Eighth Annual Bickford Benefit Concert Takes The Stage 11/12

Eighth Annual Bickford Benefit Concert Takes The Stage 11/12

The Eighth Annual Bickford Benefit Concert featuring an all-star ensemble of outstanding jazz artists from the Tri-State area comes to the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum for one night only on Monday, November 12, 2018 at 7:30 PM. The ensemble includes trumpeter/vocalist Bria Skonberg, cornetist Warren Vaché, trombonist Mariel Bildsten, clarinetist Dan Levinson, pianist Rossano Sportiello, guitarist/vocalist Molly Ryan, bassist Rob Adkins, and drummer Mark McLean. All of the ticket sales from this concert will go to support programming at the Bickford Theatre.

One of the most anticipated shows of the year at the intimate theatre in Morristown, the Bickford Benefit Concert is always a rousing evening of hot jazz. Almost club-like, the audience becomes part of the infectious, on-stage revelry, thanks to the great, headliner musicians who join forces annually for this not-to-be-missed event.

Bria Skonberg, trumpet/vocals

New York City-based Canadian singer, trumpeter and songwriter Bria Skonberg has been described as "one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation" (The Wall Street Journal). Recognized as one of "25 for the Future" by DownBeat Magazine, Skonberg has been a force in the new generation with her bold horn melodies and smoky vocals, and adventurous concoctions of classic and new. Noted as a millennial "shaking up the jazz world" (Vanity Fair), Bria has played festivals and stages the world over, including The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, The Monterey Jazz Festival, The Newport Jazz Festival, The Montreal Jazz Festival, and over a hundred more.

Warren Vaché, cornet

In world-renowned cornetist Warren Vaché, jazz has found an artist whose prodigious, hard-earned skills enable him to craft swinging performances of beauty, emotion and surprise. Even casual listeners are able to discern that they're in the presence of something special, whether it be the beauty of his tone on a ballad or his driving energy on an up-tempo swinger. During a 46-year career that began in the early 1970s, Vaché has performed and recorded extensively with such greats as Rosemary Clooney, Benny Goodman, Hank Jones, Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, Woody Herman, Bobby Short, Dick Hyman, Vic Dickenson, and Benny Carter. He has headlined at major jazz festivals all over the world, including the Newport Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Playboy Jazz Festival, and the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Mariel Bildsten, trombone

Since graduating from The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in December 2015, trombonist Mariel Bildsten has been working both as a bandleader and side-woman in New York City. In addition to her frequent appearances with jazz big bands and small groups, she plays Caribbean and other world music, classical music, funk, R&B, and Latin music. She has performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Perth International Arts Festival, the Caramoor Jazz Festival, and at NYC jazz clubs Smalls and Smoke. Bildsten has performed alongside Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Hargrove, Wycliffe Gordon, Brian Lynch, Cyrus Chestnut, Lew Soloff, and Frank Lacy. Her own groups, ranging from duo to septet, have headlined at jazz festivals and appeared throughout the United States.

Dan Levinson, clarinet/saxophone

The 2017 winner of Hot House Magazine's "NYC Jazz Fans Decision" award for Best Clarinetist, Dan Levinson is equally at home as both leader and sideman, fronting his own groups as well as performing with those led by others. His roster of musical associates includes such names as Mel Tormé, Wynton Marsalis and Dick Hyman. He has performed in Brazil with filmmaker Woody Allen's band, as well as in Japan, Iceland, Latvia, and eighteen European countries. From 1990 to 2009 Levinson toured with singer/guitarist Leon Redbone. Since 1993 he has been a member of Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, the country's preeminent 1920s-'30s hot jazz orchestra, with whom he has appeared at Carnegie Hall, on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion radio program. Levinson has recorded over 160 CDs, including nine under his own name. He can be heard on the soundtracks of numerous films, including Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, as well as on all five seasons of the Grammy Award-winning HBO television series Boardwalk Empire.

