IU Big Band Extravaganza 2009 celebrates swing with guests Delores King Williams, Everett Greene
WHAT: "When Swing Was King: An Evening of Great Big Band Swing Music" presented by the IU Jacobs School of Music
WHEN: Saturday, April 25, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Musical Arts Center
TICKETS: Tickets are $10-25 for general admission and $8 for students and are available at the MAC Box Office (info: 812-855-7433), online at www.music.indiana.edu/events, or through Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.
Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music will host its annual Big Band Extravaganza Saturday, April 25, at 8 p.m. in the Musical Arts Center. This year's concert, titled "When Swing Was King," will present music from many of the most famous bands of the Swing Era, including those of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman, performed by two outstanding student big bands led by IU jazz faculty members David Baker and Brent Wallarab.
Returning by popular demand are two exceptional jazz vocalists, Delores King Williams and Everett Greene, who performed in the concert last year.
This event will mark the first Big Band Extravaganza for Wallarab as a member of the Jacobs faculty. "I am so pleased that Brent will be taking the stage with me in this year's concert. As a superb composer-arranger bandleader in his own right and the longtime lead trombonist in my Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, he brings a wealth of experience and artistry to this concert and to our jazz department," said Baker.
Wallarab is considered one of the leading authorities on historical composition for jazz orchestras (such as Duke Ellington, Sy Oliver, Fletcher Henderson and Gil Evans). He is also a trombonist with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra.
"I am very honored to share the stage with David Baker in what has become an important tradition at IU," said Wallarab. "There's something timeless about the music of the '30s and '40s, much of it transcending its disposable status as pop music and remaining relevant as art even today."
Wallarab said the music is challenging and requires tremendous musicianship, providing a valuable experience for Jacobs students, also serving as a reminder to audiences of a time when jazz was the most popular music of the day.
"But beyond the practical and artistic merits of having our students perform this repertoire annually, there is a spirit, optimism and hopefulness that reminds us that it was more than just pop music. Spanning the Great Depression through the Second World War, the music of the Swing Era helped a beleaguered country, not yet a major world power, cope with uncertainty and fear. The music may betray a time when America was a little less cynical and jaded, but its continued popularity suggests that there is still a need for music that exudes pure rhythm and joy."
About Delores King Williams
Delores King Williams, a Baltimore native, has performed with Baker and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra since the early 1990s. She is a winner of a Downbeat magazine award, a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition, a winner of the Billie Holiday Vocal Competition, an Audie Award-winner for audio book narration in Blood: Stories of Life and Death in the Civil War and a former soloist for the U.S. Army Band. Williams has performed internationally and is equally at home in theatrical productions, as well as concert settings, musicals, plays, cabaret, commercials and video productions.
She initially met Baker in Washington, D.C., but years of collaboration with the legendary Jacobs jazzman have brought Williams to Indiana many times. She also can be heard singing the music of Hoagy Carmichael on Heart and Soul, her recording with the Indianapolis-based Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra.
About Everett Greene
Indianapolis native Everett Greene is an accomplished bass baritone with a diverse repertoire that spans jazz, blues, gospel and popular music. He is a skilled actor, narrator and voice-over artist who has been honored with an Emmy Award for Precious Memories/Strolling 47th Street; performed at the Democratic Governors' Association Dinner honoring President Bill Clinton in Washington, D.C. and was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition. He has toured internationally and also performed at numerous festivals, including in South Africa, Canada, Japan and across the United States.
Greene has been a featured vocalist with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and regularly featured at Indianapolis Colts, Pacers and Fever games, as well as in television commercials.
For more information on the Jacobs School of Music, see music.indiana.edu/events.