The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra with Hubert Laws
LONDON Milton Court
1 Milton Street
2019 takes the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra to 10 cities worldwide, exploring the global tradition and evolution of jazz.
The programme, under the direction of artistic director Charlie Young, is a wide collection of pieces ranging from original Duke Ellington arrangements from the Smithsonian archives to contemporary music for big band, and some of Ella Fitzgerald’s historic arrangements as well.
Like the orchestra itself, Hubert Laws is a very rare visitor to London. He made his name with a string of great albums for the legendary CTI label and played with Gil Scott-Heron at the time of ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’. He’s come to be regarded as one of the great jazz flautists and was recently celebrated by an NEA Jazz Masters Award.
Alongside Hubert Laws, the evening’s Orchestra features:
Charlie Young – Saxophone
Young has been a professor of saxophone at Howard University for over 20 years and was recently appointed to the position of Coordinator of Instrumental Jazz Studies. Young has served as guest soloist for the National Symphony Orchestra, the US Navy Band, the Count Basie Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. He has been the conductor and lead saxophonist for the Duke Ellington Orchestra since 1988.
Delores King Williams - Vocalist
Delores is a winner of a Downbeat magazine award, a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition, a winner of the “Billie Holiday Vocal Competition”, and a former soloist for the United States Army Band. In addition to performing, Delores also immensely enjoys her work as a clinician and vocal coach. She can be heard singing the music of Hoagy Carmichael on “Heart and Soul”-her latest recording with the Buselli/Wallarab Jazz Orchestra.
Tom Williams – Trumpet
Williams served eight years as a featured soloist with the “Jazz Ambassadors” and “Army Blues” jazz ensembles. In 1991 he was a finalist and 2nd place winner in the first Louis Armstrong International Jazz Trumpet Competition sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. A versatile performer, Williams has played in the show bands of Pattie Labelle, Liberace, Anita Baker, Sid Caesar, Joe Williams, Stevie Wonder and Rosemary Clooney.
Tony Nalker – Piano
Since 2005, Tony has served as pianist of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, performing throughout the country to share the Smithsonian’s collection of iconic jazz works with the American public. Nalker has also performed with the National, Maryland, and Baltimore Symphonies. Over the past 25 years, Nalker has performed with many artists across a multitude of musical genres. He has also performed on hundreds of recordings in a variety of styles including jazz, folk, children’s music, pop, Broadway, religious, and country.
Marty Ashby – Guitar
Ashby is a music producer, concert organizer, and jazz guitarist. Since 1987 he has been the executive producer of MCG Jazz, a program of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, where he has produced more than 3,000 concerts and 50 recordings on the MCG Jazz label, including five Grammy Award-winners. As a guitarist, Ashby has performed and recorded with Slide Hampton, Claudio Roditi, Nancy Wilson, Paquito D’Rivera, Herbie Mann, Phil Woods, The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band and others.
Leigh Pilzer – Baritone Sax
Saxophonist/arranger Pilzer has performed at many of Washington, DC’s top jazz venues, including Blues Alley, Twins Jazz, Westminster Presbyterian, the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Jazz at the Garden, The Mansion at Strathmore, and the Takoma Park JazzFest, among others. Leigh is a member of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, and has toured nationally and internationally with both groups. She also freelances with a variety of ensembles in the mid-Atlantic region.
James King – Bass
King is an accomplished bassist whose musical career spans more than 40 years on both the national and international stages. King has performed with jazz greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Gary Bartz, Elvin Jones, Stanley Turrentine, Sonny Fortune, Cedar Walton, Buck Hill, Frank Morgan, David ”Fathead” Newman, Arnett Cobb, Teddy Wilson, Milt Jackson, Bud Shank, James Moody, Ronnie Matthews, Junior Cook, Jon Hendriks, Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Vanessa Rubin, Rosanna Vitro, Giacomo Gates, Rebecca Parish, Melissa Walker, Mulgrew Miller, James Williams, Bruce Barth, Cyrus Chestnut, Regina Carter and Johnny O’Neal, among others.
Ken Kimery – Drums
Kimery began his career as a professional musician in Germany. He then studied with Hal Cork, Danlee Mitchell, Michael Spiro, and Dr. Eddy Meadows at San Diego State University. Kimery is the Executive Director of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and Program Director of the Jazz Oral History Program. He has produced over 300 concerts in Washington, D.C., received critical acclaim from the Washington Post, and awarded “Excellence in an Artistic Discipline” at the 18th Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards. The SJMO has traversed the United States playing concerts at the historic Apollo Theater; Symphony Hall in Atlanta, GA for the 1996 Olympic games, the National Mall; the Washington National Cathedral , the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. Building on their national touring success, the Orchestra embarked on its first international tour in 1999 performing in Canada, Turkey, the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Italy. In 2008, the Orchestra was featured at the International Association for Jazz Education conference in Toronto, Canada paying tribute to Quincy Jones. The SMJO was invited by the Egyptian Government and the U.S. State Department for concerts and educational outreach at the Pyramids, Cairo Opera, Alexandria Opera House, and the American University in Cairo.