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The group will perform Feb. 12 in the Williams Center and will tour Europe this summer
Skip Wilkins, associate professor of music, and the International Quintet have released the CD Frydlant Nights through the Czech Radio Prague label.

The group, a Czech-American jazz ensemble, is currently promoting the album with a regional tour. The International Quintet will perform 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12 at the Williams Center for the Arts. The performance is free and open to the public.

Other upcoming performances will be at the Macungie Institute on Feb. 13 and Muhlenberg College in Allentown on Feb. 14. The group previously performed at Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia, the Deer Head Inn in Delaware Water Gap, the Lafayette Bar in Easton, Moravian College in Bethlehem, and Towson University in Towson, Md.

The quintet is comprised of Americans Wilkins on piano, Neil Wetzel on alto saxophone, and Gary Rissmiller on drums and Czech musicians Rostislav Fras on tenor saxophone and Josef Feco on bass.

Frydlant Nights, which was recorded at Czech Radio Prague studios in August 2009, is the culmination of a summer tour of jazz clubs and festivals in the Czech Republic. The album features original compositions written by the group’s members. Wilkins wrote four songs for the album: “Elbow Room,” “Frydlant Nocturne,” “LGT,” and “Waiting for Prague.”

This is the group’s first U.S. tour, but it has been on tour in the Czech Republic each summer since 2007. The quintet will be returning to Europe again this summer, playing in Prague and Berlin and Bonn, Germany, for 17 days in August.

In addition to the tour and CD, Wilkins also has appeared recently on the Czech television program Jazz Klub. The show is airing two one-hour episodes featuring footage from the August 2008 Tutors Concert from Frydlant Castle. This annual concert is part of the Karel Velebny Summer Jazz Workshop, of which Wilkins is a faculty member. He teaches vocal workshops and plays piano each night of the week-long workshop.

“In these episodes, I was interviewed in Czech and in English multiple times, and I perform two selections with two different groups,” Wilkins says.

Wilkins also has three albums with his group the Skip Wilkins Quintet, The Paint-Peeler, Skip Wilkins Quintet: Volume I, and Skip Wilkins Quintet: Volume II; two albums with flutist Jill Allen, Petty Theft and Too Much Fun!; and Skip Wilkins Solo–Live at Lafayette.

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