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MPH: Making musical memories

White-hot horn player Walter White headlines MPH Jazz Fest Sunday

Trumpeter Walter White – who now plays for Dave Matthews’ Manhattan Jazz Orchestra – cherishes memories of performing alongside his hero, Maynard Ferguson, in the early-1990s in the Big Bop Nouveau Band

“I’ll never forget standing shoulder to shoulder with him night after night playing ‘The Fox Hunt’ and learning through osmosis, breath for breath,” White remembers.

Someday young brass players like Zain Nizam, Ian Trepanier and Francesco Giannini will similarly recall the day they played a concert with Walter White.

The three Manlius Pebble Hill High School musicians will be among two dozen students showcasing their talents in the eighth annual MPH Jazz Fest headlined by the Walter White trio at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1, at the school’s Coville Theater, 5300 Jamesville Road in DeWitt. Tickets cost $25 and $15 for students; 446-2452.

White, who now lives in Ithaca, has plenty of professional experience to share with the MPH musicians.

With Ferguson – who died in 2006 – White was featured on the CD, “Live from London,” playing “The Fox Hunt,” a sizzling duet with the Boss. As lead trumpeter for Dave Matthews’ Manhattan Jazz Orchestra, he now regularly tours Japan. White’s horn playing has enlivened the soundtracks of movies and television shows such as “Taxi,” and “The Cosby Show.” As a recording studio owner, he produces music for records, television and film.

At the MPH Jazz Fest White will be accompanied by keyboardist Dino Losito and drummer Tom Killian. Losito, a pianist since age 4, is one of the most sought-after accompanists in Upstate NY, often working with artists such as Nancy Kelly, Danny D’Imperio and Houston Person. Killian directs bands at Corning Free Academy and often hits the skins for the Salt City Jazz Collective.

Among the tune White is likely to perform are “Stella by Starlight,” “Cantaloupe Island,” “My Foolish Heart” and “The Way You Look Tonight.”

Opening for the White Trio on Sunday will be the MPH Jazz Lab Band and The Oh Man! Band. Conducted by MPH instrumental music instructor Joe Colombo, the Jazz Lab Band features vocalist Jamie Jo on tunes such as Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose.” Jo will also sing with the Oh Man Band, a quintet led by pianist Parker McQueeney. Oh Man’s set list includes a McQueeney composition named “Mathilde.”

Following this year’s MPH Jazz Fest, the school is introducing a new event – an art invitational. The exhibit and sale features the work of 12 Central New York artists. The public is invited to the opening reception at 5 p.m. Sunday, at the Solomon Gallery.

 The artists include Pam Steele, Jacqueline Adamo, Amber Blanding, Amy Fancer, Sharon Bottle Souva, Sue Canizares, John Fitzsimmons, Jeanne Holstein, Aaron Jacobson, Linda McGinley, Mary Padgett, and Misse Thomas. Their works range from paintings, photographs, ceramics, and wall quilts to blown glass, metallic constructions, mosaics and mixed-media pieces. The art exhibit and sale continues through May 6.

Sunday’s student performers

MPH Jazz Lab Band

Heejin Park; flute

Jacob Hamblin, Ini Oguntola; clarinet

Hao Fu, Aurek Ransom, Tristan Spearing, Walter Engelhardt; alto saxophone

Andrew Reid; soprano saxophone

Parker McQueeney; French horn/piano

Zain Nizam, Ian Trepanier, Francesco Giannini; trumpet

Ishaaq Miller, Jordan Olinsky; trombone

Chris Venditti, Joseph Sopchak; bass

Aaron Hicks, Zachary Maher, Griffin Walsh, Jake Ford; guitar

Cal Dougherty, Alex Urist; drums

Jamie Jo; vocals.


The Oh Man! Band

Jake Ford; guitar

Parker McQueeney; piano

Alex Urist; drums

Chris Venditti; bass

Jamie Jo; vocals.

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