World Jazz Summit with Randy Weston, Cedar Walton, Lionel Loueke, Stefon Harris and Emilio Valdes at UCPAC on November 21


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Union County Performing Arts Center presents
5 Concerts on 1 Night for 1 Low Price!
featuring Randy Weston, Emilio Valdes, Cedar Walton,
Stefon Harris and Lionel Loueke
and Gala Pre-Performance Reception

Saturday, November 21, 2009
Gala Pre-Performance Reception 4PM until 6PM
Concert starts at 6PM

Gala Pre-Performance Reception and Concert is $100
Concert only is $40
Box Office: 732-499-8226

Rahway, NJ -- The Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), 1601 Irving Street in Rahway, NJ, presents five concerts on one night for one low price at the World Jazz Summit on Saturday, November 21, from 6:00 - 11:00 pm. The evening will feature Randy Weston, Cedar Walton, Lionel Loueke, Stefon Harris and Emilio Valdes in a wide-spectrum of musical settings from African rhythms to Cuban funk to American jazz vibes.

The evening's concert, produced by Jim Luce of WorldPianoSummit.com, is sponsored in part by Northfield Bank Foundation as well as Merck Company Foundation.

The evening will kick off with a Gala Pre-Performance Reception from 4pm to 6pm to benefit the Union County Performing Arts Center. Meet and talk with some these talented jazz artists from around the world and enjoy an elegant selection of delicious hors d'oeuvres catered by Luciano's Italian Ristorante & Lounge.


After contributing six decades of musical direction and genius, Randy Weston remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers today, a true innovator and visionary. Encompassing the vast rhythmic heritage of Africa, his global creations musically continue to inform and inspire. Weston has never failed to make the connections between African and American music. His dedication is due in large part to his father, Frank Edward Weston, who told his son that he was 'an African born in America' and that he had to learn about himself and his family. Weston said in an interview, “the only way to do it was I'd have to go back to the motherland one day." In the late 60's, Brooklyn-born Weston went to Africa. Though he settled in Morocco, he traveled throughout the continent tasting the musical fruits of other nations. One of his most memorable experiences was the 1977 Nigerian festival, which drew artists from 60 cultures. “At the end," Weston says, “we all realized that our music was different but the same, because if you take out the African elements of bossa nova, samba, jazz, blues, you have nothing ... To me, it's Mother Africa's way of surviving in the new world."

The Dallas-born, Denver-reared piano king Cedar Walton was a member of jazz's best diplomats Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1961 to 1964, with a variety of bandmates and future stars that included the late Freddie Hubbard, saxophonist Wayne Shorter, and trombonist Curtis Fuller. Blessed with a poetic and profound pianism that is sublimely lyrical as it is deeply swinging, Walton is a composer whose compositions “Bolivia," “Mosaic" and “Fantasy in D," recorded as “Ugetsu" on a Jazz Messengers LP of the same name in 1963, have become jazz standards. Along with his work with Sonny Criss, Abbey Lincoln, and Lee Morgan, Walton has recorded over 60 recordings as a leader, including Eastern Rebellion, Vol. 1-IV, The Trio, Vol. 1-III, Soundscape, The Latin Tinge, and Seasoned Wood.

The Lionel Loueke story begins in Benin, a small country in West Africa, where music was part of everyday life. When Loueke was 17, his brother, a guitarist, let him pick up his guitar, and he quickly realized that music was also for him. Lionel became enamored with the traditional African music of Benin, Nigeria, Congo, Zaire, Mali and Senegal. However, it was a CD of guitarist George Benson, followed by the music of Wes Montgomery and Joe Pass, which steered him toward jazz. Loueke left Benin to attend the National Institute of Art in the Ivory Coast. In 1994, he moved to Paris to pursue jazz studies at the American School of Modern Music, a small conservatory run by several alumni of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to Berklee, and then was accepted to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles. Since then, he has performed with his own band as well as with Herbie Hancock and Terence Blanchard. Loueke's debut recording, Karibu, which means “welcome" in Swahili, continues to receive rave reviews from critics and fans alike.

