Western Jazz Quartet
with Sunny Wilkinson, Vocals
February 23, 2002
First United Methodist Church,
Port Huron, Michigan
The Western Jazz Quartet is a resident faculty ensemble
in the School of Music at Western Michigan University. Founded in
1974, the quartet combines performing and teaching with uncommon success
as they promote jazz music and jazz education through a very active schedule
of tours, concerts and workshops. Activities range from performances
for school children of all ages to concerts and tours with such artists
as Art Farmer, Bob Brookmeyer, Red Rodney, Kenny Werner, Mark Murphy, Randy
Brecker, Eddie Daniels, Bobby Shew, Dave Liebman, Janis Siegel and Bobby
The Western Jazz Quartet has performed from Boston to
Los Angeles and has toured several times to Europe, South and Central America.
It has been featured at festivals in Canada and the U.S., and at a week
of performances at La Villa in Paris, France. The group was honored
with sponsorship by the Arts America Program of the United States Information
Agency which arranged a three-week tour of South America in the summer
of 1993, with concerts in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. The quartet
has also toured Poland twice with pianist Wlodek Pawlik and drummer Billy
Hart, and a third time with Randy Brecker.
The Western Jazz Quartet released The Waning Moon
on Universal Records in 1999. The recording features elements
of Polish culture fused with the universal language of jazz. The
quartet has toured Europe twice promoting this music, which was premiered
at the International Association of Jazz Educators conference in Los Angeles.
The group has released three CDs in the U.S.; Firebird (1992,
SMR Recordings), Blue Harts (1995, SMR Recordings), and Sabine's
Dance (2000, Seabreeze Jazz). Both Firebird and
Blue Harts received top reviews in Down Beat Magazine,
with Firebird being named one of the best of the 1990s.
In 1995, the group released a live CD in Europe on the Koch International
label with pianist Wlodek Pawlik, Live at the Jazz Club Akwarium,
and in 1996, a second European release with Randy Brecker, Turtles,
on Polonia Records.
In April of 1996, the quartet was invited to tour Thailand
in honor of the 50th anniversary of the king's accession to the throne.
The Western Jazz Quartet has recently been appearing as soloists with symphony
orchestras performing Patrick Williams' An American Concerto
and other works.
Sunny Wilkinson, Vocals
One of the most inventive and flexible singers of her
generation, Sunny Wilkinson is a mischievous vocal
stylist who loves to toy with rhythm and tonal color. Her wide range,
marvelous intonation, effortless agility, and passion for what she sings
make her a one-of-a-kind artist. Her performance credits are impressive
having sung with The Count Basie Band, Rob McConnell and the The Boss Brass,
Mark Murphy, Milt Hinton, Marvin Stamm, Bill Mays, Bill Watrous, Curtis
Fuller and Edgar Winter, among others. Sunny's latest release is
a big band CD on Chartmaker Jazz, called Sunny Wilkinson "High Wire".
Her other CDs are Algeria on the Hibrite Label, and Sunny
Wilkinson on the Positive Music Label. Sunny performs regularly
at jazz festivals and clubs across the country and teaches jazz voice at
Western Michigan University and at Michigan State University. She
is past president of the Michigan chapter of the International Association
of Jazz Educators and past chairperson for IAJE's Women's Caucus.
She is co-founder of the Sisters in Jazz mentoring program, which has been
implemented internationally through IAJE.
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Concert Series of the First United Methodist Church
828 Lapeer Avenue |
Port Huron, Michigan 48060 |