Credit: Credit: Albemarle County Public Schools

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Southern Café and Music Hall

103 1st St S, Charlottesville, VA 22902  


Doors 6pm / Show 7pm

Tickets $15 in advance / $20 at the door

Purchase tickets online at: HERE

Concert Schedule

7-7:25pm — AHS Jazz Combo with Greg Thomas

7:40-8:25pm — Terri Allard Trio & Friends   

8:25-8:45pm – Intermission / Silent Auction  

8:45-9:30pm — John D’earth, Charles Owens & Friends

Concert and Silent Auction to Benefit AHS Jazz Ensemble

Featuring John D’earth, Charles Owens & Friends and Terri Allard Trio – With a Special Appearance by the AHS Jazz Combo

What do you do when your band is invited to participate in one of the most prestigious jazz festival events in the country? You call your friends! This past fall, Albemarle High School (AHS) Band Director, Greg Thomas, and his AHS Jazz Ensemble students sent an audition tape to Swing Central Jazz, a highly selective student program that is part of the Savannah Music Festival. Thomas’ students are extremely talented and motivated musicians–five were recently selected to participate in the All State Jazz Band in Norfolk, Virginia–still, he said he had almost zero hope that his group would be one of only 12 high school bands (from all over the country) chosen to participate in the competition and workshop. But on December 10, he received an email that began this way: “We are very excited that you will be a special part of the 2016 Savannah Music Festival, and we look forward to seeing you in March!”

Being accepted to participate in Swing Central–called the “pro bowl of high school jazz bands” by the Florida Sun-Sentinel–is a huge honor and a wonderful opportunity for the students and Thomas, who will work with jazz masters (including a Marsalis!), play in Savannah’s Jazz on the River, attend a variety of performances, and, on the final day, compete for the prestigious Faircloth Award and a cash prize. According to renowned jazz pianist Marcus Roberts, associate artistic director of the festival, “I believe that these 12 bands represent the best in high school jazz in America today.”

It takes a community! A fundraising committee has calculated that it will cost about $23,000 to get these young musicians to Savannah and house and feed them. Sadly, the AHS Band Boosters do not have an extra $23,000 sitting in their bank account. So, the AHS Jazz Ensemble, families, friends and the community at large have been fundraising like crazy.

A GoFundMe page is in place for anyone who would like to help support the trip. The Albemarle County Public Schools Fine Arts Department is also pitching in for the cause as are other community organizations including the Batesville Ruritans. And the AHS Jazz Ensemble is hard at work preparing for a student Valentine’s Day dance at the high school on Friday, February 12.

The March 6 benefit at the Southern Café and Music Hall will kick off at 7pm sharp with a short set by the AHS Jazz Combo, led by band director Greg Thomas. Following will be Terri Allard performing a full set with her trio (Gary Green on harmonica and Sonny Layne on bass). Jazz favorites John D’earth and Charles Owens will then take the stage together with friends to raise the roof and cap off the evening’s entertainment. A silent auction will be held during the event as well.

John D’earth – A highly respected member of the Charlottesville music scene, trumpeter and composer John D’earth has had a profound impact on his community, mentoring and empowering musicians of all ages. D’earth studied as a teenager with saxophonist Boots Mussulli (Stan Kenton, Charlie Ventura, Teddy Wilson), with John Coffey (principal trombonist BSO) and with Thad Jones (arranger). He attended Harvard University and later moved to New York City where he studied with Carmine Caruso, Vince Penzarella and Richie Beirach.

D’earth has performed and recorded internationally and appeared on over one hundred CDs working with Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton, Miles Davis/Quincy Jones, Tito Puente, Bruce Hornsby, Emily Remler, Bennie Wallace, Eddie Gomez, The George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, Bob Moses, Pat Metheny, Joe Henderson, Clark Terry, John Scofield and John Abercrombie, among many others. He has composed and arranged music for the Kronos String Quartet, The Kandinsky Trio, The Charlottesville Chamber Festival, Bruce Hornsby, The Dave Matthews Band, The San Diego, Atlanta, Richmond and Roanoke Symphony Orchestras, The University of Virginia Jazz Ensemble, The Great American Music Ensemble and The Charlottesville-Albemarle Youth Orchestra.

D’earth has recorded as a leader for Vanguard Records, ENJA Records, DoubleTime Jazz and his own Cosmolgy label. Among his original works are the five movement “Natural Bridge,” commissioned by the Kandinsky Trio, and “Suite Rakalam” in four movements for string septet, trumpet and drumset, commissioned by the Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival. He completed a two-hour score for five instruments that was performed live with Mernau’s 1926 silent film masterpiece, “Faustus,” for the Virginia Film Festival. Most recently, he composed the jazz opera, “Sacred Profanity,” which was performed in workshop form at Live Arts in Charlottesville.

Charles Owens — Master Tenor Saxophonist, composer, band leader, Jellowstone Recording Artist, and educator Charles Owens has been playing saxophone and composing professionally for over 20 years. A veteran of the New York City jazz scene, Owens has played with many jazz greats while honing his own band into a tightly knit, hard swinging, and very exciting quartet. Influenced by such tenor saxophone masters as John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Wayne Shorter, Owens manages to evoke the power and spirit of these masters while putting his own heart, depth, and passion into his playing and his composing.

Regarding Owen’s latest album, “A Day with Us,” Larry Kart, author of “Jazz in Search of Itself” (Yale University Press) writes, “[He] can dig deeply into the changes when [he] wishes (which is often) with much uniqueness and intensity. Likewise, [he’s] got a very anchored sense of swing — an intense, turbulent one by and large, but [he] also has the ability to lean back and relax when that’s called for, as on “Dutch” for example. What I hear from [him] above all, if I had to pick a phrase, is rock-bottom musical and emotional integrity. He has only one side or stance — being right there and real.”

Currently living in Charlottesville, Virginia, Owens is an integral part of the vibrant Richmond and Charlottesville music scenes and travels to New York City several times a year to play with his band at the world famous Smalls Jazz Club. Owens also manages to find time to mentor young musicians and teach musical clinics in area schools.

Terri Allard Trio – Known almost as much for her community work as for her music, locally based, award-winning singer-songwriter Terri Allard combines sultry sweetness and grit with an intimately personal writing style, lending a strong, authentic voice to the Americana music scene. On each of Allard’s five notable recordings, her original material chronicles the highs and lows of living day-to-day. Her co-writing credits include collaborating with five-time Grammy Award-winner Mary Chapin Carpenter on the stirring ode, “Anna Carolyn.” She has performed on the national singer-songwriter circuit for over two decades and currently splits her time between music and television, hosting and co-producing the Telly Award-winning show, “Charlottesville Inside-Out,” now in its ninth season on WHTJ (Charlottesville) and WCVE (Richmond) PBS television.