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Jazz legend Wayne Shorter and many other acclaimed artists will be part of the 2005-06 Performance Series at Lafayette, which has been chosen as the Pennsylvania site of NEA Jazz Masters on Tour, a program featuring performances and educational events in all 50 states.

NEA Jazz Masters on Touris an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts sponsored by Verizon in partnership with Arts Midwest. Additional support is provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation through a grant to Chamber Music America.

The Wayne Shorter Quartet will perform 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 9, at the Williams Center for the Arts. Shorter is in a class by himself for his sophisticated compositions, his visionary work as bandleader, and his limpid, passionate saxophone. His group includes pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade.

A great body of work as a composer for such illustrious groups as Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Miles Davis’ famous mid ’60s quintet, and fusion supergroup Weather Report is enough to ensure Shorter a spot in the Jazz Hall of Fame. But if the prolific composer had never written a single tune, his signature sound and choice of notes, sense of economy, and unparalleled expression on both tenor and soprano saxes would have earmarked him for greatness.

Shorter’s acclaimed 2003 release, Alegria, earned him a Grammy Award. He is now garnering praise for his recent live recording, Beyond the Sound Barrier, featuring music captured during the Wayne Shorter Quartet’s widely acclaimed tours from 2002-04 in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Other Jazz Masters performances will include one by the Gonzalo Rubalcaba Quartet,which blends Latin soul with contemporary American jazz, Saturday, Sept. 3. That will be followed by Arturo O’Farrill y Riza Negra on Friday, Sept. 16, featuring as special guests vibraphonist Dave Samuels and trumpeter Tom Harrell and a rhythm section anchored by heralded drummer Dafnis Prieto. O’Farrill will be Lafayette’s Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence for 2005–06 in a special 20th anniversary tribute to this residency. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, also led by O’Farrill, concludes the series Thursday, April 6. A Jazz Masters subscription costs $69, a savings of $11 compared to the total cost of the individual concerts.

A special non-subscription jazz concert has been added for Saturday, Jan. 28, with Brian Lynch’s Spheres of Influence. Lynch’s blazing trumpet leads an all-star horn section with saxophonists Miguel Zenon, Tim Ries, and Craig Handy and trombonist Conrad Herwig. Dafnis Prieto once again heads an all-Latin rhythm section with pianist Luis Perdomo and percussionist Pedro Martinez. Noted jazz pianist Fred Hersch also performs in a “classics-jazz interface” program with pianist Christopher O’Riley on Wednesday, March 9, as part of the College’s Chamber Music series.

In addition to Jazz Masters and Chamber Music, the Performance Series includes Footlights and Sound Alternatives.

The nationally recognized Performance Series at Lafayette attracts more than 10,000 people each season. It has been cited for performing excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Chamber Music America, Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, Pennsylvania Arts and Humanities Councils, and Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

The 2005–2006 Performance Series is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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