Friday, October 14, 2011

Dizzy Gillespie's 94th Birthday Celebration with Mike Longo's Big Band, Ira Hawkins, Annie Ross & Jimmy Owens, Oct 18

Join us at Jazz Tuesdays on October 18, at 8pm, for a very exciting evening to celebrate Dizzy Gillespie's 94th birthday with Mike Longo's swinging 17-piece Big Band,"The NY State of the Art Jazz Ensemble" featuring fantastic jazz vocalist Ira Hawkins, with special guests jazz legend Annie Ross and trumpet master Jimmy Owens, PLUS archival film footage of Dizzy performing in his prime.

Jazz Tuesdays is located @ the John Birks Gillespie within the New York City Bahá'í Center at 53 East 11th Street(between University Place & Broadway). For tickets and information, please call 212-222-5159.

Pianist/composer/arranger, and Steinway artist, Mike Longo, who has earned many accolades as a jazz pianist, formed the New York State ofthe Art Jazz Ensemble in 1999 to play the Jersey Jazz Festival when they wanted to feature him in a setting of composer/arranger. The program was received so enthusiastically that Mike was prompted by jazz fans and the members of the band to keep it going. As a result, he began composing new material and arranging it for the band, which was booked back each year at the Jersey Festival, followed by several appearances at New York City's famed Birdland jazz club. Their latest CD, “Oasis”, climbed to #7 and remained on the charts for an unprecedented 20 weeks. We are proud to present this fabulous group of musicians, featuring jazz singer Ira Hawkins.
Mike Longo (pictured above) has performed with a "who's who" of jazz legends that include Cannonball Adderley, Henry Red Allen, Coleman Hawkins, George Wettling, Gene Krupa, Nancy Wilson, Gloria Lynn, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Williams, Jimmy Rushing, James Moody, Astrud Gilberto and many others. It was in the mid-60s when Longo’s trio was playing at the Embers West, that Roy Eldridge told Dizzy Gillespie about this new pianist he had heard. Dizzy came to hear him play and soon asked him to become his pianist. This started a life-long musical relationship and friendship. From 1966 through 1975, Longo worked exclusively as Dizzy’s pianist and musical director. Mike left the Gillespie group officially in 1975 to venture out on his own, but continued to work for Gillespie on a part-time basis until his death in 1993.

Jazz singer & actress Annie Ross moved with her aunt, singer Ella Logan, to Los Angeles at the age of three, where she became a juvenile film actress, starting on the "Our Gang" series at five. Asa teenager, she moved to New York to study acting, then back to England, where she became a nightclub and band singer. She returned to the U.S. and gained attention in 1952 for her song "Twisted," a "vocalese" setting of humorous lyrics to what had been a saxophone solo by Wardell Gray. (More than 20 years later, Joni Mitchell made a popular recording of the song.) In 1958, Ross teamed with Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks in the vocalese trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, and they toured and recorded successfully, their best-known album being their first,"Sing a Song of Basie," a legendary session produced by Creed Taylor for ABC (and later reissued on his own CTI label in 1993, with new cover art and pristine remastering). Ross left the trio in 1962 and settled in England, continuing to sing and work as an actress. She returned again to the U.S. in 1985. In 1993, she had a featured role in the Robert Altman film"Short Cuts."

Trumpeter and NEA jazz master Jimmy Owens, a fine hard bop soloist, started on the trumpet when he was ten and later studied with Donald Byrd. Owens has played as a sideman with many major players, including Lionel Hampton, Hank Crawford, Charles Mingus, Herbie Mann, Duke Ellington, Gerry Mulligan, Count Basie, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, and the Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Band. He was one of the founders of the Collective Black Artists and is closely involved with the Jazzmobile in New York. Gillespie's huge admiration for Owen's artistry is also documented on the historic LaserDisc "Wolf Trap Salutes Dizzy Gillespie, An All-Star Tribute to the Jazz Master" filmed on June 6, 1987 with such other guests as Mike Longo, Oscar Peterson, Carmen McRae, Freddie Hubbard, Flora Purim, Airto Moreira, Sonny Rollins, James Moody, Lalo Schifrin, David Amram, Mongo Santamaria, Candido, Nicky Marrero et al.

Admission is 15.00, $10.00 for students.

Tickets will be sold at the door, or call 212-222-5159 for reservations and information.
Not to be missed!

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