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Jazz Ensemble II concert Nov. 18 to feature big band tunes and guest soloists

RELEASED: Nov. 16, 2011

Jazz IIEAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Jazz Ensemble II, directed by Robert Baca, professor of music, will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

The concert will open with "Skin Deep," a favorite Louis Bellson tune, featuring junior Davy Sumner, Eau Claire, on drums. Lead trumpet Graham Pollack, West Des Moines, Iowa, will perform Billy Strayhorn's "The 8th Veil" as made famous by the Duke Ellington big band.

Other concert highlights will include hits from some of the most recognizable names in big band such as Stan Kenton, Christian McBride, Duke Ellington and Thad Jones.

The concert also will include Cole Porter's "Easy to Love," a tenor saxophone solo performed by UW-Eau Claire saxophone instructor Douglas O'Connor.

Guest vocalist Christine Hitt will perform "I Wish I Were in Love Again"and"My Shining Hour," both arranged by Eau Claire native Geoff Keezer.

Hitt, who earned a master's degree in piano performance at the University of Arizona, began performing as a jazz pianist after joining the U.S. Air Force Band in 1986. She has performed with jazz greats such as Curtis Fuller, Slide Hampton, Rufus Reid, Randy Sabien and the late Nick Brignola. Her recordings have gained international acclaim and include performances with drummers Jeff Hamilton, Bruce Barth and Ugonna Okegwo. Hitt, who has taught at several Midwest colleges and universities, now serves as worship and music director at Central Lutheran Church in Chippewa Falls.

Tickets, available online and at the University Service Center, 715-836-3727 or 800-949-UWEC, are $5 for the general public; $3 for those 62 and older, 17 and younger, and faculty and staff with a university ID; and free for students with a university ID.

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JT/JB/DW

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