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New Arts Jazztet

The New Arts Jazztet will play a concert at Varsity Center on Nov. 11.

CARBONDALE — With two performances scheduled for local, iconic venues, the School of Music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is preparing for a month full of jazz.

Free concert at Hangar 9

The SIU Studio Jazz Orchestra returns to Hangar 9 for a free concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The SJO performs off campus at least once per semester, and this will be the fall offering from the jazz ensemble.

The concert will feature a wide variety of jazz styles, with classic music by Duke Ellington, Count Basie and even Mozart. Modern jazz compositions by Jim McNeely, Les Hooper and Denis DiBlasio are also on tap. For vocal jazz enthusiasts, the SJO will feature students Rachel Alessio and Thomas Frost with a variety of vocal classics.

The SJO is comprised of SIU students of all ages, with some majoring in music and others not. The diverse group of musicians is the premier large jazz ensemble in Southern Illinois, and has been a fixture in the local music scene for decades.

“Jazz for 11/11” at the Varsity Theater

The New Arts Jazztet will present “Jazz for 11/11” in the Balcony at The Varsity Center. This performance is the group’s annual fall concert and is set for 3 p.m. on Nov. 11.

Tickets are $7 and are available in advance at thevarsitycenter.eventbrite.com. Tickets are also available at the door on the day of the show when doors and The Varsity Bar open at 2:30 p.m.

Long history in Southern Illinois

The New Arts Jazztet, formed in 1984 by several SIU School of Music faculty, continually stands as Southern Illinois’ leading jazz group. Current NAJ members are: Dick Kelley, reeds; Bob Allison, trumpet; Isaac Lausell, guitar; Phil Brown, bass; Jimmy Beers, drums.

With two concerts each year, a spring concert that traditionally features new original compositions and a fall concert that comprises new transcriptions or arrangements of jazz standards, the group remains actively engaged in the region's music environment.

The upcoming “Jazz for 11/11” program will include popular jazz pieces, time-honored tunes from the past and original songs by NAJ members. The dynamic performance encompasses a wide variety of jazz styles and caters to diverse audiences.

With three CD recordings, all by bassist Phil Brown, the group has gained national attention. The most recent, “Arkadia,” was released in October 2014 and climbed onto the national Top 50 Jazz Chart for radio airplay in early 2015.

For more information on the group or the upcoming performance, contact Phil Brown at 618-303-8051 or philbrown@siu.edu.

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