Jazz legend Gerald Wilson will conduct the Ohio University Jazz Ensemble in a free concert of his works from 12:10 to 1 p.m. Friday in the School of Music Recital Hall.
An American jazz trumpeter, big band leader, composer/arranger and educator, Wilson will lead the ensemble in his arrangements for the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra.
In conjunction with the upcoming theater production of "Knock me A Kiss" by Charles Smith, professor and head of the Professional Playwriting Program, the concert will be followed by a panel discussion exploring the topics and ideas within the play and the Harlem Renaissance era, including music, race, gender, family and class divisions within the African-American community.
Originally produced in 2000 by the Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago, "Knock Me a Kiss" is a fictional account inspired by the actual events surrounding the 1928 marriage of W.E.B DuBois' daughter Yolande to Countee Cullen, one of Harlem's greatest poets. The play's cast of characters includes band leader Jimmie Lunceford.
Panelists for the discussion include faculty members Art Cromwell, associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies and Honors Tutorial College director of studies; Jennie Klein, assistant professor and chair of art history; Travis Gatling, associate professor in the School of Dance; and Richard Wetzel, professor of music history and literature.
"The unique opportunity to bring Mr. Wilson will benefit the university and arts community with a rare free concert featuring the work of this world-renowned artist, arranger and teacher," said William Fischer, interim director of the School of Theater.
Wilson joined the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra in 1939 and quickly became its featured trumpeter and arranger. He has arranged compositions for music legends Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Carter and Billie Holiday. He also makes special appearances as a guest conductor with the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, now the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York, and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble.
The concert is made possible by Arts for Ohio and the School of Theater, with participation from the School of Media Studies and the School of Music.
-- Amy Wells