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New York saxophone player, composer, and arranger Mark Vinci will play as guest musician with the Lafayette Jazz Ensemble 8 p.m. Friday, May 10, at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Sponsored by the music department, the concert is free and open to the public.

“Vinci was here in 1997 and brought the house down, so I am having him back so this batch of sax players can hear him play and hang with him a little bit,” says Ken Brader, ensemble director. “Mark will be playing all different material from last time. This will include his own big band arrangements, including four of his own compositions, making his presentation somewhat unique.”

The Vinci compositions are entitled “Crow’s Nest,” “A Little Dab,” Where Were You?” and “As I Think About You.” He will close the concert with his own arrangement of “Giant Steps.”

In the first half of the concert, the ensemble will play “Count Bubba” by Gordon Goodwin; “Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me,” featuring vocalist Ashley Maida ’05 of Pittsburgh, Pa.; and “Concerto for Tutti,” featuring trumpet player Tom Ahrens ’02, an A.B. engineering major from Haddonfield, N.J.

“This program is the most difficult technically that we have ever attempted and the individual sections of the ensemble have been organizing their own extra rehearsals to work out their difficult passages for the greater good of the ensemble,” says Brader. “The real fun will begin when the students get to experience both the artistry and infectious enthusiasm that Mark Vinci will be bringing with him to dress rehearsal Thursday night.”

Student musicians include drummer Dave Castelletti ’05 (Martins Creek, Pa.); trumpet players Rob McEwen ’05 (Morgantown, Pa.) and Greg Staszowski ’03 (South Windsor, Conn.); trombonist Michael Beatrice ’04 (Mahwah, N.J.); saxophonists Chris Michaud ’03 (Millerton, N.Y.), Elizabeth Ponder ’04 (Collegeville, Pa.), Jonathan Glick ’05 (Hamden, Conn.), Ryan Collins ’03 (Whitehouse Station, N.J.), and Jack Furlong ’05 (Hopewell, N.J.); pianist Brandon Cochenour ’03 (Lower Burrell, Pa.); and bassist Dan Miller ’03 (East Amherst, N.Y.).

Area professionals in the ensemble include trumpet players John Sutton, Vince Pettinelli, and Michael Smith; trombonists Ken Mease, Terry Stettler, and Jim Daniels; saxophonist Mike Fragassi; and drummer Chuck Cooper.

Considered one of the country’s top trumpet players, Brader also teaches trumpet at Lafayette. He has traveled internationally as assistant musical director, featured soloist, and lead trumpet player with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. He has played with Chuck Mangione, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and many of the world’s leading jazz performers. He is lead trumpet and soloist with the Philadelphia Pops Orchestra.

Legendary pianist, conductor, and composer Peter Nero is taking Brader as his personal lead player to the Grand Teton Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyo., for the Fourth of July this year. He will be featured soloist May 28 at Phillipsburg High School with the Starburst Orchestra, a big band comprised of some of the best musicians in New York City. He has played as a member of the ensemble at Lincoln Center in New York and was featured soloist in Texas last October.

Brader’s experience includes work on CDs that have won Grammy Awards, concerts in 30 countries as well as major symphony halls and jazz clubs in the United States, and continuing performances with the City Rhythm Orchestra. He was a member of the band performing at the most recent Republican National Convention.

“A lot of my professional playing is transferable to what I do at Lafayette,” says Brader, who received his degree from the Eastman School of Music, where he later directed that school’s jazz ensemble. “I tell the jazz band about something that happened on a gig I played that week that can help them with their performance.”

In July 1998, Brader performed at several major international jazz festivals on the 23-day tour of eight European countries as a member of the Phil Woods Big Band. Brader performed as lead trumpet on the CD Live at Carnegie Hall – The 50th Anniversary Concert by Patti Page, which won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance. He performed as lead trumpet and soloist in the nationally broadcast PBS TV special “Songs of Johnny Mercer” with Johnny Mathis and Melissa Manchester.

Brader’s ability to share his own performance excellence has brought individual achievement for students taking private lessons. The Pennsylvania All-State Jazz Band, which fields only four or five trumpet players, typically includes two of his students. Several years ago, Brader’s students took all four trumpet positions. His students also have taken the lead trumpet position in successive years in the All-State East Jazz Band, which draws from a 12-state area.

Early in his career, Vinci won the Top Soloist Award at the Ohio State and Ashland jazz festivals; played with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for more than two years; and joined Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd, which gave him the opportunity to work with Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Clark Terry, and George Shearing, play festivals throughout the world, and record with Clark Terry, Teresa Brewer, and Rosemary Clooney.

In 1983, Vinci left Thundering Herd to settle in New York City, where he began working for such artists as Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra, Gerry Mulligan, and Mel Lewis. He was lead alto with the Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra for five years. Vinci is lead alto with John Fedchock’s New York Big Band, whose Reservoir recording received 4 1/2 stars in Downbeat Magazine. In that review, Herb Boyd states, “Mark Vinci offers an emotionally rich confession on ‘My Foolish Heart.’”

Vinci’s solo tours in the U.S. and Europe have included such places as The Nest in Washington, DC, Club Brasserie in Los Angeles, and Birdland in New York, where Vinci’s quartet played to a sold-out audience

Categorized in: Students