York University’s Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance, Ron Westray, makes his Faculty Concert Series debut March 1 with a swinging concert of jazz standards and original works in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall on York’s Keele campus.
Joining Westray on stage will be Toronto jazz artists Chris Banks and John Maharaj on bass and Max Roach on drums, plus special guest, tenor saxophonist Michael Arthurs from the University of Texas, Austin, where Westray taught before joining York. The first half of the concert will feature works for solo trombone and for trio (trombone, bass, drums). In the second set, which includes a number of Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell tunes, Westray will make his performance debut on piano in works for trio and quartet, with Arthurs on sax.
Best known for his work as lead trombonist with the legendary Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra conducted by Wynton Marsalis, and his collaborations with Wycliffe Gordon, Westray has appeared in concert with such luminaries as Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Stevie Wonder, Benny Carter, Dewey Redman, Roy Haynes, Randy Brecker and a host of other leading artists. A regular on the New York City club circuit, he has played premier jazz venues such as the Village Vanguard, Blue Note, Sweet Basil’s, Iridium, Jazz Standard and Smalls, and is a standing member of the acclaimed Mingus Band.
Right: Ron Westray. Photograph by Dwayne Hills
In addition to his concerts and recordings with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Westray has recorded as a sideman on such major labels as Columbia, Sony Classical and RCA Novus. He performs as co-leader with trumpet player Thomas Heflin on the CD Live in Austin, released Jan.18, on Blue Canoe Records. His 2008 CD as leader, Medical Cures for the Chromatic Commands of the Inner City, garnered a No. 1 listening rating on Emusic.com.
As a composer, Westray’s personal catalogue includes dozens of original compositions and arrangements for big band and mixed ensembles. Among his numerous commissions for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra are his monumental score, Chivalrous Misdemeanors – Select Tales from Don Quixote and arrangements of the works of Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman. His charts were recently published by Walrus Music. His bibliography includes reviews and citations in Down Beat, Jazz Times, The New York Times and The New Yorker.
Westray joined the faculty in York University’s Department of Music in fall 2009 as the Oscar Peterson Chair in Jazz Performance. The Chair, commemorating Canadian jazz icon Oscar Peterson, was established with a $4-million endowment from the Government of Ontario, along with a $1-million endowment for Oscar Peterson Scholarships to support talented students from underprivileged backgrounds studying music at York.
Westray teaches performance, composition, history and theory in York’s renowned jazz program, and co-directs the York University Jazz Orchestra with Al Henderson.
This is the final performance in the 2010-2011 Faculty Concert Series, spotlighting faculty artists in York’s Music Department. Tickets are $15, or $5 for students and seniors. For tickets, contact the Box Office at 416-736-5888.