New International Jazz Day Celebration Planned for April

Three generations of musicians from Urbana-Champaign will perform works by jazz master Duke Ellington for our annual C-U International Jazz Day that will be held at the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures.

“Ellington Lives! Singin’ and Swingin’ Three Generations On” will feature various ensembles led by Barrington Coleman.  Coleman is a professor of voice and the director of Vocal Jazz Studies, the Jazz Vocal Ensemble and the Varsity Men’s Glee Club at the University of Illinois.  Larry Gray, professor of jazz performance on double bass and electric guitar and a sideman to many jazz greats, will be accompanying Coleman on cello for one or more selections.

Performing with them will be UI jazz studies students Xiantian Yu, Alex Manfredo, Dexter O’Neal, Eli Naragon, Max Osawa, and Nick Young, and on piano, Henry Gengler, a talented member of the award-winning Champaign Central High School Jazz Band. They will offer up several Ellington standards, among them “Reflections on D,” “In a Sentimental Mood,” “Mood Indigo” and “Take the A Train.”

The free event also will feature a short informational session on Ellington provided by Sam Reese and informal reflections on Ellington’s influences on each of the afternoon’s performers.

International Jazz Day was started by UNESCO and will be celebrated this year in more than 190 countries, with Herbie Hancock acting as the UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. The main events will take place over four days in late April in Tangier. Locally, International Jazz Day is sponsored by the Sousa Archives for American Music, the UNESCO Center for Global Citizenship, the Spurlock Museum of World Cultures and the Conservatory of Central Illinois.  For further information about this program email or call 217-333-4577.

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