On behalf of our dedicated and loyal volunteers, we extend a warm welcome to you to our
2017-2018 Highland Jazz concert series, the 35 th consecutive year of bringing the area’s finest
jazz stylists and their memorable music to Metro West audiences and beyond.
All our concerts are again planned for Sunday afternoons at Newton South High School
Auditorium at 2 p.m. Make your plans now to spend Sundays @South with us this season at 2
pm as we showcase the enduring music of Ellington, Strayhorn, Jimmy Van Heusen, Art Blakey
and the Jazz Messengers among others.
We open on Sunday, September 10, 2017 with The Greg Hopkins Sextet + 1 as they pay tribute
to the illustrious composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, “Remembering Duke and
Strays”. Hopkins’ brings an all-star contingent to honor the indelible contributions of these
Next up on Sunday, October 8, we feature the exciting return of drummer Yoron Israel and
High Standards and its stellar pianist Laszlo Gardony as we highlight the music of this
breakthrough instrumental quartet’s latest album recording “This Moment”(Ronja) and
Gardony’s offerings from his new CD solo piano release, “Serious Play”, ( Sunnyside) in an
After a winter pause, we turn up the heat on Sunday, March 18, 2018 as we feature Berklee’s
Woodwind Chairman, the renown saxophonist Bill Pierce , and his hand-picked ensemble, in
their homage to the legacy of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: ”The Artful Messenger ”.
Their playing inspired musicians and audiences throughout the world for 35 years.
Our final concert takes place on Sunday, April 29, 2018 during the City of Newton fourth annual
Festival of the Arts and marks the return of singer, vocalist, pianist Daniela Schäcter. The Berklee
professor and her group, Mike Tucker, tenor saxophone, Mike O’Brien, acoustic bass, and Mark
Walker, drums, celebrate the prolific songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen in style off their latest CD
release,“VanHeusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen” with “Here’s to Jimmy”.
Make Sundays@South your Highland Jazz habit!
Hank Solomon, Managing Director
2:00PM Sunday, September 10, 2017
We open our 35th season with an unforgettable concert celebrating the collaboration of composers Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Greg Hopkins, the Motor City-born trumpeter, arranger and bandleader, brings an all-star contingent to the Highland Jazz stage to perform the tunes of two men whose body of jazz work forever changed the world of music. Considered among America's greatest composers, Ellington and Strayhorn used the medium of the big band to craft memorable tunes such as, "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," "Take The A-Train," "Sophisticated Lady, "Lush Life," and "In A Sentimental Mood." Hopkins, the former arranger and trumpeter with the Billy Maxted and Buddy Rich orchestras, has the perfect touch to bring the energy and passion of "Duke and Strays" alive for novice and experienced jazz lovers alike. Rounding out the Sextet + 1 are Shannon LeClarie (alto sax/flute), Arnie Krakowski (tenor sax), Jeff Galindo (trombone), Tim Ray (piano), John Lockwood (bass) and Joe Hunt (drums)
2:00PM Sunday, October 8, 2017
Yoron Israel is one of the music industry's most gifted and sought-after musicians. His exciting, masterful drumming and compositional talents are spotlighted throughout his discography, which includes “Basic Traneing” (Ronja Music Company), “Chicago” (Double Time), “Live at the Blue Note” (Half Note) ,"A Gift for You" (Ronja) and his 2016 album recording, “ This Moment”. They represent the extensive depth of Israel’s musicianship as he continues to evolve as a leader.. High Standards, Israel's jazz quartet, includes Lance Bryant (saxophone), Henry Lugo (bass) and Laszlo Gardony (piano), whom Jazz Times hailed as "one of contemporary music's truly original voices." Gardony will be spotlighted in a set celebrating his soulful new solo piano CD, "Serious Play" (Sunnyside) with music from the recording including ", "Naima," , "Over The Rainbow," and "Georgia On My Mind" as well as his spontaneous, inspired improvisations which come from a deep well of emotion and compassion.
