Sean Jones and the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra: Exploring the influence of jazz
By GUY D’ASTOLFO
Jazz has long been cross-pollinating with other types of music from across the world.
The Cleveland Jazz Orchestra, a 22-piece ensemble, will explore the results of such musical fusion in a Feb. 8 concert at Stambaugh Auditorium.
The CJO is led by Warren native and trumpet great Sean Jones. He has been the artistic director of the ensemble — the premier jazz voice of Northeast Ohio — for the past three years.
The Stambaugh concert will be true to its title: “Jazz and Other Genres: Classic Tunes, Contemporary Styles.”
“The concert will explore how jazz has influenced other types of music, and how those other types of music influenced jazz,” said Jones. “We’ll be doing Brazilian music, music from the Far East, rock, blues and R&B, and some classical elements.”
The program includes big-band arrangements of some well-known songs by CJO members. The CJO will repeat the concert the following day at the Hanna Theater in Cleveland.
According to Jones, the goal of the CJO, which has been around for 25 years, is to celebrate the orchestral format of jazz music — also known as the big band — and how it influences the community and brings it together.
“We serve Northeast Ohio by presenting concerts for a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds with music in one setting — the jazz setting,” said Jones.
The ensemble itself is a mirror reflection of its audience. “It’s a band of professional musicians that represents all cultures and ages, age 20s through 70s, black and white. It’s what America is all about.”
The Feb. 8 concert will be only the second time Jones has performed at Stambaugh. The first was a homecoming concert sponsored by Youngstown State University four years ago, in which Jones played with his quartet.
Jones is a 2000 graduate of YSU’s Dana School of Music and lead trumpeter of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. He is also a professor of jazz studies at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he directs the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra.
Jones has worked with jazz professionals as diverse as Harry Connick Jr., Joe Lovano, Charles Fambrough, the Louis Armstrong Legacy Band and the International Jazz Quintet.
Jones released his sixth CD, “No Need for Words,” in 2011.