, Muskogee, OK

January 30, 2014

NSU jazz Jam-Balaya benefit tonight

By Sean Rowley

— TAHLEQUAH — Featuring smooth music and great food, Northeastern State University’s Jam-Balaya dinner and concert returns to the Jazz Lab tonight as part of the 2013-14 Green Country Jazz Series.

The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. and the NSU Jazz Ensemble performs at 8 p.m. Special guest is trumpeter Al Hood.

Dr. Tommy Poole, the director of jazz studies at NSU, said Jam-Balaya is always a popular concert in the series.

“We have held this event for several years, and people often ask me when Jam-Balaya will happen and who will be the guest artist,” Poole said.

“It has been great to be able to make this fundraiser coincide with visits by guest artists. Great music and food — what could be better?”

Poole said many of the jazz program’s biggest supporters make a point of attending Jam-Balaya.

“These donors know what a special thing it is to have a nationally recognized jazz studies program with a fantastic guest artist roster right here in Tahlequah,” he said.

“They also know that these NSU students, who they hear getting more proficient every year, go on to have prolific careers in jazz or commercial music. They see Jam-Balaya as an opportunity to show their support.”

Hood, a native of Pumpkin Hook, N.Y., is a trumpet performer and music educator. He has toured with the Phil Collins Big Band and performed with Wynton Marsalis, Doc Severinson, Natalie Cole and Ray Charles.

He also has appeared in the Woody Herman, Glenn Miller and Harry James orchestras. He’s an associate professor of trumpet at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music.

He directs the school’s jazz ensemble and performs with its artist-in-residence ensembles, the faculty brass quintet Aries, and the faculty jazz combo Climb.

Hood will perform with the NSU Jazz Ensemble and Poole during Jam-Balaya. The dinner will include jambalaya as its main course. Beverages include lemonade, iced tea and coffee, and dessert will be bourbon sugar bread pudding.

The event also includes a silent auction, and winning bids will be announced near the end of the evening. Tickets are available at the door, but reservations are recommended.

Sean Rowley writes for the Tahlequah Daily Press.

If you go

WHAT: NSU Jam-Balaya.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. tonight.

WHERE: NSU Jazz Lab, 315 N. Muskogee Ave., Tahlequah.

TICKETS: $35 per couple or $20 for individuals. Admission is available at the door, but reservations are recommended.

INFO: (918) 444-4603 or