LaFiesta Jazz Band: 7:00PM SHOW
$12
LaFiesta Jazz Band: 7:00PM SHOW

LaFiesta Jazz Band: 7:00PM SHOW

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Beyu Caffe

341 West Main Street

Durham, NC 27701

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Saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger, and bandleader Gregg Gelb grew up in “different parts” of New York and attended high school in Roslyn, Long Island, where he was a jock named MVP of the baseball and football teams. Although he was a clarinetist in the elementary and middle school bands, he rarely practiced. He continued to “like” music but felt no need to play it. Thoughts of college focused on sports, with perhaps a major in sociology or architecture. A scholarship took him to Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University, where an early elective rocked his world. Mark Gridley’s Jazz Appreciation class opened with Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue,” featuring saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley and pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly. Gregg loved this music and felt the urge to “relearn clarinet” in order to play jazz. After his first college football season, he had some time on his hands and overheard a dorm mate practicing clarinet, sought his acquaintance, and quickly joined him for lessons at the Cleveland Institute of Music, which was next to Case. They were soon playing duets, and Gregg began to concentrate on practicing and listening to jazz. After his sophomore year, he worked as lifeguard at a Catskills resort, joined its jazz band, and even purchased a sax from somebody at the hotel. One of the bandsmen suggested that he transfer to the Berklee College of Music. At summer’s end, he returned home, found sax teacher Chase Dean, and prepared for an audition at Berklee by practicing five-six hours a day for a year. When he was admitted he planned to become a music teacher and jazz player. After receiving his Bachelor of Music from Berklee, Gregg began his association with North Carolina. He taught band/music in the Wake County Public Schools but found little time for his own work. He entered the North Carolina Community College/North Carolina Arts Council Visiting Artist Program and was at Wilson Tech 1987-1989 and Central Carolina Community College 1989-1991. Unfortunately, that unique program, which allowed him to earn a salary for practicing and sharing his music with the community, ended. Since then, he has made his living as a free lance artist and teacher in varied music positions and has formed bands that work a wide variety of events. He writes arrangements for them and attends to their needs. In 2005 Gregg was Interim Jazz Director at two universities, UNC at Greensboro and NC State where he directed the Jazz Ensembles and taught jazz history and improvisation. His many ensembles include a jazz quartet, a jazz quintet featuring vocalist Kathy Gelb (his wife), an eight-piece band, and a big band. He is founder and Director of the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Society and co-founded and performs with the North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra. His trio has gigs regularly at Bogart’s in Raleigh. Since 1997, he has taught jazz appreciation at Central Carolina Community College. Along the way, Gregg has studied classical saxophone, earning a Master of Music from The North Carolina School of the Arts (1993) and Doctorate in Musical Arts from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2008). He received the 1997 Jazz Fellowship Award from the North Carolina Arts Council. He maintains that his great love, jazz, is difficult to play well because of its technical complexity and that such great masters as Charlie Parker, Coltrane, and Benny Goodman arrived at their levels of technique from years and years of practicing. Classical music has enhanced Gregg’s technique and understanding of music, and proficiency in it has given him the “unbelievable opportunity” to appear with the North Carolina Symphony, one of the highlights of his career, as a saxophonist. For example, he was its guest soloist for John Williams’ “Escapades” and plays often with the North Carolina Symphony Pops. Still, Gregg Gelb’s great love—jazz—is proclaimed by the subject of his dissertation: 1959 Jazz: A Historical Study and Analysis of Jazz and Its Artists and Recordings in 1959. In conjunction with the dissertation, he performed a lecture/recital for which he analyzed and recreated the sounds of Paul Desmond, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Coltrane, Adderley, Sonny Stitt, et al. The topic comes not only from his appreciation of the jazz greats but from a felt need to enlighten about their great contributions to our culture. Many of these artists of jazz are African-American, and Gregg hopes that disseminating awareness of them will both reduce prejudice and increase the pride of the Black community. To these ends, his Heart of Carolina Jazz Society has presented a guest artist series in Sanford for sixteen years and offers free clinics and concerts.

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Beyu Caffe

341 West Main Street

Durham, NC 27701

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