The College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) Jazz Ensemble certainly have something to be excited about come Sunday, May 22. Grammy Award-nominee and Kennedy Center “Living Legend of Jazz” Gerald Wilson will be joining them for their annual Jazz Showcase at 7 p.m. in Corbett Auditorium.
This year’s Jazz Showcase is a night of big band music from yesterday and today. Wilson, an acclaimed composer, arranger and bandleader of modern jazz, will join the group throughout the concert, which is set to include Wilson’s classic “Blues for Count Basie,” written for Basie while Wilson was in his band and “Blues for Yna Yna,” the second jazz waltz ever written.
“Gerald Wilson is a living legend and a part of the golden age of the big band as a writer, arranger and trumpet player,” explains CCM Jazz Division head Scott Belck, who also claims Wilson is “one of the most interesting cats you will ever meet.”
This concert event will be streamed online, with support provided by the Corbett Endowment for CCM and the Franklin L. Folger Trust. To access the online stream via Windows Media Player, visit uc.edu/ucvision/event.aspx?eventid=273.
A stream of the concert will also be available at uc.edu/ucit/digitalvideo/livestream.html.
Webcasting is provided by UCit Instructional & Research Computing Presentation Technologies & Services Group.
About Gerald Wilson
Now in his 92nd year, Gerald Wilson continues not only to create brilliant, sophisticated music, but to reap ever greater honors for his timeless contributions to American culture.
The perennially humble Wilson has garnered his share of accolades, including five Grammy nominations, top Big Band and Composer/Arranger honors in the Downbeat International Critics Poll, the Paul Robeson Award, the NEA American Jazz Masters Fellowship and two 1997 American Jazz Awards for Best Arranger and Best Big Band. In 1996, Wilson received the rare honor of having his life’s work archived by the Library of Congress.
Although not a household name, Wilson’s talent is legendary among jazz insiders. His groundbreaking compositions, intricate arrangements and immediately recognizable sound put him in a league of his own. In his prolific six-decade career as composer and arranger, Wilson has been behind some of the greatest names in jazz, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter, Nancy Wilson and Bobby Darin. Beyond his jazz accomplishments, Wilson’s symphonic compositions have been performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta. He even scored a top 40 pop hit with El Chicano’s 1970 version of his “Viva Tirado,” a song that has been recorded in at least 18 different versions, including a hip-hop rendition by Latino rapper Kid Frost.
One of the most generous of artists, Wilson has continually sought ways to share his knowledge and passion, from hosting a daily jazz program on L.A.’s KBCA in the early 1970s to teaching jazz history for 13 years at California State University Northridge, six years at Cal State L.A. and for the past six years at UCLA. He is currently completing a book on jazz harmony. “It helps keep me alive,” he explains, “because jazz is such a chain of evolution. I just try to be a person worthy of being a part of this great art form.”
In recounting his associations with other jazz greats throughout the years, Wilson typically deflects credit and compliments to others as he quietly goes in search of yet another peak to scale. A tireless and creatively inexhaustible artist, Wilson rarely takes time to bask in the limelight that he shares with the other giants of jazz. Instead, with genuine humility, he says, “I’ve given to jazz the best that I have.” And, coming from Gerald Wilson, that will always be some of the best there is in modern jazz.
$10 general admission, $5 non-UC students, UC students FREE
Ordering or Additional Information:
Box Office: 513-556-4183 or email@example.com
Jazz Series Sponsor: Christopher Dietz & Family
CCM gratefully acknowledges the support of the Corbett Endowment
Support is provided in part by the Franklin L. Folger Trust