The Fiesta Latin Jazz Sextet gives a free public concert on March 11 | Archives

SILER CITY — Gregg Gelb and La Fiesta Latin Jazz Sextet will perform a free public concert at Jordan-Matthews High School on Friday, March 11 at 7 p.m. as part of a Latin jazz clinic for middle and high school students.

The concert was originally scheduled for late January to conclude the clinic, but had to be postponed due to weather advisories for evening travel.

Gelb is a professional saxophonist, clarinetist, jazz composer, and jazz bandleader who conducts the Heart of Carolina Jazz Orchestra and has performed with many different bands, including the North Carolina Symphony. He currently directs the award-winning Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble, which has been shortlisted five times for the Essentially Ellington Jazz Competition and Festival at Lincoln Center, and was Acting Assistant Professor of Jazz at the University of North Carolina at Chapel. Hill, NC State University and UNC Greensboro.

The Fiesta Latin Jazz Sextet includes musicians from North Carolina, one of whom is originally from the Dominican Republic. The ensemble teaches the history of jazz, the process of improvisation and performs at events across the state – drawing from its repertoire the music of jazz greats Louis Armstrong, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Duke Ellington , Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea and Horace Silver.

On the program for this 75-minute concert, Steve Anderson on piano, Andy Kleindienst on bass, Beverly Botsford on percussion, Ramon Ortiz on drums, Andrew Sanchez on trumpet and Gregg Gelb on saxophone. Some of the tracks featured by the group are “Cape Verdean Blues”, “Oye Como Va”, “Mambo Inn” and “Son de la Loma”.

Although Chatham County Schools policy may change depending on future pandemic conditions in our community, beginning March 7, masks will be optional in the school building and attending this concert.

Kaleb Moffitt, a percussionist who heard the sextet play in January when the clinic opened, thought the music was amazing and suggested everyone come hear the magic. “I thought it was beautiful; I had a few tears watching them,” he said. “I would pay to see them again. Anyone who loves music should come to this concert.

Both the concert and the jazz clinic are supported by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The 2021 Grassroots Arts Grant of $1,550 covers half the cost of the program; the rest will be matched by JMArts through member contributions and fundraising projects like the sale of JMArts greeting and holiday cards.

More information about JMArts, including a schedule of all upcoming arts events and membership information, is available online at JMArts.org.

Corina C. Butler