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Tribute to Jazz Pianist Weldon Irvine on February 21 At the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center

SOURCE: Published: 2003-02-13
Long Island City, NY--The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center at LaGuardia Community College will pay tribute on February 21 to Weldon Irvine, prominent jazz pianist and composer who wrote the 1969 hit “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black."

At this special jazz jam session, highly acclaimed vibraphonist Bill Jacobs will perform, with the help of the centers house band, a selection of works by this prolific composer.

The performance begins at 8 p.m. in the college's Little Theater on Van Dam Street at 47th Avenue in Long Island City. Tickets are $7. Those who are interested in purchasing tickets may call (718) 482-5151.

Tribute to Weldon Irvine
Until his death in 2002, at the age of 57, Mr. Irvine was recognized in the music world as an accomplished jazz pianist, composer/lyrist, and musical director/arranger. The Queens resident came into prominence in 1964 when the quintet he played with won the Intercollegiate Jazz Festival at Villanova. A year later he came to New York and formed a 17-piece band, which served as a workshop for some of the finest talent in the city, including Billy Cobham, Lenny White, George Cables, Randy Brecker, and Steve Grossman.

During his career he composed several plays complete with original music. His blockbuster, “Young, Gifted, and Broke," surpassed all previous box office records in its eight-month run and won four Audelco Awards, including best musical.

The more than 500 pieces that he composed included jazz, rap, and hip hop. His most famous song, “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black," was first recorded by Nina Simone. Other recordings were made by such notables as Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, Horace Silver, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, and Donny Hathaway.

Mr. Jacobs, the featured musician, recorded with Mr. Irvine. Mr. Jacobs, whose father had a doctorate in music education, has always been surrounded by music. He studied jazz for four years at the Jazzmobile in Harlem and two years with Master Barry Harris at the Jazz Cultural Theater. Along with recording with Mr. Irvine, Mr. Jacobs has played with Najee and other independent recording artists.

Jazz Jam/3
The season's line-up:

March 7: Female Musician's Night featuring saxophonist and flutist Carol Sudhalter

March 21: Young Lions Play-Off an evening devoted to young jazz musicians. featuring saxophonist Paavo Carey

April 4: Third Annual Salute to Queens Jazz Greats featuring Hill Saunders

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