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Guest artists slated for the annual Gadsden State Jazz Festival 2019

Gadsden, Ala. — Gadsden State Community College’s third annual Jazz Festival is calling attention to talented female jazz musicians through clinics, regional jazz ensemble performances, a concert and an after-party jam session. The event will be Nov. 7 at Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center and is being hosted by the Division of Fine Arts and the Music Department. It is free and open to the public.

“This year’s Jazz Festival theme – ‘Celebrating Women in Jazz’ – features four outstanding master musicians,” said Dr. Matt Leder, music director and instructor at Gadsden State. “It is a great opportunity for students to perform with them and learn from them. The festival welcomes students, community members and professional musicians to Gadsden State to play some great jazz music.”

The Jazz Festival, which is being held in cooperation with the Jazz Education Network, features Roxy Coss, saxophonist; Christie Dashiell, vocalist; Dr. Kate Skinner, pianist and vocalist; and Summer Camargo, trumpeter. They will teach a clinic and have a question-and-answer session at 1 p.m. and will perform in the concert finale at 7 p.m.

“We pride ourselves in being able to recruit some of the best jazz musicians of our time for this festival,” Leder said. “They are fine musical experts, and we are thrilled that they are willing to share their time and talents with Gadsden State and the communities we support.”

Coss is a renowned saxophonist as well as composer, bandleader, educator and activist. She has been recognized numerous times for her talents, including the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. For the past five years, DownBeat Magazine has listed her as a “Rising Star” on soprano saxophone, and, most recently, Jazziz Magazine listed her as an “Artist to Watch in 2019.” She has performed at major festivals and venues around the country and has played alongside popular musicians, such as Clark Terry, Louis Hayes, Rufus Reid, Jeremy Pelt and Darcy James Argue. She founded the Roxy Coss Quintet and performs with the DIVA Jazz Orchestra. An educator with 18 years’ experience, Coss is a jazz faculty member at The Julliard School, The New School and the Borough of Manhattan Community College. She is a member of the Jazz Education Network Board of Directors and is the founder of the Women in Jazz Organization.

Dashiell is a chart-topping, award-winning vocalist. She twice received recognition in DownBeat Magazine’s Student Music Awards as Outstanding Soloist and Best Vocalist in the Graduate College Division. She was also selected as a semifinalist in the Thelonious Monk Institute International Vocals Competition. In 2016, Dashiell released her debut solo album, “Time All Mine,” which debuted on Billboard’s Jazz Album and Contemporary Jazz Album Charts at No. 13 and 22, respectively.  She has appeared as a feature artist on a number of jazz albums including “The Ever Fonky Lowdown” with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. A graduate of Howard University and the Manhattan School of Music, she was a member of Afro-Blue, Howard’s premier vocal jazz ensemble that appeared on NBC’s “The Sing Off.” Dashiell is on faculty at Temple University and Snow College.

Jazz pianist and vocalist Skinner has won multiple awards, including a DownBeat Award for Outstanding Vocal Performance and a Jazz Education Network Award for Composition. She has been instrumental in two albums: one with a straight-ahead jazz quartet called Divergent and a second with Born to Wander, a trio with Erik Applegate and Steve Kovalcheck. Skinner is currently an assistant professor of jazz piano at the University of Idaho. She earned her master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Northern Colorado.

Carmargo is an 18-year-old trumpet player in her first year at The Julliard School, where she received the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship. She is majoring in jazz studies. She has been a member of the Florida All-State Jazz Ensemble, the All-National Jazz Band, the Jazz Band of America, the Grammy Band, the Next Generation Women in Jazz Combo and the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. She was named a National Young Arts Foundation Merit winner as well as DownBeat Magazine’s Outstanding Student Jazz Performance Award. For three years in a row, Camargo received the Outstanding Trumpet Soloist Award at the Essentially Ellington Festival. In 2018, she won the Ella Fitzgerald Outstanding Soloist Award as well as top prize in the Dr. J. Douglas White Student Composition Contest. She has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center and has played with such notable artists as Nat Adderley Jr., Patrick Bartley, Kurt Elling, Victor Goines, Maurice Hines, Bria Skonberg and Wynton Marsalis.

In addition to the clinic and concert with the guest artists, the Jazz Festival offers an educational film about women in jazz as well as performances by ensembles from around the state. The film will be shown at 9 a.m. at Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center and is free and open to the public. The performance schedule is as follows:

  • 10:50 a.m. – Wallace State Community College
  • 11:30 a.m. – Birmingham Southern College
  • 12:00 p.m. – Lunch break
  • 1:00 p.m. – Guest Artists Clinic
  • 2:10 p.m. – JSU Jazz I
  • 2:50 p.m. – University of Montevallo Jazz Ensemble
  • 3:30 p.m. – UAH Jazz Ensemble
  • 4:10 p.m. – UAB Jazz Ensemble
  • 4:50 p.m. – Kings of Swing
  • 5:30 p.m. – Big Band Theory (Haralson County Community Big Band)

A finale concert featuring the Gadsden State Show Band and guest artists will begin at 7 p.m. at Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center. The band will be directed by Leder in the performance of such jazz tunes as Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing,” Maynard Ferguson’s “FireShaker” and Dizzy Gillespie’s “A Night in Tunisia.”

An after-party jam session will be held right after the concert at Blackstone Pub & Eatery. There will be no cover charge. Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments and sit in.

“We are exposing our community to the jazz culture, and we are so excited about this annual event,” Leder said.

Contributors to the Gadsden State Community College Jazz Festival include Wallace Hall Fine Arts Center, Jazz Education Network, the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts, Blackstone Pub & Eatery, Bob Mooney, Blu Chophouse, Bob Moody, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, the Etowah Youth Orchestra and the Etowah Community Development Committee.