Jazz Arts Group opens Inside Track season with Nia Allen, Byron Stripling, Bobby Floyd and "The Gospel According to Swing"

The Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (JAG) is ready to return to the stage of the Lincoln Theatre with another stellar season of its Inside Track series. Kicking off the series on Saturday, December 18, Columbus Jazz Orchestra’s Artistic Director Byron Stripling leads a gospel-themed show titled “The Gospel According to Swing,” featuring the soulful voice of Nia Allen and the keyboard wizardry of Bobby Floyd.

The daughter of Milton and Merlyn Ruffin, Nia Allen grew up in a strong musical and faith-based family. In addition to a gospel singer, Allen is also a songwriter, teacher, and minister. She wrote most of the material on her debut project, A New Thing and her upcoming sophomore release, Here Am I.

Holiday revelers can also join Ms. Allen at the Jazz Academy and sing the “Songs of the Season” on December 18, beginning at 2 PM. This holiday sing-a-long is for anyone and everyone who would like to gather together, sing, have fun and celebrate the season! Accompanying Nia will be Dr. Milt Ruffin – and, we may have other surprise guests, too! After the singing, enjoy cookies and punch and time to visit with one another at the Jazz Academy. JAG encourages attendees to bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to gain free admission to the sing-a-long event.

Additional series highlights include Dave Douglas and his electronic sextet Keystone (February 5, 2011); blues guitarist Chris Thomas King (March 5, 2011); and a retrospective of the cool jazz movement titled “Birth of the Cool” (April 29 & 30, 2011). Showtime is 8:00 p.m. for all concerts.

Dave Douglas and Chris Thomas King will also conduct accompanying workshops at the Jazz Academy prior to their performances. The Jazz Academy will also present a series of “Cool School” workshops in conjunction with the “Birth of the Cool” concerts at the Lincoln and Jazz Appreciation Month.

Single tickets are on sale now for $25 (orchestra) and $30 (loge) and available by phone at 614-469-0939 and through all Ticketmaster outlets. Inside Track sampler packs of 4 vouchers may also be purchased for $80. These vouchers may be used in any combination for any show for best available seating at time of redemption. Call 614-294-5200 or visit www.jazzartsgroup.org for more information.

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