2019


Spring Concert 

The Keene Jazz Orchestra’s annual Spring Concert will be on Saturday June 8 at 7:30 PM in the auditorium of Monadnock Regional High School. This year the Orchestra is pleased to welcome two remarkable guest soloists, vocalist Grace McKay and world-renowned baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan. The jazz orchestra will perform music with the soloists as well as an exciting selection of contemporary and traditional big band arrangements, including the music of Benny Carter, Pat Metheny, Natalie Cole, Thad Jones, and more.

Gary Smulyan is critically acclaimed across-the-board and recognized as the major voice on the baritone saxophone. His playing is marked by an aggressive rhythmic sense, an intelligent and creative harmonic approach -- and perhaps most importantly – a strong and incisive wit. A graduate of SUNY Potsdam and Hofstra University, Smulyan is a member of the famed Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and holds an incredible resume which includes performances with Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz, Chick Corea, Tito Puente, George Coleman, Ray Charles, Mingus Big Band, B.B. King and Diana Ross. He is a faculty member of Amherst College and serves as the artistic director at the Berkshire Hills Music Academy in South Hadley, Massachusetts, a two year post-secondary music school for eighteen to thirty year olds with developmental disabilities. The baritone saxophonist is a four-time winner of the Down Beat Critic’s and Reader’s Polls and a multiple winner of numerous other official polls including the Jazz Journalists Award for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year. Gary is a six-time GRAMMY award winner for his work with B.B. King, Joe Lovano, Dave Holland and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

Raised in Arlington, MA, Grace McKay has been involved in music ensembles from a young age, when she began playing cello in her school string orchestra at the age of 8. She is a recent graduate of UMass Amherst, obtaining a dual degree in Music and Sustainable Food and Farming. Her work with the Department of Jazz and African American 
Music Studies has ranged from performing with the UMass Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble I, Chapel Jazz, and Jazz Lab big bands, as well as playing in several small combos throughout her time there. She was recently awarded a 2019 Downbeat Student Music Award for Outstanding Performance as a Vocal Jazz Soloist in the Undergraduate category, as well as Outstanding Performance in a Blues/Pop/Rock group for her work in the UMass Odd Meters Combo.

Scott Mullett (1959-2018), founder of the Keene Jazz Orchestra, was a 
first-call tenor saxophonist in the greater Boston area. He played and toured with many of the greatest big bands of our time including those of Artie Shaw and Woody Herman. Strongly influenced by his Keene High School band director, Bob Cummings, Scott went on to study jazz saxophone at Berklee College of Music, where he studied with many of the world’s best musicians. He traveled all over the world playing saxophone and made his living in music as a saxophonist and teacher. After serving as Musical Director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the 90’s, he came back to the Monadnock Region and
continued to play jazz and teach in the Boston and Keene areas.

The orchestra is led by bassist Steve Cady, who is a founding member of Keene Jazz Orchestra, music teacher at Vermont Academy and adjunct professor at Keene State College. The orchestra continues to provide an outlet for local musicians to hone and display their jazz talents. Many of the Keene area’s finest instrumentalists are involved with the Orchestra, including notable local music educators Eric Anderson ,Tom Martin (retired, Keene High School), Charlie Schneeweis (Landmark College) Craig Sylvern, George Robinson, Josh Long (Keene State College), Nick Pelton (Bellows Falls High School), Anna Johnson (Westmoreland School), and Donna Morse (Private Instructor).

The Orchestra encourages people of all ages to attend this concert for a rare opportunity to hear authentic Big Band music live and to enjoy the sounds of a world-class jazz saxophonist. Along with their annual spring concert, the Jazz Orchestra sponsors musician clinics during the year and hosts a dance during the winter. The Orchestra’s mission is to keep alive the big band genre of American music. Tickets for the June 28 concert are for sale at the door, and at Toadstool Bookstores, 12 Emerald St. & at Prime Roast Coffee, 16 Main Street, Keene NH for the low price of $15 and $12 for students & seniors.

Keene Jazz Orchestra is generously supported by the Barbara M. and Robert C. Cummings Fund for the Arts of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.
Please consider making a donation in Scott’s honor to the 
Scott Mullett Fund for Jazz Education by clicking BELOW.

You can also donate via mail
by sending a check payable to:

 Keene Jazz Orchestra
39 Ridgewood Ave
Keene NH 03431


memo Scott Mullett Fund