Jazz Fusion with Sylvan Street

Oct 17 7:30 PM


Crowder Hall
1017 N Olive Rd
Tucson, AZ 85721-0004


General Admission $5

Fine Arts Box Office

Contact Information

Ingvi Kallen

MusiCall 621-2998

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The University of Arizona School of Music presents Summit Records jazz ensemble Sylvan Street in concert at Crowder Hall on Wednesday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Sylvan Street members are UA faculty artists Jay Rees, bass and Kelland Thomas, saxophone with guest artists Frank Browne, guitar; Andrew Hix, drums and vocals; Kenny Smukal, trumpet; Evan Rees, piano/keyboards; and Michael Faltin, percussion.

Sylvan Street made their debut appearance at the UA School of Music in 2008, followed by a 2009 performance at Centennial Hall in celebration of the release of their CD, “The Perfect Leaf.”  Recent notable performances also include the Beavercreek (Ohio) Weekend of Jazz and the Los Osos (California) Day of Jazz. In 2011, the group’s second CD release, “Here In America” was selected by NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) for the Grammy Awards entry mominations in the categories of best contemporary jazz album, best instrumental composition for “Song For M” (Evan Rees, composer), best improvised solo (Kelland Thomas), and song of the year for “Here In America” (Jay Rees and Wendy Rees, composers/lyricists).

The original sound of Sylvan Street is a diverse and eclectic blend of original works fusing jazz, rock, Latin and funk styles. With its hip, urban edge, the music takes listeners on an emotional journey through tribal funk grooves, bittersweet love ballads, jump swing, and blues. Reviewers have responded to the group with enthusiastic applause.

“Slick fusion, attractive horn charts…[Sylvan Street] could easily be identified as a studio band from Los Angeles.” (Michael G. Nastos, "All Music Guide")
“Sylvan Street’s eclectic program includes, among other things, Latin rhythms, straight-ahead jazz funk, chamber-like acoustic music, and program music. And the band does it all well!” (David Franklin, "Cadence Jazz Magazine")

“They are musicians’ musicians, artists who work and produce the best.”
(Rosalie Robles Crowe, "Arizona Daily Star")

“Sylvan Street packs the intensity of guys who love their musical explorations … all the musicians have exceptional chops.”  (Chuck Graham, Tucson OnStage)

“This band’s output is cutting-edge and aggressive.” (Anna Mirocha, Tucson Weekly)

More information about Sylvan Street can be found on their website at http://www.sylvanstreetjazz.com


About the artists:

Jay Rees (bass, band leader, composer) formed Sylvan Street in 2008 to perform his innovative collection of original jazz compositions. He is an accomplished musician in jazz performance, having appeared throughout the United States, Canada and Japan. Rees has performed with such notable jazz artists as Jimmy Cobb, Lenny White, Paul Horn, Randy Sandke, and many more. He toured with the international recording act The Lettermen as bassist and musical director and is featured on their album release "Now and Then." He also appears annually as a featured performer at UA's AZjazz concert series. Rees has a diverse catalog of original music written for jazz, wind ensemble, concert bands, and athletic bands that is commissioned and performed by major universities and high schools nationwide. A native of Detroit, Rees lived in Miami and Los Angeles before moving to Tucson where he brings his wealth of experience as conductor, composer, arranger, and performer to his position as professor of music at the University of Arizona.

Kelland Thomas (saxophone) is associate professor of music at the University of Arizona. Comfortable in a variety of musical genres, he performs frequently in the Southwest and throughout the United States with the Firecracker Jazz Band, the Original Wildcat Jass Band and Salsarengue. He has performed with The Four Tops, Diane Schuur, Manhattan Transfer, The Spinners, Sam Moore, Rufus Reid, and Jimmy Heath. An American citizen raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thomas received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan.

Kenny Smukal (Trumpet) performed as lead trumpet and jazz soloist with the United States Air Force Airmen of Note from the late sixties through the eighties.  He has worked or recorded with top recording and jazz artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams, Oliver Nelson, Frank Rossilino, Clark Terry, Sarah Vaughn, Bobby Shew, Phil Woods, Doc Severinsen, Donald Byrd, Count Basie, Vaughn Nark, and many others.  He has appeared on television shows and in jazz festivals around the world including Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Montreaux Jazz Festival, and The Tonight Show.  Ken’s experience also includes performing on numerous radio and television commercials. Currently, Ken performs professionally, teaches private trumpet lessons, holds trumpet sectional clinics, and conducts consultations in professional performance.
Frank Browne (guitar) resides in Los Angeles and tours regularly throughout the United States. He has performed on stage with such national acts as the Big Brothers Big Band jazz ensemble, and the Zoot Suit Revue swing band. He is heard on ZSR’s album “Bold, Borrowed and New” as well as three CD’s with Gary Urwin’s Studio Orchestra. Browne has recorded with legendary saxophonist Pete Chritlieb and trombonist Bill Watrous. He has also appeared in major cities from coast to coast at such notable venues as The Derby, The Coconut Club, The Supper Club NY, House of Blues, and the MGM Grand. Fluent in all musical genres, Browne maintains a large studio of private students. He originally hails from New York and is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Music.

Andrew Hix (drums/vocals) has a diverse musical range having performed and recorded with artists in both Chicago and Los Angeles. He toured throughout the United States and Canada playing with several name acts including The Diamonds, The Coasters, Little Anthony, Del Shannon, and The Platters. Hix works extensively in the jazz clubs of Chicago, including the Apollo Theatre. In addition to performing, he is co-owner of Hix Brothers Music, where he also serves as percussion faculty. Hix is a graduate of DePaul University’s School of Music.

Evan Rees (piano/keyboards) is a jazz and classical pianist who performs frequently throughout the Southwest. He was selected twice by the GRAMMY Foundation to attend the prestigious GRAMMY Camp L.A., performing on KTLA-TV and at the historic El Rey Theatre. Evan’s original jazz ballad Song For M, for piano and soprano saxophone, was selected as Best Instrumental Composition on The Recording Academy’s 54th GRAMMY Awards entry ballot. Evan was also the featured pianist on a 2010 big band recording recognized nationally by the Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition. Evan has performed and studied with award-winning pianists/composers Jeff Haskell, Otmaro Ruiz, Barb Catlin, and Michael Kocour, bassist Joel DiBartolo, and international recording artists and saxophonists Brice Winston, Ben Schachter, and Jason Goldman. Evan attends Barrett, The Honors College at ASU, majoring in Jazz Studies/Piano Performance at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Michael Faltin (percussion) is a renowned ethno-percussionist. Over the years, he has worked with steel bands in Trinidad, and has studied and performed with numerous African and Cuban musicians. As a drummer, Faltin plays in a variety of professional settings including clubs and touring stage musicals. He is also a multi-instrumentalist, working as a dance accompanist and as bass player for the trio Steel Jam. A longtime music educator in the Arizona public school system, Faltin currently owns and operates Instrumental Music Center in Tucson.