Jazz trumpeter Hargrove, classical Chinese music close concert series


Roy Hargrove.

The 2003-04 Bates College Concert Series concludes in January 2004 with a pair of high-powered, highly distinctive performances.

The series presents Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter Roy Hargrove and his band at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, in the Bates College Chapel, College Street. Italian vocalist Roberta Gambarini, who placed third in the 1998 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocal Competition within weeks of her arrival in the United States, opens for Hargrove.

A week later, the series ends its season with a program of classical Chinese music. Multi-instrumentalist Tian Qing and Zhang Shan, a virtuoso on the stringed zheng, perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, in the Olin Arts Center Concert Hall, 75 Russell St.

Admission for each concert is $8 for the general public and $5 for students and seniors.

Roy Hargrove comes to Bates on the wave of his latest recording, the street-smart Hard Groove (Verve). Still in his early 30s, this musician inspired by saxman David “Fathead” Newman and discovered by Wynton Marsalis is known as one of the most versatile and hard-working players in jazz.

Recorded with The RH Factor and released in May, Hard Groove is a daring collaboration with such hip-hop and R&B names as D’Angelo, Erykah Badu and Q-Tip. Hargrove’s nine albums as leader include the Grammy-winning Afro-Cuban landmark Habana, and he shared another Grammy with Michael Brecker and Herbie Hancock for 2002’s Directions in Music.

Opening for Hargrove is Gambarini, a native of Italy who has been compared to Ella Fitzgerald and Carmen McCrae. Born into a jazz-loving family in Turin, Gambarini was performing in clubs around northern Italy by age 17. In 1984, she took third place in a national jazz broadcast competition, which led to performances at festivals throughout Italy.

In 1998, Gambarini came to the United States on a scholarship from the New England Conservatory in Boston. She has appeared at the Schomburg Center with the Jazz Legacy Ensemble and in a major Kennedy Center tribute to Thelonius Monk.

A week after Hargrove and Gambarini, Bates presents Tian and Zhang in The Zheng: A Concert of Classical Chinese Music. This program explores a diversity of classical forms, from courtly music to melodies from the autonomous Central Asian region of Uighur.

One of China’s foremost music scholars, Tian is a leading authority on Buddhist music. A master of classical Chinese instruments, he has lectured and performed extensively in Asia and Europe. The Bates concert marks his first visit to the United States.

Zhang is an emerging master of the zheng. This instrument, dating back 2,500 years, resembles a zither, with more than 20 strings on an unfretted wooden body — yet unlike the zither, its player can obtain a haunting vocality by bending the pitch of the plucked strings.

A winner of numerous awards, Zhang has performed often as a soloist since 1989 and is known for her precise but bold interpretations of classical material.

For reservations and information about the concert series, call 207-786-6135.

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