Prez Fest 2012 Celebrating Dizzy Gillespie: Trumpeter, Composer, Arranger, Bandleader and NEA Jazz Master
Featuring Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, David Sanchez Quartet, The New York University Jazz Orchestra conducted by Rich Shemaria featuring Special Guest Trumpeter" and other festival participants: Donald L. Maggin, Stanley Crouch, Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Mike Longo & Jeanie Bryson, on Sunday, March 4, 2012. at 619 Lexington (at 54th Street), New York City
The Jazz Committee, Midtown Arts Common at Saint Peter's Church, will present Prez Fest 2012Celebrating Dizzy Gillespie." The festival takes place on Sunday, March 4 with a panel discussion on Dizzy Gillespie at 3:30 PM, Jazz Vespers at 5 PM and Concert at 7:30 PM From Big Band to Bebop to Afro CubanThe Music of Dizzy Gillespie" includes Dizzy's celebratory Afro Latin pieces for big band, arrangements of classic pieces for big band and small ensemble as well as Dizzy Gillespie-inspired compositions.
Dizzy Gillespie (1917) trumpeter and a founding father of modern jazz, was a major figure in 20th-century American music. His signature moon cheeks and bent trumpet make him one of the world's most instantly recognizable figures. In a nearly 60-year career as a composer, band leader and innovative player, he had a major effect on the jazz world. In the early 40's, along with alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, he initiated be-bop, the sleek, intense, high-speed revolution that has become jazz's most enduring style. In subsequent years, he incorporated Afro-Cuban music into jazz, creating a new genre from the combination. In 1956 he formed a big band which,at the behest of the United States State Department, toured the Middle East and South America. In the last decade of his life he became ubiquitous on the concert circuit as a special guest. He had a Latin band and small groups. In the naturally effervescent Gillespie, opposites existed. His playing was meteoric, full of virtuosic invention and deadly serious. But with his endlessly funny asides, his huge variety of facial expressions and his natural comic gifts, he was as much a pure entertainer as an accomplished artist. In some ways, he seemed to sum up all the possibilities of American popular art." Peter WatrousThe New York Times, January 7, 1993.
His playing showcases the importance of intelligence. His rhythmic sophistication was unequaled. He was a master of harmonyand fascinated with studying it. He took in all the music of his youthfrom Roy Eldridge to Duke Ellingtonand developed a unique style built on complex rhythm and harmony balanced by wit."Wynton Marsalis Moving to Higher Ground: How Jazz Can Change Your Life.
Donald L. Maggin, author of DizzyThe Life and Times of John Birks Gillespie, will moderate the panel The Life and Continuing Legacy of Dizzy Gillespie at 3:30 PM. Panelists include Stanley Crouch, Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath and Mike Longo. The David Sanchez Quartet leads the music at Jazz Vespers at 5 PM. The 7:30 PM concert emceed by Jeanie Bryson showcases two big bands: The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra led by Arturo O'Farrill and the New York University Jazz Orchestra conducted by Rich Shemaria, featuring Special Guest Trumpeter." The David Sanchez Quartet also performs.
Prez Fest is an annual jazz festival that showcases the talents of jazz legends no longer with us and about whom people should learn more. Over the past several years Billie Holiday, Billy Strayhorn, Art Blakey and Gil Evans have been celebrated. The name Prez Fest" blossomed out of To Prez with Love," an annual tribute to Lester Young held at Saint Peter's for more than 30 years.
The Jazz Committee, Midtown Arts Common at Saint Peter's Church, produces Prez Fest. Other events produced by The Jazz Committee include All Nite Soul, Jazz on the Plaza (free Thursday concerts at midday, May-August at 53rd and Lexington), and First Tuesdays, (a free professional development seminar series for musicians) in collaboration with Chamber Music America.
Prez Fest 2012 is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by the New York State Council on the Arts and the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
Prez Fest 2012Celebrating Dizzy Gillespie takes place on Sunday, March 4 at Saint Peter's Church at 619 Lexington Avenue (at 54th Street.) 3:30 PM: Panel moderated by Gillespie's biographer Donald L. Maggin with Stanley Crouch, Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath and Mike Longo. Free The Dizzy Gillespie Legend Wallan exhibit about Dizzy. 5 PM: Jazz Vespersmusic of Dizzy Gillespie led by David Sanchez Quartet. Free Will Offering 7:30 PM: ConcertArturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, David Sanchez Quartet, and"Special Guest Trumpeter" with the New York University Jazz Orchestra. $25 Suggested Donation for tickets available at the door. $10 student suggested ticket donation with student ID. $20 tickets available in advance at www.saintpeters.org/events. Please call 212 935 2200 or take the E" train to Lexington Avenue or the # 6" to 51st Street.