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Jazz it Up with Sherman Ensemble Nov. 26 in Kent

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KENT—The Sherman Chamber Ensemble will present “Jazzing it Up,” a tribute concert celebrating the 100th birthdays of jazz legends Thanksgiving weekend.

The concerts will take place Saturday, Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. at Christ Church, 17 Church Road in Pawling; Saturday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Salem Covenant Church, 96 Baldwin Hill Road in Washington, Conn., and Sunday, Nov. 26, at 4 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Church, 1 North Main Street in Kent.

Eliot Bailen, artistic director and cellist of the ensemble, said, “The program celebrates the 100th birthday of a number of jazz greats, Tito Puente, Dexter Gordon, Thad Jones and Red Garland.” He promises a concert of soulful and swinging music that pays tribute to these legends and their contributions to the genre. 

Bailen is joined by a talented group of New York musicians, including noted jazz pianist Ted Rosenthal, Eddie Barbash, alto sax, Thomson Kneeland, double bass, and Susan Rotholz, flute. Works include: Oye Como Va by Tito Puente; A Child Is Born, Thad Jones; Billy Boy, Red Garland; Fried Bananas, Dexter Gordon, and Girl from Ipanema, Antônio Carlos Jobim.  

Fans of Latin jazz know Tito Puente, who revolutionized salsa, mambo, and jazz. Among his compositions is the cha-cha Oye como va popularized by Latin rock musician Carlos Santana and later interpreted, among others, by Julio Iglesias, Irakere and Celia Cruz. Puente’s music has influenced generations of musicians. 

During his career, Puente recorded some 120 albums, receiving five Grammy Awards as well as numerous other honors. He maintained a busy performance schedule, appearing with leading jazz musicians such as George Shearing and Woody Herman, as well as with many stars of Latin music and, in later years, with symphony orchestras. 

He received the key to the City of New York in 1969 from former Mayor John Lindsay. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Congressional Record, and in 1993 he received the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal from the Smithsonian. In 1990, he received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  

Dexter Gordon was an American jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, bandleader and actor. He was among the most influential of the early bebop musicians, which included other greats such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell. 

Gordon was sidelined by drugs in the ’50s. He moved to Europe in the ’60s, came home in triumph in the ’70s. Gordon starred in the film ’Round Midnight in 1986, earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He also won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Soloist, for the soundtrack album “The Other Side of Round Midnight.”

Thad Jones was an American jazz trumpeter, composer and bandleader. He became a member of the Count Basie Orchestra in May 1954 and was featured as a soloist on such well-known tunes as April in ParisShiny Stockings, and Corner Pocket. Jones left the Basie Orchestra in 1963 to become a freelance arranger and musician in New York City and in 1965, he and drummer Mel Lewis formed the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. They won a 1978 Grammy Award for their album “Live in Munich.”

Also born in 1923, Red Garland was an American modern jazz pianist known for his work as a bandleader and helped popularize the block chord style of playing in jazz piano. He became famous in 1954 when he joined the Miles Davis Quintet, featuring John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones and Paul Chambers.

In 1958, Garland formed his own trio, which recorded as a quintet with John Coltrane and Donald Byrd. He stopped playing professionally for a number of years in the 1960s when the popularity of rock music coincided with a substantial drop in the popularity of jazz.

In 1977 he led a recording, Crossings, which reunited him with Philly Joe Jones, and he teamed up with bassist Ron Carter. He continued recording until his death from a heart attack on April 23, 1984, at the age of 60.

General Admission tickets are $25; children ages 16 and under are admitted free. Purchase advance tickets online at www.SCEmusic.org. Tickets may be purchased at the door, subject to availability.  For information or reservations call 860-355-5930.

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