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Monterey Jazz Band closes Jazz SLC season

Monterey Jazz Band 55th Anniversary
Monterey Jazz Band 55th Anniversary
Monterey Jazz Archive

For the final concert of the Jazz SLC 2012-13 season, founder Gordon Hanks is pulling out all the stops by bringing five of the Monterey Jazz Festival’s top recording artists to the Capitol Theatre on Saturday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m.

"This year was really a remarkable year for our jazz community," Hanks said. "Every concert seemed to get better and better, and this final concert is going to be big.”

This concert is billed as the “Monterey Jazz Festival 55th Anniversary Celebration,” featuring guest artists Dee Dee Bridgewater (vocals), Christian McBride (bass), Benny Green (piano), Lewis Nash (drums) and Chris Potter (saxophone).

“All of these jazz musicians have been part of this jazz series for a number of years," Hanks said.

A Tony Award-winning artist and a three-time Grammy Award recipient, not to mention the host of syndicated NPR radio show JazzSet, Bridgewater has the sort of voice that can move effortlessly from rich afro blues to Ella Fitzgerald and moments later arrest the audience with the haunting and stylistic vocals of Billie Holliday.

Her discography reveals a wide range of musical interests, from big band, soul and vocal jazz to an impressive collection of standards, including crossover jazz.

Sharing the stage with Bridgewater is pianist Green, who has been a frequent participant in the Jazz SLC series. Stylistically, critics have compared Green to Oscar Peterson, Bobby Timmons, Bud Powell and Gene Harris. These influences can be heard in Green’s work, but he exhibits his own unique mastery of the jazz form.

Generous in his celebration and acknowledgment of the great jazz pianists, his homage to Thelonious Monk and George Shearing displays his own unique sense of musicianship.

Bassist McBride is not a stranger to the Salt Lake jazz scene, his experience going back 12 years to his first appearance with fellow musicians Nash and Green.

McBride’s jazz album "The Good Feeling" garnered a 2012 Grammy Award, and his most recent CD, "Conversations with Christian McBride," features more than a dozen duet performances with artists ranging from Sting to Eddie Palmieri.

Count on drummer Nash to keep the seams tight on stage in this talented quintet. Nash is comfortable in any genre of music and is one of the most inventive drummers on the circuit today. One of Nash’s greatest strengths is his unique use of brushes and the way he manipulates sound from the bass drum, snares and toms onstage.

Saxophonist Potter is the youngest member of the group but packs a pretty impressive resume. Down Beat magazine dubbed him “one of the most studied (and copied) saxophonists on the planet,” while others in the business consider him second only to tenor-sax legend Sonny Rollins.

Equally at home as a composer and arranger, Potter has continually explored the boundaries of his craft with a curious mixture of the old-school jazz foundation and hunger for what might musically be around the corner.

If you go:

When: Saturday, April 27, 2013, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets: $30 for adults, $10 for students; call ArtTix at 801-355-ARTS

Jeff Metcalf is a professor of English at the University of Utah and an avid jazz fan.