The public is invited to come to the University of Rhode Island and enjoy hours of free live jazz on Saturday, February 4, when URI hosts the annual Rhode Island Music Educators Association (RIMEA) jazz festival. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on that date, a dozen of the state’s top high school jazz ensembles will compete for performance awards before a jury in the concert hall of the URI Fine Arts Center, 105 Upper College Rd., Kingston. The event is open with free admission.
This year’s jazz festival adjudicators are Dr. Jared Sims, Dr. Brian Cardany and Gregory Dudzienski. Boston-based Sims is a Guest Artist Teacher in Jazz Woodwinds and Classical Saxophone at URI. He regularly performs with the Jared Sims Trio. His longest association is with the jazz group Blueprint Project with guitarist Eric Hofbauer and pianist Tyson Rogers. They have performed and toured together for more than a decade and have made four studio recordings. Sims has also performed and recorded with Mango Blue, a Boston-based Afro-Latin band, and with the organ funk band Akashic Record, a staple of the New England club scene. He has recorded and performed with Toussaint Liberator and Buru Style, an electrifying reggae/soul band, and is also a member of the adventurous jazz group Dead Cat Bounce, which has won several Boston Phoenix Jazz Polls and grants from Chamber Music America. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Performance from Boston University.
Cardany is URI’s Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands. In addition to serving on the URI faculty he keeps an active schedule as a clinician, guest conductor, adjudicator and a performer on trumpet, as well as serving as the Assistant Conductor of the American Band of Providence and the Associate Conductor of the URI Symphony Orchestra. He holds both Master and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in Music Education from Arizona State University.
Newport-based saxman Dudzienski is the Assistant Director of the Navy Band Northeast. He holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Studies and Performance from Northern Illinois University and is a graduate of the U.S. Navy School of Music’s Basic Course of Instruction, Arranging Course, and Senior Musician Course as well as the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy. An active performer and educator, Dudzienski has performed with popular music and jazz artists including: Marian McPartland, Clark Terry, Lou Donaldson, Maureen McGovern, Gerald Wilson, David Liebman, The Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and The Virginia Symphony Orchestra. He has presented clinics and master classes at The University of Rhode Island, The International Saxophone Symposium, and numerous high schools throughout the United States.
The bands participating in this year’s festival are: West Warwick High School Junior Jazz Band and Jazz Band A, both directed by Metro Narcisi; Bishop Hendricken Academy Jazz Band, directed by Jarrod Gorman; South Kingstown High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Donald Smith; Portsmouth High School’s “PHS Jazz Ensemble,” directed by Ted Rausch; North Smithfield High School Jazz Band, directed by Fritz Benz; North Kingstown High School Senior Jazz Band, directed by Toni-Annette Silveira; Woonsocket High School Jazz Band, directed by Lisa Alves; Toll Gate High School Jazz Band, directed by George Landrie; Barrington High School Jazz Band and Jazz Combo, both directed by Barbara Hughes; and Classical High School’s “Classical Gas,” directed by Allan Raskin.
The URI Concert Hall is handicap-accessible, and parking is available in the lot behind the Fine Arts Center, off Bills Road. For more information, contact the URI Department of Music, 874-2431, or check the website www.uri.edu/music.