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Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Ron Carter to Headline 2011 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival

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The Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival has announced that the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (pictured at left) and bassist Ron Carter will be the featured performers for the 2011 GSLJF, which will be held Thursday, April 14 through Saturday, April 16 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

The VJO will headline the concert on Friday, April 15 at the TouPAC, and Carter's trio with pianist Mulgrew Miller and guitarist Russell Malone will be featured on Saturday, April 16. The University of Missouri-St. Louis Big Band, headed by bassist and GSLJF artistic director Jim Widner, will serve as opening act for both concerts. As in years past, the Festival's first day on Thursday will be dedicated to adjudications of participating student bands.

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra originally was formed in the mid-1960s by trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis, and has maintained a Monday-night residency at the Village Vanguard for more than 40 years. Originally named after its co-founders, the band became the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra when Jones moved to Denmark in 1978. Since the death of Lewis in 1990, it's been known as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, with saxophonist Dick Oatts serving as artistic director and pianist Jim McNeely as principal composer/arranger.

Carter (pictured at right), who's now 73, first came to fame as a member of Miles Davis' classic 1960s quintet. He has appeared on more than 2,500 albums, including many well-known dates for the Blue Note and CTI labels, making him one of the most-recorded bassists in jazz history. Carter has worked with a veritable “who's who" of jazz musicians of the last half-century, and also has occasionally ventured into other genres, doing everything from playing classical music on bass and cello to recording with performers such as Gil Scott-Heron and A Tribe Called Quest.

Tickets for the performances by the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and the Ron Carter Trio at the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival range in price from $10 to $35, and are on sale now via the Touhill Performing Arts Center's website and box office.


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This story appears courtesy of St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman.
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