April-30th-2007, 01:29 PM
Tanglewood Jazz Festival 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2007
BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENTS 2007 TANGLEWOOD JAZZ FESTIVAL TO TAKE PLACE AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 2, 2007
IN LENOX, MASSACHUSETTS
FEATURED PERFORMERS INCLUDE RANDY CRAWFORD & JOE SAMPLE, KURT ELLING, AHMAD JAMAL, PONCHO SANCHEZ LATIN BIG BAND, HANK JONES, ROBERTA GAMBARINI, JIMMY HEATH, MARIAN MCPARTLAND
Cunard Line Comes Aboard as the Official Cruise Line of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Sponsor of the Tanglewood Jazz Festival
The Boston Symphony Orchestra will present its annual Labor Day Weekend Tanglewood Jazz Festival August 31-September 2 at the Orchestra’s summer home in the Berkshire Mountains in Lenox, Massachusetts. Jazz greats highlighting this year’s festival include Randy Crawford & Joe Sample, Kurt Elling, Ahmad Jamal, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Big Band, Hank Jones, Roberta Gambarini, Jimmy Heath, and Marian McPartland. All shows will be held in Seiji Ozawa Hall.
Opening the festival Friday, August 31, at 8 p.m. will be the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. One of the most popular Latin jazz groups in the world today, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band pays homage to the glories of a half-century tradition that was born when Afro-Cuban rhythms merged with bebop. The program will feature selections from Do It! , the latest in a long series of releases that began on the Concord Picante label in 1982 and features a duet between the trombone and tenor sax. Two tracks on the CD feature the entire nine-member Tower of Power, the high-octane symbol of the funk era of the 1970s. Another two tracks boast guest artist and legendary South African musician Hugh Masekela.
Poncho Sanchez’s life story has become a well-known part of Latin jazz lore. He was born in Texas on October 30, 1951 into a large Mexican-American family but grew up in the Los Angeles area, where he heard a broad range of Latin and non-Latin popular music. Inspired by the conga playing of Cuban great Mongo Santamaria, he honed his skills as a percussionist and broke into the limelight at the age of 23 when he joined vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s famed Latin jazz ensemble in 1975. Poncho performed with him until Tjader’s untimely death in 1982. A year later, he began his unprecedented 23-year relationship with Concord Records, which has produced two dozen recordings, a Grammy Award, and several Grammy nominations.
On Saturday, September 1, the lineup will kickoff at 3 p.m. with a live taping of NPR’s “Piano Jazz” with host Marian McPartland on her sixth year at Tanglewood. Her guest for this year’s taping will be announced at a later date.
Ms. McPartland has interviewed more than 500 musicians and performers including Norah Jones (recorded live at Tanglewood), Diana Krall, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Rosemary Clooney, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Brad Mehldau, Ray Charles, Carmen McRae, and even William F. Buckley. Her easy, comfortable style, charm and quick wit engage her guests in fascinating and sometimes revealing conversations while seated at the piano.
Headlining the festival on Saturday, September 1, at 8 p.m. will be Kurt Elling with some very special friends, followed by Randy Crawford and Joe Sample.
Kurt Elling has been nominated for seven Grammy Awards for his recordings on Blue Note. For six consecutive years, he has been at the top of the DownBeat Critics and JazzTimes readers’ polls, has won three Jazz Journalists Association Awards for best male vocalist, and the Prix Billie Holiday from the Academie du Jazz in Paris. His quartet has toured the world performing to critical acclaim in Europe, the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Australia, and at jazz festivals and concert halls across North America.
One of Kurt Elling’s major contributions is as a writer and performer of vocalese, the art of putting words to improvised solos of jazz artists. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, Elling is the contemporary voice in vocalese. Kurt Elling has been featured in profiles for CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, and for hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles.
For more than three decades, Randy Crawford has traversed a musical spectrum ranging from jazz and soul to R&B and pop. Crawford’s warm timbre and inventive, emotional phrasing has won her countless fans around the globe. At the age of 20, Crawford released her first single, “If You Say the Word,” and by the following year she had shared stages with legendary jazz artists Cannonball Adderly, George Benson, and Quincy Jones.
Crawford’s first album Everything Must Change was released in 1976 and in 1978 she made her debut on the international charts serving as guest vocalist on the Crusaders’ hit “Street Life” which is heard on the soundtrack to the Quentin Tarantino film, Jackie Brown. Smooth ballads such as “One Day I’ll Fly Away” became Crawford’s trademark, though albums like 1981’s Secret Combination and 1983’s Nightline saw the singer delve into funkier, more up-tempo terrain. Her 1990 collection, Rich and Poor, included a hit cover of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” that also appeared on the soundtrack to the film Lethal
Jazz pianist Joe Sample was born and raised in Houston, Texas. He formed the seminal group the Jazz Crusaders, later known as the Crusaders, as a teenager in the early 1950s with neighborhood buddies, Wilton Felder, Stix Hooper, and Wayne Henderson. The group became one of the all-time leading jazz ensembles and pioneered the way for the sound of contemporary jazz. Joe’s first solo record in 1973, Carmel, became a classic pop jazz album before anyone knew what “pop jazz” was. He continues today as one of the legendary figures in contemporary jazz.
Randy Crawford and Joe Sample first collaborated during the recording of her debut album, Everything Must Change, on which Joe played. Shortly after, while writing songs for his band, the Crusaders, Joe invited Randy to appear as a guest on their record and wrote “Street Life” especially for her. “Street Life” became an international hit for the Crusaders and launched Randy on her own successful career.
