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Iconic Newport Jazz Festival Anniversary Tour Comes to the LMC Mendel Center Mainstage

Iconic Newport Jazz Festival Anniversary Tour Comes to the LMC Mendel Center MainstageFebruary 10, 2014

BENTON TOWNSHIP, MI – The Newport Jazz Festival, “the grandfather of jazz festivals,” will bring clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, vocalist/pianist Karrin Allyson, bassists Larry Grenadier and Ben Allison, pianist Peter Martin, guitarist Mark Whitfield, trumpeter Randy Brecker, and drummer Clarence Penn to the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center Mainstage on Wednesday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. The 17-city “Newport Jazz Festival®: Now 60” Tour is a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the world-renowned Newport Jazz Festival®, which will be held in Rhode Island August 1-3, 2014.

This multi-gender, multi-national and multi-generational group of musicians was especially selected by festival founder/producer George Wein, in conjunction with his long-time associates and the tour’s producers, Danny Melnick of Absolutely Live Entertainment, LLC and Darlene Chan of FestivalWest, Inc., to represent the incredible diversity of talent that the Newport Jazz Festival® has presented over the last six decades. 

“I’ve put together some excellent all-star ensembles in the past, but this group is really special to me,” says Wein. “These musicians come from different parts of the country, different parts of the world and from different eras of jazz and they offer an excellent census of where the music has been, where it is and where it’s going. Together, they represent the festival’s 60-year goal: to bring the best and brightest jazz musicians to present musical experiences that fans will remember for a lifetime.”

The tour venues also include Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, Emerson Concert Hall at Emory University in Atlanta, GA; Berklee Performance Center in Boston, MA; the Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, PA; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, CA; Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Il; and the Jazz Standard in New York, NY.

Tickets for the Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60 are $25, $30, $35, and $39, and are available by calling the LMC Mendel Center Box Office at (269) 927-1221 or visiting www.lmcmainstage.org. A cash bar will be available one hour before show time. Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more. For information about group rates, pre-show party options, and other special arrangements, contact Mike Nadolski at (269) 927-8109 or mnadolski@lakemichigancollege.edu.   

The Newport Jazz Festival: Now 60 performance at the LMC Mendel Center is sponsored by the Herald Palladium.

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The Lake Michigan College Mendel Center is located just 40 minutes from Kalamazoo and South Bend on the Lake Michigan College Napier Avenue Campus in Benton Township, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24).

 

The LMC Mendel Center Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and one hour before show time. Tickets may be purchased in person, by phone at (269) 927-1221, or online at www.lmcmainstage.org.

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THE ARTISTS

Featuring a diverse group of improvisers brought together to celebrate the anniversary of a legendary festival, this performance will present jazz with one foot in its proud past, and another pointing toward its bright future.

Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, clarinet/tenor saxophonist Anat Cohen comes from a musical family that includes her brothers, saxophonist Yuval and trumpeter Avishai. She studied clarinet at the age of 12, and attended the Tel Aviv School for the Arts, the "Thelma Yellin" High School for the Arts and the Jaffa Music Conservatory. She played tenor saxophone in the Israeli Air Force Band from 1993 to 1995, enrolled at the Berklee School of Music, and moved to New York City in 1999, where she worked with a number of bands including the Diva Jazz Orchestra, drummer Dudu Da Fonseca’s Samba Jazz Quintet, and the Choro Ensemble. In 2005, she created her own label, Anzic Records, and released Noir and Poetica (2007), Notes from the Village (2008), and Clarinetwork: Live at the Village Vanguard (2010). Hailed by Nat Hentoff as a musician who “…tells stories from her own experiences that are so deeply felt that they are very likely to connect listeners to their own dreams, desires, and longings," Cohen’s latest CDs are Claroscuro (2012), which brilliantly blends jazz with New Orleans, African and Brazilian genres, and Tightrope (2013), her fourth release with her two brothers, together called the 3 Cohens.

The Philadelphia-born Randy Brecker – who constituted one-half of the famed Brecker Brothers Band with his saxophonist brother, Michael – has  been one of the most diverse and in-demand trumpeters of the last four decades. He grew up playing in R&B, soul, and rock bands in Philadelphia, and was influenced by Lee Morgan, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, and Miles Davis. He attended Indiana University from 1963 to 1965, where he played with Booker T. and The MG’s and IU Big Band. He moved to New York City the next year. There he worked with Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and the Duke Pearson Big Band, recorded two albums with Blood, Sweat and Tears, and worked in Horace Silver’s quintet. Brecker was also a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and co-founded the seminal jazz fusion group, Dreams.  With over 20 recordings as a leader to his credit, Brecker’s latest CDs include Randy Brecker Plays Wlodek Pawlik’s Night in Calisia (2013) and Brecker Brothers Band Reunion (2013).

Known as “The Marksman” when he burst on the scene during the “Young Lions” decade of the nineties, guitarist Mark Whitfield takes the approaches of George Benson, Grant Green and Kenny Burrell to a whole new level. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music, Whitfield has worked with a wide variety of musicians from Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Carmen McRae, to Wynton Marsalis, Ray Charles and Betty Carter. He’s also worked with many pop stars including Sting, Jill Scott, and Mary J. Blige.  He released his debut CD, The Marksman in 1990, and has recorded 11 releases as a leader, including his latest, Songs of Wonder (2009), a tribute to Stevie Wonder. He toured with the band Jazz Futures, which was created in 1991 by George Wein to celebrate the next generation of jazz.

