John Hicks Ensemble plays Billy Strayhorn Saturday, December 6th at 8:00 PM


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Harlem's Principal Center for the Performing Arts
proudly presents

The John Hicks Ensemble plays Billy Strayhorn


“... Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine." - Duke Ellington

Panel discussion features Phil Schaap, Stanley Crouch, Clark Terry & others on Wednesday, December 3rd at 7pm

New York, NY - Aaron Davis Hall (ADH), Harlem's principal center for the performing arts, is proud to present My Little Brown Book: The John Hicks Ensemble plays Billy Strayhorn. The performance will take place Saturday, December 6th at 8:00 PM at ADH, located at West 135th Street and Convent Avenue, on the campus of City College. For a detailed brochure, tickets or directions, please call 212-650-7100, or join the ADH e-club at www.aarondavishall.org. Music at ADH is sponsored by ABSOLUT VODKA.

For My Little Brown Book, John Hicks has assembled a unique group of stellar multi-instrumentalists to display the delicacy and timelessness of jazz-legend Billy Strayhorn's extraordinary compositions. The diverse talents joining pianist and arranger John Hicks onstage at ADH will include Patience Higgins (English Horn), Vincent Chancy (French Horn), Elise Wood (C Flute and Alto Flute), Craig Handy (Tenor Sax, clarinet and bass clarinet), Curtis Lundy (bass), Victor Lewis (Drums), Ray Mantilla (Percussion), and special guests Joe Lovano (Tenor Sax), Gary Bartz (Alto Sax) and Emilio Cruz (Drums and narrative tribute to Strayhorn).

Offering his own musical message through his pianistic brilliance and world-renowned arrangements, John Hicks was inspired to celebrate Strayhorn's artistry.

The following additional special events, including a Community Dialogue and a Master Class, are scheduled for the week of the concert, featuring the artists, community leaders and special guests:

Community Dialogue - Strayhorn on Convent Avenue
Wednesday, December 3, 2003, 7PM
A discussion with John Hicks and guests on Billy Strayhorn's contributions to American music and his time spent in Harlem. Dialogue will be moderated by Phil Schaap, with special guests Stanley Crouch, Alyce Claerbaut and Clark Terry. $10 - Free for ticket holders of 12/6 performance

Master Class/Open Rehearsal
Thursday, December 4, 2003, 3PM-5PM
Members of the John Hicks Ensemble will conduct a Master Class in an open-rehearsal setting.
$10 - Free for students with ID, RSVP required

Born in Dayton, OH, on 29 November 1915, the young composer and pianist Billy Strayhorn offered his composition Lush Life to Duke Ellington in 1938; less than a year later Strayhorn had become an arranger and pianist with the Ellington band, a collaboration that was to last until Strayhorn's death in 1967. His classical and jazz training, combined with sophisticated taste, was appreciated by Ellington, who described him as “my listener, my most dependable appraiser [and] critic." Among the works that Strayhorn composed alone or with Ellington are the classics Take the A Train, Chelsea Bridge, Passion Flower, and Johnny Come Lately.

Since relocating to New York City from St. Louis 40 years ago, John Hicks has become one of the most in-demand, prolific jazz pianists and composers on today's jazz scene. John's varied influences include Fats Waller piano rolls, Methodist church music, George Gershwin and bebop, and counts among his musical mentors such immortals as Lucky Thompson, Miles Davis and Clark Terry.

Hicks played road gigs with blues legends Little Milton and Albert King, and jazz greats Al Grey, Johnny Griffin and Pharaoh Sanders before he arrived in New York in 1963. John then worked with, among numerous others, Kenny Dorham, Lou Donaldson and Joe Henderson before becoming a full-time member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. After two years with the seminal Messengers band, John joined the Betty Carter Trio, another important incubator for world-class beboppers. His productive stints with the vocalist Carter (1966-68) and (1975-80) and a 20-month residency with the Woody Herman Big Band helped to propel John's career as a recording artist into national notice.

The intervening years also saw Hicks appear live and on record with a galaxy of jazz giants that included Sonny Rollins, Freddie Hubbard, Frank Foster, Roy Haynes, Sonny Stitt, Jon Hendricks and James Moody. He additionally recorded several albums for both the Theresa and Japanese DIW jazz labels and formed his own trio, sextet and big band. A favored sideman and recording associate with such innovative saxophone masters as David Murray, Ricky Ford, Arthur Blythe and Pharaoh Sanders, Hicks also has recorded a solo recital for Concord jazz and a live duet album on Candid with fellow pianist Kenny Barron.

The past two decades saw Hicks expanded his visibility and acclaim. His recorded works have included reunion meetings with Betty Carter to a Solo at Maybeck Recital Hall in Berkeley, California to a variety of settings that have included: Joshua Redman, Al Grey, Clark Terry, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, Roy Hargrove, and Gary Bartz among others. Recent years have had an increasing focus on solo work, Big Band concerts, duets and trios. In all these realms, he has brought together outstanding musicians, all whom share with him excellence in the creation and delivery of the universal language. Among those with whom he works are: Ray Drummond, Peter Leitch, Elise Wood, Walter Booker, Idris Muhammad, Victor Lewis and Marvin “Smitty" Smith.

John's experience is not just tied to the performing stage. He shares his art through teaching engagements, and has done so for a number of years at schools and colleges throughout the country, including the jazz programs at New York University and the New School for Social Research. He tours regularly, both nationally and internationally, with ever-increasing demand in both Asia and Europe.

For more than twenty years, Aaron Davis Hall (ADH), Harlem's principal center for the performing arts, has built upon Harlem's cultural legacy by honoring tradition while nurturing innovation. ADH has earned a local, national and international reputation for its world class programming, which features established and emerging artists. For more information on Aaron Davis Hall, please call 212-650-7100 or visit our website at www.aarondavishall.org

My Little Brown Book: The John Hicks Ensemble plays Billy Strayhorn
Saturday, December 6, 2003, 8:00 PM
Aaron Davis Hall, West 135th Street and Convent Avenue,
on the campus of City College
Call 212-650-7100

This story appears courtesy of All About Jazz Publicity.
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