Jazz Trumpeter Mark Rapp Plays the WC Handy Festival 2008

This weekend (July 25 & 26), trumpeter and composer Mark Rapp and his NY-based band will bring his original sounds of contemporary Jazz to Florence, Alabama at the 27th annual WC Handy Festival. Past festivals have had such greats as Dizzy Gillispie, Take6, Henry Butler, Ellis Marsalis and more and Rapp duly notes, "I'm very excited to be back south and honored to play such a highly regarded festival." One event Rapp is looking forward to is giving a music clinic for the C.I.T.Y. Program (Community Intensive Treatment for Youth) on Friday morning. Rapp says, "This is one of the main reasons I work so hard at playing music - to have the opportunity to encourage and inspire people of all ages to arise to the occasion, find happiness in the journey and to achieve their dreams."

The C.I.T.Y. Program is a group of teachers and counselors who work daily with court-appointed youth to provide academic remediation, intensive therapeutic intervention, physical education, and transitional follow-up into the world of college or work.

Later that Friday, the Mark Rapp Group will be a part of the Riverside Jazz concerts in McFarland Park and on Saturday, MRG will present an up-close-and-personal concert in the Zodiac theatre.

Mark Rapp may be one of the hardest working jazz musicians in New York City. And for this South Carolina native, the passionate trumpeter and bandleader has seen that his persistence has paid off, being named one of the nation's "top emerging jazz trumpeters" by Downbeat Magazine in 2007.

Staying true to his vision, Rapp consistently performs his originals and his arrangements: "I'm more interested in discovering and expressing the music in me like Miles and Monk did... unique artists like Bjork, Radiohead and even Dr. Dre." And for Rapp, this vision is paying off. His played alongside the likes of Branford Marsalis to Hootie and the Blowfish. A debut cd from Paved Earth records is in the works and this summer Mark will be playing the WC Handy Festival, JVC Newport Jazz Festival, Southern Exposure Festival in addition to performing at the US Open, and other engagements.

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