Jazz trombonist and composer/arranger Paul Ferguson, described as one of the most versatile and busiest musicians in the Midwest, will be a guest artist-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music and will join the New Jazz Ensemble under director Dave Rivello for their concert on Monday, Nov. 17.
During his stay at Eastman, where he received his master’s degree in 1986, Ferguson also will conduct a master class, speak at a Jazz Forum, and lead a composing session with jazz majors.
The Nov. 17 concert, scheduled for 8 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall, will include several compositions by Ferguson, including a new work titled “Rays of Light” and featuring Eastman jazz professor and pianist Bill Dobbins. Fellow jazz faculty member Clay Jenkins will play the trumpet for the New Jazz Ensemble’s interpretation of Bach’s “If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Me.”
Ferguson has traveled with the Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller bands as lead trombonist and arranger and currently fills those functions with the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra. He was principal trombonist of the Canton Symphony from 1989 to 1998 and at various times has also performed with the Cleveland Orchestra, Cleveland Opera, the Ohio Chamber Orchestra, the Cleveland Chamber Brass, the New Hampshire Festival Orchestra, and other ensembles.
In 1995, Ferguson was awarded the Gil Evans Fellowship in Jazz Composition by the International Association of Jazz Educators. He has been director of Jazz Studies at Case Western Reserve University since 1988 and has four CDs: Blue Highways, Friends, Live at the Bop Stop, and Jazz Vespers.
Ferguson was exposed to classical music at an early age, but didn’t pick up an instrument until he was 15. He chose the trombone, playing along to Duke Ellington and Sammy Davis records at home and soon taking private lessons and performing with high school groups.
After getting his bachelor’s degree at the University of Akron, Ferguson traveled with the American Wind Symphony and then played for three summers with the touring Glenn Miller Orchestra. During the time, he came to the Eastman School of Music, where one of his classmates was Maria Schneider, now a Grammy Award-winning big band leader. After getting his master’s degree, he toured for two years with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
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Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, Dave Rivello, director. With visiting guest artist jazz trombonist Paul Ferguson. Featuring works from Ferguson’s new CD Jazz Vespers. Also with Bill Dobbins, piano; Clay Jenkins, trumpet.
Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs St.