Jazz Superband, Latin Star Michel Camilo Head Star-Studded Belleayre Jazz Series

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Superband - featuring four of the biggest stars in jazz - Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland and Brian Blade - promises a dynamite show on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. as part of the Catskill Mountain Jazz Series the Belleayre Music Festival in Highmount, NY.

Superband brings together four all-time jazz masters. Each once has achieved worldwide recognition as both a performer and composer. They are great individually and spectacular together.

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. His explorations have transcended limitations and genres, and at the same time he has maintained his unmistakable voice. Herbie's success at expanding the possibilities of musical thought has placed him in the annals of this century's visionaries.

Herbie's creative path has moved fluidly between almost every development in acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B since 1960. He ventures into every new project motivated purely by the desire to expand the boundaries of his creativity. No stranger to career accolades, Herbie won the 1987 Academy Award for his soundtrack to the film "Round Midnight." He has won eight Grammy Awards in the past two decades, including three for his 1998 classic "Gershwin's World. "

Wayne Shorter has had a huge impact on jazz as both a composer and a saxophonist. Though indebted to a great extent to John Coltrane, with whom he practiced in the mid-1950s while still an undergraduate, Wayne eventually developed his own more succinct manner on tenor sax. On soprano sax, he is almost another player entirely, his lovely tone shining like a light beam.

From 1970-1985, Wayne teamed up with Joe Zawinul and Miroslav Vitous to form the influential band Weather Report. He has since enjoyed a successful solo career and he has participated in many side projects, including Carlos Santana's jazz-rock alumni band and a Miles Davis tribute group.

Dave Holland is of a generation of bassists who carried the instrument to yet another new level of creativity. His sense of swing is unsurpassed and Dave is possibly the most accomplished pure jazz composer among bassists, after Charles Mingus.

As a teenager he decided to try to make a living as a musician. Under the influence of such jazz bassists as Leroy Vinnegar and Ray Brown, Dave took up the double bass, learning primarily by playing along with records. He began playing professionally shortly thereafter.

In 1968, Miles Davis heard him at Ronnie Scott's Club in London and asked him to join his band. Dave promptly relocated to New York and participated in the making of several classic Davis recordings, including "In A Silent Way" and "Bitches Brew." In 1970 he co-founded (with Anthony Braxton, Chick Corea and Barry Altschul) the group Circle, which embraced free jazz concepts. In the early '70s he played with Stan Getz, Thelonious Monk, and Sam Rivers. He formed the Gateway Trio in 1974 with Jack DeJohnette and John Abercrombie; a group which would continue to record and tour intermittently for the next 25 years.

Brian Blade was nurtured under the watchful eyes of legendary teacher Ellis Marsalis and New Orleans Dixie-drum masters Johnny Vidacovich and Herlin Riley. Brian has done albums and tours with Joshua Redman and Kenny Garrett, and recent recordings with Bob Dylan on "Time Out Of Mind," Emmylou Harris on "Wrecking Ball," with Daniel Lanois' "Sling Blade" soundtrack and with Joni Mitchell. His evolution continued on his astounding, highly acclaimed Blue Note debut, "Brian Blade Fellowship."

The second weekend of the Catskill Mountain Jazz Series will feature Latin jazz star Michel Camilo and special guest, The Hudson Valley Youth Jazz Orchestra on Saturday, August 21 at 8 p.m. Michel Camilo is a 2004 Grammy award-winner and has earned acclaim as both a pianist and a composer. Michel made his Carnegie Hall debut with his trio in 1985. Since then, he has become a prominent figure performing regularly in the United States, the Caribbean, Japan and Europe. December 1987 marked his debut as a classical conductor when the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic invited him to conduct a recital that featured his own composition, "The Goodwill Games Theme," which won an Emmy Award.

His self-titled album, "Michel Camilo," was released in 1988 and became an instant success, holding the top jazz album spot for eight consecutive weeks. His next recording, "On Fire," was voted one of the top three Jazz Albums of the Year by Billboard, and 1990's "On The Other Hand," was a top-ten jazz album. All three releases reached the number-one position in radio airplay.

Michel's list of compositions, recordings and other achievements throughout the '90s is vast. His composition "Caribe" was recorded by the legendary Dizzy Gillespie. In 1993, Gavin and Billboard magazines picked his "Rendezvous" as one of the top jazz albums of the year. Michel's release, "Spain," with guitarist Tomatito, won Best Latin Jazz Album in the first-ever Latin Grammy Awards in 2000.

The Hudson Valley Youth Jazz Orchestra (HVYJO) is the brainchild of Kingston High School musical director Robert Shaut, who had observed that in youth jazz competitions the odds were stacked in favor of schools with a specific performing arts focus.

The musicians in the HVYJO represent many of the high schools in the Hudson Valley, including Onteora High School in Boiceville and Kingston High School. Their Belleayre Festival debut last year was greeted with a roaring standing ovation.

Belleayre Music Festival's Catskill Mountain Jazz Series, which is sponsored in part by a grant from the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O'Connor Foundation, gets underway on Friday, Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. when the Eric Alexander Quartet hits the stage in the Belleayre Jazz Club.

The opening weekend of the series concludes with an afternoon of free Jazz At Lake on Sunday, August 15 at 1 p.m. when Ed Polcer's Dixieland All-Stars return to the Belleayre Beach in Pine Hill to entertain with an afternoon of free jazz. Ed is a cornetist who has played with a "who's who" of jazz greats in a career that spans more than four decades. Families are invited to come swim, sun and swing.

The second weekend of the Catskill Mountain Jazz Series will kick-off with a show by Laurel Massé on Friday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. Ms. Massé first came to public attention in 1972 as a co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning vocal group Manhattan Transfer. During her seven years with the group, she toured nationally and internationally. She recorded five albums, one of which has been certified platinum and two as gold. The group was featured on many television variety shows and specials; their television career culminated in a summer primetime variety series on CBS, "The Manhattan Transfer Show."

For a full schedule of events, or to order tickets for the Belleayre Music Festival in advance, please call (800) 942-6904, ext. 344, or via website at: www.belleayremusic.org. Seats in the 800-seat Phyllis Litoff Pavilion range from $20 to $65. Lawn seating is available on concert dates for $12-$15 (depending on the show) and children under 12 are admitted free on the lawn. Belleayre Jazz Club shows are general admission and tickets are $15 each for the August 13 and 20 club performances.
The festival is presented by the Belleayre Conservatory Inc., a non-profit founded to promote cultural programs in the Catskills. Concerts are held on the grounds of Belleayre Mountain in Highmount.

Belleayre Mountain is located in the heart of New York's Catskill Mountain region. The area is located just off Route 28 and is 37 miles west of Thruway Exit 19 at Kingston; 55 miles southeast of Oneonta on Route 28; 40 miles from the Route 17 exit at Roscoe; and 95 miles southwest of Albany and just 2 hours north of NYC.

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