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April 28, 2008


NEW YORK, April 28, 2008 – Renowned saxophonist Dick Oatts, who has performed with such legends as Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme during his illustrious career, will be the guest artist for the Ninth Annual CUNY Jazz Festival, May 8 - 9, at The City College of New York’s (CCNY) Aaron Davis Hall.  All the events will be in Theater B and free to the public.

“In the nine years since the festival started, the event has grown to one of the major events on our yearly calendar,” said Michael Holober, CCNY Assistant Professor of Music and Festival Director.

Billed as “A Celebration of Jazz and Jazz Education,” the CUNY Jazz Festival features student ensembles from seven CUNY colleges: CCNY, Queens College, Queensborough Community College, Lehman College, York College, Hunter College and College of Staten Island. Groups from Japan’s Shobi University and LaGuardia High School will also perform.

On Thursday, May 8, Mr. Oatts will appear as a guest soloist with the CCNY Jazz Orchestra and host an open jam session from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. The following day, he will perform at the closing gala concert with his band, The Dick Oatts Quartet, at 7:30 p.m. 

The City College Small Jazz Ensemble, fresh off a one-hour live gig on Michael Bourne’s WBGO Jazz 88.3FM “Afternoon Jazz” show earlier this month, is among the six student groups from CCNY to perform at the festival. A second small jazz ensemble will also play , along with two graduate groups, a vocal ensemble and the College’s Brazilian Music Workshop.

As in years past, the City College Faculty Jazz Ensemble will open the festival. The members are Professor Holober on piano, Scott Reeves on trombone, Dan Carillo on guitar, Ray Gallon on piano and John Patitucci on bass.

Festivities begin each day at 11 a.m. and continue until 10 p.m. For a complete schedule of CUNY Jazz Festival events, please contact Professor Michael Holober at (212) 650-7660 or  Aaron Davis Hall is located on the City College campus at Convent Avenue and 135th Street, Manhattan.

The festival is presented by The Simon H. Rifkind Center for the Humanities and the Arts at City College and the Music Department in cooperation with Jazz at Lincoln Center and Aaron Davis Hall.

About Dick Oatts

Born in Iowa, Dick Oatts was introduced to the saxophone by his father Jack Oatts, a respected jazz educator and saxophonist.  He attended Drake University and began his professional career in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in 1972.  Mr. Oatts moved to New York City in 1977 and joined the Thad Jones – Mel Lewis Orchestra.  Over the last 30 years, he has toured and recorded with numerous groups including Red Rodney, Bob Brookmeyer, Mel Lewis, Flim & the BB’s, Fred Hersch, Terell Stafford, and Lalo Schiffrin.

His big band and larger group experience include performances withthe Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera and Tito Puente. Mr. Oatts has also been featured with the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, Danish Radio Big Band, Norboton Jazz Orchestra and the UMO Big Band in Helsinki. He has performed with such legendary vocalist as Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Neena Freelon, Mel Torme and Milton Nascimento. He has recorded solos for pop artists Luther Vandross, James Taylor and Everything But the Girl.

Mr. Oatts has released five CDs as a leader. He has been on the Manhattan School of Music faculty since 1989 and an artist-in-residence at the Amsterdam Conservatory since 1997.

 About The City College of New York

For more than 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit