With 18 amazing musicians, the musical possibilities are almost unlimited. The SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble comprises eighteen of the finest jazz musicians, soloists, and bandleaders from across the Carolinas and their mission is to present jazz concerts at the highest artistic level. The ensemble will be performing big band classics, music from the great American song book and modern originals by the group's members.
To a generation of contemporary jazz guitar aficionados, Mike Stern is regarded as one of the true guitar greats of his generation. A player of remarkable facility whose searing lines are informed mainly by bebop and the blues while also carrying a rock-tinged intensity, Stern made his mark with Miles Davis in the early ‘80s before launching his solo career in 1985. Since then he has released 17 recordings as a leader, six of which were nominated for GRAMMY® Awards. His latest, Trip, is his first since recovering from a serious accident in the summer of 2016 that left him with two broken arms and nerve damage in his right hand that prevented him from even holding a pick. But Stern is back on top of his game, playing with typical authority and prodigious chops on this all-star outing, which features such longstanding colleagues as trumpeters Randy Brecker and Wallace Roney, saxophonists Bob Franceschini and Bill Evans (a bandmate of Mike’s in Miles Davis’ ‘comeback band’ of 1981), bassists Victor Wooten and Tom Kennedy and drummers Dave Weckl, Dennis Chambers and Lenny White.
Says Stern of the whole arduous journey that led to this triumphant comeback album: “Sometimes you have some bad stuff that’ll happen to you, but you kind of get through it and you realize that everybody has this stuff — good trips and bad trips. But you just gotta keep trying, you gotta get up and keep going as soon as you can, which I was able to do. I had to figure out a way to play. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t play music. If you really want something bad enough, sometimes you have to fight for it; you find a way to make it happen. And now I have friends who I trust who tell me that they wouldn’t have noticed any difference in my playing if I hadn’t told them what happened to me.”
At age 24, Veronica Swift is now being recognized around the country as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene.
In the fall of 2015, she won second place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. In 2016 she was asked to perform a concert of her own at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City and she was a guest artist with Michael Feinstein at Jazz at Lincoln Center with the Tedd Firth Big Band and Marilyn Maye and Freda Payne. Veronica’s first appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center was at age 11 when she performed at the “Women in Jazz” series at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
In the summer of 2016 she headlined at the Telluride Jazz Festival, her 10th appearance there – but her first as a headliner. She first appeared there at age 10 with Dave Adams’ Young Razzcals Jazz Project and the great saxophonist Richie Cole and later she sang a duet with the featured artist, Paquito d’Rivera.
We are excited to announce that jazz trumpeter Justin Ray will join the ensemble for our final concert of the season. Dr. Robert Gardiner will lead the SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble in a performance of jazz standards that promises to deliver a performance that will resound in the listeners’ ears and memories.
Chris Potter Plays the Great American Songbook with the Jazz Masterworks Ensemble at the Newberry Opera House
World class solo artist Chris Potter has emerged as a leading light of his generation. Down Beat magazine called him “One of the most studied (and copied) saxophonists on the planet” and Jazz Times identified him as “a figure of international renown.” Potter’s impressive discography includes 15 albums as a leader, as well as sideman appearances on more than 100 albums. He has performed or recorded with many of the leading names in jazz and will be performing here with the Jazz Masterworks Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Robert Gardiner.
Join us for a fundraiser at Bar Figaro immediately following the Wycliffe Gordon concert.
Wycliffe Gordon is an internationally acclaimed musical ambassador and interpreter of jazz, America’s music. He has 21 solo recordings and is a former longtime member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The Jazz Journalists Association recently named him “2018 Trombonist of the Year” for the 11thtime. Wycliffe will be performing big band classics and swinging originals accompanied by the Jazz Masterworks Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Robert Gardiner.
Inaugural Concert of the Jazz Masterworks Ensemble: Art of the Big Band, at the South Carolina Jazz FestivalView Event →
Join the SC Jazz Foundation in Columbia, SC for "Beyond The Notes", their first sponsorship event hosted by Reggie Sullivan. This fundraiser and goods donation drive will be held in the City Market Place - Vista Venue (705 Gervais Street) in Columbia, South Carolina.