Jazz Powerhouse Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band to Perform at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia


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Special Guest Paquito D'Rivera joins All-Stars Including Philly Local Legend Jimmy Heath for a Momentous Night of Jazz

The Kimmel Center Presents 2005/06 Mellon Jazz Fridays Series concludes with the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Band with special guest Paquito D'Rivera on Friday, April 21, 2006 at 8pm in Verizon Hall. The band, directed by trombonist Slide Hampton, features James Moody, tenor saxophone, flute and vocals; Philly local legend Jimmy Heath, tenor saxophone; Frank Wess and Antonio Hart, alto saxophone and flute; Gary Smulyan, baritone saxophone; Claudio Roditi, Diego Urcola, Gregory Gisbert and Frank Greene, trumpet; Steve Davis, Jay Ashby, Jason Jackson, trombone; Jeff Nelson, bass trombone; Monty Alexander, piano; John Lee, bass/Executive Director; Dennis Mackrel, drums; and Roberta Gambarini, vocals.

Regular tickets for the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band performance are $71, $64, $59, $46, and $30, and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online or at the Kimmel Center Box Office, open daily from 10am to 6pm and later on performance evenings. (Additional fees may apply) For group sales call 215-893-5883.

A limited number of $10 tickets are available for every Kimmel Center Presents performance at the Kimmel Center. Tickets go on sale the day of the event and can be purchased at the Kimmel Center box office beginning 2.5 hours prior to evening performances and 11:30am for matinees.

The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band is the direct descendant of legendary jazz trumpter Dizzy Gillespies vision to seek and create larger ensembles as the ultimate vehicle for self-expression. Nurtured by Gillespie alumni, Musical Director and trombonist, Slide Hampton, and Executive Director and bassist, John Lee, the All-Star Big Band also features some of Dizzy's closest compatriots: senior statesmen and jazz masters, James Moody, Jimmy Heath and Frank Wess.

The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band debuted in 1998 and continues to delight audiences around the world with the enduring power and freshness of Dizzy Gillespies music. Trombone virtuoso and Grammy winning arranger Slide Hampton, who first played with Dizzy's big band in 1957, had a long association and friendship with Dizzy. Together with Paquito D'Rivera, Slide served as co-musical director of Dizzys original and Grammy-winning United Nation Orchestra.

Similarly, John Lee had a close association with Dizzy, serving as his bassist for the last decade of Dizzys life, in small groups as well as the United Nation Orchestra and the 70th Anniversary Big Band. Lee originated and directs Dizzy: The Man and The Music, the official concert and clinic program celebrating the life and work of Dizzy.

Together, the Dizzy All-Stars have recorded three critically acclaimed CDs, Dizzy's 80th Birthday Celebration (Shanachie), Dizzy's World (Shanachie), and, as a big band, Things to Come (MCG-Jazz). Their much-anticipated next release will be in July of 2006, also on the award winning MCG-Jazz label. This will be the second Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band release entitled Con Alma. This release will feature new arrangements by musical director Slide Hampton, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath, and drummer Dennis Mackrel.

Slide Hampton's distinguished career spans decades in the evolution of jazz. At the age of 12 he was already touring the Midwest with the Indianapolis-based Hampton Band, led by his father and comprising other members of his musical family. By 1952, at the age of 20, he was performing at Carnegie Hall with the Lionel Hampton Band. He then joined Maynard Ferguson's band, playing trombone and providing exciting charts on such popular tunes as “The Fugue," “Three Little Foxes," and “Slide's Derangement."

As his reputation grew, he soon began working with bands led by Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Barry Harris, Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, and Max Roach, again contributing both original compositions and arrangements. In 1989, with Paquito D'Rivera, he was musical director of Dizzy's Diamond Jubilee, a year-long series of celebrations honoring Dizzy Gillespie's 75th birthday, and Dizzys legendary United Nation Orchestra. Slide Hampton's countless collaborations with the most prominent musicians of jazz were acknowledged by the 1998 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Arrangement with a Vocalist.

In 2004 Slide became musical director of the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Band and in 2005 received his second Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement.

Born in Havana Cuba, Grammy Award winner D'Rivera was a child prodigy who was playing the clarinet and the saxophone and performing with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra at a very early age. In 1991 Mr. D'Rivera received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to Latin music, along with Dizzy Gillespie and Gato Barbieri. In 1997 he became recipient of his second Grammy Award with his record, the highly acclaimed Portraits of Cuba and in the year 2000 he won a third Grammy for his Tropicana Nights alongside a nomination in the classical category for his Music of Two Worlds, with music from such composers as Schubert, Brahms, Guastavino, D'Rivera and Villa Lobos, and his latest Grammy was received for Paquito D'Rivera Quintet, “Live at the Blue Note". He was most recently nominated in the Classical Crossover category for The Clarinetist Vol. I, on the German label Peregrina.

Kimmel Center Presents 2005/2006 season is supported by: Mellon Financial Corporation, University of Pennsylvania Health System, Sovereign Bank, The American Express Company, Verizon Foundation, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the National Endowment for the Arts, and The William Penn Foundation. Special Student Matinees at the Kimmel Center are generously supported by Merck & Co., Inc. American Airlines is the Official Airline of Kimmel Center Presents. Toyota is the Official Vehicle of Kimmel Center Presents Jazz and World Pop programming. In-kind support is generously provided by Deloitte and Southern Wine and Spirit. NBC-10 is a Media Partner for Kimmel Center Presents.

Mellon Jazz Fridays
Friday, April 21, 2006 | 8pm
Verizon Hall

Slide Hampton, director
Paquito D'Rivera, saxophone
James Moody, tenor saxophone, flute and vocals
Jimmy Heath, tenor saxophone
Frank Wess, alto saxophone and flute
Antonio Hart, alto saxophone and flute
Gary Smulyan, baritone saxophone
Claudio Roditi, trumpet
Diego Urcola, trumpet
Gregory Gisbert, trumpet
Frank Greene, trumpet
Steve Davis, trombone
Jay Ashby, trombone
Jason Jackson, trombone
Jeff Nelson, bass trombone
Monty Alexander, piano
John Lee, bass/Executive Dirctor
Dennis Mackrel, drums
Roberta Gamarini, vocals

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