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Buffalo Jazz Collective back with rich offerings

Top local players and other jazz masters with ties to WNY return in the Collective's second year


Buffalo Jazz Collective, which debuted last year, is back this year with more good news and music for jazz lovers. The Collective presents performances by top local players and other jazz masters with ties to the area while also creating well-organized education programs, concerts, and scholarships for aspiring young players. BJC’s guiding philosophy seems to be a desire to celebrate the highest form of jazz at both the local and international levels, while creating the infrastructure to assure its continued success.


BJC kicked off its second season of concerts and educational programs in September at several venues around town, including Temple Beth Zion, where the first of several concerts honoring Jewish-American composers and performers spotlighted the works of Buffalo’s own Harold Arlen. BJC will present two of these concerts at the temple each season which will also feature the music of Richard Rogers, George Gershwin, and Stan Getz. This month, the celebration of Arlen’s music continues with a concert by BJC Sextet in the Taylor Theatre at the Kenan Center in Lockport on November 4 at 7:30 p.m. The next day, November 5, a program entitled The Wizard of Oz and More: Harold Arlen Songbook, brings more Arlen melodies to the Theatre of Youth at 2:30 p.m.


Last month, BJC marked the 100th anniversary of the births of three of the founders of bebop—Tadd Dameron, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk—with a concert at Buff State. On Sunday, November 12, at 2:30 p.m, BJC Sextet Plays Bebop will continue the tribute to the music that startled the world out of its swing-induced reverie with jagged melodies, madcap tempos, and undanceable rhythms. The concert is one of the Second Sundays series held at the Buffalo History Museum from October through March. In addition to a holiday celebration in December, the series will include performances by George Caldwell saluting Count Basie in January, Joe Ford in February, and Pat LaBarbera in March.


“The Collective was fortunate to be the recipient of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation Field of Interest Grant through the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo,” explains Mark Filsinger, director of the Collective. With that funding, BJC is able to sponsor acclaimed jazz musicians like Joe Ford and Steve Davis, who will perform with All City Jazz Ensemble and trumpeter Filsinger’s Eleventet on November 19 at 1 p.m. at Flying Bison Brewery. The grant also helps provide weekly jazz instruction and regular master classes for students throughout the year.


This past summer, the Collective hosted weekly jam sessions at Public House 189 in East Aurora with a mix of seasoned veterans, young professionals, and college and high school students sitting in each week. The sessions, featuring a rotating lineup of the area’s top jazz musicians, continue this month and next, November 1 and December 6, at Public House 189 at 7 p.m. Events next spring also include a concert by pianist and composer Pete Malinverni, a former area resident, and another edition of the Jewish-American Songbook Series featuring the music of George Gershwin. For complete details on all concerts, programs, events and times, visit buffalojazzcollective.com.                           


Phil Nyhuis writes about music for Spree.


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