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(Published: June 15, 2009)

Katonah, New York - The 2009 Caramoor International Music Festival, hailed by The New York Times as "... the loveliest Festival of them all," presents its 16th Annual Jazz Festival on August 1 and 2 at the Venetian Theater. Caramoor Jazz Producer Jim Luce assembles a star-studded line-up of both jazz legends and new forces on the scene.

New York City-based French pianist and composer Jean-Michel Pilc kicks off the festival on Saturday afternoon with his trio, in a performance of his Chaplin Suite "Modern Lights" - music reflecting and inspired by Charlie Chaplin's films. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the recording of the John Coltrane masterpiece Giant Steps; legendary pianist Cedar Walton, who participated in these sessions, has assembled a band to pay tribute to this historic music. Walton is followed by an outstanding program featuring the talent of twenty-five year old Gerald Clayton who, with his trio, demonstrates why he is one of the most significant young pianists emerging today.

After his sizzling performance in last year's Cuban Piano Summit, pianist Chuchito Valdés returns to Caramoor with his quartet to give the festival program some Cubanismo flavor. Dianne Reeves, one of the premier vocalists in the world, headlines this year' festival with her "Strings Attached"on Saturday evening featuring guitar masters Russell Malone and Romero Lubambo.

Two master pianists - Junior Mance and Cyrus Chestnut - each with his own trio, kick off Sunday afternoon in swinging elegance. The leading Brazilian duo of singer Luciana Souza and guitarist Romero Lubambo follow with a sultry and expansive set of music from their native Brazil. The Caramoor Jazz Festival concludes with jazz piano giant Randy Weston and his African Rhythms band in an exploration of the connections between Afro-American classical music and the ancestral rhythms of the African continent.

Ticket prices range from $20 - $55. Purchases can be made by calling the Box Office at 914.232.1252 or visiting online at www.caramoor.org.
Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts is located at 149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah, New York.


Cyrus Chestnut Trio: Cyrus Chestnut first studied piano with his father at the age of five, with official lessons beginning two years later. By the age of nine, he was enrolled in the prep program at the Peabody Institute. He graduated from Berklee with a degree in jazz composition and arranging. Mr. Chestnut took his time, working with a number of top-notch musicians (Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison) before finally recording his first solo CD at the age of 30. He enjoys mixing styles and resists being typecast in any one niche, though his gospel sound is apparent on a number of his recordings. His discography includes Cyrus Chestnut, Tribute to Duke Ellington, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Soul Food.

Gerald Clayton Trio: Pianist Gerald Clayton, born in 1984, followed in the family tradition (son of bassist John Clayton, nephew of reedman Jeff Clayton) and began classical piano lessons at the age of six. He graduated from Los Angeles County High School for the Arts in 2002, having won the Spotlight Award in 2001 and the Outstanding Soloist Award at the Monterey High School Jazz Competition in both 2001 and 2002. He is leader of the Gerald Clayton Trio, all three members of which have been awarded the Shelly Manne Memorial New Talent Award by the Los Angeles Jazz Society.

Junior Mance Trio: Junior Mance, born Julian Clifford Mance, Jr., in Chicago on October 10, 1928, is a jazz pianist, composer, author of How to Play Blues Piano, and recording artist of thirty plus albums as a leader and numerous recordings as a sideman. Junior began playing the piano at the age of five, but did not begin formal training until the age of eight. He started playing professionally during his early teens. In 1947 he joined Gene Ammons and, in 1949, joined Lester Young for almost two years before being drafted into the U.S. Army. After his discharge he became part of the house rhythm section at the Bee Hive Jazz Club in Chicago for a year and accompanied jazz greats such as Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Sonny Stitt, and many others. In 1954, Junior Mance joined and toured with Dinah Washington and joined Dizzy Gillespie's band in 1958. In 1961, he formed the Junior Mance Trio and has toured with the trio and as a solo artist consistently ever since.