Born in Great Bend, Kansas and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and Northern California, Karrin Allyson, “…brings a timbre that is part ice and part grain — incisive, original, and emotionally convincing," says critic Gary Giddins. After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1987 with a degree in classical piano and a minor in French, Allyson gigged at a Kansas City nightclub. She signed with Concord Records in 1992, which released her debut recording, I Didn’t Know About You. She has since recorded over 10 CDs as a leader including Footprints (2006), Imagina: Songs of Brazil (2008), Round Midnight (2011) and a holiday pleaser, Yuletide Hideaway (2013).

Hailing from St. Louis, Missouri, pianist Peter Martin is one of the most rooted and revelatory musicians on the scene. The son of parents who were classical musicians, Martin began studying the violin and the piano at the age of three. After he graduated from high school, he received the Presidential Scholar in the Arts award from President Reagan. Martin attended The Juilliard School in New York on scholarship, where he studied with Martin Canin, and moved to New Orleans in 1990, where he has worked with Nicholas Payton, Germaine Bazzle, Chris Thomas, Alvin Batiste, Brian Blade and Victor Goines. Martin toured and recorded with artists such as Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti, Joshua Redman, Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He also performed with the Berlin Philharmonic with Simon Rattle, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Sydney Symphony. With over five CDs as a leader, his latest record, Set of Five (2009), is a solo piano tour de force.

Born in San Francisco, bassist Larry Grenadier took up the trumpet at the age of 10 before switching to the bass at 12. Four years later, he was playing at various gigs around his hometown, and sat in with Joe Henderson, Eddie Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, and George Cables. Grenadier earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in 1989, and worked with Stan Getz, who was Artist-in-Residence at the University. Grenadier moved to Boston and worked with Gary Burton, and later moved to New York City in 1991, where his work as a sideman included gigs with his wife, Rebecca Martin, Joshua Redman, John Scofield, Charles Lloyd, Mark Turner and Pat Metheny. He’s been a member of pianist Brad Mehldau’s trio since 2004. His CDs as a co-leader include Year of the Snake (w/Mark Turner and Jeff Ballard, 2012) and Costumes are Mandatory (w/Ethan Iverson, Lee Konitz and Jorge Rossy, 2013).

A native of Detroit, Michigan, and a graduate of Interlochen Academy, Clarence Penn attended the University of Miami and Virginia Commonwealth University, where Ellis Marsalis was a faculty member. He moved to New York City in 1991 and was hired by Betty Carter. Penn has worked with Stanley Clarke, Christian McBride, Michael Brecker, Dizzy Gillespie, Luciana Souza, Gary Burton, Joshua Redman, Richard Galliano, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Charlie Haden, Makoto Ozone, and Maria Schneider. His CDs as a leader include Penn’s Landing (1997), Play-Penn (2001), Saomaye (2002), A Master’s Diary (2012) and Dali in Cobble Hill (2012).

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NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL® HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS

With the 60th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival® approaching, thousands of fans will no doubt reflect on some of the historical highlights of the event that have become, through memory, recordings, and film, touchstones of the American cultural landscape. Two of the most famous performances in the festival's history are Miles Davis’ 1955 solo on “'Round Midnight” and the Duke Ellington Orchestra's lengthy 1956 performance of “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,” featuring a 27-chorus saxophone solo by Paul Gonsalves. The 1964 album Miles & Monk at Newport documented respective appearances by Davis in 1958 and Thelonious Monk in 1963; Davis’ band included John Coltrane and Monk’s featured Pee Wee Russell.

Other early performances documented on commercially released recordings include the 1957 appearances by Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Carmen McRae (Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, 1958); those by the Gigi Gryce-Donald Byrd Jazz Laboratory and the Cecil Taylor Quartet featuring Steve Lacy, released on At Newport also in 1958; and performances at the 1960 festival by Muddy Waters and Nina Simone, released as the albums At Newport 1960 and Nina Simone at Newport. Films chronicling the Newport Jazz experience include “Jazz on a Summer Day,” a documentary of the 1958 festival which includes sets by Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles and Miles Davis; and a film released by Storyville of the 1962 event which featured Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan, the Oscar Peterson Trio, Roland Kirk, Duke Ellington, and the Count Basie Orchestra featuring Jimmy Rushing.

Today, the Newport Jazz Festival® continues to present a multi-generational celebration of jazz. With annual line-ups filled with a wealth of established jazz giants and emerging stars, fans joyfully witness generational batons being passed back and forth – Esperanza Spalding walking the line with Wayne Shorter … Anat Cohen defying her age with George Wein and his Newport All-Stars … Julian Lage trading licks with Jim Hall … Grace Kelly blowing up a storm with Phil Woods. Through countless memorable musical moments with Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Gregory Porter, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Trombone Shorty, Diana Krall, Darcy James Argue, Jon Faddis, Maria Schneider, Jamie Cullum, Terence Blanchard, Robert Glasper, and many others, the Newport Jazz Festival®, under the auspices of the 501 (c) (3) Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc.™, looks forward to many more decades as the leading purveyor of the best of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

The 60th Anniversary Newport Jazz Festival® presented by Natixis Global Asset Management will take place from Aug. 1-3, 2014, in Newport, RI. More information on the festival can be found at newportjazzfest.org.

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