Returning for its fourth season, the Jazz at CAM series will kick off with the Gregg Gelb Jazzet on January 9th at Cameron Art Museum. The series began during the fiscal year of 2010, as CAM collaborated with the Cape Fear Jazz Society (CFJS) to offer a variety of music programs and events.
Created by CAM’s curator of public programs, Daphne Holmes, and then-president of CFJS, Tanya Suarez, Holmes and Suarez had been discussing the possibility of a partnership for years before formalizing the relationship. Today, the two organizations showcase a range of jazz concerts on Thursday nights at CAM, wherein CAM Café also opens to the public for cocktails and dinner.
“The jazz evenings are a perfect synergy of everything under one roof at the museum,” Holmes says—“a well-attended public program, coupled with the opportunity for attendees to enjoy drinks, appetizers and/or dinner at the café before or after the concert.”
It also gives guests the opportunity to browse the Museum Shop. Plus, the gallery remains open until 9 p.m. on Thursdays, so concert-goers can plan to visit the exhibits before or after the show if they wish.
The January 9th event will feature pianist and vocalist Steve Wing as part of the jazzett. “The Gregg Gelb Jazzet bring their New Orleans, swing and bebop-influenced jazz to the series from the Triangle area,” Holmes informs. The duo will perform well-known tunes, like “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Blue Monk,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “Body and Soul,” and “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.”
A multi-talented musician, Gregg Gelb not only plays the saxophone and clarinet, but he also arranges, composes, educates and leads his band. His many achievements include winning the Jazz Composers Award from the North Carolina Arts Council, as well as becoming the founder, player, and director of the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Society.
Gelb grew up in New York and moved to North Carolina in 1979 to teach in the Wake County school system; he now lives in Sanford and teaches music. “I have been teaching students of all levels for a long time,” Gelb notes. “Sharing what I know about music and leading bands is very satisfying.”
Though his main focus remained on sports during childhood, he became drawn to music, specifically jazz, during his years at college. “I was amazed by the energy and solo skills of great players, like John Coltrane, Benny Goodman and the sounds of Miles Davis,” Gelb recalls.
Having released over 12 albums, Gelb’s latest piece of work is a collaboration with Steve Wing and their group, the Second Line Stompers. It’s due to be released next month.
Steve Wing, who will be performing with Gelb, grew up in New Orleans, listening to brass bands and other Crescent City jazz forms. Wing’s mother, composer Lee Wing, taught him piano before he later went on to study the works of Mary Lou Williams and Yusuf Salim. Wing also recorded and performed with vocalists Bus Brown, Melva Houston, and Frankie Alexander. “Steve sings and I play clarinet and tenor sax,” Gelb says, “so we give listeners a wide variety.”
CAM’s Weyerhaeuser Reception Hall holds approximately 200 guests, which often reaches capacity for most performances. Holmes always searches out “a good mix of performers familiar to the community as local musicians and new to local audiences, coming from other parts of North Carolina as well as well out of state.”
The seven-concert series ends in April 2014. After January’s performance from the Gregg Gelb Jazzet, CAM and the CFJS will host Stardust on February 13th, Lee Venters and Vermillion Sands on March 6th and The Cape Fear Jazz Orchestra on April 3rd.
Tickets are $8 for members, $12 for non-members, and $5 for students with ID. The shows take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. the first Thursday of each month.
Gregg Gelb Jazzet
January 9th, 6:30 p.m.
Cameron Art Museum
3201 S 17th Street
$5-$12 • cameronartmuseum.com