LU Jazz series to feature eclectic mix of performers

Cory Robertson

The Lawrence community can expect great things from the jazz department this year, not only from faculty and students but also from a number of visiting artists. The 2004-2005 Jazz Series will bring us vocalist Jane Monheit, trumpet player Kenny Wheeler, saxophonist Benny Golson, and the Joshua Redman Trio.
Jane Monheit performs November 11th, with an opening set by the Lawrece University Jazz Singers and the Jazz Ensemble. Monheit’s immense talent has carried her far. She studied music theory and clarinet as a child and began formal vocal training at age 17 with Peter Eldridge at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. In 1998 she won the Thelonius Monk Competition and has since become a best-selling recording artist. DownBeat magazine said that Monheit possesses a “pitch-perfect voice that can bridge the rigors of the theater, which is a form of musical acting, and the flexibility of jazz, which is instrumental in spirit.
Kenny Wheeler will present a colorful, contemporary program on November 12th. A seasoned performer, Wheeler has worked with the likes of Keith Jarrett, the Berlin Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, and Ralph Towner. Wheeler began to emerge as a soloist in 1959 after joining the Johnny Dankworth Band. He has explored a variety of genres throughout his career, including free music, in which he has worked with trumpet player and drummer John Stevens.
Professor Fred Sturm describes the inclusion of Benny Golson in the Jazz series as a “program of historical significance” at Lawrence. LUJE and the Lawrence Jazz Trio will take part in the February 17th performance, which will surely reflect Golson’s legendary reputation as a composer and saxophonist. He has composed and arranged music for John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Itzhak Perlman, among others. Nat Hentoff of the York Times wrote, “Benny Golson continually impresses me with the freshness of his musical conceptions.”
On May 13th, the Joshua Redman Trio will bring a unique and eclectic sound to the chapel stage. The trio consists of keyboardist Sam Yahel, drummer Brian Blake, and saxophonist Joshua Redman. Known as the Elastic Band, the members of the trio achieve the freedom of soloists and the interaction of a cohesive ensemble. In their innovative musical approach they touch upon everything from funk to old-fashioned soul jazz.