August 23, 2017


 Free Concert September 15 on Jersey City Waterfront
Jersey City, N.J., August 23, 2017 – The New Jersey City University Alumni Jazz Big Band will perform a 100th Birthday Salute to Four Jazz Icons, featuring the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, and Thelonious Monk on the J. Owen Grundy Pier, Exchange Place, in Jersey City on Friday, September 15 at 6:00 p.m. Conducted by recently retired NJCU Professor Richard Lowenthal, this free concert features the renowned trumpeter Jon Faddis and the acclaimed young jazz singer Cyrille Aimée.
The fifth annual concert with the Alumni Jazz Big Band is a collaboration between NJCU and the City of Jersey City, which recognizes the value of music and the arts for the people of the community.
“NJCU is proud to partner with the City to present this special tribute to four remarkable jazz artists who all happened to have been born 100 years ago. Their artistry had a profound influence on the development of jazz and it is wonderful to bring everyone together to celebrate,” said University President Sue Henderson. “We are particularly pleased that Jon Faddis and Cyrille Aimée are able to share their talents with our music alumni, faculty and students.”
One of the world’s most famous trumpet players, Jon Faddis was mentored by the great Dizzy Gillespie and is a long-time advocate of his music. As a performer and educator, he continues the jazz trumpet lineage going back to Louis Armstrong. Mr. Faddis was a guest artist at the first Alumni Jazz Big Band concert in 2013 as part of the celebration of Dr. Henderson’s inauguration as the University’s first woman president.
French singer Cyrille Aimée has been making a name for herself since she burst onto the jazz scene some 10 years ago. She has won the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival Vocal Competition, the Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Vocal Competition, and was a finalist in the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition. She now tours internationally with her own band and as a duo with the renowned guitarist Diego Figueiredo.
The NJCU Alumni Jazz Big Band features accomplished musicians who studied at the University as far back as the late 1960s, when Professor Richard Lowenthal started the jazz program.  Performing this year will be drummer Rich DeRosa (recipient of the 2014 NJCU Distinguished Alumni Award); sax players Mark Friedman, John DiSanto, Dave Nolan, Dustyn Richardson, and Dave Schumacher; trumpeters Marcell Bellinger, Vinnie Cutro, Nathan Eklund, and Freddie Hendrix; trombonists Rob Edwards, and Michael Modero; faculty members Allen Farnham on piano, Andy Eulau on bass, and Paul Robertson on percussion; former faculty member Peter McGuiness on trombone; and member of the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Star Big Band, Doug Purviance, on trombone.
Sponsors for the Fifth Annual NJCU Alumni Jazz Big Band Concert include: the NJCU Foundation, New Jersey City University, Arch Insurance, RBC Capital Markets  BCB Community Bank, Cambridge Construction, Connell Foley, Cushman & Wakefield, Del-Sano Contracting, Mack-Cali, Avison Young, Hyatt Regency of Jersey City, African-American Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, New Jersey Jazz Society, WBGO, NJTV, and Hot House Jazz Magazine.
The 100th Birthday Salute to Four Jazz Icons concert is free and open to the public. In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the Harborside Atrium, Harborside Plaza 2 and 3 at 34 Exchange Place. The J. Owen Grundy Pier is conveniently located near public transportation and there are parking lots in the area.  For more information, call 201-200-3426 or visit the NJCU website at
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The NJCU Alumni Jazz Big Band brings together an impressive group of musicians and shares their talents with the Jersey City community. NJCU jazz alumni have credits in Broadway, television, recording industry, and symphony orchestras, and have worked with some of the most legendary artists of all time, including Gerry Mulligan, Ray Charles, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Mathis, Nancy Wilson, Cher, Mel Tormé, and Tony Bennett.
This is the fifth year the NJCU Alumni Jazz Big Band will present a waterfront concert on the J. Owen Grundy Pier. Previous concerts have been A Tribute to Lew Soloff of Blood Sweat &Tears with Randy Brecker; A Tribute to Clark Terry with special guest Wynton Marsalis; A Salute to the Other Jersey Boys with John and Bucky Pizzarelli; and A Celebration of the Inauguration of President Sue Henderson with guest artist Jon Faddis.
These annual concerts are conducted by Professor Richard Lowenthal, who retired in June 2017 after 50 years at the University. Mr. Lowenthal founded the Jazz Program at NJCU, then Jersey City State College, in 1969. Under Professor Lowenthal’s leadership and continuing with Professors Dexter Allgood, Ed Joffe, Walt Weiskopf, and Gabriel Alegria, NJCU boasts a strong jazz program on both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
Jon Faddis is a Grammy Award–nominated jazz trumpet player, conductor, composer, and educator. Mr. Faddis evokes the trumpet voices of Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Roy Eldridge, and his mentor and close friend Dizzy Gillespie.

At 18, he joined Lionel Hampton's band as a featured soloist, and then became lead soloist for the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band. Over the course of a long career, Mr. Faddis has conducted or performed with The Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, The Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Centennial Big Band, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, the Fiftieth Anniversary Dizzy Gillespie Tribute Band, the Newport Jazz Festival Fortieth-Anniversary Tour, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Gil Evans Big Band and the Mingus Big Band. He has toured multiple times for the U.S. State Department and played for Presidents at the White House and royalty abroad. Mr. Faddis also conducts the Jazz Millennium Big Band at the SUNY-Purchase Conservatory, where he is a distinguished professor and artist-in-residence, and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars at the Blue Note in New York and other venues nationally and internationally. 

His distinctive trumpet work is featured on numerous soundtracks, including The Wiz, A Winter in Lisbon, Clint Eastwood films The Gauntlet and Bird, and on hundreds of recordings, including those of Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Quincy Jones and Tina Turner. In addition to performing around the world, Mr. Faddis conducts clinics and master classes.
Called “one of the most promising jazz singers of her generation” by The Wall Street Journal, Cyrille Aimée?is a French-Dominican vocalist whose hybrid of influences has resulted in a sound that is distinctive and captivating.
Ms. Aimée was born in Fontainebleau, France to a French father and Dominican mother. Her fascination with jazz was the result of her upbringing in the village of Samois-sur-Seine—the same place where legendary gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt had lived. In her early years, she would sing by the fire with Django’s descendants and began to fall in love with the gypsy way of life.
In 2006, Ms. Aimée organized a backpacking tour of Europe where she and her musician friends played and sang on street corners. In 2007, the group targeted jazz festivals, where they performed for food and lodging. On a whim, she entered the Montreux Jazz Voice Competition and won; the prize included the financing of her first full-length recording, Cyrille Aimée & The Surreal Band. She went on to win the Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Vocal Competition and finished as a finalist in the Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition.
The New York Times?recently referred to her major label release, It’s a Good Day, as “a bravura turn, presented with a smile.” Ms. Aimée has become a festival favorite and performs around the world.
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Editor’s Note: For more information, photographs or interviews, please contact either Ellen Wayman-Gordon or Don Jay Smith. 
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