November 20, 2013

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The concert, "A Bucknell Jazz Christmas with Steve Rudolph and Friends" will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in Bucknell Hall at Bucknell University.

The performance, which is free and open to the public, is part of the University's ongoing Jazz at Bucknell series.

Joining pianist Steve Rudolph will be Peter Paulsen, bass; Tony Miceli, vibraphone; Jonathan Ragonese, saxophone; and Phil Haynes, percussion.

Pianist Steve RudolphSteve Rudolph has had an inspiring career in his 40 years of professional music making. The winner of the Jazziz Magazine Piano Competition at the Seven Springs Jazz Festival in 2000, he was also awarded two Jazz Composition Fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

With 11 acclaimed CDs as a leader, he has served as producer, arranger and performer on many recordings including CDs with Johnny Coles, Bill Goodwin, Ali Ryerson, Matt Wilson and Vinny Valentino. His concert performances have been with many jazz masters including Louie Bellson, Clark Terry, Terry Gibbs, Rufus Reid, Buddy Tate, Al Grey, the Mills Brothers and Cal Collins. He has toured throughout the U.S., India, Europe, Canada, Russia and the Caribbean. A Yamaha Keyboard Artist, he is in demand as a clinician and performer.

Born in Evansville, Ind., Rudolph studied trumpet and composition under scholarship at Butler University. He switched his main instrumental focus to the piano at age 22 and was hired by Buddy Morrow to perform with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1977. Since moving to Harrisburg in 1978, he has been largely responsible for the growth and development of the thriving jazz scene in Central Pennsylvania. He is the founder of the Central PA Friends of Jazz, now in its 33rd successful season of monthly concerts, youth band, jazz camp, and the annual Central PA Jazz Festival, for which he serves as the Executive Director. He was the recipient of the 2002 Harrisburg Arts Award for dedication to the arts and community service.

Peter Paulsen is Instructor of Double Bass/Jazz Studies at West Chester University in Pennsylvania and is an active member of the nearby Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, principal bass of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania and has been principal bass with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in Spoleto, Italy. He is also busy as a freelance jazz bassist in the tri-state area and performs regularly with his own quintet and trio as well as many of Philadelphia's top jazz performers.

Vibraphonist Tony Miceli, whose playing has been compared with the legendary Milt Jackson and Gary Burton, grew up in New Jersey, resides in Philadelphia, and has been working steadily on the jazz scene since 1980. As a group leader, sideman, and recording artist, he has performed with numerous top musicians including David Liebman, Jimmy Bruno, Ken Peplowski, John Blake, Diane Monroe, John Swana, Joe Magnarelli, Steve Slagle, Larry McKenna and many others. In addition to his work with the group Monkadelphia, which he co-founded in 1990, Miceli is a member of the PhilOrch Jazz Ensemble (a quartet featuring members of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and the Adam Unsworth Ensemble.

Composer-arranger-saxophonist Jonathan Ragonese is a native of New Cumberland, Pa. He has lived in New York City for six years, where he completed his undergraduate degree at the Manhattan School of Music studying with Bob Mintzer, Steve Wilson and Garry Dial, and his Masters in Composition studying with Michael Patterson, Jim McNeely, David Noon and Nils Vigeland. As a saxophonist he has performed and recorded with local and international performers Terell Stafford, David Liebman, Jon Faddis, Tim Warfield, JD Walter, The Harrisburg Symphony and Stuart Malina, Steve Rudolph, Steve Wilson, Jimmy Heath and James Moody. As a composer his works have been premiered by saxophonist Steve Wilson, the Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestra, The RighteousGIRLS, the Harrisburg Symphony, the Solar Winds Quintet, and the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra. Ragonese has served on the faculty of the West Chester University Summer Jazz Institute and The Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz Camp; in 2013 he created and conducted a four-week music-focused summer program for pre-school aged students at The Children's Learning Center in NYC; his educational endeavors continue to broaden with lectures and writings. His debut release, Ardent Marigolds, a duo album with pianist Steve Rudolph, will be released in November 2013 on R&L Records. 

A 20-year veteran New York-based artist, percussionist Phil Haynes is featured on more than 60 LP, DVD and CD releases by numerous American and European record labels. His recording credentials include many of the seminal musicians of this generation: saxophonists Anthony Braxton, Ellery Eskelin, and David Liebman; trumpeters Dave Douglas, Herb Robertson, and Paul Smoker; bassists Mark Dresser, Ken Filiano, and Drew Gress; keyboard artists David Kikoski, Denman Maroney, and Michelle Rosewoman; vocalists Theo Bleckman, Nick Horner, and Hank Roberts; violinist Mark Feldman, and the composers collective Joint Venture. Current Haynes touring ensembles include Free Country, his romantic 'Jazz-Grass' string band featuring vocalist/cellist Hank Roberts; No Fast Food, his 'tough tenor trio' with David Liebman and Drew Gress; The Hammond Brothers, his 'power organ trio'; as well as Day Dream, 'a classic piano trio' cooperative with Steve Rudolph.

The Jazz at Bucknell series presents 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.

The spring Jazz at Bucknell concert schedule includes the Kate McGarry Duo on Jan. 29; the Eastman Jazz Quartet on Feb. 26; the Matt Mitchell Trio with Chris Speed on March 5; and Jason Moran and the Bandwagon (co-sponsored with the Weis Center) on April 17.