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Jazz Masters Jam

September 28, 2015 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm MST

What does John Clayton, legendary jazz bassist have in common with Corey Wilcox, up-and-coming jazz-trombone superstar? They’ll both be playing one night together at Jazz Legends LIVE!

The Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance is proud to present these world renowned jazz musicians playing together for one night only at Jazz Legends LIVE, an unforgettable performance under the stars. In addition to John Clayton and Corey Wilcox, the lineup for the 2015 Jazz Legends LIVE concert includes talent like Lewis Nash, Eric Reed, Graham Dechter, Grace Kelly, and Bria Skonberg.

Jazz Legends LIVE features an ensemble of celebrated musicians who come together in Tucson to put on an unforgettable performance. Unlike a traditional jazz concert Jazz Legends LIVE emphasizes the organic nature of jazz. Rather than pre-planning the musical set, the performers collaborate live to create an improvisational jazz experience. Building on its 12 year history, this year’s Jazz Legends LIVE concert will be the largest ever.

Concert tickets can be purchased for $40 (middle rows), or $55 (back rows). For an upgraded event experience, a $125 ticket will offer attendees VIP front row concert seating, and a three course dinner prior to the concert featuring live music from the UA Studio Jazz Ensemble. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 7 p.m.

The event will be held at the The Lodge at Ventana Canyon, 6200 N. Club House Ln., marking the first Jazz Legends concert at this beautiful location. All the proceeds raised from the event help SAACA continue to fund Creative Arts Therapy and Arts Education programs in the community.

John Clayton, Lead and Bass
John Clayton began his bass career in elementary school. At the age of 16, he enrolled in bassist Ray Brown’s jazz class at UCLA, beginning a close relationship that lasted more than three decades. After graduating from Indiana University’s School of Music with a degree in bass performance in 1975, he toured with the Monty Alexander Trio (1975-77), the Count Basie Orchestra (1977-79), and settled in as principal bassist with the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in Amsterdam, Netherlands (1980-85).

In 1985 he returned to California, where he co-founded the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and rekindled the Clayton Brothers quintet. In 1988 he joined the faculty of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, where he taught until 2009. Now John directs the educational components associated with the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Centrum Festival, and Vail Jazz Party.

Career highlights include arranging the ‘Star Spangled Banner” for Whitney Houston’s platinum-selling performance at Super Bowl 1990, playing bass on Paul McCartney’s Kisses On The Bottom, arranging and playing bass with Yo-Yo Ma on “Songs of Joy and Peace,” and numerous recordings with Diana Krall, Milt Jackson, Monty Alexander and many others. With a Grammy on his shelf and eight additional nominations, artists such as Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, and Charles Aznavour vie for a spot on his crowded calendar.

Lewis Nash, Drums
Lewis Nash has played the drums on more than 200 recordings. He also recorded an album in 1989, and the title says it all: Rhythm Is My Business.

Nash joined Betty Carter’s band at just 23 years old, giving him the opportunity to hone his chops with world-class musicians like Benny Green, Stephen Scott, and Don Braden. However, it was his decade with the Tommy Flanagan Trio for which Nash may be best known. Throughout the 90s, Nash also performed with Sonny Rollins, Clark Terry, Wynton Marsalis, Oscar Peterson, McCoy Tyner, and Branford Marsalis , to name only a few. In 2001, he became a member of the faculty at the prestigious Juilliard School of Music.

Eric Reed, Piano
Eric grew up playing in his father’s storefront Baptist church: “My father was a minister who sang with a Gospel group called the Bay State Singers; he was my earliest musical influence.” As a teenager he was already working with West Coast luminaries such as Buddy Collette, Teddy Edwards, Clora Bryant, Jeff & John Clayton. Eric began touring the world both as a leader and sideman, garnering great notice as a permanent member of Wynton Marsalis’ ensembles (1990-95).

Beyond playing the piano, Reed expanded his scope to Hollywood, composing and arranging music for the Eddie Murphy comedy, Life, various other independent projects for Fantastic Four director Tim Story, plus commercials and TV spots. Annually, he serves as musical conductor the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, under the direction of Judith Jamison. An ardent educator, Eric served on the faculty of the prestigious Juilliard School of Music.

