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Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival receives grant to bring in jazz masters | Arts & Culture

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Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival receives grant to bring in jazz masters
Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival receives grant to bring in jazz masters

The NEA Jazz Masters Live grant program has given the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival a $15,000 grant to bring Benny Golson, Eddie Palmieri, and Sheila Jordan to the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in February. The festival is one of six non-profit organizations to receive a grant to support performance and educational activities featuring NEA Jazz Masters, recipients of the nation’s highest honor in jazz.

From University of Idaho:
"I am pleased the NEA will provide opportunities for members of the public to experience performances by some of our nation's jazz greats," said Joan Shigekawa, NEA senior deputy chairman. "These six organizations are providing invaluable opportunities for the public to interact with these artists and furthering the understanding of their remarkable contributions to jazz in this country."

NEA Jazz Masters Live is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and managed by Arts Midwest. The program offers a unique opportunity for the public to engage with the NEA Jazz Masters through such activities as performances, speaking engagements, master classes, workshops, lecture and demonstrations, panel discussions, and public interviews or speaker forums.

“There’s nothing more validating than to have the National Endowment for the Arts recognize – for the second time in three years – and support the contribution the University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is making to the students of our region,” said Steve Remington, executive director.

Golson is a multi-talented and internationally famous jazz legend who has made major contributions to the world of jazz. He is the only living jazz artist to have written eight standards for jazz repertoire. The standards have been used in countless recordings internationally and continue to be used in today’s recordings. He has recorded over 30 albums and has written more than 300 compositions.

He has composed and arranged music for Count Basie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Quincy Jones, Diana Ross and many other jazz legends.

Golson also has written scores for hit television series’ and films including M*A*S*H, Mannix, Mission Impossible, Mod Squad, The Patridge Family and The Academy Awards. Additionally, he has written music for national radio and television spots for some of the major advertising agencies in the country.

“Benny Golson is amazing. He hasn’t been here since 1997, and we’ve really missed him. He’s the most eloquent man I’ve met in years. And of course, he wrote the Ore-Ida Potatoes commercials,” said Remington.

Jordan was raised in poverty in Pennsylvania and started singing at a young age. By her early teens, she was performing semi-professionally in Detroit clubs. She was a member of the vocal trio Skeeter, Mitch and Jean. The trio worked with Charlie Parker to sing versions of Parker’s songs. In the early 1950s, she married Parker’s pianist Duke Jordan.

In the early ‘60s, she made her first recording. Her style encompassed jazz liturgies sung in churches and extensive club work. Throughout her career, she worked with Steve Kuhn, Steve Swallow, Harvie Swartz and Cameron Brown.

“Ms. Jordan is a well-spring of enthusiasm and joy. She knows jazz inside and out and has really lived her art,” said Remington.

Palmieri was born in Spanish Harlem in 1936. At an early age, he started playing piano. By age 13, he joined his uncle’s orchestra, where he played timbales. He began his professional career in the early 1950s with Edie Forrester’s Orchestra. He joined Johnny Segui’s band in 1955. By 1961, he had formed his own band La Perfecta, which featured a trombone section in place of trumpets.

His musical career has spanned over 50 years as a bandleader of Salsa and Latin Jazz orchestras. His musical style merged black and Latin styles to produce a sound that had elements of salsa, funk, soul and jazz. Throughout Palmieri’s career, he received nine GRAMMY Awards®.

“To have these three living masters come and share their artistry with the students of the Pacific and Inland Northwest is more than just a treat – it’s a ‘must see’ in a long line of ‘not-to-be-missed’ performances in the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival’s history,” said Remington.

The 2014 Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival will take place Feb. 19-22. For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu/jazzfest or call (208) 885-5900.

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