Mahogany is well acquainted with singing with big bands as he has his own repertoire and custom-made charts, some of them arranged by the legendary Frank Mantooth. According to the respected jazz website allmusic.com, Mahogany’s “swinging style is reminiscent, but not derivative of Joe Williams.” He takes pride in his Kansas City roots and, just like another Kansas City resident, Charlie Parker, his delivery is deeply saturated in the authentic blues. In one recent performance, Mahogany joked that the state law in Kansas City required a minimum of two blues numbers per set.
The Vermont Jazz Center Big Band will accompany Mahogany as he delves into his repertoire of blues and classic jazz standards. The band is a professional community orchestra comprising musicians from Hartford, CT, to Woodstock who come together and rehearse numerous times to prepare for this annual event. The money raised from this concert helps fill the coffers of the VJC scholarship fund and will assist in complementing the $10,000 matching funds so generously donated by the Thompson Trust.
Once again it’s time to celebrate and salute the band’s longevity and quality. VJC board member and big band organizer Sherm Fox deserves all the credit for staying in contact with the musicians, arranging rehearsals, and putting together the extensive library. The individual members of the ensemble deserve tremendous credit for their abilities, musicality, and for their commitment of time and talent.
This year’s musical director is trumpeter-conductor Rob Freeberg, who recently moved to southern Vermont from New York. He is exceptionally qualified to direct the VJC big band. He was the musical director at New Rochelle High School, had his own professional community band, garnered awards from the NY State Music Association, and conducted a youth orchestra at Lincoln Center. The members of the VJC Big Band include trumpet section: Donald Anderson, Rick Anderson, Charlie Schneeweis, and Steve Sontag; saxophone section: Bill Ballard, Sherm Fox, Bob Stabach, Larry Tutt, and Michael Zsoldos; trombone section: Dan DeWalt, Michael Pallas, Rob Skrocki, and Bob Thies; rhythm section: Julian Gerstin (percussion), Draa Hobbs (guitar), Dave Picchi (bass), Steve Rice (drums), and Eugene Uman (piano).
Admission, which includes a delicious and complimentary dessert buffet, is $25 for general admission or $30 for reservations that include reserved seating (table spaces are limited). For local high school students there is a special fund available to subsidize admission. Purchase tickets online at www.vtjazz.org, at In the Moment Record Store or call the VJC ticket line at (802) 254-9088, ext. 1. This event is handicapped accessible. Call if assistance is needed.