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March 3, 2003 - The 30th Annual Aquinas College Jazz Festival will be held on Friday, March 28 through Sunday, March 30. All events will be in the Aquinas Art and Music Center except the 8 p.m. Sunday evening concert, which will be held in Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy Street, S.E. The Festival will kick off Friday at 6:30 p.m. with high school performances followed by an 8:00 p.m. concert featuring Dr. Paul Brewer and Steve Talaga in concert in the Art and Music Center. The guest artist Saturday night is Sunny Wilkinson, vocalist with jazz quartet, and for Sunday night the guest artist is Randy Brecker, trumpet and flugelhorn, with the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra (GRJO). For information on the reasonably tickets, call 459-8281, ext. 3030 or email

The on Saturday and Sunday daytime concerts featuring high school and college bands will be approximately 25-30 minutes long and will take place between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. The listing of groups and times each will perform has not been finalized. Clinics will be held on both days at 3 p.m. The Saturday Clinic will focus on improvisation and Randy Brecker will lead the Sunday afternoon clinic.

Jazz vocalist Sunny Wilkinson, originally from Los Angeles and currently on the faculty at Michigan State and Western Michigan Universities, has been heard in numerous settings. They include wonderful duos with such artists as Frank Potenza and Tom Garvin, performances with The Count Basie Band and The Boss Brass, and her own recordings with John Patitucci, Ernie Watts, and Gary Foster. But nothing captures her amazing capabilities as well as the Sunny Wilkinson Quartet, with Larry Ochiltree on drums, Ed Fedewa on bass, and Ron Newman on piano. Her sophisticated improvisations, her ability to vocalize some of the most challenging melodies ever written for a jazz singer, and especially her beautiful lyricism are all showcased. Wilkinson with the jazz quartet will perform at 8:00 p.m., Saturday, March 29 in Kretschmer Recital Hall, Aquinas Art and Music Center.

Randy Brecker will be performing his own compositions and arrangements with the GRJO at 8 p.m. Sunday evening concert which will be held in Wealthy Theatre, 1130 Wealthy Street, S.E. He has been shaping the sound of jazz, R
B and rock for more than two decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Chaka Khan, George Benson and Parliament Funkadelics to David Sanborn, Horace Silver, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa.

Brecker began his foray into jazz-rock by helping to form Blood, Sweat and Tears (BS
T). He worked with BS
T for a year and played on their innovative 1968 debut, Child is Father to the Man. In 1968, he recorded his first album as a leader, Score (re-issued in 1993 on Blue Note), which also featured a 19 year-old Brother Michael on tenor sax. After Horace Silver, he performed with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers before teaming up with brother Michael, Barry Rogers, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie to form the seminal fusion group Dreams. The group recorded two adventurous and wildly acclaimed albums - now collector's items - for Columbia Records before they disbanded in 1971.

In 1975 the Brecker Brothers became a band of immeasurable influence and impact. Hailed by pop and jazz critics alike, their first album, which Randy produced, was nominated for four Grammys. The Brecker Brothers went on to record a total of six albums and garner seven Grammy nominations between 1975 and 1981.
In 1988, Randy recorded a live album for Sonet Records at the famed jazz club Sweet Basil in New York with Bob Berg, Joey Baron and Dieter Ilga and in '89, he performed a sold out week at the Albert Hall in London with Eric Clapton.

Exactly ten years after they disbanded, Randy and Michael joined forces again in a much-heralded reunion featuring a world tour and the triple-Grammy nominated GRP recording The Return of the Brecker Brothers. In the fall of 1994, the Brecker Brothers released the double-Grammy winning Out of the Loop, with tours in the U.S.A. and Europe. They were the first international contemporary jazz group to perform in the People's Republic of China, playing to sell-out crowds in Beijing and Shanghai. Branching out again in 1995, Randy toured Japan as a special guest with Stanley Turrentine and, as a leader, was one of the first Western jazz artists to tour for several weeks throughout Poland. He began recording his first solo album in six years with a band of musicians assembled from different parts of the globe, including long-time friend and musical cohort David Sanborn, guitarist Adam Rogers from Lost Tribe, Brazilian vocalist Maucha Adnet (singer with the late Jobim's band), and bassist Bakithi Kumalo of Graceland fame, among others.

Inspired by the music of Brazil since his first visit there in 1979, Randy offered up his impression of Brazilian music mixed with pinches of Latin, world music, funk and Jazz on Into the Sun. Brecker won his first Grammy as a soloist in 1998 for "Best Contemporary Jazz Performance" with the recording. Randy is now planning the recording of a new solo effort.

The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra is a professional ensemble directed by Dr. Paul Brewer that performs in a variety of venues. Most notably, the orchestra recently backed famed trumpeter Kenny Wheeler in a concert of his compositions last at Grand Valley State University. In addition to this concert with Randy, the GRJO is in the planning stages for a subscription concert series with various guest artists for the 2003-04 season.