Their new CD, Feeling Good, on Emarcy Records, is produced by legendary producer, Tommy LiPuma, and is Randy’s first recording in seven years. Randy’s performances underscore her position as one of the premier vocalists in contemporary music and Joe’s piano playing and arrangements envelop Randy’s voice and capture the essence of each song. This performance at Tanglewood Jazz Festival is the first in a series of tour dates that will begin this fall.
The Sunday, September 2, 2 p.m. concert will be announced at a later date.
Closing out the festival on Sunday, September 2, at 8 p.m., will be Hank Jones and Roberta Gambarini followed by Ahmad Jamal and Jimmy Heath.
Hank Jones is one of the most versatile and durable of modern jazz pianists. An outstanding accompanist of vocalists, he played with Ella Fitzgerald from 1948-53 and recorded as a leader with Coleman Hawkins, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker and Ben Webster.
Roberta Gambarini was born in Torino, Italy, into a family that loved jazz. By 17, she was singing and performing in jazz clubs around Northern Italy and moved to Milan to pursue a career as a jazz singer. Soon after her move to Milan, Roberta took third place in a national jazz radio competition on TV leading to performance opportunities at jazz festivals throughout Italy for several years. In 1998 she moved to the United States with a scholarship from the New England Conservatory in Boston. Two weeks later, Roberta stunned many in the jazz world with a third place finish in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition.
Since then, she has performed with Michael Brecker, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Slide Hampton, Roy Hargrove, Jimmy Heath, Hank Jones, Christian McBride and Toots Thielemans, among many others, and has performed at Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Town Hall, and Walt Disney Concert Hall and jazz festivals around the world. Her first American release, Easy to Love, on Groovin High Records features special guest, James Moody.
Ahmad Jamal is one of the most distinctive and influential jazz pianists of the past half century. Leader of his own trio since 1951, Jamal makes extensive use of silence, space, and dynamics. A profound influence on the music of Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, and scores of others, he has been called “an American original.” Jamal received an American Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994 and was inducted into the New Jersey Jazz Hall of Fame in 2003.
Jimmy Heath has long been recognized as a brilliant instrumentalist and a magnificent composer and arranger. Jimmy is the middle brother of the legendary Heath Brothers (Percy Heath/bass and Tootie Heath/drums) and is the father of Mtume. He has performed with nearly all the jazz greats of the last 50 years, from Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis to Wynton Marsalis. In 1948 at the age of 21, he performed in the First International Jazz Festival in Paris with McGhee, sharing the stage with Coleman Hawkins, Slam Stewart, and Erroll Garner. One of Heath’s earliest big bands (1947-1948) in Philadelphia included John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Specs Wright, Cal Massey, Johnny Coles, Ray Bryant, and Nelson Boyd. Charlie Parker and Max Roach sat in on one occasion.
During his career, Jimmy Heath has performed on more than 100 record albums including seven with The Heath Brothers and twelve as a leader. Jimmy has also written more than 125 compositions, many of which have become jazz standards and have been recorded by other artists including Art Farmer, Cannonball Adderley, Clark Terry, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, James Moody, Milt Jackson, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, J.J. Johnson, and Dexter Gordon. Jimmy has also composed extended works–seven suites and two string quartets–and he premiered his first symphonic work, Three Ears, in 1988 at Queens College (CUNY) with Maurice Peress conducting.
After concluding eleven years as Professor of Music at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, Heath maintains an extensive performance schedule and continues to conduct workshops and clinics throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada. He has also taught jazz studies at Jazzmobile, Housatonic College, City College of New York, and The New School for Social Research. In October 1997, two of his former students, trumpeters Darren Barrett and Diego Urcola, placed first and second in the Thelonious Monk Competition.
Cunard Line, whose fleet comprises The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World (SM), Queen Mary 2 and QE2, and our newest royal, Queen Victoria, comes aboard for the first time as the official cruise line and sponsor of the 2007 Tanglewood Jazz Festival. During its storied 167-year history, Cunard’s renowned ships have transported society’s luminaries, notables, and famed artists around the world in unrivaled style. Sumptuous surroundings and the line’s legendary White Star Service (SM) have made Cunard the preferred choice of luxury travel for generations.
Tickets for the 2007 Tanglewood Jazz Festival are available by calling SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200 or online at www.tanglewood.org. and in person at the Tanglewood Box Office in Lenox. All ticket prices include a $1 Tanglewood Grounds Maintenance Fee. For further information, please call the Boston Symphony Orchestra at 617-266-1492.
The Tanglewood Jazz Festival is also sponsored by JazzTimes Magazine and Borders Books.
2007 Tanglewood Jazz Festival
Friday, September 1, 8 p.m.
Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band
Second Act TBA
Saturday, September 2, 3 p.m.
Live taping for NPR’s “Piano Jazz” with special guest TBA
Saturday, September 2, 8 p.m.
Kurt Elling with Very Special Friends
Randy Crawford & Joe Sample
Sunday, September 3, 2 p.m.
Sunday, September 3, 8 p.m.
Hank Jones & Roberta Gambarini
Ahmad Jamal & Jimmy Heath
For additional information, bios and photos on the performing artists, please review the electronic press kit at www.tanglewoodjazzfestival.org/presskit or www.tanglewoodjazzfestival.com/presskit or to request a first-class mailing contact:
Dawn Singh Kathleen Drohan
Dawn Singh Publicity Boston Symphony Orch
505-771-0417 (office) Press Office
857-544-0739 (cell) 617-638-9280