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23Arts Windham: Swingin' the Songbook

  • Windham Civic Centre Concert Hall 5379 New York 23 Windham, NY, 12496 United States (map)

The phenomenal young multi-instrumentalist Aaron Johnson leads Swingin’ the Songbook, an exploration of Jazz Promoter and Producer Norman Granz’s legendary “Jazz at the Philharmonic” concerts which toured internationally between 1944 and 1957. This swinging tip of the hat to Jazz’s greatest benefactor explores American Songbook material by composers including George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer in an organized jam session format hearkening back to the original sessions led by Granz.

Culling from the American Songbook as well as the Blues in this debut, the Catskill Jazz Factory Collective features a rotating cast of diverse top young jazz talents alongside special guests vocalist Alexa Barchini and grandmaster trumpet legend Jon-Erik Kellso (Vince Giordano & the Nighthawks, the EarRegulars).

Presented with the support of the Windham Foundation

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About Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic: What began as a series of desegregated jam sessions at Los Angeles’ Trouville Club became “Jazz at the Philharmonic” after the original title, “A Jazz Concert at Philharmonic Auditorium” had been shortened for advertising supplements by the printer for the first official concert at Philharmonic auditorium in LA. Granz collected a myriad of Jazz Giants and Young Lions presented them onstage in an organized jam session format, pairing interesting combinations of musicians one might not have expected to hear together. The concerts began touring internationally from 1945 to 1957 and were recorded and released on notable labels including Mercury and Clef. Among various accolades, Granz’ contribution to Jazz included the founding of 5 record labels (Clef, Verve, Pablo, Down Home and Norgran), recording legions of Jazz greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson.

About Aaron Johnson: Aaron Johnson is a Saxophonist and Scholar of Jazz History and Culture whose music and unrelenting energy have captivated listeners and musicians in a short period of time. A disciple of Charlie Parker and the Bebop era, Johnson is an artist possessing a wild musical imagination, a fearless heart and a probing intellect. He has lectured, given talks and moderated panels regarding the state of Jazz, it’s history, identity, culture and function at notable institutions such as New York University, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The National Jazz Museum of Harlem and the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia). Aaron has appeared in concerts and jazz club settings as a sideman to notable Jazz artists and rising stars such as Jonathan Batiste, Connie Crothers, Bruce Harris, Michael Mwenso, James Langton’s NY All Star Big Band and The Jimmy Halperin Quartet as well as leading his Quintet with Trumpeter Benny Benack III at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2009 and 2014, Aaron produced historically accurate recreations of Benny Goodman’s Orchestra (2009, Oregon) and Charlie Parker with Strings (2014, NYC).