Saturday, February 8, 2014

5th Annual JAZZIN’ IT UP Brings Jazz Greats to Naples for Benefit Concert Event

stepping up to help with


5th Annual
Jazzin' It Up with Footsteps Concert!
Tenor Madness
"A NYC Tenor Saxophone Summit"
An Electrifying Evening of Jazz w/
Lew Del Gatto, Jeff Rupert and Jerry Weldon
and Featuring Dan Miller on Trumpet

Saturday, April 12, 2014, 6:00 p.m.

The  Jazzin’ It Up concert will benefit Footsteps to the Future, Inc, a unique evidence based mentoring program in Lee and Collier Counties; a model for change in Southwest Florida and the Nation. Footsteps' goal is to empower young women who are aging out of foster care to safely and successfully transition to living independently, and to become self- sufficient through programs such as mentoring, academic achievement, employment partnerships and advocacy.

Tickets on sale now  CLICK HERE.

Hodges University
(in North Naples off 1-75, Exit 111)
2655 Northbrooke Drive  Naples, FL 34119

For VIP Tickets, Reserved Tables, Sponsorship Opportunities or general information visit Footsteps to the Future or call Footsteps to the Future Founder and Executive Director Judi Woods at (239)281-7378. 

"A thoughtful soloist whose subtle swing has plenty of fiber" is how Ira Gitler described tenor saxophonist Jerry Weldon in The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. A native New Yorker, the tenorman is a veteran of the New York Jazz Scene, his résumé reading like a virtual "Who's Who of Jazz. "After graduating from the Rutgers University Jazz Program under the direction of Paul Jeffrey in 1981, Jerry joined the legendary Lionel Hampton Orchestra, touring extensively in the U.S., Europe, South America, and Japan. Jerry continued his association as one of Hamp's favorite tenor soloists through the '90s and into the new millennium. Next came a long and rewarding tour of duty as a member of master organist Jack McDuff & his "Heatin' System," resulting in many fine recordings on the Concord label. In 1990, Jerry became a charter member and featured soloist with Harry Connick Jr.'s newly formed Big Band. Jerry has toured the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and has also performed on many television shows worldwide with the Connick Orchestra. In 2001, Jerry was also part of Connick's Broadway musical production, "Thou Shalt Not" where he appeared on stage as well as in the orchestra. The '90s also found Jerry in another long and fruitful musical cooperative- the New York Hard Bop Quintet, along with trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, pianist Keith Saunders, bassist Bim Strasberg and drummer Clifford Barbaro, the unit toured throughout the U.S. & Europe while recording four stellar albums for the Swiss TCB label. Jer has worked and recorded with organists Jimmy McGriff, Joey DeFrancesco, Bobby Forrester, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Mel Rhyne, trombone great Al Grey, piano giants George Cables and Cedar Walton, drum legends Roy Haynes and Jimmy Cobb as well as guitarist/singer George Benson, guitarist Earl Klugh, bassist Keter Betts and singer Mel Tormé. In 2003 Jerry was involved in a very special musical project: "Jazz @ Lincoln Center Plays the Music of Dexter Gordon". Along with fellow tenorists Jimmy Greene and Wayne Escoffery and the George Cables Trio, the sextet performed at New York's Kaplan Penthouse and also toured the U.S. "That was really special to me" Jer said, "Dexter was one of my very favorite musicians. I was thrilled and honored to have been a part of it." Weldon is a bandleader in his own right, leading ensembles at many of New York's jazz clubs and at jazz festivals around the U.S. He has recorded several albums under his own name, among them, "Head To Head," a swinging two-tenor date with Michael Karn on the Criss Cross Jazz label "Midtown Blues," a rousing quintet with long time collaborator Joe Mags (Magnarelli) recorded live at Fat Tuesdays in NYC, and two hard-swinging dates with the late, great organist, Jerry's long-time pal, Bobby Forrester. "It was after working with Bobby all those years that made it easier to the go with Jack (McDuff), Jimmy (McGriff) and all the other cats" says Jer, "Bobby was truly a hero of mine." Jer continues to be extremely active on the New York scene- "I just want to keep it swinging. If I can do that, I'm happy."

Jeff Rupert is a Yamaha performing artist, a record producer, recording artist, freelance tenor saxophonist, full professor, and Director of Jazz Studies at UCF. Rupert has been a featured soloist on dozens of recordings with artists including Maynard Ferguson, Sam Rivers, Mel Tormé, Diane Schuur and Benny Carter. He played on Carter's Harlem Renaissance which won a Grammy. He played and arranged for the New Jersey-based Blues band The Fins. He has also performed with Kevin Mahogany, Ernestine Anderson, Joe Farnsworth, Ray Drummond, Harry Allen, pianist Benny Green, Kenny Drew jr, trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman, and pianist and singer Judy Carmichael. Rupert currently is the leader of The Jazz Professors, a sextet which had top JazzWeek charting hit albums in 2012 and 2013. "The Jazz Professors: Live at the UCF-Orlando Jazz Festival" (Flying Horse, 2011) which and peaked at #19 during its seventeen weeks on the JazzWeek charts. His third album, "From Memphis to Mobile", with Kenny Drew, Jr. Rupert joined Sam Rivers' band in 1996 and appeared in four recordings with the group. He has performed in hundreds of concerts with Rivers, including performances at Lincoln for Ed Bradley's Jazz from Lincoln Center (broadcast on NPR), the Vision Festival NYC and Columbia University. He has been a member of the Jaguar International Jazz Series alongside Joe LaBarbera, Tom Wharington, Larry Koonse, and John Fedchock.

Tenor saxophonist Lew Del Gatto has been a dynamic figure in the New York music scene for over 40 years. His versatility and knowledgeable comprehension of musical art-form was the basis for a stellar career. He has been involved with jingles, films, jazz and television. Lew was a saxophonist with the Saturday Night Live band from 1975-2005 and was also an arranger and contractor for the show. Del Gatto played with the Les Elgart Band, Sal Salvador and appeared with the world famous Johnny Carson Tonight Show Band. He played on such film soundtracks such as The Blues Brothers and The Naked Gun 2 ½ and has performed on the Grammy Awards and Emmy Awards on TV. He has recorded for such artists as Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Harry Connick Jr and the Brecker Brothers. Lew has appeared with many giants in the music world, including Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Liza Minelli, Buddy Rich, Herbie Hancock, Phil Woods and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. He is currently the co-bandleader and arranger for the Naples Philharmonic Jazz Orchestra.

Also featured is NYC jazz trumpeter Dan Miller, who toured and recorded with Harry Connick Jr., Maynard Ferguson, Wynton Marsalis, Tom Jones and Woody Herman. The world-class rhythm section features pianist Jerry Stawski, bassist Paul Shewchuk and drummer Ron Hefner.

The Jazzin’ It Up concert will benefit Footsteps to the Future, Inc., a unique mentoring program in Lee and Collier Counties and a model for change in Southwest Florida and the nation. Its goal is to empower young women in and aging out of foster care, to safely and successfully transition to living independently through programs such as evidence-based mentoring, self-sufficiency and advocacy. Celebrate with us as we promote our current pilot projects, the Academic Achievement and Tutoring Programs.

The event will be held at Hodges University in North Naples off 1-75 exit 111. The VIP Reception begins at 6:00 p.m. General Admission doors open at 7:00 p.m. The event also features a Silent Auction, a Mystery Box Raffle and a Decadent Dessert Raffle.

Reserved seating is limited.  Footsteps to the Future, Inc. is a non-profit 501c (3).
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