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Frank Gordon centers concert on Amazing Grace

Date Posted: 2011-11-10

Frank Gordon’s in concert later this month, but it’s anything but an ordinary performance; he’s using the classic Amazing Grace to “awaken our soul with thankfulness and blessing for our future.”

The American jazz musician who’s called Okinawa home for more than five years is dedicating his November 23rd concert at Garaman Hall in the Ginoza Village Cultural Center to reflecting on the Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami that struck March 11th, and even further, transporting himself back to his youth and his roots in jazz and gospel music in the deep south. He’s titled the concert ‘Amazing Grace’, recalling his mother’s voice belting out the song sitting at the piano when he was a youngster.

“This personal and vivid experience brought me where I am now,” he explains, “as I express many feelings through Jazz music. Probably my playing trumpet is my prayer itself.” As he began preparing for the autumn concert, he felt it important to invite eight Tohoku University modern jazz society students, as well as nine others from the Ryukyu University Jazz Society, to share the stage with him. “I believe that all of our togetherness on stage will send a beautiful and uplifting message to our audience,” he notes.

Gordon, who first got hooked on jazz when only 16, has devoted his life to the genre, performing with some of history’s great musicians including Thad Jones, Art Blakey, Max Roach and Eddie Harris. Formal training came at Roosevelt University Chicago and Governors State University, where he studied music theory and composition. He’s played with small bands and big bands, and even had one of his own traveling to Europe, South America and all over the U.S. Over the past four years he’s performed original compositions at Garaman Hall, presenting both traditional new style and traditional jazz as the leader of the band ‘Jazz in Ginoza’.

Performing ‘Amazing Grace’ with Gordon will be Raymond McMorrin on tenor sax, Mitsuhiro Wada, a former member of the Ryukyu University Jazz Society on trombone, Hideki Takao, also a Ryukyu University Jazz Society former member, on bass, and former Niigata University Jazz Society member Nobuyuki Komatsu on drums.

Tickets are on sale for ¥3,500 in advance or ¥3,000 at the door. Student seats are ¥2,000 in advance or ¥2,500 at the door. Children under seven years of age are not permitted. Reservations are available at (098) 988-0043, or by email at garaman@ginoza-bunka.jp.

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