Cal State Fullerton Jazz Singers to perform at Meng

In Arts & Entertainment, Music
Courtesy of Bill Cunliffe
Courtesy of Bill Cunliffe

Kick off Thanksgiving break with classic jazz hits, brought to you by the Cal State Fullerton Jazz Singers.

The Jazz Singers will croon the night away Thursday at Meng Concert Hall.

The performance will include “I’m Beginning to See the Light” by Duke Ellington, Don George, Johnny Hodges and Harry James; “Down by the Riverside,” a traditional gospel song; “Señor Blues” by Horace Silver; “Before You Know It” by John Proulx and K. Lawrence Dunham; and “Mr. P.C.” by John Coltrane.

The Jazz Singers will also be accompanied by the Don Shelton Quartet, who will play various swing, ballad and blues standards.

John Proulx, the conducting professor for the Jazz Singers, is a Grammy award-winning artist, including his song “Before You Know It” which was co-written with lyricist K. Lawrence Dunham for Mary Stallings’ 2010 album Dream.

In 2006, Proulx co-wrote “These Golden Years” with D. Channsin Berry on her album Turned to Blue. Again working with Dunham, Proulx helped write the song “Stuck in a Dream” for Mary Stalling’s 2005 album Remember Love.

In addition to composing, Proulx is also a talented singer and pianist, and just released his third album for the label MAXJAZZ titled The Best Thing for You, co-produced by CSUF professor Bill Cunliffe.

Cunliffe conducts CSUF’s Jazz Orchestra, the Jazz Big Band and the Latin Ensemble. Proulx and Cunliffe had the honor of touring in Changsha, China at the Orange Island International Jazz Festival.

The Jazz Singers is a weekly class composed of 12 students, all of whom will be performing in showcase Thursday. Many will be featured as soloists. These will include both rehearsed and improvised solos.

The first half of the night will feature the Jazz Singers, accompanied by the CSUF Jazz Trio. The second half will feature the Don Shelton Quartet, accompanied by CSUF faculty members including Proulx, Paul Kreibich and Luther Hughes.

Kreibich and Hughes are both professors in jazz studies and commercial music.

Hughes, who specializes in bass guitar, records with his own band Luther Hughes & the Cannonball-Coltrane Project, who received national recognition for their 2011 album Things are Getting Better.

Hughes instructs classes on both the electric and double bass guitar.

Kreibich has toured internationally as a drummer for jazz icons like the Ray Charles Band, the Gene Harris Quartet and Carmen McRae. Kreibich teaches the jazz drum set at Fullerton.

Don Shelton, a reed player, began his music career at the U.S. Navy School of Music in 1952.

He later moved to Los Angeles where he joined the Trends, singers for a popular radio show, and in 1959 he became a member of the a cappella group, the Hi-Lows. In addition to singing, he can play the clarinet, alto saxophone and flute.

The Jazz Singers’ set covers a wide range of rhythm, from medium swing, to funk, to samba.

The most recognized ballad they’ll be singing is “Georgia on my Mind,” music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Stuart Gorrell. Although this song was first recorded in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael and his Orchestra, it didn’t become a hit until Ray Charles covered it in 1960 featured on his Genius Hits the Road album.

Don Shelton will be accompanying the Jazz Singers’ rendition of “Georgia.”

Proulx encourages everyone to come see the performance Thursday.

“They’ve worked really hard all semester and the audience will be sure to have a good time. Plus, Don Shelton is a wonderful musician and is not to be missed,” Proulx said.

Make sure to grab tickets while you can; they’re only $8 with your Titan discount. The performance begins at 8 p.m. on Thursday at the Meng Concert Hall.

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