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University of Louisville’s Jazz Sextet 2012 Ecuadorian Tour

2012 Ecuadorian Tour 1

 The University of Louisville’s Jazz Sextet is coming to the conclusion of their Ecuadorian tour.  Arriving on May 14, the Sextet features Graeme Gardiner – sax, Brandon Coleman – guitar, Pierson Keating – piano, Jonathan Gardner – bass, Zack Kennedy – drums and Israel Cuenca – percussion, all students at the School of Music.  The Sextet and I visited the Universidad de las Américas, Conservatorio Superior Nacional de Música, Universidad de Cuenca, Universidad Nacional de Loja performing and presenting master classes to students of all ages.  In addition, the group performed at El Pobre Diablo in Quito and Theatro Sucre in Cuenca.  The highlight of our tour will be a performance with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Loja at the Teatro Universitario Bolivar featuring compositions and arrangements for solo jazz saxophone and rhythm section by UofL Jazz Studies graduates Joseph Dunn, Christopher Clark and Javier Perez.  I am honored to once again be guest soloist with this wonderful ensemble.  An unexpected surprise is that the Orquesta is conducted by Andrea Vale, a graduate of the University of Louisville’s School of Music.  Performances end with a concert in Loja with a concert at Centro Cultural Municipal Alfredo Mora Reyes and a jam session at Club Jazz Tinku.

Visiting such wonderful country would not be complete without seeing a few of the sites around Ecuador.  Another wonderful surprise was connecting with another UofL School of Music alum, Andrey Astaiza, who is the conductor of the Banda Sinfonica Metropolitana de Quito. Andrey took the group on a cable car ride to a mountain high in the Andes above Quito.  Once there we all had a chance to ride horses through the mountains.  It was an amazing afternoon and great to have Andrey be our guide.   The group also visited the Amazonian region and Vilcabamba, a village near Loja known as the ‘Playground for the Incas’ with a reputation for longevity, inhabitants living and working well into their 90’s and 100’s.  We are all hoping that this history of a long, healthy life will be contagious.   It has been a busy two weeks and one that will leave a lasting impression on all.

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