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PSU jazz ensembles & area high school musicians present free concert

The PSU jazz ensembles and the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) Southeast Kansas District High School Honor Jazz Ensemble, will present a free concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 19, in the Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. The concert is free and open to the public.

The PSU jazz ensembles and the Kansas Music Educators Association (KMEA) Southeast Kansas District High School Honor Jazz Ensemble, will present a free concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 19, in the Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. The concert is free and open to the public.

The PSU Jazz 1:00, directed by Robert Kehle, and Jazz 2:00, directed by Todd Hastings, will open the concert with a wide variety of music from Latin to a work titled “Rhetoric Machine,” by the Brooklyn-based composer and bandleader Nathan Parker Smith. Smith’s band is not the traditional big band nor is his composing. One reviewer called his music “heavily informed by European heavy metal, 20th century classical composition and progressive rock.”

Also on the program will be jazz classics like “Just Friends,” “Back Bay Shuffle” and a beautiful Latin work titled “El Abrazo.” PSU’s Jazz 2:00 will perform works by Sammy Nestico, Herbie Hancock, Mark Taylor and others.

The KMEA Honor Jazz Ensemble will play works selected from “Another Story,” by Mike Tomaro, “It’s Oh, So Nice,” by Sammy Nestico, “Can You Dig It,” by George Shutack, and “Shortstop,” by Carl Strommen.

The KMEA guest conductor will be Christopher Burnett, a Kansas City area native who is an award-winning composer and saxophone artist. Burnett began his prolific professional start and rose to prominence while leading, touring and recording with U.S. military bands from 1974-1996.

Burnett is the 1995, 5-Star Award of Merit Winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs for his original composition and arrangement for big band titled, “Daedalus.” He has also received numerous awards, letters and decorations for superior military service performance.

Burnett was an early explorer of the digital music landscape. Before most musicians had figured out that there were other ways than major record label contracts and brick-and-mortar retail stores to reach listeners with their products, Burnett garnered more than a half million music downloads and sold CDs to fans in 38 countries via the original MP3.com (1999-2003).

Burnett founded a retail music store business immediately after his military career and held an adjunct position as director of the jazz band at Missouri Science & Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla). He currently is marketing communications manager for the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, a professional jazz artist educator and businessman.

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