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Dizzy Alumni Bear Witness to the Gillespie Legend in an Allstar Performance at Ramapo College

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)April 22, 2004

(Mahwah) – The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-stars will advance the legend of the great jazz musician in a performance of the music of Gillespie, Charlie Bird” Parker and Fats Navarro, Saturday May 15, at 8 p.m. in the Sharp Theater at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Comprised of the finest musicians to have collaborated with Gillespie, the Dizzy Gillespie All-stars continue to honor the master with national and international tours. This performance will feature trombonist Slide Hampton, bassist John Lee, Antonio Hart on alto sax, Dennis Mackrel on drums and Mulgrew Miller on piano.

In his numerous collaborations with the most prominent jazz musicians of the century, Hampton assumed the role of an international ambassador of American classic music. At the age of 12, he joined the Hampton Band. J.J. Johnson and Wes Montgomery were among his first influences. He has performed with Gillespie, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Barry Harris, Marynard Ferguson, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis.

Lee was hired as a bassist for the Max Roach Quartet in 1972. While residing in Europe, Lee worked and recorded with Gary Bartz, Philip Catherine, Joe Henderson, Chris Hinze, Jasper Van’T Hof, Joachim Kuhn, Charlie Mariano and Toots Thelemans. After his return to the U.S. he began to work with the bands of Norman Connors, Gil Evans, Joe Henderson and Lonnie Liston Smith. Lee joined the Dizzy Gillespie group in 1984.

A child prodigy, Mackrel began playing the drums at the age of two and became a professional musician at the age of 10. He became one of the youngest members of a Las Vegas showroom orchestra at 18. In 1983, Mackrel joined the Count Basie Orchestra on the personal recommendation of Joe Williams and worked with Basie until his death. As a seasoned musician, Mackrel traveled and performed with the Carla Bley Very Large Band, Slide Hampton and the Jazz Master, The Carnegie Hall Classic Jazz Orchestra and the Toshiko Akiyoshi Big Band, among others. He also was a featured soloist in the West Coast premier of Charles Mingus’ Epitaph.”

Miller was picking out melodies on the piano at age six and began to play gigs with his older brother at the age of 10, but it was only after hearing his firsts jazz record that he knew he would be a jazz pianist. He began his professional career at age 20 with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, led by the late Mercer Ellington. He also worked with art Blakely’s Jazz Messengers, Woody Shaw’s Quintet and Betty Carter’s group, and was one of the founding members of Tony Williams’ Quintet. His experience with these groups established him as one of the most in-demand pianists on the New York scene and he has been part of many all-star groups.

An altoist who gained recognition for his work with Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart studied classical saxophone at the Baltimore School for the Arts. He sat in with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, toured with Hargrove for a few years, and in the mid-’90s formed his own group. Most influenced by Cannonball Adderley and Gary Bartz, Hart has recorded for Novus with Hargrove and, as a leader, on a number of his own CDs. His most recent release is Ama Tu Sonrisa.

Tickets for The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars are $21 for adults, $18 for seniors and $12 for youth. The Sharp Theater is located at the Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts. For more information call 201. 684.7844.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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