Tuesday, April 28, 2015

[345] Grammy-winning pianist Cunliffe wraps up MTSU Jazz Artist Series March 21

MURFREESBORO — Grammy Award-winning pianist Bill Cunliffe will join the MTSU Jazz Ensemble I and MTSU jazz faculty to conclude the 2014-15 MTSU Jazz Artist Series Saturday, March 21, as part of the annual MTSU Jazz Festival.

Tickets for the March 21 concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Hinton Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building, are $10 for the public. You can find a printable campus map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Admission is free for MTSU students, faculty and staff with a valid ID. Discounts for area music students and educators also are available.

Cunliffe also will present a free jazz clinic at 2:45 p.m. March 21 as part of the MTSU Jazz Festival. The annual educational event offers junior high and high school instrumental and vocal students an individual focus on the jazz style and the art of jazz improvisation.

Winner of the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement, Cunliffe began his jazz career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and went on to perform and record with artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson and Freddie Hubbard.

“We’re thrilled to have such a multitalented artist to perform for this special concert,” said Jamey Simmons, director of MTSU Jazz Studies and the Jazz Ensemble 1. “The concert will showcase Mr. Cunliffe’s abilities alongside our student and faculty artists.”

Cunliffe currently leads a trio, a big band, a Latin band called Imaginacion, and his classical-jazz chamber ensemble, Trimotif.  His latest recording, “River Edge, New Jersey” by the Bill Cunliffe Trio, features bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tim Horner.

You can watch a video of Cunliffe and the Rio Honda Orchestra performing his Grammy-winning arrangement of Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story Medley" at https://youtu.be/ax1ZXaBod80.

MTSU’s Jazz Ensemble I is the top performing large ensemble in the university’s jazz studies program. It features the most experienced student players and concentrates on cutting-edge literature and master works from the big band repertoire.

The ensemble regularly tours the region to recruit new student musicians and perform at collegiate festivals. At previous MTSU Jazz Festivals, the Jazz Ensemble I has performed with internationally acclaimed jazz artists Phil Woods, Rufus Reid, Benny Golson, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby Shew and more.

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