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'Art of Jazz' series returns to Buffalo AKG Art Museum


Mon, Aug 7th 2023 05:55 pm

Buffalo AKG Art Museum has announced a fall-winter-spring music series.

Organizers said, “Get ready for an electrifying season of jazz as the highly anticipated ‘Art of Jazz’ series returns to the newly transformed Buffalo AKG Art Museum for the 2023-24 season. Prepare to be captivated by a stellar lineup of emerging talents and iconic jazz musicians, organized and produced by Tony Zambito.

“For more than two decades, the ‘Art of Jazz’ series has been recognized as one of the premier jazz events in North America. Now, guests are invited to join the museum as this series makes its long-awaited return to the Buffalo AKG. Experience the awe-inspiring musical projects presented by Grammy Award-winners and nominees, competition winners, and some of the most talented artists, composers and arrangers in jazz.”

In the upcoming season, the “Art of Jazz” series will showcase four "art of the project" concepts, promising unique experiences and a lineup featuring Gary Smulyan, Anaïs Reno, Rodney Whitaker, Diego Rivera, Dan Wilson, Glen Zaleski, Pete Malinverni, Bruce Barth, Terell Stafford, Tim Warfield, Rudy Royston, Art Hirahara and Boris Koslov.

A season subscription is $150, while an AKG member season subscription is $130. General-admission (single-concert) tickets are $40, or $35 for AKG members. Visit buffaloakg.org/artofjazz to purchase tickets.

•Gary Smulyan, "Tadd's All, Folks" featuring Anaïs Reno // 7 p.m. Nov. 10: A press release stated, “Experience a fresh and captivating approach to the timeless music of the legendary jazz composer Tadd Dameron with this extraordinary quintet! Dameron's compositions will be brought to life through mesmerizing vocal performances – an often-overlooked facet of his brilliant legacy. While Dameron himself was not widely recognized as a lyricist, this collection showcases a captivating mix of lyrics by Irving Reid, Bernie Hanighen and Jack Reynolds that beautifully captures the essence of his modern musical language.

“Enveloped by the skillful artistry of a core combo, featuring the formidable baritone sax solos of multiple award-winner Gary Smulyan, the exquisite piano stylings of Pete Malinverni, the solid bass foundation of David Wong, and the dynamic drumming of Matt Wilson, these vocal renditions truly shine and are only specially presented through this quintet. Anaïs Reno takes the spotlight, effortlessly delivering each song's emotional depth and nuance.”

•Diego Rivera Quintet, "Bridges" // 7 p.m. Feb. 4, 2024: The press release said, “Embark on a musical journey that celebrates a rich tapestry of multicultural influences and the seamless blending of Mexican roots with the vibrant jazz world. Join the Buffalo AKG for a concert featuring the Diego Rivera Quintet, led by the internationally acclaimed saxophonist Diego Rivera. Rivera has quickly risen to become one of the most prominent jazz composers and saxophonists today.

“Drawing inspiration from his Mexican heritage, Rivera's unique music transcends borders and genres, combining Latin America's traditional and folkloric rhythmic flavors with jazz's improvisational brilliance. With his virtuosic saxophone skills and deep musical intuition, Rivera effortlessly bridges the gap between cultures, creating a harmonious fusion that is both captivating and soul-stirring. Their performance will transport you to a world where cultural boundaries dissolve and the universal language of music reigns supreme.

“Funded by an award from Chamber Music of America, Rivera is commissioned to compose new jazz works to follow three groundbreaking and chart-topping albums: ‘Indigenous,’ ‘Mestizo’ and ‘Love and Peace.’ Rivera will be joined by an ensemble including Etienne Charles on trumpet, Art Hirahara on piano, Boris Koslov on bass, and Rudy Royston on drums.

•Dan Wilson, "Things Eternal" // 7 p.m. March 10, 2024: The press release noted, “Prepare to embark on a musical odyssey like no other as the guitarist/composer Dan Wilson, winner of the prestigious 2022 RISING STARS Jazz Award, takes the stage with his awe-inspiring project, ‘Things Eternal.’ Brace yourself as the tune ‘Sticology’ sets the tone with a recorded voicemail from the legendary organist, personal mentor, and dear friend Joey DeFrancesco, serving as a poignant tribute and guiding light.

“Within this meticulously curated collection of songs, Wilson draws hope and inspiration from ancestral wisdom, crafting a heartfelt dedication to the unwavering spirit of humanity. With his masterful touch, he breathes new life into beloved classics by iconic artists such as The Beatles ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ Stevie Wonder’s ‘Smile, Please,’ and Herbie Hancock’s ‘Tell Me A Bedtime Story,’ infusing each composition with his unique artistic vision. …

“Joining Wilson for this special ‘Art of Jazz’ series performance are rising star pianist/keyboardist Glen Zaleski, rising star bassist Brandon Rose, award-winning drummer David Throckmorton, vocalist Jessica Yafanaro, vocalist Tommy Lehman, and vocalist Durell Griar.”

•Rodney Whitaker—"Oasis: The Music of Gregg Hill" // 7 p.m. April 12, 2024: The press release explained, “Prepare to be captivated by the musical talents of multiple Grammy Award-nominated bassist Rodney Whitaker and his quintet of jazz superstars as they present the music of jazz composer Gregg Hill. This stellar ensemble features the renowned Terell Stafford on trumpet and flugelhorn, the exceptional Tim Warfield on tenor and soprano saxophones, the brilliant Bruce Barth on piano, and the dynamic Dana Hall on drums. Adding to the allure of this specially commissioned performance, the captivating vocalist Rockelle Fortin will grace the stage for select songs.

“Whitaker's extraordinary musical journey spans far and wide, from his exceptional performances with esteemed ensembles like the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the Roy Hargrove Quintet to his influential role as an esteemed educator. His unwavering dedication to this timeless art form is evident in every note he plays and every lesson he imparts.

“Gregg Hill's musical genius takes center stage in Whitaker’s latest project, ‘Oasis: The Music of Gregg Hill.” This remarkable concert showcases Hill's masterful compositions alongside compositions by the talented Rodney Whitaker.”

More About the Buffalo AKG Art Museum

Founded in 1862, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum (formerly the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) is the sixth-oldest public art institution in the U.S. For more than 160 years, the Buffalo AKG has collected, conserved and exhibited the art of its time, often working directly with living artists.

In summer 2023, following the completion of the most significant campus development and expansion project in its history, the Buffalo AKG opened anew to the public. The project is funded by a $230 million capital campaign, the largest such campaign for a cultural institution in the history of Western New York, including $195 million raised for construction and $35 million in additional operating endowment funds.

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