March 20, 2008


DETROIT, MI (MARCH 20, 2008) - On Friday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m., Wayne State's Big Band will perform a Sacred Jazz Concert at the Music Box in the Max M. Fisher Music Center. Conducted by WSU Professor and Director of Jazz Studies, Chris Collins, the first half of the concert will feature four sacred works for Big Band composed and arranged by WSU Jazz Studies students.

The second half features the Baecker Jazz Worship Service, composed by Western Illinois University professor John Cooper. Inspired by the sacred jazz works of Duke Ellington, Collins and Cooper collaborate to bring this unique sound to Detroit. Tickets for adults are $15 at the DSO box office and $18.50 if ordered by phone (313-576-5111) or online at Student tickets are $10 and available only at the DSO box office (student
ID needed).

John Cooper's Worship Service includes "St. Anthony's Light," a new melody in a hard bop style written over the tune of "This Little Light of Mine." The Offertory presents a groovy New Orleans strut over an asymmetrical formal design. "In The Beginning" explores a jazz treatment of the creation of the world as told in the Book of Genesis.

WSU's Jazz Big Band performs throughout the year on the Wayne State campus and throughout metropolitan Detroit. Recent appearances have included the Jazz Club at the Max with Joe Lovano, the 2006 and 2007 Detroit International Jazz Festival with vocalists Diane Schuur and Kurt Elling, and an evening at Orchestra Hall with Eddie Daniels.The Big Band has also performed with LA woodwind artist Terry Harrington, drummer Bob Harsen, jazz violinist and arranger Don Palmer, New York trumpet artist Marvin Stamm, and trumpet artist Walter White.

Chris Collins is a professional woodwind player who has toured Japan, South Africa, Europe and North America as the leader of his own ensembles and as a featured soloist. In the past year, Collins has performed his original works in seven countries on four continents. He has played professionally with such artists as the Phil Collins Big Band, Doc Severenson, Mel Torme, Michael Fienstien, Rob McConnel, Lou Rawls and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He has performed at international jazz festivals including Cork, Ireland, Montreux-Switzerland, Pori, Nice, North Sea, and Glasgow. His most recent CD release "Jazz From The Shamrock Shore" (Harriett Jazz/ASCAP) features extended compositions that combine the instrumentation, musical vocabulary and repertoire of the Irish folk tradition with American Jazz. In addition to his work on commercial recordings and film soundtracks, including the soundtrack for the award winning Paramount Pictures release "The Big Night," Collins's solo work can be heard on the CD releases "Urban Solitude," Chris Collins Quartet (Harriett Jazz); "A Hot Night In Paris," The Phil Collins Big Band (Atlantic); "A Time To Mourn, A Time To Dance" (Harriett Jazz/ASCAP); and "Watching For Watchung Plaza," The John Cooper Quintet. Collins's work has been recognized by Billboard, Downbeat, Detroit Jazz Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Detroit News, the Hennesey Jazz Competition, and the International Association of Jazz Educators.

John Cooper is Director of Jazz Studies at Western Illinois University and a member of the Hopper Faculty Jazztet. Cooper began his musical career in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Wayne State University in Jazz Studies. Cooper continued his education, obtaining a Master's degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where he worked as a teaching assistant in Jazz Studies under the supervision of Jazz Studies Director, Jeff Halsey. From Ohio, Cooper moved to New York City to continue studies with jazz artist and composer Jim McNeely at New York University, where he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Music Composition in 1996. While in New York, Cooper was a member of the BMI Jazz Composer's Workshop and graduated to the Master Composer's group.


Kristen Malecki
Phone: 586-489-8382

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