January 30, 2008

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Joint Venture will perform Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 8:30 p.m. in Bucknell Hall at Bucknell University. The concert is free to the public as part of the ongoing Jazz at Bucknell First Wednesdays series.

Joint Venture was founded as a composers collective by Paul Smoker, Ellery Eskelin, Drew Gress, and Phil Haynes. Their first appearance was part of David Liebman's 1987 Homage to John Coltrane concert in New York City. After the new collective recorded their music over that same weekend, the German Enja Record label immediately signed them, producing three critically acclaimed CDs over the next few years (Joint Venture, Ways, and Mirrors).

"Veterans of Jazz at Bucknell concerts will be able to hear each of these returning artists in this diverse setting, providing a unique glimpse into collective leadership and literature selection," said Phil Haynes, producer of Jazz at Bucknell.

"In addition to the music of Eskelin, Gress, and myself, this revised version of Joint Venture will feature the compositions and improvisations of our favorite New York colleague, trumpeter Herb Robertson, as Paul Smoker's health has caused him to cancel appearances this month," he said.

Herb Robertson, along with Paul Smoker and Kenny Wheeler, is considered among the most innovative improvising trumpeters of the last 30 years. As a featured soloist, he has performed with Anthony Braxton, Anthony Davis, Bobby Previte, David Sanborn, George Gruntz, Bill Frisell, and Paul Motian, among many. He tours Europe several times yearly, is featured regularly on many of their major festivals and media broadcasts, and also composes music for dance and theater. For more information, visit http://www.herbrobertson.com/

Ellery Eskelin, tenor saxophone, has become recognized as "a major player in today's creative music" (Down Beat) through his work as a leader and as a side-person on the international music scene. He has released over 20 recordings as a leader and has been named in Best of the Year critics' polls such as the New York Times, The Village Voice, and major jazz magazines in the U.S. and abroad. These projects have employed the talents of such musicians as Marc Ribot, Kenny Wolleson, Erik Friedlander, Mark Dresser, Matt Moran, Mat Maneri, Joe Daley, Melvin Gibbs, Arto Tuncboyacian, Phil Haynes, Drew Gress, Andrea Parkins and Jim Black. For more information, visit http://home.earthlink.net/~eskelin/

Drew Gress, a veteran of more than 100 recordings over the past 20 years, has been the "first call bassist" for international artists on the cutting edge of contemporary improvisation including Tim Berne, Don Byron, Fred Hersch, and Ravi Coltrane. In a previous musical life, Gress grounded the performances of Buddy Hackett, Phyllis Diller, Zoot Sims, Cab Calloway, and Pia Zadora. He has been artist-in-residence at St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia and at the University of Colorado-Boulder. For more information, visit http://www.drewgress.com/

Phil Haynes has been featured on more than 40 releases by American and European record companies. Critics have compared his drumming to the masters Jack DeJohnette, Roy Haynes and Elvin Jones, and his compositions to Ives, Mingus and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Haynes' varied professional associations also include Tim Berne, Don Byron, Anthony Braxton, Billy Childs, Marilyn Crispell, Joe Daley, Ken Filiano, Charles Gayle, Mark Helias, Lindsay Horner, Ingrid Jensen, Frank Lacy, Michele Rosewoman, Louis Sclavis, John Tchicai, Gebhard Ullmann and Tom Varner. For more information, visit http://www.philhaynes.com/

Jazz at Bucknell is a chamber series conceived to present international modern masters and young visionaries, showcasing the entire tradition of jazz, from standards to the Avant-Garde, with an eye on artists who continue the innovative tradition of the music with their personal approaches to sound, style and composition.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Jan. 30, 2008

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