The Lindenwood University Jazz Band and Combo will perform on March 31 with St. Louis jazz greats Willie Akins and Willem von Hombracht. The event is an annual Celebrity Jazz Concert at 7:30 p.m. on March 31 at the Robert F. Hyland Performance Arena on the Lindenwood campus.
General admission tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the Lindenwood Box Office, (636) 949-4878. For more information, call (636) 916-1912 or (636) 949-4906.
For an additional $2, musicians will be able to take part in a clinic from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. The clinic is for beginners and professionals alike. Call Bob Carter, Lindenwood director of bands, at (636) 916, 1912 to register.
As an added bonus, the concert will include performances by two of the region’s best high school jazz bands: The McCluer North Jazz Band, directed by Sam Baudo, and the Francis Howell Central Jazz Band, directed by Lindenwood alumnus David Opperman, who come to the concert fresh from their victory at the Cotton Bowl band competition.
Akins, who has been performing for more than 40 years on tenor and soprano saxophone, cut his musical teeth in New York performing with the likes of Thelonius Monk and John Coltrane. He returned to St. Louis in 1968 and has been a local favorite ever since. He has been universally praised by the critical press in St. Louis and nationally for his superb musicianship. He released his debut album as a leader, Alima, in 1998.
Hombracht is well-known as a contrabass player of great versatility, performing with equal ease in classical, folk and ethnic music, rock and blues, and, of course, jazz. He moved to St. Louis in 1995 and has become firmly entrenched in the music scene here, performing with major local figures like Akins, Freddie Washington and Jeanne Trevor, with whom he traveled to Senegal in 1998 to represent St. Louis in the International Jazz Festival of St. Louis. (Senegal is a sister city of St. Louis.) He also performs on Akins’ CD, Alima.
This year will mark the third year of the Lindenwood Celebrity Jazz Concert, following trumpet great Randy Brecker last year and, in 1999, the legendary trumpet virtuoso Clark Terry, who performed in the Grammie Awards telecast in a tribute to Duke Ellington just 11 days later.
The concert will be themed “Hot Jazz on a Cool Night” and will feature works by Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, John LaBarbera and others. In fact, one of the Monk tunes, “Ask Me Now,” was dedicated to Clark Terry by the writer, providing a connection to the first Lindenwood celebrity concert.
“All the songs are great solo vehicles for the guest artists and for the band members,” said Bob Carter, director of bands at Lindenwood and the conductor of the Jazz Band and Combo. “We are very fortunate to have professional talent the likes of Willie Akins and Willem von Hombracht in our area, and we are pleased to have them as soloists.”