On Sunday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., the CCM Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Lab Band welcome guest artist Dennis Mackrel, drummer and band leader of the world famous Count Basie Orchestra for “Atomic Basie!”
This fun-filled evening features the hits of the Count Basie library and other swing era favorites that are sure to get the joint jumping, including “April in Paris,” “Corner Pocket,” Dennis Mackrel originals and more. CCM’s Scott Belck and Dominic Marino conduct.
Sunday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.
Patricia Corbett Theater
University of Cincinnati Campus
$12 general admission, $5 non-UC students, UC students FREE
About Dennis Mackrel
Drummer/composer/arranger Dennis Mackrel began playing the drums when he was two. In 1981, at 19 years of age, Mackrel moved to New York City and landed a gig as a drummer on Broadway. His Broadway credits include The First and A Chorus Line.
In January of 1983, Mackrel joined the Count Basie Orchestra. He would become the youngest member of the orchestra and the last drummer to be hired by Basie personally. Mackrel traveled extensively and worked alongside Basie until his death in April 1984. He continued with the orchestra under the direction of interim leader Eric Dixon followed by Thad Jones. “I think Dennis is one of the finest young drummers I’ve ever heard. He is extremely knowledgeable and he is also a very accomplished writer…” said Jones. In 1985 under Jones’ leadership, the Count Basie Orchestra recorded one of Mackrel’s compositions entitled “And That’s That”.
Mackrel stayed with the band when Frank Foster took over as leader until December of 1987. Mackrel’s composition “Bus Dust” was included on the CD Long Live The Chief, which was recorded during Foster’s tenure as leader. In 2010, Mackrel succeeded Bill Hughes to become the leader of the Count Basie Orchestra.
In addition to becoming a seasoned musician and bandleader, Mackrel has also become a highly respected conductor/arranger/educator whose works have been recorded and performed by ensembles such as The WDR Big Band in Koln, Germany, The Klüvers Big Band in Aarhus, Denmark, and most notably The McCoy Tyner Big Band, whose Grammy winning CD’s The Turning Point and Journey included four of Mackrel’s arrangements. He has also served as a jazz educator in Europe, Asia, Canada and the USA.
Some of the other notable musicians Mackrel has performed with include: Lionel Hampton, Hank Jones, Take 6, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Clare Fischer, Quincy Jones and Sir George Shearing, who said “If I ever have a record date coming up that calls for a drummer and Dennis is not available, I’ll postpone the session. He’s that good.”
CCM Season Presenting Sponsor: The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Jazz Series Sponsor: Christopher Dietz & Family