West Michigan Symphony brings jazz pianist Marcus Roberts to Muskegon in May

Muskegon, Michigan, April 26, 2016 – West Michigan Symphony’s May 20 concert at the Frauenthal Theater and its May 21 concert at The Block will feature famed jazz pianist Marcus Roberts.

Friday night, the Marcus Roberts Trio joins Music Director Scott Speck and the West Michigan Symphony for its final concert of the 2015-16 season for “A Study of Contrasts,” a program that features two composers with two contrasting visions.

In the opening piece, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 5 in E Minor, the Russian romantic composer pours out his soul in searing, passionate and triumphant expression. This is contrasted in the second half of the concert by a work from American jazz composer George Gershwin, who creates a combustive fusion of popular and classical idioms. The Marcus Roberts trio joins the orchestra, bringing real-time improvisation to a special arrangement of Gershwin’s Concerto in F.

Comprised of Marcus Roberts on piano, Rodney Jordan on bass and Jason Marsalis on drums, the trio is known for its virtuosic style and entirely new approach to jazz trio performance. While most jazz trios have the piano front and center, all members of the Marcus Roberts Trio share equally in shaping the direction of the music they play with lightning quick musical reflexes and creative imaginations. The trio is known for having almost telepathic communication on the stage.

Starting at age 21, Roberts toured with jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and six years later left to tour and record with his own band. Roberts’ critically-acclaimed legacy of recorded music reflects his tremendous versatility as an artist; his recordings include solo piano, duets, and trio arrangements of jazz standards as well as original suites of music, large ensemble works, and symphony orchestra recordings.

“A Study of Contrasts” is Friday, May 20, and starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Muskegon. Ticket prices are $20 to $49; student tickets are $7 and can be purchased by calling the WMS ticket office at 231.726.3231 ext. 223, in person at 360 W. Western Avenue or online at www.westmichigansymphony.org.

Saturday, May 21, Marcus Roberts will present a solo concert of jazz piano on the symphony’s spectacular Steinway B at The Block, 360 W. Western Avenue, second floor, in downtown Muskegon.

In 2014 Roberts was featured on a segment of the CBS News television show 60 Minutes, entitled “The Virtuoso,” in which correspondent Wynton Marsalis traced his life to date from his early roots in Jacksonville and at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to his remarkable career as a modern jazz musician.

Tickets for Marcus Roberts’ solo jazz piano performance at The Block start at $10 for students and $25 for adults. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. the concert begins at 7:30. Reservations can be made by calling the WMS ticket office at 231.726.3231 x223, in person at 360 W. Western Avenue, or online at www.theblockwestmichigan.org.

Michigan Arts & Culture Council
National Endowment for the Arts