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Music Department Presents 32nd Annual Jazz Festival

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (April 23, 2008) - The SUNY Plattsburgh department of music announces its 32nd annual Jazz Festival to begin with a concert on Thursday, May 1.

Organizer of the event, Associate Professor and Chair of the Music Department, Dr. Rick Davies, is especially pleased to announce that two guest jazz artists, Gregory Tardy and Helen Sung, will be joining SUNY Plattsburgh students and faculty for two concerts.

On Thursday, May 1, Gregory Tardy (tenor saxophone) and Helen Sung (piano) will join music faculty Rick Davies (trombone), Herm Matlock (trumpet), Gabe Jarrett (drums) and guest John Rivers (bass) in a free concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, Hawkins Hall.

The festival continues on Friday, May 2 with a jazz concert featuring Tardy and Sung along with the Contemporary Combo, directed by Rick Davies, and the Jazz Band, directed by Herm Matlock. The program will be different for each concert and will include original compositions by Tardy, Davies and SUNY Plattsburgh music students, Eric Reeves and Peter Fiore.

The concert will begin at 7:30pm in the E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, Hawkins Hall. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Prices are $8 for general admission, $5 for seniors, students and SUNY Plattsburgh faculty and staff and $2 for SUNY Plattsburgh students.

The festival concludes with a free film, "'Round Midnight" featuring jazz legend Dexter Gordon. The film, co-sponsored with the college's Center for Diversity, Pluralism and Inclusion, will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 5 in E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, Hawkins Hall.

Born into a musical family, Gregory Tardy began his musical career studying classical clarinet, winning many awards and scholarships. After a few gigs on the saxophone led him to exploring the music of John Coltrane, he decided to become a jazz musician. He moved to St. Louis to perform on the jazz and blues scene, then relocated back to his birthplace, New Orleans, in order to focus on his jazz studies. While in New Orleans, Tardy had the opportunity to perform and learn from many local greats and was a member of bands led by Nicholas Payton, and Jason and Ellis Marsalis.

In 1992, Tardy recorded his first solo project, "Crazy Love," and was picked up by the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. Several years later Tardy moved to New York City where he went on to perform and record with an extremely large array of prominent artists including Wynton Marsalis, Steve Coleman, Betty Carter, Bill Frisell, Joe Lovano and Ravi Coltrane.

In 1998, Tardy's first major label project was released for Impulse Records and received much critical acclaim. He was nominated as Best Debut Artist for the New York Jazz Awards and toured Europe on the Rising Stars Tour. Tardy has continued to record, most recently a series of CDs for SteppleChase label. Today, Tardy dedicates all of his music to God and counts his religion as the most important aspect of his life. In 2006 he joined the music ministry at Times Square Church in New York City.

Once an aspiring classical pianist, Helen Sung was bitten by the jazz bug while pursuing undergraduate studies. She decided to switch to jazz when she was accepted into the inaugural class of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance (at the New England Conservatory of Music). An intensive program, it proved to be an unprecedented opportunity to study and perform with some of the greatest masters of jazz music.

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