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Albany Symphony celebrates Black History Month with concert tracing roots of jazz

The Classically Jazzed Quartet with Ken Trimmins peforms Saturday with the Albany orchestra

Ken Trimmins, with the Classically Jazzed Quartet, will perform Saturday with the Albany Symphony Orchestra on a program that traces the roots of jazz. The concert, which celebrates Black History Month, is at 7:30 p.m. at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. (Special Photo)

Ken Trimmins, with the Classically Jazzed Quartet, will perform Saturday with the Albany Symphony Orchestra on a program that traces the roots of jazz. The concert, which celebrates Black History Month, is at 7:30 p.m. at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. (Special Photo)

ALBANY — The Albany Symphony Orchestra, in its 50th season, celebrates Black History Month with its concert Saturday that features the Classically Jazzed Quartet with Ken Trimmins performing with the orchestra.

The concert, which traces the musical roots of jazz with music from the Baroque period, 19th century, and blues influenced classical compositions, starts at 7:30 pm in the Albany Municipal Auditorium, 200 N. Jackson St.

“This concert is designed to highlight the roots of jazz, back to the Baroque era with J. S. Bach and continuing through ballet with Darius Milhaud’s ‘Creation of the World’ and George Gershwin’s opera ‘Porgy and Bess,’” symphony Music Director and Conductor Claire Fox Hillard said. “I am delighted to present Ken Trimmins and his group and to showcase their combined 120 years of jazz performing experience.”

Trimmins has a bachelor of arts degree in music education from Valdosta State University, a master of music in trumpet performance degree from Mercer University and a doctorate in classical trumpet performance degree from Florida State University. He completed a distinguished career with the U.S. Air Force Band program, where he served as trumpeter, vocalist, the director of operations for nine touring ensembles and the musical director and band leader for three Air Force jazz bands.

He has taught at Armstrong State University and Florida State University and, since 2009, has been a faculty member at Albany State University, where he teaches applied trumpet, theory, jazz improvisation and instrumental conducting. Trimmins also conducts ASU’s Concert Band, Brass Ensemble and Trumpet Ensemble.

A featured international classical soloist, he performed with the Honduran Philharmonic Orchestra in Honduras in 2011 and U.S. State Department officials heralded his performance as “a great success in our cultural exchange program” that “enabled us to showcase teamwork at its best.”

Trimmins and his Classically Jazzed Quartet have been invited annually to perform with the symphony. As a jazz soloist, he has performed in numerous jazz venues, including The Clearwater Jazz Holiday, The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Atlanta Montreux Jazz Festival and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” He is also a member of The Albany Symphony and performs with other symphonies and groups around the Southeast.

His group features William “Bill” Petersen on piano, Leon Anderson on drums and Clarence Seay on upright bass.

Peterson is professor of jazz/contemporary media at FSU; supervisor of student composers who are scoring films for FSU’s School of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts, and teaches jazz piano, jazz arranging and film scoring. He received a bachelor of music degree from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory and a master of music degree in jazz studies and contemporary media from the Eastman School of Music. He was a finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition in 1992 and 1999.

Anderson is associate professor and director of jazz studies at FSU. His musical experience includes that of a classical and jazz percussionist, educator, clinician and composer. He received a bachelor’s degree in music education at Louisiana Tech University and a master’s degree in percussion performance at Southeastern Louisiana University. He has performed with jazz legends including David Sanchez, Red Holloway, Donald Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Mike Wolf, Nathen Page, Allan Harris, Stephanie Nakasien, Phyllis Hyman, Barry Greene, Dianne Reeves, Harold Batiste, Donald Harrison, Mary Stallings, Judy Collins, Wessell Anderson, Wycliffe Gordon, Kent Jordan, Oliver Lake, James Moody, Deborah Brown, Rufus Reid, Henry Mancini, Art Farmer and Jason Marsalis.

Seay has been an acoustic bassist with the Wallace Roney Quintet for more than 15 years. He is a disciple of the Paul Chambers school of jazz bass playing, which features a style of walking harmonically inventive bass lines in a robust manner by positioning strings relatively high from the fingerboard — a practice mostly abandoned by modern bass players because of its physical difficulty.

He has recorded and toured domestically and internationally with several renowned jazz artists and groups including Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Wynton Marsalis, Billy Harper, Chico Freeman, Lou Donaldson, and the Smithsonian Jazz Works Orchestra. Seay attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Howard University and later was an adjunct professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond for over 10 years in the 1980s and ’90s. He was commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service to compose and perform on its Album Commemorating America’s Celebration of Jazz.

The concert will be preceded with the complimentary Pre-Concert Notes from the stage at 6:30 p.m., which will offer insights into the performance from Hillard and Trimmins. The Conductor’s Circle reception will be held at the Albany Area Arts Council, next door to the auditorium, immediately after the concert. Admission is $15 per person or by season membership.

Tickets are $35, $25 ($22 for seniors 65 and older) and $10 for students with ID. They are available by calling (229) 430-8933 and are online at www.albanysymphony.org.