Jazz/R&B/Funk Bassist Lonnie Plaxico Leads Sextet

New York City: On February 15, 2007 Baruch College (The City University of New York) will host the Lonnie Plaxico Group as part of the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives concert series (now in its 15th season).

The performance will take place in Baruch Performing Arts Center's Engelman Recital Hall (25th Street between Lexington & 3rd Avenues). The concert begins at 6 p.m. It is free and open to the general public and Baruch students, faculty and administration.

This concert–organized by the Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Committee–is funded by the Baruch Performing Arts Center and The Baruch College Fund. The concert is being held in conjunction with Black History Month events at Baruch College.

Lonnie Plaxico Background

Lonnie Plaxico started playing music at an early age; by the age of twelve he had taught himself how to play the electric bass. At the age of fourteen he was performing along side several prominent Chicago jazz figures. Plaxico's first recording, featuring his family's band, took place when he was just sixteen. He ventured more into Chicago's music scene, renowned for its mix of jazz, funk and blues as he enhanced his musical skills. Plaxico became known for playing the electric and acoustic bass with equal facility.

Plaxico moved to New York in 1980 and soon began to appear with such artists as Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon, and Wynton Marsalis. His first extended tenure was with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (1983 and 1986). Lonnie performed on twelve of Blakey's albums, including the Grammy Award-winning, “New York Scene.” In 1986 he joined Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition, continuing with that group until 1993. Presently, Plaxico is the musical director and featured bassist for singer Cassandra Wilson. Their critically acclaimed and award-winning collaboration has now spanned fifteen years.

Lonnie Plaxico's recording and performance catalog is equally impressive for its caliber, depth and diversity. He has appeared with such luminaries as Sonny Stitt, Junior Cook, David Murray, Alice Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Sample, Abbey Lincoln, and Dizzy Gillespie. Just as noteworthy are his performances with younger artists -- among them Steve Coleman, Rachelle Farrell, and Dianne Reeves. Lonnie Plaxico has also recorded with Bill Cosby, Lonnie Liston Smith, Ravi Coltrane, and Barbara Dennerlein. He has also recorded five critically acclaimed albums as leader.

Lonnie Plaxico's musicianship is best expressed in his masterful integration of different forms, combining the rigorous technique of classical music, the improvisation of jazz, and the rawness of funk into one exhilarating musical experience.

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 on December 1, and the 2006 Grammy-award winning Turtle Island String Quartet on February 15, 2006. The 2005-2006 season ended with a performance by the Andy Middleton Octet. This performance marked the first time a Hinton jazz series concert was co-funded by Chamber Music America (CMA). Middleton garnered a prestigious jazz composition commission from CMA in 2004.

The Hinton Jazz series’ 15th season opened with a spectacular performance by world-class bassist Rufus Reid and his quintet on October 19, 2006. In December 2006 the series continued with “Drummer of the Year” Bobby Sanabria leading the 19-piece Manhattan School of Music Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra.

For further information contact:
Eugene Marlow, Co-Chair
Milt Hinton Jazz Perspectives Concert Series
Baruch College
646-312-3924
nmprinc@aol.com

The City University of New York