A pair of Grammy Award-winning drummers will share the headliners’ spotlight Nov. 7-8 for Lawrence University’s 34th annual Jazz Celebration Weekend.
Terri Lyne Carrington kicks off the weekend Friday night with a performance alongside her eight-piece band and vocalist Lizz Wright. Peter Erskine closes the weekend Saturday evening in a performance with the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble and the Lawrence Jazz Faculty. Both concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel.
Tickets, at $30-25 for adults, $25-20 for seniors and $20-18 for students, are available through the Lawrence Box Office, 920-832-6749.
Saturday night’s concert with Erskine is the first of four upcoming “Music for Food“ concerts designated for the benefit of the Fox Valley’s St. Joseph Food Pantry. Audience members attending are encouraged to make a charitable donation — monetary or a nonperishable food item — to help combat hunger in the Fox Cities. All monetary donations are tax deductible, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to St. Joseph Food Pantry.
“We are so fortunate to have two of the most successful and creative drummers on the planet performing at this year’s Jazz Celebration Weekend,” said percussion maestro and Lawrence Professor of Music Dane Richeson. “Both have had a profound influence on my own playing, beginning in the mid 1970’s when I heard a young Peter Erskine with the Maynard Ferguson Big Band.
“And I was awestruck when I first saw Ms. Carrington — as a teenager — sit in with a group at an outdoor festival in New York City that I was performing at in the early 80’s,” Richeson added. “These are two of the most dynamic drummers you will ever hear.”
Carrington — composer, producer, clinician. media entrepreneur as well as drummer —initially captured attention on a pair of television shows, first as the house drummer for the “Arsenio Hall Show” in the 1980s and later for the late-night program “Vibe” in the late 1990s.
Over the course of her career, Carrington has recorded with a Who’s Who of jazz luminaries, including Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana and Wayne Shorter.
Her 2011 ensemble CD “The Mosaic Project” won a Best Jazz Vocal Album Grammy Award. A socially-conscious musical celebration of female artists, the album featured the talents of some of the world’s foremost female instrumentalists and vocalists, including Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Esperanza Spalding and Gretchen Parlato.
Earlier this year, she earned her second Grammy Award when her 2014 album, “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue,” was recognized with the Best Jazz Instrumental Album.
Joining Carrington, who teaches percussion at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, her alma mater, and her band, will be acclaimed jazz vocalist Lizz Wright, whose voice is rooted in the gospel music she grew up with. NPR has hailed Wright’s music “as spiritually uplifting as it is graceful, grounded and unmistakably cool.”
Erskine, who has been voted Best Jazz Drummer of the Year 10 times by readers of “Modern Drummer” magazine, is internationally known as an energetic and expressive performer in a wide range of musical styles. He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Stan Keaton, Weather Report, Chick Corea, Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. A prolific recorder as well as performer, Erskine has released 50 albums and produces jazz recordings on his own label, Fuzzy Music.
Prior to his concert performance, Erskine will conduct a free clinic on Friday (11/7) from 1:30-2:30 in Shattuck Hall 46. The clinic is open to anyone who would be interested in attending.
The Saturday evening concert will pay tribute to award-winning composer and arranger Fred Sturm, who founded Jazz Celebration Weekend in 1981. Sturm, the long-time director of jazz studies at Lawrence, died Aug. 24 after a long battle with cancer. Erskine, and the Lawrence University Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Patty Darling, will perform Sturm’s “Home Jubilation” and “Patience” as part of the program.
More than 750 middle and high school students from throughout Wisconsin and neighboring states will attend Jazz Celebration Weekend to participate in educational jazz clinic sessions on campus. The visiting clinicians include Ike Sturm, music director for the Jazz Ministry at St. Peter’s Church in New York City, trombonist Tim Albright of the Julliard School, trumpeter Frank “Pancho” Romero of New Mexico State University, trumpeter Marty Robinson of UW-Oshkosh and bassist Karyn Quinn of UW-La Crosse.
In addition to the two headliner concerts, five free concerts will be held throughout the day on Saturday, including a 1:30 p.m. performance in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel by the Lawrence Jazz Band under the direction of Matt Turner. The free Saturday concerts are highlighted in color in this PDF.
About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2015 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.