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Trombone titan heads jazz series event

Wycliffe Gordon brings his trio, unique sound to Smithgall Center

POSTED: March 22, 2012 12:30 a.m.

A true jazz headliner will blow into town when the Wycliffe Gordon Trio performs Saturday, March 24, in The Arts Council's Evenings Of Intimate Jazz series.

Gordon is considered one of music's top trombonists, both in a successful solo career and his quartet, headlining at jazz venues and performing arts centers worldwide. He is known for his work with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis.

Gordon has played with many jazz luminaries, including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Branford Marsalis, Lionel Hampton, Tommy Flanagan and Shirley Horn. His musical colleagues call him "Pine Cone," as he grew up in the piney woods of Georgia.

His music caught the ears of jazz educator Wynton Marsalis, who heard Gordon play while the trumpeter was giving a workshop at Gordon's alma mater, Florida A&M University. Their meeting resulted in Gordon joining the Wynton Marsalis Septet, as well as the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, in 1989. As a member of the illustrious band, Gordon contributed as both musician and composer.

Whether they know it or not, National Public Radio fans are familiar with the musician's work; in 1993, he composed the NPR theme song.

Gordon has recorded 13 solo CDs and seven co-leader CDs. His latest effort, "Cone and T-Staff," released in February 2010, is a quintet recording featuring trumpeter Terell Stafford.

Gordon is a gifted composer and arranger often commissioned by jazz groups and organizations and has an extensive songbook of original compositions.

His commissioned works include a vibrant new score for the 1925 classic silent film "Body and Soul," which was premiered at the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra's 2000-01 opening night performance at Avery Fisher Hall, and was released on DVD in 2008.

Gordon's "I Saw the Light," a musical tribute to Muhammad Ali, was commissioned and premiered by the Brass Band of Battle Creek in March 2004, and is scheduled for release on DVD in 2012.

He is currently working on an extensive commission for the Jazz Arts Group Columbus, "Beyond the Blackberry Patch" that will premiere during the Columbus bicentennial celebration 2012.

In May, the Apollo Theater will premiere a commissioned work by Wycliffe that will celebrate 75 years of great music. His other noted commissions include "Welcome to Georgia Town," and "Cyberswing - Jazz in the Digital Age" that was premiered at Flushing Town Hall in 2009.

Other artists in the series include the Del Baroni (vocalist and bassist) Quartet with vocalist Jennifer Hanson on April 20, and the Larry Barker (Pianist) Quartet on May 19.

All performances begin 8 p.m. at the Smithgall Arts Center. Individual performance tickets are $30, plus 7 percent sales tax.

For tickets, call 770-534-2787 or visit www.TheArtsCouncil.net.


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