By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Ron Carter (pictured) spent almost 18 years building the East St. Louis Lincoln High School jazz band into a nationally acclaimed unit. But eight years ago, funding for the Lincoln High jazz program dried up, and Carter moved on to DeKalb, where he took over the jazz-studies program at Northern Illinois University. But Carter continues to keep his St. Louis-area connections alive, and he returns this week to lead the NIU Jazz Ensemble in concert at the United Hebrew Congregation, 13788 Conway Rd. (at Woods Mill).Under Carter's leadership, the NIU jazz program has gained an even higher profile and will be touring Europe this summer, appearing at just about every big-name jazz festival on the schedule. Carter has also continued to recruit St. Louis-area musicians for the NIU jazz program. The ensemble that will appear at 4 p.m. Sunday includes Danny Campbell and Wesley Jackson on trumpet, Michael Salter on saxophone and vocalist Nicholas Brooks.
Renowned trombonist Curtis Fuller will be the guest artist for the concert. A native of Detroit, Fuller has worked with a who's-who of jazz over the past five-plus decades. In addition to working with Art Blakey, Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane (that's Fuller's trombone work on the classic Trane recording Blue Trane), he's recorded dozens of albums as a leader.
This event marks the second time Carter and the NIU Ensemble have performed at United Hebrew. Given the presence of Fuller -- and the fact that last year's event sold out -- it would be a good idea to purchase tickets soon. Call 314-469-0700 for more info.