bailen, Artistic Director, and flutist Susan Rotholz, the Sherman Chamber Ensemble offers a year-round schedule of performances for all ages at venues in Connecticut and New York.

Guided by its mission to bring world class musicians to our communities and schools to perform a diverse range of music with an approach that is intimate and inclusive, the SCE has been described by The New York Times as “about as close as it gets to the Platonic ideal of a chamber music concert.”

SCE offers Baroque programs, a summer chamber music series, educational activities and a year-round slate of musical events showcasing the best of live musical performance, from classical to bluegrass to jazz – plus children’s and family concerts, school residencies and pop/rock coffeehouses. In addition to concert subscription and ticket sales, support comes from private foundations, local businesses and many generous individual donors.

For more information, visit www.SCEmusic.org.

Author: Harlem Valley News