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Bard College Presents the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights Performing “The Music of Pepper Adams with Lyrics by Poet Barry Wallenstein”

Chamber Music with Staff Sergeant Alexis Cole, Jazz Vocalist

Eleanor Davis

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— Bard College presents the West Point Band’s Jazz Knights performing The Music of Pepper Adams with Lyrics by Poet Barry Wallerstein.” Jazz vocalist Staff Sergeant Alexis Cole will present a recital of Adams’ music with new lyrics by poet Barry Wallenstein, with Master Sergeant Scott Arcangel, piano, and Staff Sergeant Mike Reifenberg, alto saxophone. The concert is free and open to the public at Bard College’s Olin Hall on Saturday, October 22, at 8 p.m.  For more information, call 845-758-6822.

The most preeminent baritone sax player in jazz history, Pepper Adams left a legacy of tunes in a unique chromatic style.  His dying wish was for lyrics to be written to his ballads, and veteran jazz poet Barry Wallenstein has done just that. Wallenstein, who still regularly performs by reading his poems while backed by a jazz band, was scheduled to perform with Adams just before he fell ill and passed away. As unconventional as the songs themselves, Wallenstein’s adventuresome lyrics invite the listener to experience the melodies in a fresh, multidimensional way. 

About the Jazz Knights

The West Point Band’s Jazz Knights is a big band based at the United States Military Academy.  Its members are recruited from the country’s most prestigious music schools. The West Point Band remains in the forefront of creativity and excellence. Bringing over three decades of musical excellence to their audiences, the Jazz Knights present the best in big band favorites, popular music, and original compositions and arrangements for jazz ensembles of different sizes, from large band to small chamber groups. Members of the group are graduates of some of America’s most prestigious music schools such as the University of North Texas, Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, Berklee School of Music, and the Manhattan School of Music. They are recruited and selected through a competitive audition process specifically for service in the United States Military Academy Band at West Point.

Past and present members of the band have played with such icons as Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Ahmad Jamal, Chaka Kahn, Prince, Billy Cobham, and the Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller Orchestras. The band’s highlights over the years include playing with Benny Goodman at Lincoln Center in 1982, performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra for the 200th anniversary of the New York State Legislature, and twice appearing at the Hatch Shell for Boston’s Independence Day celebration. The Jazz Knights have also performed for festivals and music educators’ conventions, including the International Association for Jazz Education conventions, Western International Band Clinic, University of Northern Colorado Jazz Festival, International Society of Bassists convention, and New York State Band Director’s Association Conference in 2008. Notable guests who have performed with the Jazz Knights include David Liebman, Rufus Reid, John Clayton, Eddie Daniels, Steve Turre, James Carter, Randy Brecker, Michael Abene, Steve Weist, Jon Faddis, Jim Snidero, Gary Smulyan, Scott Wendholt, and Benny Golson.

At West Point, the Jazz Knights provide music for numerous functions throughout the year. In combination with the Concert Band and field music unit, the Hellcats, they help fulfill official musical requirements of the Military Academy and the Army, including military and patriotic ceremonies both at West Point and throughout the country. The Jazz Knights also perform for the summer concert series at the Trophy Point Amphitheatre and for the winter concert series at Eisenhower Hall. Their performances recreate the sounds of the greatest jazz ensembles and the innovative styles of today through their original compositions and arrangements.

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This event was last updated on 10-12-2011