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April 18, 2013

Oneonta Jazz Festival to feature Grammy-nominated saxophonist

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The Daily Star

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Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist Brad Leali will be the featured guest for the fourth annual Oneonta Jazz Festival at the State University College at Oneonta on Saturday, April 20, at the Hunt College Union.

The Oneonta Jazz Festival brings together musicians from colleges and secondary schools, including Cooperstown Middle School, Sidney High School and Oxford High School. It will feature a series of performances by the attending student ensembles beginning at 9 a.m. and followed by lectures and workshops, including a clinic by Leali at 11:30 a.m. The musicians will come together at noon for a barbecue and New Orleans brass band-style jam session.

The festival will close with a concert by Leali, accompanied by the Oneonta Jazz Orchestra and the Oneonta Jazz Octet, at 4:45 p.m. Saturday in the Hunt Union Ballroom. Doors open at 4:15 p.m. Members of the community are invited to attend, and general admission tickets will be available for $10 at the door. Admission is free for SUNY Oneonta students.

Leali was lead alto saxophonist for the Harry Connick Jr. Orchestra from 1989 to 1994, serving as its musical director from 1990 to 1994. In 1995, he joined the Count Basie Orchestra, which won a Grammy award in 1999 for “Count Plays Duke.” Leali received his own nomination for his solo work on the Billy Strayhorn composition, “The Star-Crossed Lovers.” Leali left the Basie orchestra in 2000 to focus on his career as a soloist. He has since released four recordings, including the critically acclaimed “Maria Juanez” (2006), which features his own compositions and 18-piece jazz orchestra. In 2008, he returned to his undergraduate alma mater, the University of North Texas, as a professor of jazz saxophone. In addition to studio classes, he teaches jazz performance fundamentals and directs the Three O’Clock Lab Band.

More information about the Oneonta Jazz Festival is available from Dr. Arthur Falbush at (917) 817-7251 or by email to oneontajazzfestival@gmail.com.