Richard Kimball brings world-class jazz to Katrina benefit concert Sunday

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:57

Concert will benefit Habitat for Humanity and Tipitina’s Foundation Warwick — This is truly becoming an event. There have been some wonderful efforts by groups throughout Warwick to benefit hurricane Katrina survivors. On Sunday, longtime Warwick resident, pianist and composer Richard Kimball will bring together many of the area’s best jazz musicians to perform at the Warwick Reformed Church, starting at 4 p.m. All proceeds will go to Habitat for Humanity and Tipitina’s Foundation. This “coalition of the willing,” as Kimball called the group, consists of more than a dozen musicians, all donating their talents to benefit their fellow musicians from New Orleans who have been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. “I called every great jazz musician I could think of,” said Kimball, celebrated River Café pianist. “All those who could make it are coming.” Included in that group is Marty Kupersmith, who gained fame with Jay and the Americans. Kupersmith will open the show with his tribute to New Orleans — “Blue Bayou.” The original thought was to make it a Dixieland concert, but Kimball said he didn’t really know many musicians who played Dixieland. “So we decided to do jazz,” said Kimball. “Jazz traces its roots back to Dixieland, so it all fit.” A bonus for those in attendance is the chance to win a gift certificate for dinner for two at the illustrious River Café in Brooklyn. Kimball has written pages of music for the concert — music for all nine of the musicians who will play in his ensemble. And the centerpiece for the concert is Kimball’s “Fugue for the Survivors.” Kimball will play the piece solo, before being joined by his ensemble, which includes his good friend and Grammy-nominated musician Thiago de Mello. He and Kimball met while the two were students at Juilliard in the 1960s. Their friendship and their music have thrived for decades. de Mello was once a professional soccer coach in Brazil. He moved to New York City to pursue his dream of studying music. He has been called “a genius of percussion” and his compositions have been called “beautiful — gentle, hypnotic, bewitching, and beguiling.” The ensemble also includes saxophonist Bob Rosen, Warwick High School graduate and New England Conservatory of Music graduate Jim Mullen on sax as well, electric violinist Thomas Aalfs, Warwick High School music teacher Chris Persad on trumpet, Cameron Brown on bass, and Arizona Music School graduate Michael Hickey on drums. After playing “Fugue for the Survivors,” Kimball’s ensemble will play some Brazilian tone poems - music that paints a picture, tells a story, and sets a mood. One of the Brazilian pieces is “A Hug for my Brother,” written by de Mello about his own brother’s return from exile. They will also perform a piece written by Edu Lobo about two young fishermen fishing off the coast of Brazil in the dark when one is swept away. The ensemble will perform some jazz standards, before finishing the concert with John Coltrane’s famous “Impressions.” James Emery, considered by many to be one of the world’s great guitarists, will be joined by Rob Thomas, one of the most impressive jazz violinists/bassist in the business. Warwick’s own Jeff Ciampa and Mark Egan will be joined by pianist Jon Werking and drummer Carl Latham for their program of contemporary instrumental jazz. Ciampa and Egan are known worldwide, having recorded with musicians from Sting, Joan Osbourne, and Roger Daltry to Harry Belafonte and Dave Matthews. Russ Layne, producer of The Sugar Loaf Music Series, will introduce the concert and provide commentary on both the history and style of music being performed. Only 300 tickets will be sold for the event, with a ticket price of $25. But, Kimball said, people may be even more generous than the price of the ticket. “The funds go to such wonderful groups,” he said. “If people want to be even more generous, please do!” Tickets may be purchased in advance at The Inkwell, The Book Store, and Newhard’s. If tickets are still available, they will be sold at the door as well.