Jazz Legend Slide Hamtpon Headlines Penn State Jazz Festival, April 4-5

The Penn State School of Music will host its annual jazz festival on April 4-5, featuring legendary trombonist Slide Hampton, saxophonist Antonio Hart, pianist Jeff Kunkel, and drummer Marko Marcinko.

The All-Star Combo Concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 4 will feature the guest artists, Penn State faculty and community members. The celebratory culminating concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 5 will feature the guest artists and Centre Dimensions Jazz Ensemble. Both concerts will occur in Esber Recital Hall. Tickets are $4.99 for general public and $2 for students (available at the door). The concerts will be available via live streamed video at CW Studios.

Clinics and masterclasses with the guest artists will occur throughout the day on Friday and Saturday. For a complete schedule of events, click here. All clinics and masterclasses are free and open to the public.

The distinguished career of Slide Hampton spans decades in the evolution of jazz. At the age of 12, he was already touring the mid-west with the Indianapolis-based Hampton Band, led by his father and including other members of his musical family. By 1952, at the age of 20, he was performing at Carnegie Hall with the Lionel Hampton Band. He then joined Maynard Ferguson's band, playing trombone and providing exciting charts on such popular tunes as The Fugue, Three Little Foxes, and Slide's Derangement.

As his reputation grew, he soon began working with bands led by Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, and others, again contributing both original compositions and arrangements. In 1962, he formed the Slide Hampton Octet, which toured the United States and Europe and recorded on several labels. Slide Hampton's countless collaborations with the most prominent musicians of jazz were rewarded by the 1998 Grammy Award for "Best Jazz Arrangement with a Vocalist" (Dee Dee Bridgewater). Hampton's arranging talents were again acknowledged when he received the 2005 Grammy Award for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album”  titled "The Way: Music of Slide Hampton with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra." He received another nomination in 2006 for his arrangement of Stardust for the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. Mr. Hampton received the nations highest honor in jazz, the prestigious NEA Jazz Master, in 2005.

Antonio Hart has long been recognized as one of the most talented instrumentalists of his generation. In recent years, he has also been recognized as an important jazz educator. In his 20 years as a professional musician, he has performed and recorded with many jazz greats, from Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Hargrove, Nancy Wilson, Nat Adderley, and McCoy Tyner to Dave Holland.

Hart's study of jazz began at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. There, he studied with Bill Pierce, Andy McGhee, and Joe Viola. The three teachers gave him the foundation he needed to develop into a professional musician. He made many friends at Berklee, but the most important was Roy Hargrove. They spent three years touring the world and recording Hargrove's first three records. Hart considers Hargrove to be his brother in life and music. He used Hargrove on his first recording, "For the First Time."

After graduating from Berklee, Hart received his master's degree at Queens College, and became a faculty member there. During his time at Queens, he had the opportunity to learn from the great Jimmy Heath and Donald Byrd. Heath produced Antonio's second recording, Don't You Know I Care. Hart's 1997 release from Impulse Records, Here I Stand, earned him a Grammy nomination for "Best Jazz Instrumental Solo." He has continued to be much in demand as a guest artist, and can be heard on over 100 recordings. In addition to his academic responsibilities, he maintains an extensive performance schedule and continues to conduct workshops and clinics throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Jeff Kunkel serves as the coordinator of jazz studies at Montclair State University (New Jersey). He teaches courses in jazz history, theory, improvisation, and pedagogy, and directs the MSU Jazz Band. Formerly, he served as the coordinator of undergraduate music education. In 2008, he received the New Jersey Jazz Education Achievement Award, given annually to an educator who has excelled in the field of jazz education. Prior to joining the Montclair State faculty, he taught at James Madison University and Otterbein College. Kunkel began his teaching career in the secondary schools of Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Kunkel recently released a CD titled Meu Coração Brasileiro, an album of original music blending the traditions of bossa nova, samba, jazz, and Música Popular Brasileira (MPB), an updated version of Brasilian urban musical style. The tracks for the recording were recorded in Rio de Janeiro in 2011 and 2012.  Many were written while Kunkel was traveling in Brasil, and are strongly influenced by the places, people, and music encountered there.

Kunkel holds a bachelor's degree from Penn State in addition to his doctorate. He received a master of music degree in jazz studies from the New England Conservatory of Music. He currently serves as the Penn State School of Music’s representative on the College of Arts and Architecture Alumni Society Board.

During his years in the music industry, Marko Marcinko has worked as a freelance musician playing drum set, percussion, piano/keyboards, bass guitar and trombone. He has also served as a studio session player, arranger, musical director and producer for numerous commercial jingles, indie-films and off-Broadway, club and theater engagements.

Born in Archbald, Pennsylvania, Marcinko studied technique with drumming master Joe Morello and continued his training at the University of Miami where he studied classical, jazz, brazilian and afro-cuban styles under professors Fred Wickstrom, Steve Bagby, Steve Rucker, Harry Hawthorne, and Ney Resaro. He came onto the international music scene in 1994 while touring and recording with trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson. He served as drummer and arranger for Ferguson and his Big Bop Nouveau Band for three years, and appears on the Concord recording, "One More Trip To Birdland."

Over the years, Marko has played with jazz greats including Joe Henderson, Phil Woods, Clark Terry, and Bob Dorough. Other notable collaborations include work with Jon Secada, Joan Rivers, Connie Francis, Don Rickles, Melba Moore, Juan Gabriel, Clay Aiken, Bob Newhart and Nicol Williamson. Currently, Marko tours and records with jazz saxophone icon Dave Liebman, as well as the Organik Vibe Trio featuring vibraphone and marimba master Dave Samuels.


Last Updated March 31, 2014