Jean-Michel Pilc: Jean-Michel Pilc, a celebrated jazz pianist and composer from Paris, moved to New York City in 1995. There, he formed a trio with François Moutin (bass) and Ari Hoenig (drums), and signed a record deal with Dreyfus Jazz. Pilc's first album for Dreyfus, "Welcome Home" (featuring the same trio), was released in 2002. Since then, he has released three records and one live album with the trio, as well as his first solo album, entitled "Follow Me" (2004). In the last decade, Jean-Michel has been intensively touring worldwide, performing with trio, solo, and also teaching clinics and masterclasses. He is also a jazz teacher at NYU, the New School, and Le Moyne College.

Dianne Reeves: Dianne Reeves is the pre-eminent jazz vocalist in the world today. As a result of her virtuosity, improvisational prowess and unique jazz and r&b stylings, Reeves has won three Grammy® Awards for "Best Jazz Vocal Performance" for three consecutive recordings (2001, 2002, 2003) - a Grammy first in any vocal category. The soundtrack recording of "Good Night, and Good Luck" provided Reeves her fourth Best Jazz Vocal Grammy in 2006. Dianne's first solo album in several years, "When You Know", was released in April 2008. Dianne Reeves also worked with legendary producer Arif Mardin (Norah Jones, Aretha Franklin) on the Grammy winning "A Little Moonlight", an intimate collection of ten standards featuring her touring trio.
Ms. Reeves has recorded and performed extensively with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. She has also recorded with Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim and was a featured soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. Dianne Reeves was the first Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the first singer ever to perform at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Luciana Souza: Grammy winner Luciana Souza is one of Jazz's leading singers and interpreters. Hailing from Sao Paulo, Brazil, she grew up in a family of Bossa Nova innovators. Her work as a performer transcends traditional boundaries around musical styles, offering solid roots in jazz, sophisticated lineage in world music, and an enlightened approach to classical repertoire and new music. Ms. Souza has performed and recorded with greats like Herbie Hancock, Paul Simon, Maria Schneider, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Hermeto Pascoal, and many others.
As a leader, Luciana Souza has eight acclaimed releases including her three Grammy nominated records "Brazilian Duos" (2002), "North and South" (2003), and "Duos II" (2005). Her debut recording for Universal/Verve, "The New Bossa Nova", was met with critical acclaim (2007 Billboard Latin Jazz Album of the Year) and on her latest, "Tide" (2009), Luciana "continues her captivating journey as a uniquely talented vocalist who organically crosses genre borders." (Billboard)

Chuchito Valdés: Born in Havana, Cuba, Chuchito Valdés comes from one of the most distinguished musical families of Cuba. As a child prodigy, he studied with many Cuban masters, including his father Chucho Valdés, the great Cuban pianist. He has extensively studied Cuban music, classical music and jazz piano. He has recorded and performed with the world renowned Cuban band, Irakere, which he led for two years. He performs at festivals, clubs, and concerts throughout the world and has recently completed his first recording as a co-leader. Worldwide appearances have included the jazz festivals of: Chicago, Detroit, San Jose, Havana, Cancun, as well as a recent festival performance at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Music Festival. Club dates have included Ronnie Scotts in London and Green Dolphin Street in Chicago. On November 9, 2001 he led his Afro-Cuban ensemble at Orchestra Hall in Detroit. When Chuchito is not travelling around the world performing, he lives in Cancun, Mexico where he leads his Afro-Cuban based Latin-Jazz ensemble.

