Jazz Roots—Jazz Meets Gershwin, a concert hosted by Michael Feinstein, will take place November 4 at 8 p.m. at the Knight Concert Hall of the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard will make his debut in his new role as artistic director of the Jazz Roots Series and will lead the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in that evening’s performance.
Besides Terrance Blanchard and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, the full scheduled lineup will feature composer/arranger Dave Grusin, violinist Mark O’Connor and Miami’s ever-popular pianist Shelly Berg, who is Dean of University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. Vocals will be provided by opera star Denyce Graves, and singers Dee Dee Bridgewater and Monica Mancini.
This program at the Arsht will showcase some jazz arrangements of Gershwin’s concert masterpieces and perennial favorites such as “Rhapsody in Blue,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “S’Wonderful” and “Fascinating Rhythm.”
George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937 of a brain tumor when he was only thirty-five. He was an American composer and pianist whose musical genres spanned classical, opera, ballet, Broadway and the movies. He took jazz he discovered on ‘Tin Pan Alley’ into the mainstream by splicing its rhythms and tonality with that of the popular songs of his era. Although George Gershwin would seldom make grand statements about his music, he believed that "true music must reflect the thought and aspirations of the people and time. My people are Americans. My time is today.”
With his untimely death, the world was left with a seemingly unquenchable thirst for all things Gershwin. Michael Feinstein is currently writing a new book about the songs of the Gershwin brothers and is co-producing a movie on this subject. Brian Wilson, a founding member of the iconic group The Beach Boys, was able to obtain the Gershwin estate’s blessing to mix Gershwin’s music with his own in a project sponsored by Walt Disney’s recording studio. The estate also gave Wilson permission to complete two unfinished Gershwin song fragments, as well as to rearrange several other Gershwin classics. And Phil Ramone, who has been involved in the making of a long string of classic albums by the likes of Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Elton John and Barbra Streisand, has produced a Tribute Album of some of Gershwin’s unfinished works.
This concert opens the 2011-12 Jazz Roots season. It will also feature an in-depth educational partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. More than 900 music students will be brought to the Arsht Center for a unique behind-the-scenes experience, including a pre-concert sound check and a Q&A session with featured artists. This will be followed by a workshop with a local jazz expert who will highlight the music, the artistic process and the practical skills needed for a career in the arts. In addition, the Center has developed a curriculum that will be distributed to 800 music, English and social studies teachers throughout the MDCPS school system, potentially serving 24,000 children who may comprise a future jazz audience.
For information on Jazz Roots programs and for concert tickets, call 305.949.6722 or visit www.Arshtcenter.org.
Click on video: Blanchard plays Gershwin: http://youtu.be/bXHJ0t8vAmI