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Jam sessions

Fri., Feb. 18, 2011, midnight

Masters of jazz have entertained, taught for more than 40 years

The first and only jazz festival named for an African-American musician, the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton International Jazz Festival represents a 40-plus-year legacy as a stage for students to learn from, and audiences to be entertained by, the masters of jazz.

This year’s festival, which opens Wednesday, isn’t any different except it enhances that vision by extending access to those jazz masters with orchestrated after-hours jam sessions at Moscow businesses and focused workshops with invitation-only special sessions for area schools.

This year the festival alters its platform chemistry by emphasizing multiple stages running simultaneously throughout the UI campus on Thursday, staggering start times and giving concertgoers the option of catching the first set of one show and moving to another, or staying for a double helping of their favorite.

Here’s the lineup:


• Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Community Kickoff, 5 p.m., Prichard Art Gallery, 414/416 S. Main Street: The University of Idaho’s gallery is the launch point for the festival’s opening reception, displaying 213 pieces by mixed-media visual artist John Wood.

• Jimmy Heath, Terrell Stafford and more, 8 p.m., Student Union Building, 709 Deakin Ave.: Heath, a multiple Grammy-nominated saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, was named 2003 American Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. He was nicknamed “Little Bird” in the 1940s, denoting his similarity in style to Charlie “Bird” Parker, but he has soared on his own wings with distinctive sound on tenor sax as well as soprano and flute.

Heath is part of Wednesday night’s lineup along with house band Lionel Hampton All-Star Rhythm Section, featuring a rising jazz star and vocalist, Brooklyn-bred Charenee Wade; and trumpeter Terrell Stafford, director of jazz studies at Temple University, who’ll be accompanied by the UI’s Jazz Band One.


• Atsuko Hashimoto, 7:30 p.m., Student Union Building: Japanese Hammond organ virtuoso Hashimoto first came to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in 2008. He’ll appear with All-Star Rhythm Section guitarist Graham Dechter and drummer Jeff Hamilton, who has recorded with the likes of Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall, the Clayton Brothers and his own trio.

• Nikki Yanofsky, 8 p.m., Music Building, Haddock Performance Hall, 1010 Blake Ave.: At age 16, jazz-pop vocal prodigy Yanofsky sang Canada’s national anthem at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C., and has collaborated with music greats such as Herbie Hancock. She is joined Thursday by All Star Rhythm Section pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Sean Conley and drummer Kevin Kanner.

• Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap, 8:30 p.m., Administration Building Auditorium, 851 Campus Drive: Piano duo partners Rosnes and Charlap have international renown, separately and together. Canadian-born Rosnes has released 12 albums – nine for Blue Note records – four of which received Juno Awards (Canada’s version of the Grammys). Her husband, Charlap, has performed with artists such as Tony Bennett and Wynton Marsalis, and has been nominated for two Grammys.


• The Manhattan Transfer and the Victor Wooten Band, 8:30 p.m., ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center, 1000 Stadium Way: A longtime cohort of banjo master Bela Fleck, Wooten was named Bass Player magazine’s Bass Player of the Year three times in a row and was the first person to win the award more than once. Active as a jazz educator, he started learning bass from his brother at age 3 and made his stage debut at age 5.

The Manhattan Transfer formed in 1969 and has recorded with Smokey Robinson, Phil Collins, B.B. King and Chaka Khan.


• Lionel Hampton New York Big Band featuring Jimmy Heath, Carmen Bradford and more, 8:30 p.m., ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center: Now under the direction of Cleave Guyton Jr. on alto saxophone and flute, with arrangements by tenor saxophonist Lace Bryant and trumpeter Claudio “Tony” Barrero, the Lionel Hampton New York Big Band has been a catapult for world-class performers since Hampton debuted it more than 60 years ago.

The group also features drummer Ed Shaughnessy and tenor sax player Pete Christlieb, both of whom have played with the “Tonight Show” band.

A third-generation jazz musician – the daughter of trumpeter/composer Bobby Bradford and vocalist/composer Melba Joyce – Bradford was featured in the Count Basie Orchestra for nine years. She has since recorded and performed with John Clayton, Doc Severinsen, James Brown, Frank Sinatra and George Benson.

Closing out the evening is a “Mallet Palooza” tribute to Hampton performed by the Legacy Percussion Orchestra.


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