Friday, January 16, 2009

Chicago Jazz Ensemble Comes to Carrollton January 24

Jazz enthusiasts will be dazzled by the second annual “Live Art at the Townsend Center” event featuring The Chicago Jazz Ensemble starring Jon Faddis on Saturday, Jan. 24.

The 21-member Chicago Jazz Ensemble consists of musicians with national recognition, acclaimed Columbia College Chicago faculty and some of the city’s most talented artists. Faddis, conductor, composer and educator known for his intense integrity and humor, was formerly the artistic director of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band.

The Chicago Jazz Ensemble’s mission is to represent, preserve and promote the innovative traditions of American orchestral Jazz music. Founded in 1965 by distinguished composer and conductor William Russo, the ensemble entered a new phase in its history with the appointment of trumpet virtuoso Faddis as its artistic director.

Faddis has a 30-year history of performing and collaborating with the world’s foremost Jazz artists, including Dizzy Gillespie and Lionel Hampton. Faddis earned accolades from his close friend and mentor Gillespie, who declared of Faddis, “He’s the best ever, including me!” As a trumpeter, Faddis possesses a virtually unparalleled range, making the practically impossible seem effortless.

Also appearing in Carrollton with this elite group of musicians will be Ignacio Berroa, recognized by many as one of the greatest drummers of our times. Known as the “Afro-Cuban drumming maestro,” Berroa’s numerous contributions to the American music scene has earned him a place among a very selective group of artists known to have set new musical trends for the 20th century.

“Live Art at the Townsend Center,” which started in 2008, was a successful venture into increasing artistic opportunities for UWG and the Carrollton community. Michelle Morgan, Susan Fleck and Claire Cooley, co-chairs of the upcoming Live Art event, said the gala once again brings critically acclaimed artists to the area.

“Each year, we hope to raise the bar of cultural options in the West Georgia region,” Fleck said. “We’re hoping to duplicate the success of Ballet Memphis last year. It was such a positive event and everyone was on such a high. We want to keep it that way and build on that enthusiasm.”

UWG jazz musicians, jazz musicians from the local schools, private schools, homeschools, etc. and adult jazz musicians from the surrounding communities may register to participate in a 90-minute workshop conducted by Faddis at 2:30 p.m. in the third-floor Humanities Building Band Room. Interested individuals may call the Townsend Center for details.

Two ticket options are available. Individual tickets for the performance only are $42 and are available at the Townsend Center Box Office, 678-839-4722. “Opening Night Club” membership includes two tickets to the performance, valet parking, VIP pre-performance and intermission reception in the Dangle Theater, two tickets to the cast party following the performance featuring “A Blast” band and a Chicago inspired menu, plus appearances by Faddis and the Ensemble. These tickets are $150 per person and are available by contacting Erin Henderson at

The donor reception in the Dangle Theatre begins at 6:15 p.m., the theatre doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

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