Joe Louis Walker
The Delta State University Jazz Ensemble, directed by Dr. Paul Hankins, Chair of the Department of Music and Professor of Music at Delta State,with special guests the internationally-acclaimed Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, will perform a free Spring concert on Thursday, April 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Delta and Pine Land Theatre of the Bologna Performing Arts Center on the Delta State campus.
Doors open at 7 p.m., and all are invited to attend. The show will feature jazz and blues legends Bobby Watson and Joe Louis Walker.
The DSU Jazz Ensemble is a 17-piece big band populated by both music majors and non-music majors. The evening’s programming will include “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” by Charles Mingus, Duke Ellington’s “C-Jam Blues (a la Mambo)” as well as the music of Bill Liston, Les Hooper and Don Specht.
The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is an education and outreach organization whose supporters include both President George W. Bush and former President Bill Clinton.
Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist Bobby Watson and three-time W.C. Handy Award winning blues guitarist Joe Louis Walker will be joined by Charlie Parker Institute Director and vocalist Lisa Henry; past Wynton Marsalis Quartet pianist Richard Johnson; past Terrence Blanchard Quintet bassist Derek Nievergelt; and Joe Lovano’s drummer, Otis Brown, III.
The show will feature musicians who have worked with everyone from Coldplay to Grammy Album of the Year winner Herbie Hancock. Joe Louis Walker has performed alongside a wide variety of performers including Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters. Also in attendance will be Thelonious Monk’s son and chairman of the board of the Monk Institute, TS Monk.
The program is a celebration of African American music in DSU’s Year of Delta Heritage, and is part of the Monk Institute’s return to the Mississippi Delta during its annual "The Blues and Jazz – Two American Classics" educational outreach tour (www.thebluesandjazz.org). The April 14-18 tour includes visits to public schools in Memphis, Indianola, Cleveland and Ruleville.
Funding for the entire tour was provided by Carolyn and Bill Powers, in memory of Mrs. Powers’ grandparents, Joe Rice Dockery and Keith Dockery McLean, the late owners of Dockery Farms. Of Dockery Farms and the blues, B.B. King has said, "You might say, it all started right here.”
Delta State University students in the DSU Jazz Ensemble are: Rogers Varner of Merigold; Phillip Carter of Clarksdale; Taft Wong and David Cunningham of Greenville; Brian Thompson of Greenwood; Katherine Grant of Tupelo; Bradley Davis of Oxford; AJ Cannon of New Albany; Travis Metcalf of Prairie; Matthew Gilbert of Brookhaven; Coday Anthony of Poplarville; Chris Darracott of Red Bay, Ala.; Mark Helmstetter of Belle Chasse, La.; Jessica Flowers, Jonathan Williams and Jason Lane of Forrest City, Arkansas.