Jazz Vespers Series with the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation


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The CNY Jazz Arts Foundation and Pebble Hill Presbyterian Church collaborate to produce the season's finale of their annual Jazz Vespers Series, free public concerts that celebrate the spiritual side of jazz.

This final Jazz Vespers concert of season takes place on Sunday, June 4th at 7PM at the church, located at 5299 Jamesville Rd, DeWitt. The event will feature Cookie Coogan, well-known area vocalist, and director of Vocal Jazz Studies at Ithaca College. She will be accompanied by a quartet from the CNY Jazz Orchestra, led by Barry Blumenthal.

Cookie Coogan is a gifted jazz singer now working in Upstate New York. She has appeared with many different bands and band leaders as well as with her own groups and as a solo artist. Cookie's repertoire consists of over 150 tunes ranging from popular and lesser-known standards of the Great American Songbook, to jazz and blues classics, to Brazilian bossa novas, and charming originals. With her wide vocal range and versatile tone, she presents each selection---whether a warm ballad or a foot-stompin' blues---in an authentic and personal jazz style. Cookie has often been compared to Ella Fitzgerald for her bright scat improvisations and fun-filled approach to music.

In keeping with the season of Pentecost, a “Many Tongues, One Heart" theme has been chosen. Musical selections will range from jazz standards to selections with a spiritual theme to hymns, all arranged in various jazz styles. They will be interspersed with inspirational and meditative readings by the Rev. Peter Shidemantle, pastor of Pebble Hill Presbyterian. “These programs are among the most rewarding that we do all year," says Larry Luttinger, co-organizer of the event with Rev. Shidemantle. “It's a pleasure to present jazz in a setting that allows it to resonate with the individual, for listeners to experience the understanding that may be acquired from its experience. There's a great, lyrical spirituality to all jazz that is amplified by performing in a church setting. We look forward to this series every year."

When the combo performs well-known hymns re-arranged in jazz, rock or latin styles, the entire congregation is invited to sing along. According to the Rev. Peter Shidemantle, “We have no problems getting anyone to sing at Jazz Vespers. For some reason, having a jazz group lead us through these familiar melodies breaks down all the barriers, and we really shake the rafters at times."

The evening is free and open to every one of all faiths. For more information, call the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation at (315) 479-JAZZ (5299).

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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