Office of Public Affairs

(315) 312-2265


Feb. 26, 2004


KERRY STRAYER SEPTET TO PERFORM MARCH 20

    OSWEGO -- The Kerry Strayer Septet will perform jazz at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 20, at Tyler Hall's Waterman Theatre at SUNY Oswego.
 
   Strayer, renowned as a saxophonist and jazz educator, has performed with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Gary Foster, Randy Brecker Kevin Mahagony and Ron Vincent, among others.

    His style owes much to the late Gerry Mulligan, a pioneer in the introduction and popularization of the baritone sax into modern jazz. Strayer's 1998 tribute to the master, "Jeru Blue: A Tribute to Gerry Mulligan," reached the top five on the jazz chart and scored six Grammy nominations. "Kerry Strayer can swing with the best of them," Jazz Ambassador magazine noted in its review.

    Strayer grew up in a small Nebraska town and started playing the flute in sixth grade "because a lot of the girls played flute," he admitted. One day, almost by chance, his high-school band teacher needed a baritone sax player in a pinch and switched Strayer to the instrument that would make him famous. "In literally two weeks I was playing the baritone better than I'd ever played the flute," Strayer said.

    When he later walked into the band director's office and heard "Two of a Mind," a seminal jazz recording by Mulligan and Paul Desmond, "it stopped me dead," Strayer recalled. "I just thought, 'I gotta learn to do that.' I knew I'd had a real late start. But the music was so new and fresh; I'd never heard anything like it in my life."

    Strayer's performance will headline the Oswego County High School Jazz Weekend at SUNY Oswego, organized by Richard Holland, assistant professor of music. The first-ever festival, March 19 and 20, will feature clinics, workshops and performances for scholastic musicians across the county. The SUNY Oswego music department and Office of Continuing Education sponsor the jazz weekend.

    Holland, who teamed with Strayer on the critically acclaimed record "Speak Low" in 2002, said he wanted the saxophonist for the weekend because of his skill as a musician and a teacher.

    "He's really good at the older musical styles like Dixieland and Kansas City jazz," Holland said. "His music is very accessible both to people who are artistic in nature and those with more general interest in music."

    A select ensemble of Oswego County high school musicians will open the March 20 concert. Tickets for the show cost $12, $10 for seniors and students, $7 for SUNY Oswego students. For information or reservations, call the Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141.

- END -

Kerry Strayer in action

JAZZMAN COMING -- Led by a renowned saxophonist and jazz educator, the Kerry Strayer Septet will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 20, at Tyler Hall's Waterman Theatre at SUNY Oswego. Strayer's 1998 tribute to a jazz pioneer, "Jeru Blue: A Tribute to Gerry Mulligan," reached the top five on the jazz chart and scored six Grammy nominations.


News Releases Main Page | Public Affairs Main Page | SUNY Oswego Home