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Jazz Concert to Feature Alumni Musicians

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Nov. 3, 2009) -The SUNY Plattsburgh Department of Music will present a jazz concert on Friday, Nov. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, Hawkins Hall. A reunion of alumni saxophone players will be the featured guests in this program by the college's jazz performance ensembles. The concert is free and open to the public.

The SUNY Plattsburgh Jazz Ensemble, directed by Herm Matlock, and the Mambo Combo, directed by Dr. Rick Davies, will perform. Both groups will feature saxophone players who have returned to campus from near and far in this first-time ever reunion.

The guest alumni musicians are David Grippo (1981), Larry Tuttalomondo (1980), Hans Himelein (1983), Mark Beaubriand (1976), and Sam White (1981). All of the saxophone players continue to perform, carrying with them their early experiences studying and playing jazz at SUNY Plattsburgh.

"These players were students of Herm Matlock back when he was the director of the Jazz Ensemble in the 1970s and early '80s," explained Davies. "This concert is a kind of tribute to Herm's earlier years in the department." 

Matlock taught at SUNY Plattsburgh from 1977 to 1986, directing the jazz ensemble, teaching applied brass, directing the symphonic band, and teaching a number of courses for the major as well as the non-major. He also served as department chairman for four of those years. After leaving SUNY Plattsburgh, he directed the Crane Jazz Ensemble at the Crane School of Music, and was director of bands at Franklin Academy in Malone, N.Y. As a professional musician, he has performed with many jazz and pop luminaries, including Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Phil Woods, Aretha Franklin, and The Temptations. A former student of Renold Schilke, Matlock is now retired and teaching as an adjunct faculty member at SUNY Plattsburgh.

According to Matlock, he sees the concert as a tribute to his former all-star players and how much they have all accomplished since their days together playing in the band.

"But I would be remiss if I didn't mention Dr. James Miller, professor of music at SUNY Plattsburgh from 1956 to1985," said Matlock. "We are really revisiting a time when Miller was a force in the department and jazz was king."

Matlock will bring the musicians on stage to play once again with the college Jazz Ensemble. Their reunion includes performing one of their standbys from 1977 - a Don Menza tune called "Groovin' Hard."

The Mambo Combo will play a mix of funk, rhythm and blues, Latin, and jazz music, including some original tunes from Davies. The group will also feature the alumni saxophone players.

"I'm glad we could make this happen," said Davies.  "It should be a good concert, and it will be nice to have these guys back."

The Mambo Combo, along with Davies and some surprise guests, will be appearing the following evening, Saturday, Nov. 14 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Irises Cafe in Plattsburgh.

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