Jazz concert and silent auction at Fairfield University to benefit several local scholarships and awards


A lively jazz trio, comedian Mike Morris and a silent auction are among the highlights of a benefit for The Jamie A. Hulley Fund for the Arts to be held on Saturday, Sept. 20, at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The silent auction and wine and cheese reception begin at 7 p.m. and the concert will follow at 8 p.m. in the Kelley Auditorium.

All proceeds from the evening will benefit several scholarships and awards, as well as celebrate the life of Jamie Alaine Hulley, daughter of Fairfield University psychology professor Judy Primavera and Fred Hulley Jr. Jamie Hulley was an Orange resident and arts enthusiast whose dream of a career in the arts was cut short when she died of cancer in 2002 at the age of 20. The fund offers scholarships and awards at Racebrook School and Amity junior and senior high schools, in Orange and Woodbridge; Wesleyan University; and Fairfield University.

The benefit features a concert of jazz standards and original selections performed by bassist Brian Torff, pianist Florence Melnotte and drummer Thierry Arpino. Comedian Mike Morris, a psychology professor at the University of New Haven, who has performed in several local clubs, will also take the stage.

Torff, director of Fairfield University's jazz and popular music program, has an extensive performing and recording career, having played with such luminaries as singer Cleo Laine, violin virtuoso Stephane Grappelli, pianist Erroll Garner and the incomparable Frank Sinatra. He recorded three albums with jazz piano master George Shearing, the third of which won a Grammy for vocalist Mel Tormé.

Torff is also a noted composer and has written scores performed by the Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony. He appeared as a conductor, musician, composer and clinician throughout the country, having recently toured with "The Spirit of Django Reinhardt," a tribute to the legendary guitarist that included a July 23 performance at Lincoln Center.

Born in Paris, Melnotte studied at L'Ecole Normal de Musique de Paris for seven years and has performed solo and with groups for several years. She is most widely known for her work with the innovative Four Roses Quartet with whom she tours Europe regularly. Her Florence Melnotte Quartet won first prize at the Tremplin d'Avignon in 1995, the Jazz Sous les Pommiers competition in 1994 and the Tremplin Jazz du Val d'Oise in 1993. She and Torff released a CD, "Another Great Day," in 2002.

Arpino, who was also born in Paris, was introduced to the drums at the tender age of three. He studied piano, percussion and harmony, graduating from the prestigious St. Maur National Music Academy in France before attending Boston's Berklee School of Music. Proficient in jazz, rock, techno, world and African beats, he has played and recorded with violin innovator Jean-Luc Ponty, The Joe Beck Trio and others, both in the United States and Europe.

Tickets to the benefit are $35. For tickets, call (203) 891-8869.

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

Posted on August 20, 2003

Vol. 36, No. 13