May 5, 2000
Cal State L.A. Jazz Orchestra
Los Angeles, CA - On Thursday, May 25, the Cal State L.A. Department of Music and the University-Student Union will present an Evening of Swing featuring the Cal State L.A. Jazz Orchestra, directed by Jeff Benedict, at 5:00 p.m. in the Free Speech Area on the Cal State L.A. campus. The featured guest performer will be tenor saxophonist Mike Lee. The concert will feature the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Thad Jones, as well as more contemporary music of Jim McNeely and Mike Lee. Admission to the event is free.
Tenor Saxophonist Mike Lee, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is an alumnus of the Woody Herman Orchestra. He has co-lead bands for the Tri-C Jazz Fest with Marcus Belgrave, Bobby Watson and Geri Allen and has performed as a featured soloist in concert with Joe Lovano, Rosemary Clooney and Johnny Coles. Lee has also played in larger ensembles backing artists such as Benny Carter, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Gary Burton, Eddie Daniels, Claudio Roditi, Kenny Barron, Louie Bellson, Natalie Cole, Ernestine Anderson, Buddy Defranco, Mark Whitfield and Mel Torme. Lee currently resides in New York City and can be heard frequently with The Village Vanguard Orchestra (Formerly The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra) and the Maria Schneider Orchestra (with whom he was recently featured in Maria's CNN profile). He tours frequently with his own band, and was a member of Joe Lovano's "Celebrating Sinatra" touring ensemble last fall. His debut recording, entitled The Quiet Answer, was released in 1990. In 1997, two of Lee's compositions were selected among the top five in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz and BMI International Jazz Composers Competitions. His latest CD, Above the Battleground, featuring Tim Hagans on trumpet, Tim Horner on drums, Matt Ray on piano and Ben Allison on bass was released last year by Consolidated Artists Productions.
The Cal State L.A. Jazz Ensembles have a long-standing tradition of excellence, having won awards at the Western States and Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festivals, and having performed at the National Association of Jazz Artists Convention and at the IAJE International Conference. They have made numerous recordings, including three CDs: It's About Time, For the Love of Art, and the 1997 release A Minor Excursion. The Jazz Ensemble is open to all students by audition, and is composed of students from all reaches of the campus community. Cal State L.A. offers Bachelor of Music and Master of Arts degrees in Jazz Studies, and a Master of Music degree in Commercial Music.
Cal State L.A. is located just east of downtown L.A. at the Eastern Ave. exit on the San Bernardino Freeway. Admission to the Evening of Swing is free. For further information, call the Department of Music at Cal State L.A., (323) 343-4060.
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