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Jazz Musicians to Perform in UW Cultural Programs Series and Jazz Festival

March 18, 2015
head portrait of man
Lonnie Smith

Famed jazz musicians Tierney Sutton and Lonnie Smith will perform next week as part of the University of Wyoming Cultural Programs Series and the UW Department of Music’s Jazz Festival.

Sutton, a six-time Grammy vocalist nominee, will perform Thursday, March 26, and Smith, a jazz organist, will perform Saturday, March 28. Both performances are in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for each concert cost $23 for the public, $19 for senior citizens and UW faculty and staff, and $10 for students. For tickets and information, call (307) 766-6666, visit, the Wyoming Union information desk or the Performing Arts box office. For more information about the UW Cultural Programs Series, visit

The New York Times calls Sutton a “serious jazz artist who takes the whole enterprise to another level.” More commonly known for her work with the Tierney Sutton Band, she stepped away from her band and recorded her first solo album “After Blue.” The album is an intimate, jazz-inspired re-imagining of Joni Mitchell. The album features artists Al Jarreau, Hubert Laws, Peter Erskine, Larry Goldings, Serge Merlaud, Kevin Axt and The Turtle Island Quartet.

She recently received her sixth Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Vocal Album” for her solo album.

Sutton has headlined in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Hollywood Bowl. Her work can be heard on film and television soundtracks, including the film “The Cooler,” an Academy Award nominee.

woman sitting on a stoolNow teaching at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, Sutton has taught for more than a decade and is the vocal department head at the Los Angeles Music Academy.

A musician, composer, performer, recording artist and a master of the Hammond B-3 organ, Smith has performed for more than five decades. He has been featured on more than 70 albums, and has recorded and performed with a virtual “who’s who” of the greatest jazz, blues and R&B giants in the music industry.

He has been called a “legend” and a “living musical icon.” Since 1969, when Downbeat magazine named him “Top Organist” of that year, Smith has been named to many critics’ polls as the world’s premier organist/keyboardist. Jazz Times magazine describes him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban.” He recently was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame and also the Jazz Organ Fellowship’s Hall of Fame. Smith launched his own record label Pilgrimage Productions in 2012.

Both Sutton and Smith will be guest artists and clinicians at the 2015 UW Jazz Festival Thursday, March 26, and Friday, March 27, which will attract more than 600 junior and senior high school students.

Thursday’s schedule features UW's premiere Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Ben Markley, jazz festival director and UW Department of Music visiting professor, followed by Sutton’s performance.

A combined concert Friday will feature UW faculty members and Smith at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts concert hall.

The Scott Turpen Quintet will perform music from its newly released CD "Dance of the West." Turpen is a UW Department of Music professor of jazz studies. The CD features new compositions by pianist Markley and Turpen, a saxophonist.

Smith will be joined on stage by the Wyoming Jazz Ensemble for an evening of organ music with a big band sound.

Tickets for that concert cost $10 for the public, $7 for senior citizens and $6 for students.

For more information about the UW Jazz Festival, visit

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