Jazz It Up!, the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council’s annual Arts Scholarship Program fundraiser, returns to the stage on January 21, with award-winning saxophonist Gary Smulyan, performing with the Shoreline School District’s Friends and Faculty All Star Band, and Shoreline’s middle and high school jazz bands.
Smulyan, a Bethpage, New York native, has played with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Ray Charles, and B.B King, and been recognized by the Boston Globe, the Raleigh News & Observer, influential all-jazz station WBGO, and the Jazz Times for his work. Smulyan also has a new album, entitled, “Smul’s Paradise,” coming out on January 17. For the Arts Council, getting Smulyan for this concert has been years in the making.
“What got things going for this year was a performance that we saw involving Gary at Lincoln Center's ‘Dizzy's Club Coca Cola,’ in New York, several years ago,” said Frank Halferty, Einstein Middle School band director, and Arts Council board member. “Gary and I got a chance to talk at our table before his performance at Dizzy's Club, and we talked about the possibility of his coming out to the Northwest for our show. Things started moving at that point and over the summer we put the finishing touches on the show after getting a chance to catch up with Gary in Port Townsend at the Jazz Festival.”
In the week leading up to the concert, Smulyan, who serves as the artistic director at the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in South Hadley, Massachusetts, will work with the jazz bands from Shoreline’s two middle and high schools before serving as their band leader on concert day.
Four to five hundred people are expected for the event, held this year in the Shoreline Center Auditorium (18560 1st Ave NE), while the Shorecrest High School Theater undergoes extensive renovations.
“Shoreline Center has a wonderful auditorium, and the necessary rehearsal spaces we need, along with adequate parking on event day,” said Fred Wong, Executive Director of the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Arts Council.
In previous years, the event has featured the likes of trombonist Dennis Wilson, vocalist Greta Matassa, and saxophonist (and Shorecrest graduate) Jeff Kashiwa.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, and $10 for children 12 and under. They can be purchased by going to www.shorelinearts.net or by calling 206-417-4645.