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NSU Green Country Jazz Series continues with Jam-Balaya on Feb. 3

Local jazz fans have waited an extra year for its return, but the Jam-Balaya dinner and concert is returning.

Jam-Balaya comes back to the Northeastern State University Jazz Lab on Feb. 3 as part of the 2011-12 Green Country Jazz Series. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and the NSU Jazz Ensemble performs at 8 p.m. Special guest is trumpeter Vince DiMartino.

Dr. Tommy Poole, director of jazz studies, said he looked forward to bringing back Jam-Balaya, which didn’t happen in 2011 thanks to the snowstorm of Feb. 1.

“People await Jam-Balaya because of the great music and great food, and I think last year it was sorely missed,” Poole said. "Our students also anticipate it – and our other Green Country Jazz Series performances – because they are opportunities to perform with such talented musicians.

“One of the pieces to be performed Friday will be featured on an upcoming NSU Jazz Ensemble CD with saxophonist Seamus Blake. The recording session is May 10-11 at the Jazz Lab.”

DiMartino is a trumpet performer and music educator who earned his first faculty position at age 23 at the University of Kentucky, where he taught until 1993.

“What I pick up when listening to DiMartino is that he can play anything he wants at any time,” Poole said. “He plays so effortlessly. He has supreme control of the trumpet and is a very efficient player.”

An internationally acclaimed soloist and the Matton Professor of Music at Centre College in Kentucky, DiMartino is among America’s leading trumpet experts. He originally joined Centre College in 1993 as its first distinguished artist-in-residence. He was named to the Matton professorship in 1996.

DiMartino has performed worldwide, and with artists such as Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen, Pearl Bailey, Dizzy Gillespie and Dave Brubeck. Widely admired for classical and jazz playing, he has also in recent years begun to specialize in virtuoso cornet solos.

He has been a soloist with symphony orchestras including Cincinnati, Buffalo, N.Y., Sante Fe, N.M., North Carolina, Orlando, Fla., Baton Rouge, La. and Rochester, N.Y. DiMartino also appeared as guest soloist with the Boston Pops on their Summer Tour ‘99.

DiMartino will also perform with the NSU Jazz Ensemble and Poole in the Jazz Lab at 5 p.m. on Feb. 4 as part of the NSU Trumpet Festival. The event is organized by Dr. Jason Dovel, assistant professor of music.

“DiMartino is here thanks to Dovel’s invitation,” Poole said. “The music for Jam-Balaya will be amazing. The band sounds great – the musicians are playing at a very high level. Of course DiMartino will perform solos. But many of the students will be taking solos throughout the concert.”

The NSU Jazz Lab is at 315 N. Muskogee Ave. in Tahlequah. Tickets for the dinner are $35 per couple or $20 for individuals. Activities will include a silent auction. Concert-only tickets are $12 each. For reservations or more information, call (918) 458-4603, write to or visit the Jazz Lab site or the Jazz Lab's Facebook page.

“There are still plenty of dinner tables available, but I recommend advance reservations if possible,” Poole said.

The Green Country Jazz Series is presented by NSU Jazz Studies, the Department of Performing Arts and the College of Liberal Arts with assistance from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Published: 1/31/2012 3:16:04 PM

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