If you have a taste for Big Band music, mark 7:30 p.m. June 21 on your calendar when the Rob Stoneback Big Band holds court in Miller Symphony Hall’s Rodale Community Room for the “Jazz Upstairs Series.”
The 19-piece unit has performed with such notables as Rosemary Clooney, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, The Manhattan Transfer and Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, Jr. to name a few. The Stoneback Big Band has four CDs to its credit, and has recorded with Simone, Nina Simone’s daughter.
Jerry Rife and his Rhythm Kings bring their take on hot jazz to the Pennsylvania Jazz Society, 2 p.m. June 2, Dewey Banquet Hall, 502 Durham St., Hellertown.
Rife’s lifelong love of jazz started with a “Dukes of Dixieland” vinyl album he received as a youth.
Says Rife: “It changed my life. I wanted to be those people. With some friends, I formed a Dixieland band in my junior high, high school days. We played the ‘Ted Mack Amateur Hour’ and we actually did gigs for money.
Viktorija Gečytė and the Gene Perla Trio are making their sixth appearance in the “Jazz Upstairs” series in the Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.
The 7:30 p.m. May 17 concert is part of the group’s 11th annual tour. After Lehigh Valley and New York area concerts, the group heads to the Bay Area. Then it’s off to Europe where the ensemble plans to make a recording.
The Alex Meixner Band performs a celebration of the “Roots of the Lehigh Valley,” 7:30 p.m. May 7, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.
The multi-talented Meixner, a Lehigh Valley native, literally learned music at his father’s knee. He represents the fourth generation of the Meixner family in the music business. Starting piano at age three, he made his stage debut in his father’s band at age six playing the accordion.
The Steve Sandberg Quartet visits the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. April 5, Rodale Community Room, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.
Sandberg is a three-time Grammy Award-winning composer and a pianist with a wealth of experience in a variety of music genres.
He’s joined by Rob Thomas, violin; Michael O’Brien, bass, and Mauricio Zottarelli, drums.
Says Sandberg, “Everyone in the band is a virtuoso.”
Sandberg grew up in Brooklyn and began classical piano studies at age four:
The Craig Thatcher Jazz Project performs in the “Jazz Upstairs” series, 7:30 p.m. March 22, Rodale Community Room. Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown. The concert is sold-out.
Thatcher, an International Clinician-Ambassador for C.F. Martin & Co., Nazareth, guitar instructor and recording artist, is well-known for his guitar work. Thatcher has performed with a slew of top performers: Simone, Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks, John Mayall, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Savoy Brown, the Spencer Davis Group, and David Bromberg, to name a few.
Frank DiBussolo and the Philly Reunion Group return to Miller Symphony Hall’s “Jazz Upstairs” series in the Rodale Community Room, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 15 with “Wine, Women, and Song,” a melange of Valentine’s Day weekend-themed tunes for music lovers.
DiBussolo, a veteran jazz guitarist and eight-time Grammy nominee, has performed with Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Diana Ross, among others. He has been a featured soloist with the bands of Buddy Rich, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Lester Lannin and a long list of others.
The Fusion Jazz Trio Miller Symphony Hall concert, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 11, marks the second time the trio has recorded a CD in the Rodale Community Room “Jazz Upstairs” series.
The ensemble of Vernon Mobley, drums; Brian Bortz, bass, and George Grund, keyboards, are joined by Joe Mixon, guitar, and Chet Brown, vocals.
Fusion Jazz Trio recorded its first CD, “Fusionistic,” at Miller Symphony Hall.
The David Leonhardt Trio returns to Miller Symphony Hall with “A Winter Holiday Jazz Concert” in the “Jazz Upstairs’ series, Rodale Community Room, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14.
The concert features selections from the group’s CD, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”
The ensemble has played numerous festivals and concert venues across the United States and around the globe, including such venerable jazz venues as the Apollo Theater, Blue Note, and Birdland.
The Canadian Brass, the most famous brass ensemble in the world, presents its holiday season tour concert, “Christmas Time Is Here,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 23, Miller Symphony Hall, Allentown.
The Canadians are among the most famous, most entertaining, and most musically excellent of all brass groups today.
Their storied history dates back to 1970. For nearly 50 years, the group has produced the highest-quality performances in venues all over the globe.