Wiley Jazz Band Joins Boogie Woogie Festival
The Wiley Collegians, a nine-piece jazz band from Wiley College, will join the all-star lineup at the Birthplace of Boogie Woogie Heritage Festival, April 13 at the Marshall Visual Art Center.
In the 1930’s, 40’s and into the 60’s, the Collegians were a nationally celebrated college jazz band. Many graduates toured and recorded with big bands of the era. Bebop trumpeter Kenny Dorham, a Wiley Collegian of the early 40’s, went on to play in the big bands of Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie. He performed and recorded with jazz giants Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins. Collegian drummer Ray Porter backed Charlie Parker on some of Parker’s most famous recordings. Members of the Ray Porter Big Band included Eric Dolphy and a young Chet Baker.
The 2013 Collegians are “reviving the spirit and the talent of the Collegians of lore,” said Band Director Mack Guice.
Festival producers Jack and Nancy Canson said they are honored to have the Collegians on the ticket.
“I believe our audience and our international stars will be wowed by these young talents,” Ms. Canson said.
The festival stars include Germany’s world-renowned pianist Axel Zwingenberger, and vocalist Lila Ammons, the granddaughter of boogie woogie legend Albert Ammons. Mississippi’s “Little Boogaloo” Eden Brent, a three-time Blues Music Award Winner, will perform at the festival, along with avante garde Boogie Woogie pianist Dr. John Tennison, Texas Blues King Bobbie Oliver, Boogie & Blues pianist Christian Dozzler, the Ryan Allgood Dancers, and Marshall’s own Jive Jumpers, who will debut their cover of “She Likes to Boogie Woogie Real Low”, by Texas Blues pioneer Frankie Lee Sims, a Marshall musician who attended Wiley College before serving in the Marines during WWII.
Marshall’s musical heritage, as chronicled in the research of John Tennison, dates back to the 1870’s, when boogie woogie piano emerged in the piney woods of East Texas, in close proximity to the T&P Depot headquartered in Marshall. Lead Belly, Floyd Dixon, Frankie Lee Sims and Dave Alexander (aka Omar Sharriff) were some of the greats who hailed from the Marshall area.
“This is Marshall’s first international music festival, and we’ve had our first international ticket sales,” said Ms. Canson, citing a fan from France who purchased tickets to the concert online.
Proceeds from the concert will help fund a headstone at the gravesite of Marshall’s “Boogie Woogie Man”, the late Omar Sharriff.
Tickets are available at 903-217-7486, at MVAC and at www.boogiewoogiemarshall.com
The festival weekend includes free entertainment and activities all day in connection with Marshall Main Street Second Saturday, the Faux Paws Boogie Woogie Dog Walk, the Words & Voices 10th Anniversary, and live music in all the downtown clubs. On Friday night, the Marshall Regional Arts Council (903-935-4484) and ETBU present the ETBU Jazz Band at MVAC (903-935-4414).
For hotel and lodging information see www.VisitMarshallTexas.org