ASHLAND – Ashland University’s award-winning jazz program will present the 40th annual Maplerock Jazz Festival on Friday, March 22.
Along with free performances by 10 area school jazz ensembles from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the event presents a main stage concert at 7:30 p.m. in Hugo Young Theatre that features five professional jazz artists.
The Jazz Festival’s evening concert will open with the Ashland University Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Scott Garlock. The concert program will headline guest jazz artists: Wycliffe Gordon (trombone), Mike Tomaro (sax), Pat Harbison (trumpet), Sean Parsons (piano) and John Viser (drums).
Renowned musician, composer, conductor and arranger, Wycliffe Gordon has an impressive career has garnered him numerous accolades as a veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, an original member of Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, a featured guest artist on Billy Taylor’s “Jazz at the Kennedy Center” Series, and the arranger of NPR’s “All Things Considered” theme song heard daily across the globe. Jazz Journalists Association named him “Trombonist of the Year” for the 10th time in 2017, and Downbeat Critics Poll named Wycliffe “Best Trombone” for four years. Most recently, Wycliffe received the “Louie Award” honoring his dedication and commitment to the music of Louis Armstrong.
Saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, Mike Tomaro is the director of the Jazz Studies Program at Duquesne University. Prior to his appointment at Duquesne, he was a member of the Army Blues Jazz Ensemble where he served as its Enlisted Musical Director and performed for Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton as well as heads of state from around the world. As a performer, he has worked with such diverse artists and groups as Rosemary Clooney, Ray Charles, Michael Feinstein, Linda Ronstadt, Debby Boone, Johnny Mathis, Wayne Bergeron, Dizzy Gillespie Tribute Big Band, Woody Herman Orchestra and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, where he is featured on their latest DVD, “Live at MCG.” He also is a member and co-artistic director of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra.
Pat Harbison's many recordings as a jazz trumpeter include a 1999 solo debut, After All. In addition to appearances as leader, his recording credits include the PsychoAcoustic Orchestra, the Blue Wisp Big Band and David Baker's 21st Century Bebop Band. He is a professor of Jazz Studies at Indiana University and previously taught trumpet and jazz studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
Sean Parsons is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator and is currently serving as assistant professor of Jazz Studies at Ohio University. In demand as a performer and clinician nationwide, Parsons has shared the stage with many of the most notable musicians in jazz including Clark Terry, James Moody, Jon Faddis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Steve Turre and Randy Brecker. Additionally, he has regularly performed with and arranged for Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
John Viser describes himself as a “soul drummer trapped in a jazz drummer's body.” Growing up in Memphis, his first gigs were sitting in with house bands on Beale Street. He studied jazz at Knox College where he had the opportunity to back up jazz luminaries, form the award winning "Good Ma Trio" and tour parts of North America and Spain. Viser is now a regular fixture on the St. Louis music scene working with Jake Gehret and the Brokedown Sound, the Southside trio and the Jazz Cannibals.
These five guest artists will conduct a public clinic with 10 high school bands that will perform earlier in the day in Hugo Young Theatre. After each high school band performs their 30-minute concert, the guest artists will meet with the band and offer their expertise to strengthen the ensemble and individual musician's performance. The Jazz Festival’s afternoon performances are scheduled as follows:
11:30 a.m. Foundation Academy of Mansfield Jazz Band
Noon Rittman High School Jazz Band
12:30 p.m. Crestview High School Jazz Band
1 p.m. Crestwood High School Jazz Band
1:30 p.m. Bloom Carroll High School Jazz Band
2 p.m. Ashland High School Jazz Band B
2:30 p.m. Brunswick High School Jazz Band
3 p.m. Stow-Munroe Falls High School Jazz Band
3:30 p.m. Galion High School Jazz Band
4 p.m. Ashland High School Jazz Band A
The afternoon performances are free and open to the public while tickets for the evening concert are available through the Ashland University Box Office at 419-289-5125, noon to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, or online (additional fees apply) at www.ashland.edu/tickets.
Tickets for the evening concert are $10 for adults; $5 for senior citizens, non-Ashland University students and Ashland University faculty and staff; and free for Ashland University students.
For more information about the Maplerock Jazz Festival or the Ashland University Jazz program, visit www.ashland.edu/music or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of performing arts publicity and events, at 419-289-5950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.