SUNDAY, MARCH 24 @ 4:00 PM
First United Methodist Church of Big Rapids
Join us as Tuba Bach kicks off our 2019 season – “playing with music outside of the bachs.” Grammy-award winning composer and pianist Bill Cunliffe, drummer extraordinaire Ron Otis and world-renowned composer and jazz vocalist Greg Jasperse join Tuba Bach’s artistic director Ed Mallett and 2019 Artist in Residence Noah Mallett in an afternoon of musical creativity and fun.
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About Bill Cunliffe
Jazz pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning arranger Bill Cunliffe is known for his innovative and swinging recordings and compositions. Bill began his career as pianist and arranger with the Buddy Rich Big Band and worked with Frank Sinatra, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson and James Moody. He has since established himself as a solo artist and bandleader, with more than a dozen albums under his name.
Bill currently plays with his trio; his big band; his Latin band, Imaginación; and his classical-jazz ensemble, Trimotif. He performs in the U.S. and around the world as a leader and sideman as well as a soloist with symphony orchestras.
His latest recording is the Bill Cunliffe Trio album “River Edge, New Jersey,” with bassist Martin Wind and drummer Tim Horner, released in April by Azica Records.
Other recent releases include his Overture, Waltz and Rondo for jazz piano, trumpet and orchestra (BCM+D Records, 2012). Bill performed the work with trumpeter Terell Stafford and the Temple University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Luis Biava. The recording won Bill his fifth Grammy nomination, in the Best Instrumental Composition category.
Also released in 2012 was his Concerto for Tuba and Orchestra, with tubist Jim Self and the Hollywood Ensemble, with Bill conducting (Metre Records, 2012). Bill’s album of solo improvisations on Christmas carols, “That Time of Year” (Metre Records, 2011), was described as a “tour de force ” in the Los Angeles Times.
Bill’s other recordings show his affinity for Latin rhythms (“Bill in Brazil,” “Imaginación” and his Grammy-nominated trumpet concerto “fourth stream…La Banda”) and pay tribute to some of his musical heroes, including Bud Powell, Oliver Nelson and Paul Simon.
Bill wrote the score for the film “On the Shoulders of Giants,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s homage to the Harlem Rens basketball team of the 1920s and ’30s. The movie recently received an NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary. Bill’s soundtrack was nominated for Best Album.
He recently completed scoring a film noir by Singaporean director Ying J. Tan and is producing a jazz album for singer Freda Payne.
Bill’s books “Jazz Keyboard Toolbox” and “Jazz Inventions for Keyboard” (Alfred Music Publishing) have become standard reference works. His most recent publications are “Uniquely Christmas” (2012), a book of arrangements inspired by his CD “That Time of Year,” and “Uniquely Familiar: Standards for Advanced Solo Piano” (2010).
Bill was awarded a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement for “West Side Story Medley,” on the album “Resonance Big Band Plays Tribute to Oscar Peterson” (Resonance Records, 2009). In addition to receiving five Grammy nominations, he is a two-time Emmy nominee.
The Los Angeles Jazz Society honored Bill in 2010 with its Composer/Arranger Award. That year he was also named a Distinguished Faculty Member of the College of the Arts at Cal State Fullerton, where he is a jazz studies professor. He also teaches at the Skidmore Jazz Institute and the Vail Jazz Workshop.
Bill grew up in Andover, Mass. He studied jazz at Duke University with pianist Mary Lou Williams and received his master’s degree from the Eastman School of Music. He was the 1989 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition.
About Ron Otis
Ron is one of the most established sidemen in contemporary American jazz. The Detroit-based drummer is renowned for his versatility, improvisation and impeccable timing-incorporating syncopated rhythms and funky accenting. Ron released his first solo album, aptly titled Upfront, which focuses the spotlight on his compositional and arrangement skills. He has toured with guitarist Earl Klugh, pianist Bob James, and currently recording artist Kem to name a few of many.
About Greg Jasperse
A world-renowned composer, arranger, vocalist and pianist, Greg is now the Director of Vocal Jazz at Western Michigan University.
No stranger to the stage or recording studio, his credits include numerous movie soundtracks such as Epic, Oz, the Great and Powerful, The Campaign, Start Trek, and, Star Trek 2 as well as the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Monarchy Roses and The 2nd Law, the recent release from Muse. Greg is a member of Vertical Voices, Sixth Wave and is the music director for the Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s Voasis. In November of 2014, he had the pleasure of subbing with the New York Voices and the Bob Mintzer Big Band on their Japan tour. He has also performed with Adele, Jennifer Holiday, Joe Williams, Rosemary Clooney, Dianne Reeves and Bobby McFerrin among others.
His conducting credits include all-state jazz choirs in New York, California, Oklahoma, Indiana, Arizona, Missouri, Colorado, New Hampshire, Illinois, Iowa as well as the British Columbia Honors Jazz Choir and Musicfest Canada’s Ellison Honour Choir.
Greg is a graduate of University of Miami and Western Michigan University.