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   from the issue of April 13, 2006

Annual Jazz in June concerts open with Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, Paul Glasse


For the 15th year, great jazz and great food will fuse in the great outdoors as Jazz in June opens June 6 in the Sheldon Memorial Sculpture Gardens.

The free jazz concerts begin at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in June (June 6, 13, 20 and 27). Concertgoers are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs.

In conjunction with the performances, the Jazz in June Market will offer items for sale. Dinner items, fresh produce, baked goods, ice cream from the UNL Dairy Store and other items will be available for purchase. The market opens at 5 p.m. on 12th and R streets.

Jazz in June performers are: June 6 - The Nebraska Jazz Orchestra and guest soloist Paul Glasse; June 13 - Saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi and The Jazz Factory; June 20 - Rick Trolsen and Gringo Do Choro; and June 27 - The Corey Christiansen Quartet.

Inside the Sheldon, children can enjoy the Sheldon Super Sleuth Challenge. Adults and children alike can visit the Sheldon's outstanding permanent collection. Docents will be available to provide tours. Visitors can also spend part of the pre-concert Jazz in June enjoying UNL's beautiful gardens. Garden tours begin at 6 p.m. on the east side of the Sheldon and last approximately 30 minutes.

The Nebraska Jazz Orchestra, founded in 1975, is one of the Midwest's premier big bands. The ensemble's concerts feature a variety of traditional big band compositions by jazz masters such as Woody Herman, Duke Ellington and Count Basie, reflecting the rich legacies of the Mississippi basin territory bands.

The orchestra tours extensively throughout the Midwest and has also performed in England, Scotland, Germany and France. In 1997 the ensemble played at the Montreux International Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Mandolin player Glasse spent a decade honing his technical picking prowess in the late 1980s and morphed his interests from Texas Swing into the rapid-fire compendium of Bebop jazz.

Tenor saxophonist Bergonzi is an internationally recognized jazz performer, composer, author and educator.

Based in Boston, Bergonzi toured worldwide with the Dave Brubeck Quartet from 1979 to 1981. Today he is a full-time professor at the New England Conservatory, and travels extensively as a clinician and performer.

Bergonzi will perform with The Jazz Factory led by Stefan Gaspar, an accomplished guitarist and saxophonist. With six CDs, which include numerous original compositions by Gaspar, and a long string of live performances, the ensemble has established itself as a premier Nebraska jazz group.

Jazz Factory performers at Jazz in June will be Rusty White (bass), Carlos Figueroa (drums), Tom Harvill (piano) and Terri Jo Dodson (vocalist).

New Orleans-based trombonist Trolsen's latest release, "Gringo Do Choro," was recorded in Rio De Janeiro and features Choro music from the early 20th century with a few bossas and sambas thrown in.

Trolsen says Choro music, with its perfect balance of European harmonies and fantastic Brazilian rhythms, penetrated his soul during a trip to Rio in 2001 and it has stayed with him since. Through the 1990s, Trolsen worked as a New Orleans sideman for performers as varied as Dr. John, Marva Wright, The Temptations, Johnny Cash and Harry Connick Jr., and led the jazz/rock group Neslort, as a vehicle for his original compositions.

Christiansen is a highly acclaimed jazz guitarist and senior editor for music education publisher Mel Bay.

Based in St. Louis, the Christiansen quartet has performed at concerts and festivals around the world, including at John Pisano's Guitar Night in Los Angeles, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, and the St. Louis Jazz Festival.

Christiansen has recorded or performed with many jazz artists, including Jimmy Bruno, John Pisano, Joe Negri, Willie Akins, Chuck Redd, Rob McConnel, Sid Jacobs, Jack Wilkins and Danny Gottlieb. In 1999, Christiansen received his master's degree in jazz performance at the University of South Florida.

Jazz in June is organized by the Nebraska Art Association, Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Downtown Lincoln Association and UNL.

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