University News

William Paterson University Presents 19th Annual Summer Jazz Week from July 23 to 27

Jimmy Heath

--Summer Jazz Workshop Faculty Quintet plays the music of Thad Jones on July 23; Danny Block’s “Big Four” on July 24; Nancy Marano with the William Paterson University Summer Jazz Orchestra led by Steve Marcone on July 25; The DG Organ 4tet on July 26; and Jimmy Heath and the Health Brothers Quartet on July 27

A special tribute to jazz icon Thad Jones by the Summer Jazz Faculty Quintet on July 23 will open William Paterson University’s 19th annual Summer Jazz Week from July 23 to 27 in the Shea Center for Performing Arts on the campus in Wayne. Also featured during the weeklong concert series are Danny Block and his “Big Four,” vocalist Nancy Marano with the William Paterson University Summer Jazz Orchestra led by Steve Marcone, the DG Organ 4tet and Jimmy Heath with the Heath Brothers Quartet.

Summer Jazz Week features concerts every evening at 7:30 p.m. A $40 pass for the entire week may be purchased through Thursday, July 19 or single tickets may be purchased for $10.

Summer Jazz Week, which has drawn thousands of jazz fans to the University’s campus during the past 18 summers, is designed to make jazz more accessible to the community. William Paterson University has been a flagship of jazz education for more than 30 years and is recognized internationally for its Jazz Studies Program and nationally acclaimed Jazz Room Series of concerts each fall and spring.

The festival opens on Monday, July 23, with a University faculty quintet in a concert of rarely heard small group compositions by Thad Jones. The performance pays tribute to Jones, the first William Paterson University jazz studies director. The quintet features an all-star faculty quintet including saxophonist David Demsey, William Paterson professor of music and coordinator of the jazz studies program, bass trombonist Tim Newman, William Paterson jazz studies assistant professor of music, pianist James Weidman, bassist Marcus McLaurine, and drummer Bill Goodwin.

Tuesday, July 24, saxophonist and clarinetist Danny Block brings his “Big Four” to the Shea Center stage for a tribute to jazz pioneer Sidney Bechet, the saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer. Block has become a well-known and accomplished specialist in traditional jazz, distilling his broad musical experiences into a unique personal voice. Block has worked with important jazz artists of today, such as recording on Charles Mingus’ last album” Me, Myself, an Eye.”  He often performs with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and was recently featured on the soundtrack for the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.”

The mid-week performance on Wednesday, July 25, showcases William Paterson University jazz faculty member Nancy Marano with the William Paterson University Summer Jazz Orchestra led by Steve Marcone, William Paterson professor of music. Marano is a distinguished jazz vocalist who has been profiled by CBS Sunday Morning, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR’s “Crossover.” She has eight recordings as a leader, notably You’re Nearer, named among the “best CDs of the 2000s.”  Marano has performed around the world, including Marca Jazz in Italy, the Charlie Parker Festival in New York City, North Sea Jazz in Helsinki, and as guest soloist with the Radio Big Band of Slovenia. The Summer Jazz Orchestra will feature top students from William Paterson University’s Jazz Studies Program.

The DG Organ 4tet, comprised of trombonist David Gibson, drummer Rudy Royston, and two William Paterson University Jazz Studies alumni, Freddie Hendrix on trumpet and Jared Gold on organ, will perform on Thursday, July 26. Trombonist David Gibson is considered an important young trombone star on the jazz scene.  He currently performs with and composes for a number of artists in New York City, including Roy Hargrove, Orrin Evans and George Gee. Gibson also teaches at SUNY- Geneseo and Columbia University.  Alumnus Freddie Hendrix has played as a guest soloist for a number of jazz festivals and performed with Kevin Mahogany and Kendrick Oliver’s “New Life Jazz Orchestra.” Gold, another William Paterson University alumnus, released a solo album and has appeared on several other jazz CDs. Royston has performed with a variety of today’s finest jazz artists. Gibson’s compositions will be featured, but their repertoire also includes arrangements of material from Wild Bill Davis to Carole King.

The festival will close with a performance by the Heath Brothers Quartet on Friday, July 27. Jimmy Heath, 2012 Summer Jazz Artist in Residence, saxophonist, composer, arranger and educator, is a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. In his 50-year career, Heath has performed with every leading jazz musician and he continues to perform, compose, record, and teach. Heath has performed on over 100 record albums and worked as a professor of music at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College for eleven years. He appears with Albert “Tootie” Heath on drums, David Wong on bass, and pianist Jeb Patton.

William Paterson’s 19th Annual Summer Jazz Week is funded, in part, by grants from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

For more information, contact the Shea Center Box Office at 973-720-2371 or visit

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