Sunday, August 27, 2006

Jazzing the orchestra: the Marcus Roberts Trio and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra Sat, Sept 16, 7:30 pm, Shreveport Civic Theater

"Gershwin on Fire" is the title for the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra's season opening concert. While "Gershwin on Fire" may be a dubious title (is it a nod to the Burning Man arts fest?), the jazz trio sharing the lights with the SSO is not at all dubious. They are redoubtable. It is the Marcus Roberts Trio. To fans of jazz piano, like me, seeing this trio is serious fun.

Roberts, a pianist and composer from Jacksonville, Fla., grew up with the sound of music from his local church where his mother was a gospel singer, says the National Academy of Sciences. He decided to pursue a career in jazz after hearing a Duke Ellington recording at the age of ten. From there he went on to study at Florida State University.

Performances throughout his career have earned him a great deal of recognition, including awards from the National Association of Jazz Educators and the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Competition. Roberts was particularly honored to receive the Helen Keller Award for Personal Achievement in 1998. The artist has been blind since the age of five, seven years before he began formal training on the piano.

Drummer Jason Marsalis, true to the tradition of his highly musical family, is known as one of the most capable drummers performing today.

Bassist Roland Guerin learned to play a variety of stringed instruments growing up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is also known for playing a variety of styles with equal versatility, and is one of the few bassists today who plays slap bass technique.

"My music is meant for everyone, not just those who already know about jazz," says Roberts.

More about the concert, the SSO's season opener, at
Also, please see my earlier post on the concert.

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