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American Jazz Institute Nonet: The Jazz Soul of Frankie Laine
GARY SMULYAN, saxophone
MARK MASTERS, conductor
GARY FOSTER, saxophone
JERRY PINTER, saxophone
RON STOUT, trumpet
DAVE WOODLEY, trombone
STEPHANIE O'KEEFE, french horn

With the passing of Frankie Laine last year, America lost one of the 20th century’s most successful and legendary entertainers. America’s Number One Song Stylist had over 70 charted records to his credit, 21 of which went gold. Later in his career, his rendition of the title song for the Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles (1974) won an Oscar nomination for Best Song. A gifted and versatile singer, Laine excelled at an impressive range of musical styles, from pop standards to folk, gospel to country, and of course his signature jazz. Also known as Mr. Rhythm, Laine brought a driving beat, passionate vibrancy, and powerful voice to the genre, and his innovation and style left an indelible mark on the musical world. A musical descendent of Billy Eckstine, Joe Turner, and Jimmy Rushing, his rise signaled the end of the era of Sinatra’s bandstand crooning and the beginning of the age of blues and rock n’ roll. Laine’s pioneering success paved the way for the rise of artists who also revolutionized music, such as Tony Bennet, Johnnie Ray, and Elvis Presley himself.

Joining renowned baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan for this unique evening of jazz will be saxophonists Gary Foster and Jerry Pinter as well as Ron Stout (trumpet), Dave Woodley (trombone), Stephanie O’Keefe (French horn) and a rhythm section of Cecilia Coleman (piano), Putter Smith (bass) and Kendall Kay (drums). This 21st-century perspective on one of the 20th century’s greats is sponsored by the American Jazz Institute. The Yamaha grand piano is provided courtesy of Keyboard Concepts and David L. Abell-fine pianos.