HARTFORD, CT -- The New England Jazz Ensemble, a 16-piece big band, will record its next album in concert on June 5, at the Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Ave., in Hartford, Connecticut. Two complete performances, at 5:30pm and 8:30pm, will each feature guest artists John Abercrombie (guitar), Ali Ryerson (flute), and Giacomo Gates (vocals).
Featuring both jazz standards and new compositions and arrangements, the concerts will be preserved as the band's fifth CD, and its second 'live' concert recording. The band's most recent recording, Live at the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival," has been so successful that they decided to repeat the format, this time with guest artists.
John Abercrombie is a world renowned guitar player. Over a career spanning more than 40 years and nearly 50 albums, Abercrombie is a restless experimenter, working firmly in the jazz tradition while pushing the boundaries of meter and harmony. Abercrombie keeps a heavy touring schedule and continues to record with ECM, a relationship that has spanned more than 30 years. As he told one interviewer, I'd like people to perceive me as having a direct connection to the history of jazz guitar, while expanding some musical boundaries."
Giacoo Gates is a jazz vocalist, heavily steeped in the traditions of the original vocal improvisers from Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald through their modern counterparts Betty Carter and Leon Thomas. His own approach draws most heavily from the bebop-rooted masters like Jon Hendricks, Babs Gonzales, King Pleasure and Eddie Jefferson. Gates has four heavily acclaimed CDs, with his most recent release, LUMINOSITY, garnering rave reviews and spending over three months in the top 20 of the Jazz Week charts.
Ali Ryerson is a highly-regarded flutist and jazz educator, touring extensively as a headliner, guest artist, artist-in-residence and presenter of master classes. She put alto flute in the spotlight in her years of duet concerts and recordings with guitarist Joe Beck. She has released numerous CDs over the years, including three on Concord Jazz, and founded Flutology in which she performed with Frank Wess and Holly Hofmann. She has even developed a jazz flute orchestra--all flutes plus rhythm section and recently published her own Jazz Flute Method Book (2009).
The New England Jazz Ensemble was created in 1991 by trumpeter Mike Jones. The leader, pianist and composer Walt Gwardyak, has been the music director from the beginning. The band was conceived as a weekly rehearsal band and a forum for new compositions. Works by Gwardyak, John Mastroianni, Jeff Holmes, Phil Person and others form the bands book.
The June 5 performance will include new arrangements and compositional material, and will showcase the guest artists' stylings both as soloists and collaborators. The CD of the performance is expected to be released early in 2011, as part of the big band's 20th-birthday celebration. The performance is supported in part by a grant from The Greater Hartford Arts Council and other generous donors.
The tickets cost $25 for cabaret seating, $10 for theater seating; light snacks will be available. Tickets can be purchased online using major credit cards at NEJE.org, or by calling 860-243-9964
The Polish National Home, 60 Charter Oak Avenue in Hartford, has a world-class theater where artists of all musical genres perform. In addition to the concert, the Home's acclaimed dining facility will be open before and after the first performance. Dinner reservations can be made at 860-247-1784