Highlights In Jazz 42nd Anniversary Gala

Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights In Jazz, New York's longest running jazz concert series, kicks off its 43rd season on Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 8:00 PM at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at Borough Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers Street, NY, 10007 with a Highlights In Jazz 42nd Anniversary Gala featuring the swinging jazz and blues of vocalist Catherine Russell and her group making their first Highlights In Jazz appearance along with the classic sounds of returning artists, clarinetist/saxophonist Dan Levinson and singer/trumpeter Bria Skonberg with pianist Gordon Webster and bassist/vocalist Nicki Parrott, plus, as in all Highlights In Jazz concerts, a surprise special guest.

One of the most highly acclaimed vocalists to emerge in the 21st Century, jazz and blues singer Catherine Russell is a descendant of music royalty. The daughter of Luis Russell, the renowned orchestra leader, pianist/composer/arranger and music director for Louis Armstrong in the mid-'40s and Carline Ray, the pioneering female jazz bassist and vocalist celebrated for tenures with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm and Mary Lou Williams, among many others. Following a distinguished career singing back up with the likes of David Bowie, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Rosanne Cash, Joan Osborne, Gloria Estafan and Madonna, Russell finally stepped into the spotlight in 2006 with her critically acclaimed debut disc as a leader, Cat, earning accolades from veteran jazz journalist Nat Hentoff, who called her "the real thing" and Wall Street Journal music critic Will Friedwald who described her as possessing "a fresh and original voice."

Russell's Strictly Romancin' recording was awarded 2012 Vocal Album of The Year prize by France's esteemed l'Academie du Jazz, while her latest effort, last year's, Bring It Back, was named runner up (tying with veteran diva Dianne Reeves) in The 2014 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll of 140 music writers from all over the globe. Making her the first Highlights in Jazz appearance (leading her stellar band featuring trumpeter Jon-Erik Kellso, trombonist John Allred, pianist Mark Shane, guitarist Matt Munisteri bassist Tal Ronen, and drummer Mark McLean), the acclaimed vocalist, beams, "We are honored to celebrate Jack Kleinsinger's 42nd Highlights in Jazz Anniversary. I'm fortunate to be on the program with some of New York's top musicians. Come swing with us!!!"

Sharing the bill with Russell will be an all star quartet of returning Highlights In Jazz veterans clarinetist/saxophonist Dan Levinson and singer/trumpeter Bria Skonberg with pianist Gordon Webster and bassist/vocalist Nicki Parrott playing a repertoire of jazz classics. Levinson notes, "I've performed for Highlights in Jazz numerous times with other bands, including Vince Giordano's Nighthawks and David Ostwald's Gully Low Jazz Band, but this will mark the first that I'll be a featured artist at Highlights in Jazz, and I'm eagerly looking forward to it." Skonberg is similarly optimistic, noting, "Jack Kleinsinger's Highlight In Jazz series is an institution in New York concerts, effectively honoring living legends, exposing fresh talent and promoting a synthesis between the generations; It's an honor to be included."

Speaking of the first time he performed with Skonberg, Webster and Parrott back in 2011, Levinson recalls, "The chemistry was magical … I've been trying - for three years - to bring the four of us together for a public concert, but Bria, Gordon and Nicki are superstars and constantly touring. This will be the first time I've succeeded and only because the stars happen to be in alignment on that particular day. So on Thursday, February 19 we'll be a comet rocketing through the Manhattan sky that only appears once a century. Better be there to see it!" Kleinsinger notes, "I'll probably bring them together with Russell because as a producer, that's what producers do - at least this one does. So I'm very excited very about our 42rd Anniversary Gala concert."

Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights In Jazz, continues its 43rd season on March 19, 2015. The show billed as Saxophones Supreme will feature the Anderson Twins (Peter and Will, who appeared with the Heath Brothers on last season's Brothers In Jazz concert), Ken Peplowski (last year's recipient of the Highlights In Jazz Award honor), along with tenor saxophonist Grant Stewart and a rhythm section featuring pianist Ehud Asherie, bassist Neal Miner and drummer Aaron Kimmel. "We're going to have the performance recorded, another rarity for Highlights In Jazz, " Kleinsinger proudly says. Also appearing on the show will be NEA Jazz Master alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson and his group.

Jack Kleinsinger's Highlights In Jazz

Highlights In Jazz 42nd Anniversary Gala
Thursday, February 19, 2015 - 8 pm

Catherine Russell-vocals
Jon-Erik Kellso-trumpet
John Allred-trombone
Mark Shane-piano
Tal Ronen-bass
Mark McLean-drums
Matt Munisteri-guitar


Dan Levinson-clarinet
Bria Skonberg—trumpet & vocals
Nicki Parrott-bass
Gordon Webster-piano

BMCC TRIBECA Performing Arts Center
Borough of Manhattan Community College
199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007

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