Cedar Walton: For over 25 years, pianist Cedar Walton has enjoyed an up-tempo career, having accompanied a litany of Jazz greats while also fronting his own successful groups.One of the most universally respected jazz pianists active today, Walton has played in the bands of Lou Donaldson, Kenny Dorham, J.J. Johnson, Art Farmer, and Art Blakey, and recorded with Freddie Hubbard, John Coltrane, and Joe Henderson. Since working with enchantress Abbey Lincoln from 1965-66, Walton has also been much in demand to accompany singers. And he's made numerous appearances as a leader with bands that included trumpeters Dorham and Blue Mitchell, tenor saxophonists Hank Mobley, Clifford Jordan, and George Coleman, bassists Ron Carter and Richard Davis, and drummers Billy Higgins and Jack DeJohnette, among other luminaries.
In March 1959, shortly after cutting his first session with J.J. Johnson, Walton appeared on a John Coltrane Atlantic session during which the alternate takes of "Giant Steps" and "Naima" were recorded. During his three years tenure with Art Blakey, Walton stepped forward as a composer, contributing originals like "Mosaic" and "The Promised Land". His original compositions like "Bolivia", "Clockwise", and "Firm Roots" are frequently recorded by other musicians, and have become part of the standard Jazz repertoire.

Randy Weston: After more than six decades of acclaimed performances, Randy Weston remains one of the world's foremost pianists and composers today. Born in Brooklyn in 1926, he didn't have to travel far to hear the early jazz giants that were to influence him. Though Mr. Weston cites Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Art Tatum, and Duke Ellington as his other piano heroes, it was Monk who had the greatest impact. Randy Weston's first recording as a leader came in 1954 on Riverside Records: Randy Weston Plays Cole Porter - Cole Porter in a Modern Mood. In the late 60's, he left the country, but instead of moving to Europe like so many of his contemporaries, Mr. Weston went to Africa. Settling in Morocco, he traveled throughout the continent tasting the musical fruits of other nations. He continues to tour the world with his remarkable synthesis of the sounds of "Mother Africa" and contemporary jazz.


Caramoor is the legacy of Walter and Lucie Rosen, who built their summer home - now known as the historic Rosen House at Caramoor - and filled it with their treasures. Walter Rosen was the master planner for the Caramoor estate, bringing to reality his dream of creating a place to showcase his vast collection and to entertain friends from around the world. Their musical evenings were the seeds of today's Caramoor International Music Festival. Realizing the pleasure their friends took in the beauty of Caramoor - the house with its art collection, the gardens, and the musical programs on summer evenings - in 1946 the Rosens established a public charity to open Caramoor to the community.

Lucie Rosen survived her husband by seventeen years. During those years, she expanded the Music Festival: the Spanish Courtyard was used as a setting for musical events, as it is today, and, under her direction, the great stage of the Venetian Theater was built.

Caramoor is often described as "a Garden of Great Music" where audiences are invited to come early, explore the beautiful grounds, take a tour of the Rosen House, visit the gift shop, enjoy a pre-concert picnic, and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, Music Room of the Rosen House, and the magnificent gardens. With its unique heritage, Caramoor remains a place where magical summer days and nights are shared and enjoyed by thousands.

Caramoor is easy to get to by car and mass transportation. The Caramoor Caravan is available for Bel Canto at Caramoor performances.
BY CAR from the West Side of Manhattan and New Jersey, take the Saw Mill River Parkway north to Katonah. Exit at Route 35/Cross River. Turn right and, at the first traffic light, make a right turn onto Route 22 south. Travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road. Follow the signs to Caramoor. (For detailed directions call 914.232.5035 and press 2, or online at www.caramoor.org). Parking at Caramoor is free.
BY TRAIN, take the Harlem Division of the Metro-North Railroad to Katonah, New York. Taxi service from the station to Caramoor (5 minutes away) is available.


3:00pm: Jean-Michel Pilc Trio: Modern Lights, inspired by the work and music of Charlie Chaplin
4:15pm: Cedar Walton presents 50 years of Giant Steps: The Music of Coltrane and Walton
5:30pm: Gerald Clayton Trio
8:00pm: Chuchito Valdés Quartet; Dianne Reeves: Strings Attached, featuring Romero Lubambo and Russell Malone

2:30pm Junior Mance Trio
3:30pm Cyrus Chestnut Trio
4:45pm Lucian Souza, vocals and Romero Lubambo, guitar
6:00pm Randy Weston African Rhythms

More Information: https://www.caramoor.org

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