Southeast Missouri State University’s Jazz Series will present its Gala Festival Concert on Friday, Feb. 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast’s River Campus.
The concert will feature jazz saxophonist Jim Pisano, director of jazz studies at Bethany College in Wichita, Kansas. Also featured will be Southeast’s Studio Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Lab Band. Audiences will be regaled with big band jazz music, which traditionally includes saxophones, trumpets and a rhythm section.
Pisano is equally comfortable as a jazz saxophonist or classical clarinetist and has an international reputation as a performer. He has been a member of the saxophone section of the Jazz Heritage Orchestra in Cleveland, Ohio, since 2001.
He has shared the stage as a soloist with legendary jazz artists Phil Woods, Frank Foster, Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Nancy Wilson, James Moody, Hank Jones, The Lionel Hampton Big Band, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Artie Shaw Band, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie Reunion Big Band, and saxophonists Brad Leali, Dave Pietro and Benny Golson.
The Jazz Lab Band, led by Southeast Robert Conger, Southeast professor of music, is comprised of both music and non-music majors and will be playing a variety of jazz compositions. Among the selections on their program will be Count Basie’s “Corner Pocket” and the Latin chart “A Night in Havana.” Pisano will join this ensemble to perform the jazz ballad “The Nearness of You” and a Frank Mantooth original entitled “Council Grove Groove.” Ending the Lab Band set will be the famous blues piece entitled “Tenor Madness.”
The concert will close with the Studio Jazz Ensemble, also under the direction of Conger. This band will perform the Count Basie classic tune “Front Burner” and “Okay for Jay” from the Buddy Rick library. Pisano will join the band to perform Don Meza’s “Groovin’ Hard.” Pisano will also join the ensemble in several originals, including “Her Eyes, My Shining Hour” and “Softly, as In a Morning Sunrise.”
Featured students in this ensemble include Josh Whalen (alto sax), Walter Wright (tenor sax), Matt Flanagan (trombone), Jon Allgeyer (trumpet), and Dustin Haigler (piano).
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265, or by visiting RiverCampus.org/jazz-festival-gala-concert/.