Jazz Arts Group of Columbus Celebrates 40th Anniversary Season

The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) is pleased to announce its 40th anniversary season of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra (CJO) and 2012-13 Inside Track small-ensemble series. Under the direction of world-renowned band leader and trumpet virtuoso Byron Stripling, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, now in its 40th year, continues to break new ground while honoring the rich heritage of America’s classical music – jazz. With season after season of inspiring, uplifting performances, the CJO is making audiences stand up and shout for more!

Helping to kick off the ruby season of the CJO is none other than legendary Tonight Show bandleader and Grammy Award-winner Doc Severinsen in “40 Years with Jazz Arts Group” (Sept. 28-29, 2012 at the Southern Theatre). This exclusive two-night performance will also feature one of the CJO’s most requested themes – a special tribute to controversial jazz maven Stan Kenton, along with some other musical surprises.

The Swingin’ with the CJO series returns to its home at the historic Southern Theatre for one of JAG’s best seasons ever including unforgettable performances from up-and-coming pianist to watch Gerald Clayton with Jonathan Elliott and Theo Perry of Columbus’ The Floorwalkers in “Come Together: From Gershwin to The Beatles” (Oct. 25-28, 2012); the dazzling and vivacious Marva Hicks in the annual holiday spectacular “Home for the Holidays” (Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, 2012); accomplished saxophonist Tia Fuller (Beyonce, Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra) and legendary drummer Lewis Nash (Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis) alongside both the CJO and CYJO (Columbus Youth Jazz Orchestra) in “Ragtime, Blues & Beyond: A Short History of Jazz” (Feb. 7-10, 2013); Tony Award-winning vocalist and actress Debbie Gravitte in “Big Band on Broadway” (Mar. 14-17, 2013); and rising star Chester Gregory and Columbus’ own Dave Powers in “Piano Men: The Music of Billy Joel, Elton John & Stevie Wonder” (Apr. 11-14, 2013).

The CJO will also celebrate the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks with a once-in-a-lifetime event that combines music, dance, and spoken word to evoke the courage, dignity, and strength of a lady who simply sat down and sparked an entire movement. “Suite Rosa” (Jan. 25-26, 2013 at the Lincoln Theatre) will feature a world premiere commission from Grammy Award-winning composer/bassist John Clayton and choreography from “Rosa,” restaged by Alexis Wilson, with guest vocals from Columbus’ Bobbi Townes (Fresh Wreckage) and Keith “SPEAK” Williams.

“From the smooth sounds of our sax section to the hot spontaneous riffs of our trumpet section, we’ll continue our grand tradition of offering the most exhilarating cutting edge concerts on the planet,” shares Stripling. “Thanks to our loyal audience, our live performances have become the hallmark and lifeblood of this city, and I’m honored to help celebrate 40 years of hot CJO jazz!”

Audience members can join Stripling for a casual and engaging conversation with the wonderful guest artists of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra in a new workshop series at the Jazz Academy. “Offstage at the Jazz Academy” provides participants a behind-the-scenes glimpse from the artist perspective on performing with the CJO – adding new perspective to being an audience member. In addition to the opportunity to learn something new, each guest artist will be asked to share what they are currently listening to on their iPods or CD players, introducing audiences to new and exciting music and artists. “Offstage at the Jazz Academy” is free to CJO subscribers and $10 for general registrants. Pre-registration is requested and available at www.jazzartsgroup.org.

Offstage at the Jazz Academy” 2012-13 season schedule:

  • Saturday, October 27, 2:00 pm – Gerald Clayton
  • Saturday, February 9, 2:00 pm – Lewis Nash
  • Saturday, March 16, 2:00 pm – Debbie Gravitte
  • Saturday, April 13, 2:00 pm – Dave Powers

The Inside Track series gives music lovers from all walks of life the chance to stretch their ears and stretch themselves. The revamped small-ensemble series will feature Austin-based soul band Akina Adderley & the Vintage Playboys (Sept. 7, 2012 at Short North Stage’s Garden Theatre); CJO all-stars Byron Stripling and Bobby Floyd in the post-holiday show “Swingin’ the New Year” (Dec. 28, 2012 at the Lincoln Theatre); Columbus’ favorite neo-funk band Mojoflo in their Motown tribute “Motor City Soul Revue” (Mar. 2, 2013 at the Lincoln Theatre); virtuoso jazz bassist and film composer Kyle Eastwood (Apr. 6, 2013 at Short North Stage’s Green Room); and the ear-bending collaboration of the New Orleans funk of the New Basics Brass Band and banjo-less bluegrass of The Relentless Mules (Apr. 26, 2013 at Clintonville Woman’s Club).

Audience members will also have the opportunity to join Byron Stripling and Bobby Floyd on stage with the “Swingin’ the New Year” Community Big Band. Registrants will participate in a day-long workshop on Thursday, December 27 at the Jazz Academy and then hit the stage the next evening with some of the greatest jazz musicians in the country! Registration is required and available at www.jazzartsgroup.org. (Registration fee includes admission to the concert.)

Season subscriptions are available through the CAPA ticket office at 39 East State Street or by calling 614-469-0939. Single tickets for the Swingin’ with the CJO series are now available for $52 (main floor), $46 (first balcony) and $30 (second balcony). The CJO’s “40 Years with Jazz Arts Group” and “Suite Rosa” special events are separately priced at $49 (whole house) and $40 (orchestra) / $35 (orchestra), respectively. Single tickets for the Inside Track series are also available for $20 general admission, except “Swingin’ the New Year” which are available for $35 general admission. Student and group rates are also available. Call 614-294-5200 or visit www.jazzartsgroup.org for more information on individual shows and subscriptions.

The 40th anniversary season of the Jazz Arts Group is proudly presented by Grange Insurance. The Swingin’ with the CJO and Inside Track music series are presented by the Jazz Arts Group with ongoing support from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, The Columbus Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, and The Westin Columbus. Additional support for the Columbus Jazz Orchestra is provided by Grange Insurance, Plante Moran, State Auto, US Bank, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Ann & Tom Hoaglin.

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