Diverse group to lead jazz guitar conference

image of Chris Cain with guitarThe fifth annual Jazz Guitar and More Festival, a daylong forum of workshops and performances, will bring world-renowned jazz and blues musicians to the SUNY Oswego campus Saturday, Nov. 12.

The interactive instruction and performances have focused more on jazz in the purest definition, but organizer Rick Balestra promised this year will feature “more diversity in the performing artists’ music.”

“I am including, for the first time, both blues and classical guitar workshops,” said Balestra, an adjunct professor of music at SUNY Oswego.

Headliners include Pearl Django, a gypsy jazz group heavily influenced by the work of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. The band has released eight albums and toured extensively, performing at the national and international levels.

According to critic Paul de Barros, Pearl Django is “the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt done to perfection!”

Guitarists Neil Andersson and Greg Ruby, violinist Michael Gray and bassist Rick Leppanon will instruct workshops before the band’s performance.

Jazz guitarist James Emery will perform and instruct two workshops for intermediate to advanced guitar students. A prominent figure on the jazz scene for 30 years, Emery co-founded the String Trio of New York in 1977 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995. According to critic Francis Davis, “Absolutely nobody sounds like Emery.”

The Chris Cain Band also will perform, and its bandleader will lead a workshop on blues guitar concepts aimed at guitarists of all levels. Cain’s 1987 debut album, “Late Night City Blues,” was nominated for four W.C. Handy Blues Awards. He has shared the stage with Albert Collins, Charles Brown and Albert King. “More than anyone else, anywhere,” said critic John Orr, “Chris Cain represents the future of blues.”

Balestra said he hopes that the 2005 Jazz Guitar Festival will present a forum for creativity and community. “The festival presents music in an intimate setting and allows participants to share with other guitarists in Central New York,” he said.

For attendees seeking accommodations, the EconoLodge Riverfront Hotel in Oswego offers rooms for $60 until Tuesday, Nov. 1. Performers and presenters will stay at the EconoLodge, with a jam session planned Saturday evening at G.S. Steamers on the hotel’s first floor.

All concerts will take place in Waterman Theatre, with workshops throughout the day in Tyler Hall. Registration for the Jazz Guitar Festival is required and includes tickets to all daytime performances and workshops. The cost of early registration is $45 for adults, $25 for students and $10 for SUNY Oswego students. After Oct. 30, registration for adults is $55, students $35 and SUNY Oswego students $15.

Concert-only passes are available at $35 for adults, $20 for students and $10 for SUNY Oswego students.

Support from the Artswego Performing Arts Series, SUNY Oswego music department, D’Addario Foundation for the Performing Arts, House of Guitars in Rochester, WAER Jazz 88 FM and ClearChannel Radio help make the event possible.

For more information, visit www.oswego.edu/jazzguitar or contact the Tyler Hall box office at 312-2141 or tickets@oswego.edu.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Jazz class—Guitarist Chris Cain is among the headliners for the interactive instruction and performances of SUNY Oswego’s Jazz Guitar and More Festival on Saturday, Nov. 12. His debut album, “Late Night City Blues,” was nominated for four W.C. Handy Blues Awards. Other headliners include Pearl Django and James Avery.

CONTACT: Mary Avrakotos, 312-4581 or artswego@Oswego.edu

(Posted: Oct 12, 2005)