Ninety Miles Project Bridges Gap between America and Cuba through Jazz

Thursday, April 4, 2013

CONTACT: Sarah Snyder

April 4, 2013 – College Park, MD – On April 26 at 8pm at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, vibist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and saxophonist David Sánchez present their Ninety Miles Project, a collaboration that brought leading Cuban and American jazz musicians together in Cuba over the span of a week to record music that both highlights and synthesizes their different cultures.

90 miles isn't just the distance between the Floridian tip of the US and Cuba but also represents the amount of musical ground covered by this band of award-winning musicians. The music from the project, which will be performed at the Center, is a reflection of the band's experiences in Cuba performing with local musicians that they met for the first time and excites, challenges and rewards with moments of pure joy. Led by Harris, Payton and Sánchez, the performance will also feature Mauricio Herrera, Ricardo Rodriguez, Henry Cole and Edward Simon.

About the Artists

Stefon Harris

Four time GRAMMY nominated vibist Stefon Harris has been heralded as "one of the most important young artists in jazz" by the Los Angeles Times. A recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, Harris teaches at New York University and has been Artist in Residence at Fontana Chamber Arts (Kalamazoo), The Lied Center (Lincoln, NE) and San Francisco Performances. He has served on the Executive Board of Directors for Chamber Music America and was the first musician elected to the WBGO-FM Board of Directors. He tours worldwide with his band Blackout and the San Francisco Jazz Collective, who appeared at the Center in the 2012-2013 season.

David Sánchez

World-renowned jazz critic Howard Reich salutes David Sánchez, a Puerto Rico-born tenor saxophonist, saying, "Technically, tonally and creatively, he seems to have it all. His sound is never less than plush, his pitch is unerring and his rapid-fire playing is ravishing in its combination of speed, accuracy and utter evenness of tone." Such is the acclaim and respect that Grammy Award-winning Sánchez has engendered from critics, music lovers and fellow artists throughout the world as he continues to push the frontiers of mainstream jazz to incorporate a compelling and rich array of Latin and Afro-Caribbean influences, while remaining true to the tenets of the jazz genre.

Nicholas Payton

Hailed as a virtuoso before he was even out of high school, Nicholas Payton’s prodigious talent has earned him praise as one of the most important artists of our time. Born in New Orleans into a musical family, he received his first trumpet at age four and, by the age of 12, he was a member of the All Star Brass Band that performed and toured extensively. He has toured with scores of musicians including Clark Terry, Marcus Roberts, Ray Brown, Elvin Jones, and Roy Haynes and is credited on well over 120 recordings as a composer, arranger, special guest or sideman. As a leader, Nicholas has recorded 8 albums under his own name.


More information can be found on our web site. Tickets for this performance are $35/$10 (Regular/Students), and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 405-ARTS (2787).


About The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at UMD

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland is a collaborative space shared by the School of Music (SOM), the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (TDPS) and the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library.  The Clarice Smith Center presents performances and programs by visiting artists as well as by students and faculty of SOM and TDPS in an environment of creative learning, exploration and growth. A national model for a performing arts center on a major research university campus, the Center enables innovative partnerships and extraordinary experiences.

This tour engagement of Stefon Harris is funded through the Mid Atlantic Tours Program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council.

This performance is included in Diversity Through Music, an event series sponsored by the UMD Office of Diversity Education and Compliance and the Nyumburu Cultural Center through a grant from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion with the cooperation of the Clarice Smith Center. To view a full schedule of events, visit the Nyumburu Cultural Center’s website.

The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is supported by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. An agency of the Department of Business & Economic Development, the MSAC provides financial support and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, units of government, colleges and universities for arts activities. Funding for the Maryland State Arts Council is also provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.