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Weekend of jazz starts and ends in concert

March 13, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University will host a series of events Friday and Saturday, March 28-29, celebrating the local jazz scene and honoring one musician who's been instrumental in its development.

The weekend begins with a Billy Hart tribute concert at 8:15 p.m. Friday, March 28, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The performance commemorates the drummer's 15th anniversary as an artist in residence at WMU. It will feature Hart's original music as well as works associated with or inspired by him. He will be joined in concert by the Western Jazz Quartet, the student Drum Choir, and several WMU School of Music alumni who are traveling from around the nation to be part of the celebration.

Tickets for the tribute concert are $10 and $5 for students. They are available from the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858. Following the performance, Hart is expected to receive numerous awards and accolades from the WMU community, including the dedication of a jazz studies scholarship in his name.

Next up is the 28th annual Western Invitational Jazz Festival Saturday, March 29, in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. Hart will be a guest artist and instructor at the daylong festival, which features educational and performance opportunities for hundreds of high school students from several states. The event will include big band and combo performances beginning at 9 a.m., and appearances by the WMU Drum Choir, Nonet and Hart from 2 to 5 p.m. The day's activities are free and open to the public.

The festivities will culminate Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. concert in the Dalton Center Recital Hall. The show will feature Hart and the University Jazz Orchestra as well as the high school bands participating in this year's Western Invitational Jazz Festival. General admission is $10. Tickets are available at the door or in advance from the Miller Auditorium Ticket Office at (269) 387-2300 or (800) 228-9858.

Hart's jazz career started in the 1960s with the likes of Otis Redding, Herbie Hancock and Wes Montgomery. He's played with such icons as McCoy Tyner, Stan Getz and Miles Davis, as well as contemporary artists like Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas, contributing to more than 600 recordings to date. His current schedule is widely known to be one of the busiest of all working jazz artists. When he's not traveling to and from performances and special engagements around the world, Hart can be found at WMU, where he's spent the last 15 years teaching and performing.

Media contact: Kevin West, (269) 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

WMU News
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