Jazz Ensemble to Welcome Special Guests for Concert

January 24, 2013

MANSFIELD, PA--The MU Jazz Ensemble, directed by Michael Galloway, and the X-Ray Big Band will be combining for their ninth annual concert on Sunday, February 10, 7 p.m. in Steadman Theatre. The program will also feature guest artists Rich Thompson and Chris Vadala.
Formed by Rick Doganiero in 2003 as a musical and social organization for area big band jazz enthusiasts, the X-Ray Big Band will take center stage for the first half of the concert.
“Rick’s goal was to establish a big band at the community level for local musicians and also to provide an opportunity for high school students to play along with professionals,” Galloway said.
The X-Ray Big Band will perform classics such as Bill Holman’s Ol’ Man River, Thad Jone’s Groove Merchant and the Tom Kubis arrangement of When You’re Smiling.
Also on the program will be newer charts; Shout Me Out by John Clayton and Bob Curnow’s original, Vida de Sueño. They will conclude their set with the Michael Mossman arrangement of Tito Puente’s mambo, Ran Kan Kan.
The X-Ray Big Band is always looking for new members. For more information, email xraydog@ptd.net
The second half will feature the MU Jazz Ensemble with guest artists Rich Thompson and Chris Vadala.
Drummer Rich Thompson has been in demand as a top call drummer in Rochester, NY for the past 25 years.
Besides serving as the drum set instructor at the Eastman School of Music since the fall of 1996, Thompson has toured, performed and recorded with the “who’s who” of jazz greats including The Count Basie Orchestra, Tito Puente, Frank Foster, Rich Perry, Byron Stripling, Harold Danko, Marion McPartland, Snooky Young, Carl Fontana, Phil Woods and Joe Pass.
The Boston Globe cited Thompson as “the drummer who drove the Basie sound.” He has recently released his CDs, Trio Generations. A CD with trumpeter Terell Stafford, pianist Gary Versace, and bassist Jeff Campbell is due to be released this April.
Thompson has performed with symphonies in the U.S. and Canada and his clinics have taken him as far as France, Japan and Newfoundland. He has written four drum set books published by Kendor Music USA and Advance Music-Germany.
One of the country's foremost woodwind artists, Chris Vadala has appeared on more than 100 recordings to date, as well as innumerable jingle sessions, film and TV scores, performing on all the saxophones, flutes, and clarinets.
Vadala, director of Jazz Studies and Saxophone professor, is a distinguished scholar-teacher at the University of Maryland.
His performing career has been highlighted by a long tenure with the Chuck Mangione Quartet, which included performing credits on five gold and two platinum albums, plus two Grammys, one Emmy, one Georgie (AGVA) and one Golden Globe Award.
Vadala has also performed and/or recorded with such greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Chick Corea, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Placido Domingo, Sarah Vaughn, Natalie Cole, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Henry Mancini, Doc Severinsen and Joe Lovano.
In 2009, he became a regular member of the Award-Winning Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, and has been the first call saxophonist with National Symphony Orchestra for many years.
A Downbeat magazine poll finalist in four categories and the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Study grant, Vadala has published a number of original compositions and arrangements. In addition to his debut solo CD, Out of the Shadows, recent recording/publications include Jazz/Rock in the USA, Jazz Solos, Nothin' But Jazz, Jazz Adventures, Modern Jazz-Rock and R & B and Fusion Solos. His credits also include contributions to Warner Brother's Approaching the Standards play-a-long improvisation series and Jazz Pedagogy (The Jazz Educator's Handbook and Resource Guide). He also has the honor of being included in a new publication, The History of the Top 40 Sax Solos (1955-1998).
The MU Jazz Ensemble set will open with The Heat’s On, a Sammy Nestico chart that Thompson performed many times during his tenure with the Basie Band. Quintessence, a Quincy Jones ballad that will feature Vadala, will follow.
Both guests will then get to show off in a Jeff Tysik original, Oliver. “This is an up-tempo Latin chart that never lets up,” Galloway said.
Another Tysik arrangement, the classic A Train by Billy Strayhorn, has solo spots for a couple of students in addition to Thompson and Vadala. Finally, the concert will close with another standard from the Basie Band, Ernie Wilkin’s Basie Power.
“Come out for a night of great jazz, two big bands and two outstanding guest artists,” Galloway said.
Tickets for the concert are $10, $5 for seniors and students, and are available online at music.mansfield.edu, by calling (570)662-4710 or at the door. MU students with ID will be admitted free.
Vadala and Thompson’s appearance are sponsored by Wellsboro Imaging, Inc., Enrico J. Doganiero, D.O. The concert is also funded in part from student activity fees and a grant from Conn-Selmer, Inc. Robert M. Sides Family Music Centers is the participating Conn-Selmer dealer.