Candido to Receive Ellington Center's 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award

The legendary Latin and Jazz percussionist Candido, now 93 years young, will be presented with the Duke Ellington Center's 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award, at DECFA's annual "Ring Dem Bells" holiday party and concert Monday, December 8 (5:30 to 9:30 PM) at the Landmark on the Park, 160 Central Park West (at 76th Street), it was announced by Mercedes Ellington, the noted dancer/choreographer, who is Duke Ellington's granddaughter and founder and artistic director of DECFA.

"NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero, who played in my grandfather's orchestra, has been a major player in the Latin Jazz movement for many years," she said. "He, along with band leader and percussionist Bobby Sanabria, have been two of the leading driving forces in promoting Latin Jazz in this country and abroad. Although he recently celebrated his 93rd birthday this past April, Candido is still young at heart and spirit and along with Bobby Sanabria remains out there on the front lines of the Latin Jazz revival." The Ellington Center's annual "Ring Dem Bells" holiday celebration - named in honor of one of Duke Ellington's first hit songs - is an informal gathering where musical performers from the worlds of jazz, theater and cabaret get together to celebrate the holidays as well as the musical heritage of Duke Ellington, America's most prolific musicians and composers of the 20th century, who wrote more than 3,000 published musical compositions during his long career as a band leader, song writer and musical innovator. There isn't a day that goes by where one or more of Ellington's works are performed somewhere in the world.

On Monday evening, guests at the "Ring Dem Bells" holiday party and concert, will be treated to a diverse musical program devised by Mercedes Ellington and staged by Pamela Hunt that will be highlighted by a rare performance of Duke Ellington's nine-movement "The Nutcracker" and an Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite to Ellington, conceived by Bobby Sanabria. Both pieces will be performed by The Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band and will feature champion ballroom dancer Michael Choi and partner, and tap dancers Even Ruggiero, Alex Cowings and Karen Callaway Williams.

Also performing at the event will be theater and cabaret singers Steve Ross, Lee Roy Reams, Stacy Sullivan, Larry Marshall, Walter Willison, Karen Wyman and jazz great Antoinette Montague. The Music Director is Eugene Gwozdz.

There will be Special VIP Champagne Reception from 5:30 to 6:30 PM where the winners of DECFA's recent Jazz Vocal Competition - Charles Turner, Noel Simone Wippler and Kathryn Holtkamp - will perform. There will also be an auction for valuable prizes.

Catering is being donated by Ferrara Bakery & Café, Spoonbread, Di Palo Fine Foods, Grotta Azzurra Ristorante and Radeberger Beer.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the door on Monday, December 8, starting at 4:30 PM. Tickets are $65 p/person or $100 p/couple. The VIP package, which includes invitation to the VIP Reception plus seating in the reserved section for the concept, is $100 p/person or $175 p/couple. You can also buy tickets online at:

A portion of the proceeds are earmarked toward the endowment of DECFA's Education Fund.

` The mission of DECFA is to preserve, promote and further the music and philosophy of Duke Ellington's genius through performance and education.

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