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Stockton getting jazzed up for 12th annual Brubeck Festival

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POSTED February 22, 2013 5:02 p.m.

STOCKTON - University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Institute presents the Twelfth Annual Brubeck Festival, titled Dave Brubeck Across Time, which honors his legacy as a jazz giant and his Stockton, California, roots. The 2013 Festival is a broad-based tribute to his legacy that covers the spectrum of jazz in its fullest expression: live concert performances ranging from jazz legends to local bands (in civic concert halls and college campuses as well as jazz clubs), a documentary film about jazz history, jazz education talks/symposia, the spiritually inspired works of Dave Brubeck, and street/community-based jazz events, from Monday, March 18, through Saturday, March 23.

Besides three major concerts – by trumpeter Tom Harrell’s quintet at San Joaquin Delta College on Thursday, March 21; by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, under the direction of trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, at the Bob Hope Theatre on Friday, March 22; and by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet at the University’s Faye Spanos Concert Hall on Saturday, March 23 – the Festival will feature nightly performances at the Take 5 Jazz Club; talks by Marsalis, jazz composer and historian Gunther Schuller, and his son George Schuller; and a screening of the rarely seen film Music Inn.

On March 19, George Schuller will present Music Inn, a documentary film he co-produced about the School of Jazz at the Music Inn in Lenox, Massachusetts, where his father was on the faculty, John Lewis served as artistic director, and such jazz greats as the Modern Jazz Quartet and Sonny Rollins performed during the late 1950s. On the following day, George’s father Gunther Schuller will talk about Birth of the Cool, a series of 1949-1950 Miles Davis recordings on which Gunther Schuller played French horn, and host a performance of the album’s compositions played by the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet and others. Both he and Marsalis will speak at the symposium “Jazz Leadership Across Time” the next day. 

Frequent DownBeat and JazzTimes poll-winner Tom Harrell will make his Festival debut on March 21 at San Joaquin Delta College’s Warren Atherton Auditorium. He is widely recognized as one of the most creative and uncompromising trumpeters and composers of our time. Harrell began leading his own group in 1989 after working as a sideman with Woody Herman, Horace Silver, Phil Woods, and others. Trumpeter-composer Wynton Marsalis, a member of the celebrated New Orleans jazz family that also includes his father Ellis and older brother Branford, stepped onto the international jazz stage at age 19 in 1980 as a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers before launching his own quintet two years later. Since 1988, he also has led New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, a 15-member big band honoring the rich heritage of Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong while also debuting commissions by such modern-day jazz greats as Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, and, of course, Marsalis himself. Like his late friend Dave Brubeck, Marsalis has been deeply involved in jazz education throughout his career. The orchestra will make its Brubeck Festival debut on March 22 at the Bob Hope Theatre. 

Trombonist-bassist Chris Brubeck and drummer Dan Brubeck tip their hats to their dad on LifeTimes, the latest CD by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, with vibrant new arrangements of his compositions “The Duke,” “Jazzanians,” “Kathy’s Waltz,” and “My One Bad Habit,” as well as his biggest hit, the Paul Desmond-penned “Take Five.” The disc was one of the top 10 most-played jazz recordings on national radio in 2012. The group, rounded out by guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb, will perform in University of the Pacific’s Faye Spanos Concert Hall on March 23.

The quartet’s concert will be preceded by a performance of sacred choral music composed by Dave Brubeck, with his longtime manager Russell Gloyd conducting the San Francisco Choral Artists.

Other Festival events include “The French Quarter,” a New Orleans-inspired street fair on the afternoon of March 22 in front of the Bob Hope Theatre that will feature live music, jugglers, fortune-tellers, food, and the unveiling of a semi-permanent display of winning art in the Downtown Stockton Alliance’s “Brubeck’s Music Inspires My Imagination” contest, and the next afternoon’s Jazz on the Green on the University of the Pacific campus. Among the activities at that family event will be performances by Brubeck Institute musicians, an instrument “petting zoo” at which children will be able to both touch and play a variety of musical instruments, and tours of the Brubeck Collection, one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections from a contemporary musician. 

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