"You must make it your business to see . . . WJO . . . this year," concluded the Huffington Post's review of the Westchester Jazz Orchestra's season opener in September. Music fans will have an opportunity to follow that directive as the sixteen-piece big band continues their season with Master Keys: The Music of Bill Evans, Ahmad Jamal and Herbie Hancock on Sat., Dec. 3, 8pm, at the Irvington Town Hall Theater. Gary Walker, Music Director and Morning Show Host at WBGO-FM, is set to host.
WJO's new CD, Maiden Voyage Suite, inspired by Herbie Hancock's seminal Maiden Voyage album, is garnering enthusiastic accolades nationwide. Early reviews call the CD flawless" (wordpress.com), a new jazz classic" (jazzbob.com), and among the best CDs of 2011 (about.com and AllAboutJazz.com). Maiden Voyage Suite is the current CD of the Month Club selection of WBGO 88.3FM, the major jazz radio station for the NY metropolitan area. Since its August release, the CD has made it into the top 10 for radio airplay of new jazz releases in the United States and Canada.
For the concert, WJO will perform selections from Maiden Voyage Suite as well as newly-commissioned arrangements by Artistic Director Mike Holober and frequent contributor Mark Lopeman. The Orchestra will also play Mark Patterson's arrangement of Bill Evans' Turn Out the Stars," which appears on WJO's acclaimed debut CD. Ellen Rowe, Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Michigan, is contributing a medley of Ahmad Jamal tunes and an homage to Mary Lou Williams.
At 7:15, before WJO takes the stage, student musicians from the Lagond School of Music will perform a short set. The young players will include bassist Jordan Mendelson, a high school senior, who is WJO's intern.
WJO Executive Director Emily Tabin explains the new collaboration: We wanted to support Lagonda top-notch jazz education schoolby giving their students an opportunity to perform. We hope that this partnership will provide incentive for those students to grow, and will encourage other student musicians to practice and perform more as well."
WJO's 2011-12 season continues with Bossa! Tango! Flamenco! on January 28; and Music of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles on April 14. WJO's concerts are partially funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, Arts Westchester and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.
Reserved seating tickets are $35 adults/$30 seniors/$10 students. Subscription and group discounts are available. Tickets: westjazzorch.org. The Irvington Town Hall Theater is located at 85 Main Street, Irvington, NY. Box office: 914-591-6602. WJO: 914-861-9100. Concert snow date: Sun, Dec 4, 1pm, Short set 12:15.