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Turtle Island Quartet, Don Menza guests at BYU Jazz Festival March 2-6

Brigham Young University’s School of Music will host its annual Jazz Festival featuring BYU’s Jazz Legacy Dixieland Band, Jazz Voices, The Turtle Island Quartet and Synthesis, BYU’s top jazz ensemble with guest artist Don Menza, Tuesday through Saturday, March 2-6.

Tickets for the concerts are available through the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 422-4322, or at

• On Tuesday, March 2, BYU’s Jazz Legacy Dixieland Band with Bob Bailey on piano and Shannon Roberts on trumpet and trombone will be performing at 7:30 p.m. in the Madsen Recital Hall. The concert willbe conducted by Steve Call. Tickets are $6.

The Dixieland-style band’s repertoire willinclude works by well-known American jazz composers including Sidney Bechet, Lu Watters, Joe King Oliver andHoagy Carmichael, among others.

• BYU’s Jazz Voices will be performing Wednesday, March 3, in the Madsen Recital Hall at 7:30 p.m. The concert is conducted by Katie Williams. Tickets are $6. Jazz Voices is known for its tight harmonies, rhythmic accuracy, improvisation and scatting abilities. Some music is sung a cappella and other arrangements utilize piano, guitar, bass and drum accompaniment.

• On Thursday, March 4, The Turtle Island Quartet, “a sterling example of first-rate jazz music-making” according to The Los Angeles Times, will be performing at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall. Tickets are $13, $10 or $8 with student ID.

The recital will open with David Balakrishnan's Grammy-nominated arrangement of "A Night In Tunisia" by Dizzy Gillespie and “No Mystery” by Chick Corea. They will also perform “Milestones” by Miles Davis and “Lucy” by David Balakrishnan, among others.

The quartet features David Balakrishnan on violin and baritone violin, Mark Summer on cello, Mads Tolling on violin and Jeremy Kittel on viola. Winner of the 2006 and 2008 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Crossover category, Turtle Island fuses the classical quartet esthetic with contemporary American musical styles.

• The BYU Jazz Festival Grand Concert will feature BYU’s top jazz ensemble Synthesis with guest artist Don Menza on saxophone Friday and Saturday, March 5-6, at 7:30 p.m. in the de Jong Concert Hall. Tickets are $11, or $6 with a BYU or student ID.

Meza, a tenor saxophonist, played with the Buddy Rich's big band in 1968, recording a famous solo on “Channel One Suite” utilizing circular breathing that has become a classic among music educators and musicians alike. He studied saxophone with legendary musician and teacher John Sedola.

Synthesis combines swing, blues, jazz, Latin and fusion styles into a feast of jazz entertainment. The group has participated in the prestigious Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and the Pori International Jazz Festival in Finland. The ensemble has also been a special guest performer at Tokyo Disneyland and has performed in China.

For more information about BYU’s Jazz Festival performances, contact Ron Brough, director of the festival, at (801) 422-3320.

Writer: Ricardo Castro

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