Gorge Orchestra

December 20, 2017

Event date: Saturday, January 13 at 7PM
Location: Wy’east Middle School
Contact: Mark Steighner (msteighner@gmail.com)
CGOA Gets Jazzed up for January with the Mel Brown Septet
On Saturday, January 13th, The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association’s own Jazz Collective Big Band plays host to some of Portland’s most respected jazz artists: Mel Brown and his Septet. The 7PM concert will be at the Wy’east Middle School Performing Arts Center and will follow an afternoon of educational clinics for local musicians.
Portland-based Mel Brown leads three different bands – a hard bop septet, a modern jazz quartet and a Motown B3 band. Mel’s septet offers a rousing book of music in the tradition of the Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers mixed with a collection of original compositions by members of the band. The arrangements are led by pianist Gordon Lee, who puts together engaging charts and is himself a melodic master that will be especially pleasing to hear on the grand piano. The horn section in the septet -Renato Caranto on Tenor Sax, Derek Sims on Trumpet and Stan Bock on Trombone, is nothing short of fantastic - a group of musicians that could stand shoulder to shoulder with any players making the rounds in New York City, London, Tokyo or Paris.
Then there is the inspiration and namesake, drummer Mel Brown. Mel is a product of Portland’s Washington High School, where he played football alongside future Hall of Famer Mel Renfro. Recognizing that he wasn’t big enough to play at the collegiate level, Mel turned to drums and today is considered the “Godfather” of Portland jazz. Mel started his career as a session drummer for Motown, following a recommendation by comedian Redd Foxx. Mel recorded with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and The Supremes. He toured for several years with legendary R&B singer Diana Ross, and plays drums on George Harrison’s classic My Sweet Lord.
CGOA’s Jazz Collective Big Band is a hard swinging ensemble that is in its third season of delighting audiences with high-energy jazz. Made up of music educators, professional musicians and talented amateurs, the Jazz Collective plays classic and contemporary charts by some of the best writers and arrangers such as Gordon Goodwin, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson and many more.
Tickets for the concert are $15 for adults (18+), $10 students and children (10-17), free admission under 10. Tickets are available at the door or through www.gorgeorchestra.org.
Mark Steighner