Two-Time Grammy Winner Bob James to Perform Self-Composed Piano Concerto with TSO
Interlochen, Mich. – Join the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Kevin Rhodes and two-time Grammy Award-winning pianist Bob James for Bob James & Firebird on Saturday, June 4 at 7:30 pm in Corson Auditorium in Interlochen.
Bob James, a prominent artist in the jazz world, debuts his newly composed Piano Concerto with the TSO in its U.S. premiere. James’ legendary career has spanned more than five decades as one of the progenitors of smooth jazz, more than 25 of which has also been with famed jazz quartet Fourplay; he earned a Grammy nomination in 2015 for Best Arrangement with collaborator Nathan East for The
“I had an exciting (world) premiere in Tokyo last September and got my feet wet in the classical realm,” says jazz pianist James. “I had dreamed of trying a ‘large form’ orchestral piece, and now I’m blessed
with a second opportunity to continue this dream. For me, the music only becomes meaningful after
reaching receptive ears.”
Notable for its fantastic energy, the concerto engages musicians and the audience from start to finish. The diverse styles, moods, rhythms and brilliant orchestration all provide the artistic balance necessary create a wonderful work of music. The work was composed as a communication of love and caring for the people affected by the earthquake/tsunami that devastated Japan’s Tōhoku region in 2011.
Maestro Rhodes describes the concerto as follows: “It is not a jazz piece. It has jazz elements, jazz qualities in the musical accent, and there are some places where he will use the jazz idiom, for instance in the cadenzas. But it really is a contemporary classical piece of music and very complex.”
Opening the program is Copland’s Appalachian Spring, one of the most archetypically American works, capturing a vast emotional world through irregular jazzy meters, playful rhythms and bold percussion orchestrations. Next, the TSO lights a musical fire with Stravinsky’s vigorous and exuberant Firebird.
Tickets are priced at $20, $32, $42 and $58 with 50% discounts for students and first time attendees. For ticket info, call 231-947-7120 or visit www.traversesymphony.org. Season sponsor is Chemical Bank. Guest soloist sponsor is Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons. Concert sponsor is Morgan Stanley. Media sponsor is the Record-Eagle. Radio sponsor is WCCW FM.