Ninety Miles unites trio of American jazzmen with hot Cuban musicians April 2

February 27, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK (Wednesday, Feb. 27)—It isn’t far from Key West to Havana—just 90 miles or so. But when a trio of acclaimed American jazzmen jam with talented musicians from our island nation neighbor, the distance and differences between our countries seem even smaller. Vibraphonist Stefon Harris, trumpeter Nicholas Payton and saxophonist David Sánchez headline Ninety Miles, a Cuban-American concert collaboration that defies political boundaries, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, in Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium on the University Park campus of Penn State.

Tickets for the Center for the Performing Arts presentation are $32 for an adult, $16 for a University Park student and $25 for a person 18 and younger. Buy tickets online at or by phone at 814-863-0255. Outside the local calling area, dial 1-800-ARTS-TIX. Tickets are also available at four State College locations: Eisenhower Auditorium (weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), Penn State Downtown Theatre Center (weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), HUB-Robeson Center Information Desk (weekdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. when Penn State classes are in session) and Bryce Jordan Center (weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). A grant from the University Park Allocation Committee makes Penn State student prices possible.

“He swings,” a New York Times reviewer wrote about four-time Grammy Award nominee Harris. “And when he plays, he makes you feel good.” A Los Angeles Times critic called him “one of the most important young artists in jazz.”

Harris, known for his energetic stage presence, made his Center for the Performing Arts debut in 2009 when he performed one of his compositions with the quintet Imani Winds. Jazziz, Jazz Times and Downbeat have honored Harris as best vibraphonist, and the Jazz Journalists Association has named him “best mallet” winner six times.

New Orleans-born Payton stands shoulder to shoulder with the best trumpeters from a city that has nurtured the gold standard of horn players. The Grammy winner came to national prominence in New York City in the 1990s, performing frequently at Jazz at Lincoln Center and with its Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis.

Payton, who last appeared at Penn State in 2010 as part of the New Orleans Nights concert with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Allen Toussaint, is a composer, bandleader and trumpeter who The New York Times called “abundantly gifted” and “a high-wire soloist.”

The Grammy-winning Sánchez, a native of Puerto Rico who moved to New York City in 1986 and began studying at Rutgers University a few years later, ranks as one of the most progressive sax players of his generation. While Sánchez happens to be of Latin heritage, his exemplary playing transcends Latin jazz.

Spats Café and Speakeasy sponsors the concert. Artistic Viewpoints, an informal moderated discussion featuring Harris, Payton and Sánchez, is offered in Schwab one hour before the performance and is free for ticket holders.

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  • Ninety Miles
    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 28, 2013