• Clayton Performing Arts Center (map)
  • 10915 Hardin Valley Road
  • Knoxville, TN, 37932
  • United States

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra performs the music of Mike Abene and Rich Willey as part of Pellissippi State Community College's Performing Arts Series.

Tickets only available at the door on the evening of the event.

About the artists:

Michael Abene is a composer, arranger, keyboard player and record producer and
from 2004 t0 2014 he was the Musical Director, Principle Composer/Arranger of the WDR
Radio Big Band of Cologne, Germany, considered by many to be one of the great big
bands in Europe. In 2011, Michael accepted the position of Professor of Ensemble
Conducting at the KUG Jazz Institute in Graz, Austria. Michael also served as the
Associate Music Director of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop and was an Associate
Professor of Jazz Composition at Manhattan School of Music.

Michael arranged, conducted, produced, along with singer Patti Austin, the Grammy
winning “Avant Gershwin”. He also arranged and conducted the Grammy nominated
“Symphonnica” featuring Joe Lovano. Michael produced and wrote a number of
arrangements for all three Grammy nominated GRP All-Star Big Band recordings.
Michael arranged and conducted two recordings for Funkmaster Maceo Parker, “Roots
and Grooves” and “Soul Classics”, “Van’s Joint” featuring saxophonist Bill Evans, Dave
Weckl and bassist Mark Egan. Other artists Michael has arranged for are Eddie Daniels,
Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, John Scofield, Dick Oatts, Gary Burton, Kurt Elling, Terell
Stafford, Dianne Reeves, Tom Harrell, Paquito D’Rivera, Mike Mainieri and Steps Ahead
and John Abercrombie. He also has a number of composition students in Europe and the
US focusing on Big Band and Orchestral writing.

The recently released “Jazz Composition and Arranging in the Digital Age” by Richard
Sussman and Michael Abene is published by Oxford University Press and is considered
an excellent addition to the individual library for self education and as a textbook for
formal study.

Rich Willey plays trumpet, bass trumpet and tuba, teaches privately, and also composes and arranges jazz music. A U.S Army bandsman, he studied at the U.S. Navy School of Music and then attended North Texas State University where he studied jazz improvisation with Rich Matteson, Jack Petersen and Dan Haerle. Rich spent his formative years as a jazz player in Philadelphia and NYC clubs and later participated in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop studying with Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam. He has a a masters degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music where he studied arranging with Mike Abene, trumpet with Byron Stripling, improvisation with Garry Dial and film scoring with Ed Green. Rich has toured with Maynard Ferguson and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and has played numerous times for the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Cab Calloway Orchestra, the Sammy Kaye Orchestra and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. Through the years Rich has played with and/or for: Lionel Hampton, Hank Mobley, Don Patterson, Buddy Morrow, Bob Haggart, Dick Hyman, Claudio Roditi, Chris Potter, Conrad Herwig, John Swana, Bob Mintzer, Kenny Drew Jr., Brad Mehldau, Mel Tormé, Bobby Sanabria, Skitch Henderson, Tommy Flanagan, and many others. A perpetual student, Rich studied trumpet and bass trumpet with the legendary Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt in Philadelphia from 1978–1986, and is currently a student of Chris Gekker, professor of trumpet at University of Maryland. He owns and operates Boptism Music, a publishing company he co-founded in 2001, offering over 30 of his music and method books, and performs regularly in the Southeast.