Jazz fans should mark their calendars for the final performance in the School of Performing Arts' 2013-2014 Visiting Artist Series. 

Renowned drummer, arranger, and composer Dennis Mackrel takes the stage with the Virginia Tech Jazz Ensembles on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Moss Arts Center.

“This is a performance jazz fans won’t want to miss,” said Jason Crafton, visiting assistant professor of music and director of the jazz ensembles. “Dennis is one of the world's great jazz drummers and arrangers. Our faculty and students are thrilled to share the stage with Dennis and perform a concert of his compositions and arrangements.” 

The program includes well-known pieces like Lester Young's “Lester Leaps In” and Dizzy Gillespie's “A Night in Tunisia,” both arranged by Mackrel. Some of his original compositions will also be performed, including “Blues in the 2%” and “Lemon Juice.”

Known as one of the finest drummers of his era, Mackrel’s accomplished career began at the age of ten. By the time he reached his early twenties, he was a drummer for the Count Basie Orchestra, selected by Basie himself. 

Mackrel, a faculty member at the Skidmore Jazz Institute, later became the leader and chief conductor of the group. He has performed in many other notable ensembles including the Village Vanguard Orchestra, the Carla Bley Very Large Band, Slide Hampton and the Jazz Masters, the Hank Jones Trio, Manhattan Symphony Jazz Orchestra, Maria Schneider Jazz Orchestra, and the American Jazz Orchestra. 

Tickets are $15 general, $10 senior, and $5 student, and may be purchased through the Moss Arts Center box office or by calling 540-231-5300. 

The concert is co-sponsored by the Women and Minority Artists and Scholars Lecture Series.

The Moss Arts Center is located at 190 Alumni Mall on the campus of Virginia Tech. Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street, in the Squires Lot located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Streets, in the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Parking is also available in the Kent Squire parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.



Written by Samantha Skeeter of Chesapeake, Va., a graduate student in Public Administration and Policy in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.
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