Bassist/composer Brian Torff and his jazz-rock band Thunderstick to perform at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts


Image: Brian TorffBassist and composer Brian Torff and his jazz-rock band Thunderstick return to the stage at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on Thursday, March 20 at 7 and 8:30 p.m.

Torff, director of Fairfield University's Music Program, recently decided to take the group in a new musical direction, adding a horn section to the original quartet and updating the powerful sounds of the late '60s and early '70s á la Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago.

"I always loved that sound," Torff said, "but I wanted to do it my way with a newer kind of style and more modern arrangements."

Torff said he enjoys exploring and expanding the color, power and excitement of a horn-driven band. The creative possibilities have been enhanced by the caliber of horn musicians he's assembled. The new group includes Tony Kadleck and Rex Denton on trumpets, Ken Gioffre on tenor sax and John Fumansoli on trombone. The rhythm section is: Alan Simon, keybords; Torff, bass; Grishna Alexiev, drums; and Diana Herold, percussion.

"They are experienced musicians who have played with groups like Blood, Sweat & Tears, Tower of Power and Smokey Robinson, and for Broadway shows," Torff said. "The level of performance they bring is just stellar."

Torff is so pleased with the new group that they will record a CD later this year.

Torff will introduce several new pieces at the Quick Center show. Included among the premieres are an African-inspired piece called "House of Dzugu," the Cajun-influenced "Zydeco Steps" and "Gnarly Shred," a Reggae ski song. "Starthrower," another new work, is a Brazilian samba featuring Torff on the electric upright stick bass.

Having toured extensively in the United States, Europe, Brazil and South Africa, Torff recently appeared at Birdland in New York City and the French Consulate in Washington, D.C. He was a co-chairperson for the music advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets for the Quick Center show are $8 for general admission, $5 for student admission. 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 23, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 198