Graham Dechter, Guitar
At age 19, after completing his first year at the Eastman School of Music, Dechter was invited to join the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. He subsequently returned to Los Angeles, where he began studying with Larry Koonse. Here is what Koonse, a respected and in-demand Los Angeles-based jazz and studio guitarist, said about Dechter, “He has it all — chops, harmonic depth, deep swing, melodic inventiveness and serious arranging skills… I look forward to watching his journey unfold.”

Dechter’s tastes are firmly rooted in a different aesthetic: “I tend to veer towards the real swinging stuff,” says Dechter. His debut as band leader came in 2009’s soulfully swinging Right On Time, which he followed up with 2012’s Takin’ It There.

Grace Kelly, Alto Saxophone
Grace Kelly has grown up with the grownups of jazz: Wynton Marsais, Dee Dee Bridgewater, David Sanborn, Lee Konitz. Artists ranging from Randy Brecker to Huey Lewis have praised Kelly. Jazz and mainstream media – including Jazz Times, All About Jazz, the L.A. Times and CNN – have raved about her music. Headlining sets at all major jazz festivals, from Montreux to Newport to Montreal, have drawn more fans with each year, awards continue to come, and she’s produced nine independent CD releases since the age of 12.

Her youthful dynamism –she’s just 23!-and extreme musicianship fuse together to create a powerful, dynamic and buoyant concert of the old with the new and the soon to be standards.

Bria Skonberg, Trumpet & Vocals
Since moving to New York in in 2010, Bria Skonberg she has earned a Jazz Journalists’ Association nomination for “Up and Coming Jazz Artist of The Year” and has been included twice in DOWNBEAT Magazine’s Rising Star Critics’ Poll. She has recently been honored with a New York Bistro Award for “Outstanding Jazz Artist” and swept the 2014 Hot House Jazz Magazine Awards in all categories nominated: Best Jazz Artist, Best Trumpet, Best Female Vocalist and Best Group for the Bria Skonberg Quartet. Best known for her knowledge of classic jazz and instigative nature, she is now creating an adventurous style rooted in New Orleans jazz and blues featuring mostly her original compositions. Her debut US release SO IS THE DAY peaked at #7 on the US National jazz charts; the 2014 follow up release INTO YOUR OWN features percussionist Mino Cinelu (Miles Davis, Weather Report).

Her first professional gig was as a big band singer at age sixteen doubling on trumpet and she has since performed as a bandleader and guest artist at over 50 jazz festivals in North America, Europe, China and Japan. Bria is a graduate of Capilano University’s Jazz Degree Program and was featured in the 2010 Opening Ceremony of the Paralympics.

Corey Wilcox, Trombone
Corey Wilcox, 25, has been playing trombone for 13 years and hitting a high note with some major jazz musicians. “I didn’t expect anything like this to happen,” said Wilcox. He says he is grateful for the opportunity to play with such major musicians. “I am so unpredictable about when dreams come true and it just happens when you least expect it,” said Wilcox.

Wilcox comes from a musical family and his father, Wycliffe Gordon, is a jazz trombonist, composer and band leader. Today, Wilcox is a student at Jacksonville University. JU ensemble member Cody Wheaton, is a bass and trombone player describes Wilcox is a great musician and a great member of the ensemble. “He motivates me to be a better musicians and try new things,” said Wheaton.

All the proceeds raised from this unique event help SAACA continue to fund Creative Arts Therapy and Arts Education programs in the community.

For tickets and more information call (520) 797-3959 x 7 or visit

2015 Jazz Legends in Concert LIVE
When: Friday, Sept. 28 – 5:30 p.m. dinner, 7 p.m. concert
Where: The Lodge at Ventana Canyon, 6200 N. Club House Ln
Cost: $45/$55 Concert General Admission, $125 VIP Dinner & Concert
Phone: (520) 797-3959


September 28, 2015
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA)
(520) 797-3959


The Lodge at Ventana Canyon
6200 N. Club House Lane
Tucson, AZ United States
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