The concert is now scheduled for the ballroom in The Jaguar Student Activity Center on the Summerville Campus. Tickets are $5 for GRU students, $10 for faculty, staff, and active duty military, and $15 for the general public. They may be purchased online at the Maxwell Theatre website or in person at the Maxwell Theatre box office.
That means you’ll want to get your tickets now, because when jazz great Wycliffe Gordon enters the JSAC Ballroom at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, it will be the first time the trombonist has brought his band, dubbed the International All-Stars, to his hometown.
According to Drew Dawson, Station Manager of WACG, that makes the can’t-miss performance even more notable.
“I know it sounds like hype, but I’ve heard some of the recordings these guys have done, and it’s literally beyond imagination what this group of musicians can do,” he said. “This is going to be one of those concerts where you’ll be talking about what happened long after the curtain call.
Gordon, who was voted “Best in Trombone” by the Downbeat Critics Poll three years running as well as the Jazz Journalists Association “Trombonist of the Year” in 2013, is a major figure in the jazz world, though occasionally taken for granted by the city he calls home.
“You know the old saying about a prophet never being respected in his hometown,” Dawson said. “Well, this is going to be a chance for Augusta to see exactly what they have in Wycliffe Gordon. It’s going to be a phenomenal, phenomenal experience.”
Not only can Augusta take pride in producing such an acclaimed trombonist, it can feel honored by the fact he has chosen to take an active role in the community. In September of last year, Gordon became the Artist-in-Residence in Jazz Studies at Georgia Regents University.
“Having him on the team here is certainly a feather in the university’s cap, but I think it also says something about Wycliffe’s commitment to his hometown,” Dawson said. “He travels the world and has been everywhere and played with everyone, but it speaks volumes that he’d accept a position here at the new university and share his gifts and talents and his insights with the students here.”
For Gordon, this concert is a chance to give back even more by exposing GRU and the CSRA to the artistry of his unique quintet. His International All-Star band is a handpicked group he says conveys a message beyond their first-rate musicality.
“Louis Armstrong had an all-star band like this,” Gordon said. “He had people from all over, not just musicians from a single race, and it represented what Louis Armstrong stood for. When you looked at his band, he wanted you to see the face of what was basically in his heart.”
In fact, Gordon recently gave a keynote speech at the University of Iowa medical school, calling music the great unifier.
Saturday’s concert will be as varied as his band, which has players from Japan, Israel, the U.S., and Australia.
“We’re going to give a performance that doesn’t have a specific theme,” he said. “It’ll be pretty much everything from early traditional jazz to now – and beyond.”
Dawson said he considers this concert to be a chance for GRU to further establish itself as a major player in the local arts community.
“The university has been extremely supportive, both in terms of buying into the concept of Jazz at the G and certainly in terms of the financial support that’s necessary to launch a project like this,” Dawson said. “Doing events that contribute to the arts and culture of the area and putting on events that invite the general public to come to our beautiful campus is very, very important to the decision makers of the university.”
Though previous Jazz at the G concerts have been free or donation-based, this will be a ticketed event.
Tickets are $5 for GRU students, $10 for faculty, staff, and active duty military, and $15 for the general public. They may be purchased online at the Maxwell Theatre website or in person at the Maxwell Theatre box office.