Award-Winning Andy Middleton Octet

Andy Middleton

New York City: On March 6, 2006 Baruch College (The City University of New York) will host the award-winning Andy Middleton Octet as part of the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert series, now completing its 14th season.

The performance will take place in Baruch College’s Engelman Recital Hall in the Vertical Campus building at 55 Lexington Avenue. The March 6 concert begins at 6 p.m.

The concert is free and open to the general public and Baruch students, faculty, and administration. Free tickets may be picked up from the Vertical Campus Box Office (ground floor) prior to the concert.

This concert–organized by the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Committee–is funded (in part) by the Baruch Performing Arts Center and The Baruch College Fund. The Andy Middleton Octet performance marks the first time a Hinton jazz series concert is co-funded by Chamber Music America from which Middleton garnered a prestigious 2004 jazz composition commission.

Andy Middleton Background

Long before Andy Middleton won First Prize, Best Soloist and Best Arrangement Awards at the 13th Europe Jazz Contest in 1991, he was garnering attention from his elders and peers. He has worked as a sideman with Lionel Hampton, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker and Maria Schneider, among many others, who were drawn to his imaginative, sincere, lyrical and adventurous solos that never resort to cliché or empty virtuosic display.

As a member of the eclectic band The Fensters, Andy recorded two acclaimed CDs - Jazz Music Vol. I for Arta Records in 1991, and Jazz Music, Vol. X for A-Records in 1996. He has toured Europe extensively, performing at many of the major jazz festivals and in clubs in almost every European country. Andy's new book, Melodic Improvising (Advance Music, 2005) is a guide/playalong CD that offers numerous approaches to developing a strong sense of melodic invention. He has been a regular contributor to Jazz Player and recorded an improvisation Masterclass CD for the Jan/Feb 2002 issue of Saxophone Journal.

Middleton was awarded a highly prestigious composition grant from Chamber Music America's New Works: Creation and Presentation Program in 2004, a National Endowment for the Arts Performance Grant in 1996, and grants from the Fund for US Artists at International Festivals in 1992, 1993, and 2003.

In the words of master saxophonist, composer and educator David Liebman: "Andy Middleton represents the best of a new generation of jazz musicians."

Hinton Series Background

The 1992 inaugural Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert starred jazz bassist Milt Hinton himself together with his picks for an "All-Star" ensemble: Seldon Powell (saxophonist), Bob Rosengarden (Drums), Mike Walters (saxophone and woodwinds), Derek Smith (piano), Jay D'Amico (piano), Mike Grey (trombone), and John "Bucky" Pizzarelli (guitar). This magical first concert saw famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis join the group during the second half.

The following year Tito Puente and his big band also played to a full house with some students and faculty dancing in the aisles. In 1994 the concert was billed as a "Tribute to Women in Jazz" and featured a performance by singer Ruth Brown and Friends and the group Straight Ahead. In 1995 trombonist extraordinaire Slide Hampton and the Big Band Bird filled the bill for the fourth annual concert.

In 1996 America's jazz statesman Dr. Billy Taylor and the Billy Taylor Trio graced the Baruch College stage. In 1997 Jerry Gonzalez and the Fort Apache Band gave a performance that offered a unique blend of Latin and jazz traditions. The 1998 concert presented virtuoso drummer Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Big Band.

The world famous Mingus Big Band played at the 8th annual concert in 1999. The Bronx Horns, consisting of Tito Puente’s brass section, together with Dave Valentin (flute) and Randy Brecker (trumpet), performed at the 9th annual concert in 2000. In 2001, The Heath Brothers (“Percy, Jimmy, and Tootie”) with special guest Jimmy Owens, performed at the 10th annual concert.

In 2002 (season #11) the Hinton Committee expanded its offerings with a series of concerts, including a November 6, 2002 concert featuring “The Latin-Jazz All Stars” with several world-renown Latin-jazz musicians: trumpeter/leader Michael Mossman, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Arturo O’Farrill, alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, bassist Andy Gonzalez, and percussionist Phoenix Rivera.

The 2002-2003 season also featured the Marty Sheller Big Band, Chris Washburne’s SYOTOS Latin-Jazz ensemble, and “Rumbamerica,” an Afro-Cuban ensemble made up of some of New York's top Afro-Cuban drummers, singers, and dancers.

The 2003-2004 season featured the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the “Sax in the City” quartet, the Ted Piltzecker Septet, and the Roberta Piket Trio.

As in the previous two years, for the 2004-2005 season the Hinton committee organized a series of concerts starting with the November 4, 2004 performance of the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Arturo O’Farrill. Dikki Du and the Zydeco Crew performed in the lobby of the vertical campus in early December 2004. On February 10, 2005 Grammy-nominated vocalist Carla Cook appeared in Baruch’s Engelman Recital Hall venue, as did the Andy LaVerne Piano-Organ Trio (with drummer Danny Gottlieb and keyboardist Gary Versace) in March 2005.

The 2005-2006 season saw "Drummer of the Year" Bobby Sanabria and Quarteto Ache perform in October 2005, followed by the George Gee Swing Orchestra performance on December 1, and the 2006 Grammy-award winning Turtle Island String Quartet on February 15, 2006.

For further information contact:
Eugene Marlow, Co-Chair
Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Concert Series
Baruch College

The City University of New York