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Moravian Faculty Jazz Ensemble to Honor Jazz Greats
Bethlehem, Pa — Members of Moravian College’s jazz faculty will celebrate the music of legendary jazz musicians Clifford Brown and Max Roach with a special ensemble performance on Sunday, October 3, 4 p.m. in Foy Concert Hall.
The ensemble is comprised of faculty members Alan Gaumer, trumpet, Gary Rissmiller, drums, Neil Wetzel, saxophone, Paul Rostock, bass, and guest pianist Skip Wilkins. Original compositions in honor of Brown and Roach will be offered as well as tunes traditionally associated with them.
Drummer Max Roach is known as the father of the bebop style of jazz as well as being a noted contributor to cool bop and hard bop. He is a contemporary and co-performer of such jazz notables as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis. His unique style of improvisation, which takes advantage of using contrasts between, for example, silence and sound, has firmly established him as a jazz legend in his own time.
Clifford Brown is touted as perhaps one of the greatest jazz trumpeters to date. Although his career was tragically cut short by a car accident in 1956, not long before his 26th birthday, he is still considered very influential and certainly exceptionally talented. Having performed with such famous musicians as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, and Max Roach, his perfect musical executions, broad range and smooth improvisations were widely admired, and his atypical choice to live clean and drug-free was an especially big influence on famous tenor saxophone player Sonny Rollins.
The performers, most of whom are adjunct faculty members at Moravian College, with the exceptions of Wetzel, who is the newly appointed, full-time Director of Jazz Studies at Moravian College, and Skip Wilkins, who is a former teacher of jazz piano at Moravian, are linked by a common love of jazz. Gaumer’s expressive trumpet style has made him well-known throughout the Lehigh Valley, gives trumpet lessons and is a part of Moravian’s Fusion Ensemble. Rissmiller’s long performance history includes several small groups and gigs, such as an artist-in-residence at Musikfest, gives drum lessons, as he has done for twenty years. Wetzel is a free-lance performer and 1999 Grammy-winner. He gives both classical and jazz saxophone lessons as well as overseeing Moravian’s Jazz Studies program, its jazz ensembles and jazz curriculum. Rostock has performed with a range of musicians, both in and out of the jazz world, including Maynard Ferguson and Frank Sinatra. He teaches electric bass, bass literature and pedagogy, and jazz theory, and is an artist-lecturer in jazz and classical bass. Wilkins taught at Moravian, Muhlenberg, and Lafayette. He has performed with such greats as Milt Hinton and Conti Candoni.
Foy Concert Hall, located on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus at the corner of Church and Main. Tickets are $12 general admission, $6 for students/seniors/children 12 and under. For tickets and more information, please call 610-861-1650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.