Jazz for the “here and now" is the best way to describe vibraphonist, composer and bandleader Stefon Harris' new disc, Urbanus, his 7th CD as a leader, which also marks his Concord Records debut. Recorded with his stellar band Blackout just a few days before the historic presidential inauguration of Barack Obama, the music sparkles with optimism, ingenuity and emotional immediacy. “How could it not? Being in the studio, knowing that we were getting ready for the inauguration of the first African-American president - how could that not change my life? I was extremely inspired and that created a great feeling of audacity and some fantastic energy." Feel the energy when he brings his scintillating ensemble that's as versed in modern jazz as it is with rhythms, melodies and soundscapes associated with R&B, pop, hip-hop and funk, to the World Jazz Summit.

Drummer Emilio Valds was born in Havana in 1966 into a musical family. He studied at the Guillermo Toms Conservatory specializing in drums and percussion under some of the area's renowned teachers/musicians, including the legendary Enrique Pl. He continued his education at the Amadeo Roldn School and the National Arts School. In Cuba, he played with Orquestra Riverside, Chukis and the PinoMar while also working with Annabell Lpez, Maria Caridad Valds, Alberto Tosca, Merceditas Valds, Luis Carbonell and his own Changuito-Valds Quintet Project. In 1993, Emilio left Cuba and went to Hamburg, Germany, where he lived for 11 years and traveled throughout Europe. He toured extensively with Lonnie Liston Smith and Craig Handy; in Barcelona, he accompanied Lalo Schifrin in the Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he has worked with Bebo Valds Quartet, Chucho Valds and Irakere. Emilio Valds currently lives in New York City, working with his Cuban compatriots, the guitarist/composer Juan-Carlos Formell and pianist Chuchito Valds as well as with the Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Big Band.

The World Jazz Summit is presented as part of the WORLD MUSIC SUMMIT AT UCPAC, produced by Jim Luce of WorldPianoSumit.com and sponsored in part by Northfield Bank Foundation and Merck Company Foundation. Don't miss any of the other five concerts in the series ... it's music that is out of this world! The World Music Summit continues with:

World Piano Summit on Saturday, January 30, 2010 at 6pm featuring Aaron Diehl, Clarice Assad, Jean-Michel Pilc and more. World Latin Piano Summit on Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 6pm featuring Chuchito Valdes, Jorge Luis Prats and more. Simon Mulligan on Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 8pm playing Beethoven, Monk and The American Songbook. World Guitar Summit on Friday, April 23, 2010 at 6pm featuring Peter Bernstein, Romero Lubambo, Armand Hirsch and more. World Percussion Summit on Saturday, May 15, 2010 at 8pm featuring Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra and more. For tickets or more information, call the UCPAC Box Office at 732-499-0441 or visit us online at www.ucpac.org. The UCPAC Box Office, located at 1601 Irving Street, Rahway, NJ, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11AM until 5PM.

Enjoying a prime location in Union County, Union County Performing Arts Center is dedicated to making this landmark theatre your choice for the performing arts. The Arts Center provides barrier-free access and seating for patrons upon request. Located at 1601 Irving Street in Rahway, the theatre is within walking distance of the Rahway NJ Transit train station and can be reached by taking exit 135 from the Garden State Parkway or exit 12 from the NJ Turnpike. Parking is available downtown at the Rahway Parking Garage. A free shuttle is often available to and from the theatre.

The Union County Performing Arts Center provides exciting live performances that are educational, affordable and responsive to the diverse interests of our communities. UCPAC would like to thank the following for their continued support: the County of Union Board of Chosen Freeholders, the City of Rahway, Merck Company Foundation, RSI Bank, Friends of the UCAC, Merck & Co., Inc., New Jersey Cultural Trust, Discover Jersey Arts, PennPAT, Northfield Bank, Northfield Bank Foundation, Rahway Junior Service League, The Employees of ConocoPhillips Bayway Refinery, Crowne Plaza (Clark), and Yellowbook. This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Union County Performing Arts Center
1601 Irving Street
Rahway, NJ 07065
Box Office - 732-499-8226

This story appears courtesy of Carolyn McClair Public Relations.
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