By Mandi LeCompte
The 2016 Jazz Under the Stars series will begin on Thursday, July 7 in the outdoor amphitheater of the Mary Baker Russell Music Center on the PLU campus. This annual summer concert series is FREE to the public, PLU’s gift to our community. The series runs Thursdays for six weeks, 7:00-9:00 p.m. The series is put together by Jazz Under the Stars Director David Deacon-Joyner.
Bring your lawn chairs and your picnic food. Free coffee is available and select wine, beer and snacks are available for sale. 208 Garfield will deliver your dinner to the concert, stop in and order your favorite sandwich or salad by 6pm Wednesday.
The lineup for the 2016 series is:
- July 7: Casey McGill Orchestra (Seattle vintage swing band)
- July 14:The Keith Henson Octet
- July 21: Olympia Jazz Tentette
- July 28: Wendy Gilles (New York vocalist and PLU alum)
- August 4: Eugenie Jones (NW vocalist of the year)
- August 11: Greta Matassa (Internationally-renowned Seattle vocalist)
After the last three concerts (July 28, August 4, August 11) PLU physics department and Tacoma Astronomical Society offers stargazing at PLU’s Keck Observatory, weather permitting. Star charts are passed out at the concert and the telescope is available for the public.
Come and hear the world-famous Fuchs organ in our Lagerquist Concert Hall for a short 10 minute intermission performance.
Concerts are never cancelled due to weather. Weather updates and location changes will be shared on the PLU Music Facebook page. On days with inclement weather, concerts will be held in Lagerquist Concert Hall of the Mary Baker Russell Music Center.
JULY 7: Casey MacGill Orchestra
The Casey MacGill Orchestra is dedicated to the swinging music of the 1930’s. We play with a dance beat; we love the harmonic color of Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and Artie Shaw; we like the fun of Fats Waller and the theatricality of Cab Calloway; and we like being a team, playing together as one with dynamics and esprit d’ corps. We are delighted to return this season and bring the rhythm of hot dance bands and the romance of music ‘under the stars’.
JULY 14: Keith Henson Octet
JULY 21: Olympia Jazz Tentette
Six horns and four rhythms combine to create OJT “Olympia Jazz Tentette,” with all the energy and pizzazz of a big band with the subtlety of a small combo. Under the expert guidance of trumpeter Syd Potter, OJT offers an eclectic mix of music from great jazz composers and the Great American Songbook.
JULY 28: Wendy Gilles
Washington native and PLU alumna Wendy Gilles has spent the last ten years in New York, carving out a niche for herself in two distinct areas of its music scene. As the featured vocalist of the renowned Gil Evans Project, her “sweet, declarative voice” (ejazznews.com) and “infectious performances” (allmusic.com) on their two GRAMMY Award-nominated albums, Centennial and Lines of Color, have been roundly praised by critics. Wendy has performed as a leader or featured vocalist in NYC at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Jazz Standard, Cornelia Street Cafe, 55 Bar, and Shapeshifter Lab, and in many fine concert venues across the country. Wendy is also an in-demand church musician and choral singer, and sings with the finest professional ensembles in the city, including the Concert Chorale of New York, Voices of Ascension, Sacred Music in a Sacred Space, Vox Vocal Ensemble, and the New York Choral Artists. The Choral Artists perform regularly with the New York Philharmonic, and with them, Wendy has performed many of the major classical masterworks under the direction of such luminaries as Alan Gilbert, Gustavo Dudamel, Zubin Mehta, Michael Tilson Thomas, and shared the stage with Danny Elfman, Stephanie Blythe, Marion Cotillard, and Ingrid Michaelson.
AUGUST 4: Eugenie Jones
Eugenie Jones is described as a performer that makes audiences feel jazz. Vocally described as possessing, “A voice that covers words like pieces of silk covering precious stones,” Jones is an emotive, engaging song stylist that entertains and draws audiences into each performance. Winner of Earshot Jazz NW Recording of the Year, Jones’ style is reminiscent of the sophistication of iconic vocalists/composers of the past. She classically performs mainstream jazz and pulls listeners inside contemporary themes by sharing original vocal jazz tunes that have earned her international recognition as a cleverly gifted lyricist.
As a national recording artist, Jones albums have made it onto Jazz Week Review Top-50 list, been favorably reviewed by Down Beat, numerous industry critics, and have been the foundation for sold out performances from Washington, DC to Seattle, WA.
AUGUST 11: Greta Matassa
Greta Matassa is one of the most talented singers working in jazz today. She has been voted “Northwest Vocalist of the Year” by Earshot Jazz seven times in 15 years! She was voted again, vocalist of the year in 2014 and honored with a lifetime achievement award and inducted into the Earshot Jazz Hall of Fame in 2014.
Greta has been a mainstay on Seattle’s Jazz stages for many years and with her recent successful dates at New York’s Dizzy’s Club at Lincoln Center, tours of Russia, Singapore and Hawaii and Japan, Greta’s sound is now reaching new audiences. Greta has released seven CD’s on the respected jazz label Origin Records and a DVD live concert with guitarist Mimi Fox. Her latest cd “I Wanna be Loved” Resonance Records was critically acclaimed.
Greta is also a respected and generous teacher. She has been on faculty at Jazz Camp West, Drayton Harbor Jazz Festival and The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival. She has a thriving private teaching practice and is releasing an instructional e-book in 2015 and new CD is coming in 2016.