Weekly Feature

2012-03-29 / Education

Jazz Music Festival set for April 27

James Burton III James Burton III The featured guest artist for the West Seneca Central School District’s Jazz Festival 2012 will be James Burton III, jazz trombonist and director of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra.

The Jazz Festival concert will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, April 27, at West Seneca West Senior High School, 3330 Seneca St.

This year marks the 19th anniversary of the school district’s Jazz Festival for aspiring jazz musicians from its schools.

Burton is among a new wave of musicians hitting the jazz scene with an expressive sound. He is a graduate of Jackie McLean’s Institute for Jazz Studies in Hartford, Conn., and the Juilliard School in New York City.

He is currently on faculty at the Juilliard School of Music. He was previously the director of jazz studies at Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.

A Grammy award-winning performer, Burton is a trombonist, composer, arranger and educator. He has performed alongside many great jazz artists including Slide Hampton, Herbie Hancock and Jon Faddis, and has also performed with the Ray Charles Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra, Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Roy Hargrove Big Band.

Burton has played many venues around the world, including Tanglewood, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, the Tim Festival in Rio de Janeiro, the Lionel Hampton Festival, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and the Blue Note.

The West Seneca Central Jazz Festival began in 1994 as a district wide event dedicated to student learning and performance. The festival has provided students an opportunity to hear, speak to and perform with a professional jazz artist in rehearsal and in concert. This year Burton will spend two days lending his expertise to West Seneca’s young musicians.

The festival has featured such professional jazz artists as Lenny Pickett, leader of the Saturday Night Live Band; Ed Shaugh- nessy, former drummer of the Tonight Show Band; Tom “Bones” Malone, trombone player with the David Letterman show; Chris Vadala, saxophone player with the Chuck Mangione Quartet; and Don Menza, legendary tenor saxophone player with Buddy Rich’s Big Band.

This year’s festival will feature jazz ensembles from East Senior and West Senior high schools, East and West middle schools, and Allendale, East, Potters Road and West elementary schools.

John Hasselback Jr., a West Seneca music teacher and jazz artist in his own right, is coordinating the event for the district.

Tickets for the April 27 concert may be purchased for a donation of $3 per person through the Jazz Ensemble directors, at the door prior to the concert, or by calling Terri Izzo, coordinator of music education, at 677-3150.

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