Jazz Ambassadors to perform free World War II tribute concert at Fredonia

Doug Osborne-Coy
U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors on stage

The United States Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors.

One of the finest big bands in the world today, the United States Army Field Band Jazz Ambassadors of Washington, D.C., will perform a free concert in King Concert Hall on Monday, April 8 at 7:30 p.m.

The program is titled “The Greatest Generation.” It is a musical tribute to the brave men and women who served during World War II. The immersive concert recreates the Big Band era through captivating wartime pictures and videos that bring the stories of the “Greatest Generation” to life. The concert will be 75 minutes in length with no intermission. 

Opening the show will be the SUNY Fredonia Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Dr. Nick Weiser.

Rockefeller Arts Center presents the event in cooperation with The Observer, The Post-Journal and WDOE.

While the concert is free, tickets are required. They may be picked up at the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or ordered online. There is a limit of four tickets per order. Online ticketing is made available at no cost for the event courtesy of the Friends of Rockefeller Arts Center.

The Jazz Ambassadors tour thousands of miles each year to promote patriotism and good will for the U.S. Army through free public concerts.

The army’s official touring big band has appeared in a variety of high-profile contexts, including performances with the Columbus (Ohio) Symphony Orchestra, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Syracuse Symphony. 

During a joint performance with the National Symphony Orchestra, the late conductor Marvin Hamlisch declared, “I can’t think of better ambassadors for our country.”  

Other recent, notable performances include appearances at the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont, the Jazz Education Network Conference, the Kennedy Center Honors and The Colbert Report.

A highly competitive audition process draws candidates from leading conservatories, universities and the professional ranks. Many members of the Jazz Ambassadors have extensive civilian performance experience. Alumni have gone on to careers in university teaching, studio recording and performance.

In 1969, Army Field Band Commander Major Hal Gibson formed the Studio Band in response to an increased demand for jazz performances. The Studio Band became the Army’s premier touring jazz ensemble and was renamed the Jazz Ambassadors in 1979.

The band has appeared in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India and throughout Europe. Whether at a world-renowned venue or playing in the grassroots of America, the Jazz Ambassadors impress audiences with their virtuosity.

The ability to connect with their audience has attracted the attention of Gordon Goodwin, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts and the Dave Brubeck All-Star Quintet, just a few of the jazz artists who have shared the stage with America’s Big Band.

Concerts by the Jazz Ambassadors are programmed to entertain all types of audiences. Many of the ensemble’s members arrange and compose music highlighting the group’s creative talent and gifted soloists. Their diverse repertoire includes big band swing, Latin music, contemporary jazz, bebop, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland and patriotic selections. Wherever they travel, the Jazz Ambassadors proudly carry the message of patriotism and goodwill to audiences worldwide.

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