Rossano Sportiello, piano

Award-winning jazz pianist Rossano Sportiello was born in Vigevano, Italy in 1974. As a member of the Milano Jazz Gang from the age of 16, he toured throughout Italy and Western Europe. In 2000, Sportiello met legendary jazz pianist and educator Barry Harris, who became his mentor and good friend. Over the years, Rossano has earned a reputation as one of the most sought-after pianists in the world. He has performed with such jazz luminaries as Slide Hampton, Clark Terry, Dan Barrett, Kenny Davern, Bucky Pizzarelli, Bob Wilber, Warren Vaché, Harry Allen, Howard Alden, Joe Wilder, Eddie Locke, Scott Hamilton, Jake Hanna, Houston Person, Bill Charlap, and Dick Hyman. He has appeared at prestigious music establishments throughout NYC, as well as at jazz parties and festivals across the globe. Sportiello has also appeared numerous times at the Ascona Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and received the Ascona Jazz Award in 2009, in recognition of his expertise and mastery of jazz piano.

Molly Ryan, guitar/vocals

"A critic's favorite" - so proclaims author and music writer for The Wall Street Journal Will Friedwald in reference to Molly Ryan. Her silvery voice and lush, elegant vocal style evoke the big band singers of the 1930s and breathe new life into familiar old standards. Since moving to New York City from Roseville, CA in August of 2003, she has become one of the most in-demand vocalists on the New York jazz scene. She has performed at such prestigious Manhattan venues as Café Carlyle, the Waldorf Astoria, Birdland, Iridium, the Rainbow Room, and New York City's Town Hall. Ryan's debut album, Songbird in the Moonlight, was released in 2008. Her second album, Swing for Your Supper!, featuring guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, was released in 2013, and her most recent release, Let's Fly Away, featuring pianist Dick Hyman, was released in 2015.

Rob Adkins, bass

Rob Adkins has been an active bassist on New York City's trad jazz scene since 2007. He has been a regular member of such prolific groups as Gordon Au's Grand Street Stompers, Emily Asher's Garden Party, the Howard Fishman Quartet, the Cangelosi Cards, and Tin Pan. In addition, he has worked extensively with bands led by Gordon Webster, Dan Levinson, Jon-Erik Kellso, Tamar Korn, and others. A graduate of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Adkins is comfortable in a variety of musical settings, including American roots, straight ahead jazz and modern jazz.

Mark McLean, drums

Toronto-born, New York City-based drummer Mark McLean is a dynamic and versatile studio and touring musician, who believes that freedom from the burden of musical categorization enables him to fully explore his own voice. His diverse list of musical influences runs the gamut from Johann Sebastian Bach to James Brown. He has been the grooving spark behind jazz, pop and soul legends whose music and influence span generations. Legendary record producer Phil Ramone, who began using McLean on numerous sessions beginning in 2003, called Mark "a tasty, sure handed drummer, a song man's musician". But that's only part of McLean's powerful story and evolving artistry. Whether playing a sensitive ballad with Andrea Bocelli, swinging mightily with Jamie Cullum or laying down a funky backbeat for George Michael, Mark McLean is always in his element.

About the Morris Museum

Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum is an award-winning, community-based arts and cultural institution serving the public through its exhibitions in the arts, sciences and humanities. The Museum is home to the historic and internationally-significant Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata. Changing exhibits of contemporary content also explore the Guinness themes of art, sound, and motion. The adjacent Bickford Theatre is the museum's 312-seat performing-arts facility, offering unique programming, often related to the museum's exhibition themes. Continuously serving the public since 1913, the Morris Museum has a proud tradition of innovative educational programs and family events. The first museum in New Jersey to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, it has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts' Citation of Excellence, among other awards.

Tickets for the Bickford Benefit All Stars are $20 for Museum Members, $25 for Non-Members and $18 for Seniors. All seats are reserved. Tickets may be purchased online at morrismuseum.org/jazz, by phone at 973.971.3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Morris Museum's Bickford Theatre is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Location and Hours

The Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, NJ, and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday, 12:00 to 5:00pm. In addition, the Museum is open evenings from 5:00 to 8:00pm on the second and third Thursday of the month. Admission to the Museum is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and senior citizens. Admission is always free for Museum members. For more information, call (973) 971-3700, or visit www.morrismuseum.org.

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