Monday, January 5, 2009
The University of West Georgia's 20th anniversary season at the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts brings an internationally acclaimed acoustic steel guitarist and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble to town this month. Both shows are sure to chase those January doldrums away.
Often cited as one of the world's top finger style, steel-string guitarists, Grammy nominee Alex de Grassi brings a unique voice to the art of acoustic guitar with his show, “Now and Then,” on Saturday, January 10, at 7:30 p.m.
De Grassi's long held trademark to create a highly orchestrated sound in his solo guitar music will take the listener beyond the instrument into a canvas of evocative compositions and arrangements.
The musician's most recent recording, “Now and Then: Folk Songs for the 21st Century” on 33rd Street Records features contemporary arrangements of 11 treasured tunes from the American standards repertoire. His playing weaves together melody, bass, harmony, rhythm and cross-rhythms.
Sponsored by the West Georgia Community Foundation, “Now and Then” is de Grassi's attempt to tell a few American stories and weave a musical fabric whose threads reach through time to unite the present with the past...music for now and then.
“In rediscovering these songs I came to appreciate that folk music is a living tradition, and that each generation will find relevance and a way to reinterpret these songs," the musician explained. “In that spirit, I have arranged traditional melodies to reflect the musical idioms and social climate of today's multicultural landscape.”
De Grassi will also host a workshop for steel guitar fans before the concert at 2:30 p.m. in the theatre. Space for the workshop and remaining tickets are limited and early reservations are recommended.
Two weeks after de Grassi's appearance, the Townsend Center will offer its second annual Live Art at the Townsend Center series with The Chicago Jazz Ensemble starring Jon Faddis on Saturday, January 24, at 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by the University of West Georgia Foundation, Inc., Live Art soars into the stratosphere with this preeminent jazz big band of the Mid-West.
Celebrated by critics and audiences alike, the 21-member Chicago Jazz Ensemble is an elite group of Chicago jazz musicians, ranging from international stars to acclaimed Columbia College Chicago faculty. Founded in 1965 by distinguished composer and conductor William Russo, the ensemble entered a new phase in its history when Jon Faddis took the helm.
Tickets are $42 for adults, seniors, active military and children. To learn more about the ensemble, visit their website at www.chijazz.com or the Townsend Center's website at www.townsendcenter.org. Ticket subscription packages are also available for three or more shows at the Townsend Center at significant discounts.
The Townsend Center Box Office will reopen on Monday January 5. Box Office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday and one hour before a performance. For more information, call 678-839-4722.