Fairfield University's Jazz Ensemble


With special guest Gary Versace, on organ and piano
7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 24, 2014
Gonzaga Auditorium, Fairfield University

Image: Gary VersaceFairfield University's Jazz Ensemble
presents its Spring Jazz Concert with special guest Gary Versace, on organ and piano, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 24, 2014, at Fairfield University's Gonzaga Auditorium. Fairfield University's Jazz Ensemble is directed by Brian Q. Torff, Fairfield University's Director of Jazz and Popular Music. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Jazz organist, pianist, and accordionist Gary Versace, originally from Cos Cob, CT, is one of the busiest and most versatile musicians on the New York jazz scene, often featured in bands led by musicians such as John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Maria Schneider, Matt Wilson, Lee Konitz, Adam Nussbaum, Tim Ries and many others Recently, he partnered on a duo recording with the legendary saxophonist Lee Konitz and completed a six week Asian and European tour with guitarist John Scofield. Versace won the "Rising Star' category on the Hammond organ in Downbeat's Critic's Poll in 2009 and 2010, won the Jazz Jounalists' Association "Best Organist" award in 2012, and his work has been reviewed and featured in many national and international publications. He has several CD's under his own name on the SteepleChase and Criss Cross labels and has appeared as a guest on hundreds more, including Grammy-nominated albums by Maria Schneider and John Hollenbeck. He also performed in a two-piano recital with the late Marian McPartland and appeared on her acclaimed National Public Radio program, "Piano Jazz." He has a masters degree from the Eastman School of Music and his experience as an educator includes eight years as a tenured associate professor in the jazz studies department at University of Oregon. He remains active as a clinician and guest soloist both nationally and around the world. His latest recordings are "Refuge Trio" with vocalist Theo Bleckmann and percussionist John Hollenbeck, and "Outside In" with Donny McCaslin on tenor and soprano sax, Adam Rogers on guitar, and Clarence Penn on drums.

The Fairfield University Jazz Ensemble's program, which includes original student compositions, jazz standards, and R&B and rock classics, consists of: "Early Morning Groove," by Amanda Ocasio '16; "Green Onions," by Booker T. Jones; "Mandela," a tribute song by Brian Torff; "Moby Dick," by Led Zeppelin's Bonham, Jones and Page; "Carpe," by Robby Schwartz '16; "The Dawning of a New Day," by Chris Finelli '15; and "Beautiful Love," by Victor Young.

The Jazz Ensemble consists of Chris Finelli on trumpets, Michael Mauro, Amanda Ocasio, Jimmy Pulie, and Alexis Ellis on saxes, Jenna Taylor on flute, Tim Rhone, and guest Arthur Ashman on trombones, Robby Schwartz on piano, John Domenico and Jamie Debicella on guitar, Brian Torff on bass, and DJ Horstmann and Zach Schneider on drums.

Gonzaga Auditorium is located in Gonzaga Hall on the campus of Fairfield University. Tickets will be available at the door of Gonzaga Auditorium the evening of the performance. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 7, 2014

Vol. 46, No. 258