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Award-winning trombonist, composer and educator Nick Finzer to headline Cameron University Jazz Festival

Award-winning trombonist, composer and educator Nick Finzer will headline the 2024 Cameron University Jazz Festival, slated for Tuesday, March 5, in the University Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Finzer will join the CU Jazz Ensemble and the Lawton Jazz Orchestra for an evening of original compositions as well as jazz standards. The concert will also feature the Aggie Jazz Academy, an ensemble composed of students from Cache High School, Eisenhower High School, Elgin High School and MacArthur High School as well as home-schooled students.

Tickets purchased at the door are $10 for adult and $8 for senior citizens, members of the military and non-CU students. Cameron University students, faculty and staff receive one free admission with their CU I.D. Tickets can be reserved by calling the box office at 580-581-2346. Tickets can also be purchased in advance online at https://www.cameron.edu/art-music-and-theatre/events/buy-tickets. (Taxes and processing fees apply.)

Hailed as a rising star in the DownBeat Critics Poll, Nick Finzer is making waves in the music industry with his dynamic original compositions and trombone artistry. He has toured the globe as a bandleader as well as sharing the stage with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Wynton Marsalis, Anat Cohen, Dafnis Prieto, and Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project.

Finzer's love for jazz began in his childhood, when he became captivated with the music of Duke Ellington. This passion led him to participate in the annual Essentially Ellington competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center. After moving to New York City, Finzer studied at the renowned Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School, where he was mentored by trombone legend Steve Turre.

Finzer was honored with ASCAP’s Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award for two tracks on his debut album, “Exposition.” In 2020, he was nominated for a Grammy Award as part of Anat Cohen’s Tentet for the recording “Triple Helix.” That same year, he was awarded the prestigious New Jazz Works grant from Chamber Music America, resulting in the album “Dreams, Visions, Illusions.” His upcoming album, “Legacy,” is set for release in April 2024.

Finzer brings a unique perspective to the world of jazz music as a record label founder, producer and consultant in music entrepreneurship. He is the founder of Outside in Music (OiM), an artist-focused record label and media company.

He served as the inaugural assistant professor of jazz trombone at the University of North Texas in 2018, where he is still a member of the faculty. Additionally, he has served as a visiting professor of jazz trombone at Florida State University. Finzer has also made a name for himself as an author and educator, sharing his wealth of knowledge in jazz education and music business with the world through his wide breadth of books, masterclasses, courses and active YouTube channel.

The Aggie Jazz Academy will open the concert with “All of Me,” a 1931 jazz standard that has been recorded by Billie Holliday, Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and others. That will be followed by the ensemble’s performance of “Blue Bossa,” written by trumpeter Kenny Dorham and most widely associated with saxophonist Joe Henderson. It has also been recorded by Chick Corea, Dexter Gordon and Coleman Hawkins, among others.

The CU Jazz Ensemble will open its portion of the concert with the jazz standard, “Four,” followed by “The Real Folk Blues,” an arrangement made famous in the streaming series “Cowboy Bebop” that will feature vocalist Lillie Wright. Finzer will join the ensemble for “It’s Only a Paper Moon” with Grace Norbury on vocals and “The Way You Look Tonight” featuring both Lillie Wright and Grace Norbury on vocals. The set will conclude with Finzer’s arrangement of J.J. Johnson’s “Shortcake” and his original composition, “The Guru.”

The Lawton Jazz Orchestra will kick off its set with Kris Berg’s arrangement of a well-known jazz standard, “Bye Bye Blackbird.” The remainder of the set will feature compositions by trombonist J.J. Johnson which include “Judy,” “Lament,” and “Say When,” which will feature Finzer on trombone. The ensemble will also perform Dave Wolpe’s arrangement of the jazz standard “Summertime” featuring Tiarra Rogers on vocals. Concluding the set will be Duke Ellington’s “Star-Crossed Lover” and Finzer’s original composition, “Just Passed the Horizon.”

CU students performing during the concert are Darien King, Duncan; Owen Ellis and Melody Veloz, Elgin; and Irmtraud Bryant, Eddie Clark, Collin Fallon, Ryan Gafford-Nabors, Lillie Hodgson, Hayley Kousman, Grace Norbury, Nicolas Raso, Tavien Todd and Lillie Wright, Lawton; and Kaden Wright, Marlow.

Also appearing will be community members from throughout southwest Oklahoma, including K. Kay Alsobrook, Monty Booker, Jarom Christensen, Derik Daubenspeck, Brian Francis, Pam Francis, Derek Griner, David Jackson, Tai Livingston, Peter Macias. Isaiah Moncrief, Jonathan Monroe, Vega Peterson, Jeremiah Phillips, Bryson Roberts, Daniel Rogers, Tiarra Rogers, Randy Smith and Lonnie Snodgrass.

Members of the Aggie Jazz Academy are Isaiah Moncrief, who is home-schooled, Altus; Izzy Cardenas, Kyle Daugherty, Kenneth File, Jacob Griner, Johnny Griner and Braylon Muse, Cache High School; Imani Banks, J.J. Bridges, Collin Fallon, Reece Henderson and Logan McCormack, Eisenhower High School; Aiden Johnston, Elgin High School; and Joel Lee and Nicolas Raso, MacArthur High School.

Dr. JD Little, director of the performing ensembles, will also appear.

The Cameron University Jazz Festival is sponsored by CU Lectures and Concerts.


PR# 24-035

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