Kevin Mahogany with the VJC Big Band: VJC Scholarship Fund Raiser

photo by Lores

On Friday, December 6th at 8:00 PM, the Vermont Jazz Center will present a Gala Performance with the VJC Big Band supporting internationally acclaimed vocalist, Kevin Mahogany. This is a dance concert and more than half the floor will remain open for people to move to the sounds of the VJC's 18 piece orchestra.

Kevin Mahogany is well acquainted to singing with big bands as he has his own repertoire and custom-made charts, some of them arranged by the legendary Frank Mantooth. According to the respected jazz website,, Mahogany's "swinging style is reminiscent, but not derivative of Joe Williams." He takes pride in his Kansas City roots and, just like another Kansas City resident, Charlie Parker, his delivery is deeply saturated in the authentic blues. In one recent performance, Kevin joked that the state law in Kansas City required a minimum of two blues numbers per set!

According to Newsweek Magazine, Mahogany is "the standout vocalist of his generation." Born in 1958 in Kansas City, Missouri, Mahogany grew up listening to the richly diverse musical sounds of his hometown where jazz and blues reigned supreme in the early 1900s. He was tutored at the Charlie Parker Foundation and graduated from Baker University with a BFA in Music, English, and Drama in 1981. After establishing himself as a singer, Mahogany recorded three well-received albums with Enja, before signing with Warner Brothers. His self-titled Warner debut received a host of accolades including Newcomer of the Year (Penthouse) and the first of four nominations as #1 Jazz Singer of the Year (Down Beat Critics Poll). The Los Angeles Times called him "one of the first truly gifted male vocalists to emerge in years" and USA Today gave him four stars.

Mahogany appeared in the Robert Altman film "Kansas City," where he portrayed a character inspired by Big Joe Turner. He also appeared on Eastwood After Hours, a Clint Eastwood ensemble project performed and recorded live at Carnegie Hall. That same year, he made a guest appearance on Monk On Monk, T.S. Monk's tribute to his father. He received the Downbeat Male Vocalist of the Year Award in 2000 and, in the autumn of 2003, Mahogany, along with Kurt Elling, Jon Hendricks and Mark Murphy toured extensively as The Four Brothers. The release of Kevin Mahogany Big Band, found Mahogany #3 on the charts and the #1 male vocalist on jazz radio. Billboard declared, "Kevin Mahogany is unquestionably one of today's most exciting and musically adept jazz vocalists."

The Vermont Jazz Center Big Band will accompany Mahogany as he delves into his repertoire of blues and classic jazz standards. The Big Band is a professional community orchestra comprised of musicians from Hartford, Connecticut to Woodstock Vermont who come together and rehearse numerous times to prepare for this annual event. It's hard for the VJC's organizers and musicians to believe that this band is now in its 11th year!! The money raised from this concert helps fill the coffers of the VJC scholarship fund and will assist in complementing the $10,000 matching funds so generously donated by the Thompson Trust.

So be sure to mark your calendars and polish your dancing shoes to prepare for this fun evening.  Once again it's time to celebrate and salute the band's longevity and quality.  VJC Board member and big band organizer, Sherm Fox deserves all the credit for staying in contact with the musicians, arranging rehearsals and putting together the extensive library.  The individual members of the ensemble deserve tremendous credit for their abilities, musicality and for their commitment of time and talent. This year's musical director is trumpeter/conductor Rob Freeberg who recently moved to Southern Vermont from New York. He is exceptionally qualified to direct the VJC big band. He was the musical director at New Rochelle High School, had his own professional community band, garnered awards from the NY State Music Association and conducted a youth orchestra at Lincoln Center. The members of the VJC Big Band include: trumpet section: Donald Anderson, Rick Anderson, Charlie Schneeweis, Steve Sontag; saxophone section: Bill Ballard, Sherm Fox, Bob Stabach, Larry Tutt, Michael Zsoldos; trombone section: Dan DeWalt, Michael Pallas, Rob Skrocki, Bob Thies; rhythm section: Julian Gerstin (percussion), Draa Hobbs (guitar), Dave Picchi (bass), Steve Rice (drums), Eugene Uman (piano).

This concert would not be possible without the generosity of VJC supporters Dianne Gallo and Steve Lieberman who have underwritten the musician's fees.  The VJC is also grateful to the Hampton Inn, the Vermont Arts Council, VPR and WFCR.

Be sure to make your reservations early as this concert usually sells out. Admission, which includes a delicious and complimentary dessert buffet is $25 general or $30 for reservations that include reserved seating (table spaces are limited ) For local high school students, there is a special fund available to subsidize admission.  Purchase tickets online at, at In the Moment Record Store in downtown Brattleboro, or call the VJC ticket line, 802-254-9088 ext. 1. This event is handicapped accessible. Please call us if you will need any assistance.

Friday, December 6th
8:00 PM
Vermont Jazz Center
Reserved Seating $30.00, General Admission $25.00
Buy tickets on-line (secure server)

Please purchase tickets on-line to help avoid a massive line on the day of the show. There will be separate lines for "will call" and ticket sales. Please read our new TICKET PRICING POLICY.

Other ticket payment/reservation options:
In the Moment, 143 Main St, Brattleboro, VT
Call the Jazz Center at 802-254-9088 to reserve tickets.

Please note: A surcharge of $1/per ticket will be added to all tickets purchased with a credit card.
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