Jazz-rock powerhouse Thunderstick returns to Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Renowned bassist and composer Brian Torff, director of Fairfield University's Jazz and Popular Music program, will bring his jazz-rock band Thunderstick to campus for two concerts on Thursday, March 25, at 7 and 8:30 p.m. at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

Torff has added a horn section to the powerful lineup and refers to the original compositions they play as a "newer form of jazz-rock." Thunderstick will appear at Fairfield just days before heading to Tony Bennett's studio in Englewood, N.J., to record its first CD.

Torff says he has enjoyed exploring and expanding the color, power and excitement of a horn-driven band. The creative possibilities have been greatly enhanced by the caliber of horn musicians he's assembled, including Tony Kadleck, of Bedford Falls, N.Y., and Frank Maxwell, of New City, N.Y., on trumpets, Ken Gioffre, of Yonker, N.Y., on tenor sax, and John Fumasoli, of Rye, N.Y., on trombone. The rhythm section consists of: Brian Charette, of New York City, on keyboards; Torff, of Fairfield, on bass; Grisha Alexiev, of New York City, on drums; and Diana Herold, of New York City, on percussion.

"These are some of the top players in New York City and many have been contributing faculty members at Fairfield University from time to time," Torff said.

While some earlier compositions will be part of the program, Torff will introduce many newer works, including the African-inspired "House of Dzugu" and "Zydeco Steps," a Cajun-tinged tune. A reggae ski song called "Gnarly Shred" and "Dominating," a second line New Orleans funk piece, round out the eclectic mix.

Torff has toured throughout the United States, Europe, Brazil and South Africa, and recently appeared at Birdland in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He performed at the annual Fiddle Fest benefit at Carnegie Hall on a program including Itzhak Perlmann, Yo Yo Ma and Regina Carter. He serves as music program director at Fairfield University and was a co-chairperson for the music advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets are $8 for general admission, $5 for students. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at 203-254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 20, 2004

Vol. 36, No. 194