Queens Jazz Orchestra Ensemble to honor NEA jazz master Jimmy Heath at Flushing Town Hall – QNS.com


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The Queens Jazz Orchestra Ensemble will take the stage at Flushing Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 18 for a live tribute to the late NEA jazz master Jimmy Heath, continuing to present exceptional jazz in his historic venue.

For the first time, Flushing City Hall is once again welcoming a small audience to its theater since the facility closed to the public in March 2020 amid the COVID-19 epidemic. The site will adhere to COVID security measures which include mask requirements and social distancing. The concert will be broadcast simultaneously live to a virtual audience at home.

When Heath passed away in January 2020 at the age of 93, he passed the baton to his protected Antonio hart.

(Photo via Antonio Hart Music)

“Due to COVID, the Queens Jazz Orchestra was unable to perform together, but I am delighted to bring a smaller unit of ensemble members to Flushing Town Hall to celebrate Master Heath,” Hart said.

On June 18, the special concert conducted by Hart will feature the main rhythm section of the world’s largest Queens Jazz Orchestra, which writes and performs its own arrangements of songs composed by Heath.

“We are delighted to welcome Antonio Hart and some members of the Queens Jazz Orchestra to our beautiful venue,” said Ellen Kodadek, Executive and Artistic Director of Flushing Town Hall. “While we cannot bring our entire Queens Jazz Orchestra to Flushing Town Hall at this time due to COVID restrictions, we are delighted that this sextet of incredibly knowledgeable and passionate musicians once again graces our stage and wow our audience with live jazz! “

The Queens Jazz Orchestra Ensemble performing at Flushing Town Hall is made up of six musicians who all have a personal connection to Heath and celebrate his legacy: Antonio Hart (leader and saxophone); Freddie Hendrix (trumpet); Steve Davis (trombone); Jeb Patton (piano); David Wong (acoustic bass); and Vince Ector (drums).

“The Queens Jazz Orchestra Ensemble contains top musicians! Each member of the ensemble is a bandleader themselves, with the added, explosive dynamite of Antonio Hart mixing it all together, ”said Clyde Bullard, jazz producer in residence at Flushing Town Hall. “What you will hear is the Big Bang Theory embodied!” “

Bullard will host a live question-and-answer session after the performance between the musicians and the virtual audience.

Born October 25, 1926, in Philadelphia, Heath was the second of the illustrious Heath brothers to receive an NEA Jazz Master scholarship and the first Heath to choose music as a career path. During his rich career, Heath (who lived in Queens for many years) performed on over 100 albums, including seven with the Heath Brothers and 12 as a frontman.

Jimmy Heath, American jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger and big band leader. (Courtesy of Flushing City Hall)

Heath has also written over 125 compositions, many of which have become jazz standards. Heath had established a long-standing relationship with Flushing Town Hall, and a dozen years ago they together launched the 17-piece large group Queens Jazz Orchestra, a Flushing Town Hall project, which has since performed for thousands of jazz lovers under his leadership.

In June 2020, Flushing City Hall held its first virtual tribute to the late master. Among the attendees were Heath’s wife, Mona; jazz legends Albert “Tootie” Heath, Barry Harris, Jimmy Owens and Dorthaan Kirk; and members of the Queens Jazz Orchestra, including Hart, Wong Patton and Douglas Purviance.

In honor of the 42nd anniversary of Flushing Town Hall, 42 in-person tickets are available ($ 15 / $ 12 for members) and unlimited virtual tickets ($ 10 / $ 7 for members) for the public home.

All tickets can be purchased online at flushingtownhall.org. Details on logistics and security requirements, including mask wearing and social distancing to attend the event in person are posted on the website.

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Henry R. Wright