2:00PM Sunday, March 18, 2018
As a result of a late scheduling conflict, John Ramsay, Chairman, Percussion Department, Berklee College of Music, will assume his friend and colleague Bill Pierce’s leadership role for our Sunday, March 18 th , 2018 tribute concert celebrating the music of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers: “Artful Messenger”. Ramsay’s all-star group includes Jeff Stout, trumpet, Mike Zsoldos, tenor saxophone, Bruce Sklar, piano, Gregory Ryan, bass, and John Ramsay, drums.
Ramsay is the author of “Art Blakey’s Jazz Messages”, a book and CD published in 1994 that depicts Blakey’s distinctive drumming style and shares the insights into the group’s stories and reflections of its leader. Ramsay spent two years with Blakey, initially as the second drummer in the Jazz Messengers Big Band and then as Blakey's road manager, touring the world. He is featured on the group’s compact disc, “The history of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers,” and the 1980 release Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers Big Band “Live in Montreux and the Northsea.”
Art Blakey was responsible for producing and developing more jazz talent than any other band leader of his era. During his career, which spanned more than six decades, The Jazz Messengers, were considered the quintessential forum for musicians who wished to hone their talent and leave their own mark on the jazz scene.
2:00PM Sunday, April 29, 2018
Pianist Daniela Schächter started early her musical career: by her mid-teens was already performing publicly in Sicily, Italy, as well as doing studio session work. After her classical studies she moved to Boston as recipient of a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, where she studied with Phil Wilson, Joe Lovano, Hal Crook and Joanne Brackeen. Schächter has won many prestigious awards, including the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Piano Competition, The Sister in Jazz Competition and the Betty Carters Jazz Ahead Competition. Her 2016 recording, "Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen," celebrates the work of the renowned songwriter best known for Great American Songbook standards such as "All the Way,” “Darn That Dream,” “Here’s That Rainy Day,” and “Come Fly With Me." "It is arranged and performed with precisely the correct mix of homage and invention," wrote Downbeat's Simon Scott. "A worthy tribute for one great artist—from another." Schächter's band features saxophonist Mike Tucker, bassist Mark O’Brien and drummer Mark Walker.
Highland Jazz has presented over 200 concerts over the past 34 years. While our venues in and around
Newton, MA have changed since our launch in 1983, we have established ourselves as the oldest,
continuous, community-based jazz series in New England. This is an exemplary accomplishment since
most of the non-profit jazz organizations which were flourishing then have disappeared from the scene.
Our concerts have spanned the range of mainstream acoustic jazz, bebop, swing, latin american, blues, gospel and dixieland. These have featured the most talented and respected musicians in New England and elsewhere. We have showcased emerging artists from New England Conservatory and Berklee School of Music as they began their professional journeys and broadened our audience reach. We have also enabled youngsters from local middle and high schools to open our concerts and gain an early connection to professional musicians and a discerning jazz audience. In doing so, we are extremely proud to have served as a platform for the musicians who have gone on to national and international acclaim.
Please check out our Highland Jazz Memories Blog on this page where you will encounter our glorious history in song and story. These have been assiduously and lovingly compiled by my predecessor, Nancy Alimansky, and is now available as an eBook. Come live the memories and share the music. Help us continue the tradition. Become part of our living history.
By Phone: (781) 237-1917
By Mail: Highland Jazz P.O. Box 610037 Newton, MA 02461
140 Brandeis Road, Newton Centre From 128 (North or South), take Exit 20A (Route 9 east) and follow Route 9 for two miles. Stay in the travel lane, right. There will be a small green sign on the left sign of the highway about 1/4 mile from the exit that says NEWTON CENTRE/WEST ROXBURY next right. Go up the ramp and take a right onto Parker St. for 1/4 mile, then turn left onto Hagen Rd. Hagen Rd. will turn into Greatmeadows. Follow to the end and take a left at the stop sign onto Brandeis Rd. The school is 1/4 mile ahead on the right.
This program is sponsored in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as administered by the Newton Cultural Council.
Concert goers can present their ticket stubs at Legal Seafoods in Chestnut Hill and receive a complimentary cup of clam chowder with every entree ordered!
Concert goers can present their ticket stubs at The Capital Grille in Chestnut Hill and receive a free calamari appetizer.
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