March 9, 2015

SVSU jazz concert to feature music of John Coltrane

Saginaw Valley State University jazz artist-in-residence Jeff Hall will join with five guest musicians to perform the music of renowned jazz musician John Coltrane Saturday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. in SVSU's Rhea Miller Recital Hall. Admission is $12 for the general public, and $5 for students and senior citizens.

The late Coltrane is a famous American jazz saxophonist and composer who helped reshape modern jazz during his rise to fame in the 1950s and ’60s. He worked with many other inspiring jazz musicians, including Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, before becoming the leader of his own band called The Classic Quartet. It was with his quartet that he recorded his most notable piece, "My Favorite Things," which earned him a Grammy award in 1998. Coltrane is also a recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Hall is a Saginaw native, and worked as an adjunct instructor at SVSU from 1974-2005 when he was appointed as artist-in-residence. At the age of 16, Hall studied under distinguished jazz saxophonist Phil Woods at Camp Ramblerny in Pennsylvania. Hall went on to receive his degree in arranging and composition from Berklee College of Music, and has since then worked with several noted jazz artists and toured with the jazz-fusion group Great Lakes Express.

For the concert, five guest musicians will join Hall. They are:

•    Rob Killips, a trombonist who performs with jazz groups such as Walter White's Small, The Michigan Jazz Trail Big Band, the Lansing Symphony Jazz Band, and Medium at Large. He traveled across the globe as a musical director and performer before returning to the United States in 2000, when he became artist-in-residence for the Michigan Arts Council. Killips is an instructor at Michigan State University and Lansing Community College.

•    Kurt Krahnke, a bassist who has played with musicians Steve Turre, Joe Henderson, Jay McShann, and many other musicians. He has also recorded with local performers such as Mr. B., Wendell Harrison, and the Sun Messengers. Krahnke now resides in Ann Arbor and works as a performer and teacher. In 2005, he was voted best jazz bassist of the year by the Metro Times.

•    Larry Ochiltree, a percussionist who has performed with many national jazz artists and has toured extensively throughout the Midwest and Europe. He has recorded CDs with artists such as Jim Cooper, Terry Lower, Rick Holland, and Hendrick Merkuns, and is now a faculty member at Kellogg Community College.

•    Rob Smith, a trumpeter who also is proficient in many other instruments, performs with several jazz groups throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Smith has had many of his own compositions recorded, and is currently an assistant professor and jazz studies director at Central Michigan University.

•    Steve Talaga, a pianist who has released seven of his own CDs and has performed professionally for over thirty years. He is a part-time music teacher at Hope College, and has previously taught at other schools such as Cornerstone University and Aquinas College. In 2008, he was chosen as the West Michigan Jazz Society's jazz musician of the year.

For more information on the concert, call the SVSU Department of Music at 989-964-4159, or the SVSU box office at (989) 964-4261.