Fairfield University Fall Jazz Concert set for December 9 with special guest pianist Christian Sands



Image: Christian SandsNew Haven native and rising jazz star, twenty-one-year-old Christian Sands is guest pianist for Fairfield University's Jazz Ensemble Fall Jazz Concert on Thursday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the Quick Center for the Arts' Wien Experimental Theatre. Jamie Debicella '11, winner of Fairfield University's Mary Louise Larrabee Prize for students in the arts, will perform his winning piece with the ensemble. Tickets are $8 general, $5 students. The Fall Jazz Concert is an Arts & Minds presentation.

Brian Torff, renowned bassist and director of jazz and popular music at the University, leads the ensemble in a tribute to guitar giants Jimi Hendrix on the 40th anniversary of his death and to Django Reinhardt on the 100th anniversary of his birth. The program includes two Reinhardt songs, "Minor Swing" and "Manoir de mes Reves," Hendrix's "Wind Cries Mary," "Red House" arranged by Debicella and Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." Two compositions by jazz greats John Coltrane and Milt Jackson are featured with Coltrane's "Cousin Mary" and Jackson's "Bags Groove."

Of his music, Sands says, "[It] is about teaching the way of jazz and keeping it alive." He takes a fresh look at the entire language of jazz: stride, swing, bebop, progressive, fusion, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban. According to Sands in a recent NPR guest appearance on "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz" program, his influences include Duke Ellington, Theolonious Monk and Dave Brubeck, among others. He has been playing piano since the age of 3 and he began composing at age 5.

Debicella, a guitarist and popular studies music major, originally composed and arranged the Larrabee Award-winning-piece "Esquire" in 2005 for a "power trio" consisting of electric guitar, bass and drums. His work on the piece over the last three years has evolved through the fusion of classical instrumentation and harmony and a popular rock format that is heavily influence by African American musical components. The product of his work demonstrates, as Debicella points out, "the powerful unifier of musical diversity."

Sands' meteoric rise in the jazz world already includes two appearances at the 48th and 49th Grammy® Awards and a highly publicized duet with legendary pianist Oscar Peterson. He was also featured as a special guest of jazz adjudicator and pianist Dr. Billy Taylor for his return performance in Washington, D.C. for Jazz at the Kennedy Center. He received a Grammy® nomination for Best Latin Solo for the work "Kenya Revisited," conducted by Manhattan School of Music's bandleader, Bobby Sanabria. He has four CDs to his credit of which "Risin'" and "Furioso" were released in Tokyo, Japan. He has demonstrated his abilities as a performer and composer by writing, arranging and producing several songs on his CDs. Sands is a senior at Manhattan School of Music.

Tickets are available at fairfield.edu/quick or from the Box Office at (203) 254-4010. The toll free number is 1-877-ARTS-396. Special offers and discounts are available through the Quick Center's e-mail list. Join, by contacting boxoffice@quickcenter.com. And become a fan of the Quick Center for the Arts on Facebook! Keep up-to-date with the latest performance news, plus special offers and discounts! Find the Quick Center at www.facebook.com/FairfieldQuickCenter.

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Directions: Fairfield University is located off I-95, exit 22 at 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824. Access to the Quick Center for the Arts is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road.  Special Note: From Oct. 4, 2010 through June 30, 2012, the southern end of North Benson Road (Rt. 135) will be closed to traffic on nights and weekends. Round Hill Road intersects with Barlow and provides access to the Quick Center for the Arts.

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, jgrant@fairfield.edu

Posted on November 12, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 112