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Trio slides in to kick off jazz series
The Steve Cunningham Trio


With their bluesy jazz sounds, the Steve Cunningham Trio is set to kick off The Arts Council's Evenings of Intimate Jazz series Friday at the Smithgall Arts Center.

This will be the third performance for the trio at the Evenings of Intimate Jazz series.

"It's going to be a three piece ... I will be playing guitar and lap steel and we'll have a keyboardist who will be singing and a drummer. We are going to be doing a mixture of a bunch of blues, jazz, gospel, some funk - really a pretty wide range of musical styles."

This year Cunningham, who lives in Atlanta, released his fourth CD, "Slide," which is an instrumental recording featuring the lap steel and slide guitar. His previous CDs were also instrumental.

Cunningham plans to play a selection of music from his CD and other favorites.

"A lap steel, compared to a regular electric guitar, it's smaller and you play it sitting on your lap," he said. "You play it with a steel bar to produce the tones instead of your fingers. It's sort of how a slide guitar is played; usually the player wears a glass or metal slide around one of their fingers."

Cunningham said the trio plans to play two long sets, giving the audience about three hours of music.

Appearing with Cunningham will be Mike Little on piano and vocals and Mike Haid on drums.

The event will be in the banquet hall and there will be a seat for everybody, said Gladys Wyant, executive director of The Arts Council.

"We provide with their tickets, set-ups, sodas, cookies ... and if someone wants something else to drink they can bring it in," she said.

The next performance of the Evenings of Intimate Jazz Series is the The Shawn Megorden Quartet on Nov. 15. Christian Tamburr Trio will perform on Jan. 17, the Kevin Bales Trio will make its debut for the series on Feb. 21, The John McAndrew Trio will play March 14 and The Joe Gransden Quartet on April 17. Havana Son closes the series May 22.