Although he became the director of jazz studies at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah only a couple of months ago, Dr. Clark Gibson has already become a force on the area's jazz scene.
"I'm loving it and staying real busy," says the saxophonist, flutist, composer, and bandleader. "We're having a good time making lots of great jazz music in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The students are great. They work real hard, they don't whine, and they put up with me yelling at them to practice all the time," he adds with a laugh.
Most recently, he and his NSU students have been practicing for their latest concert with a well-known jazz artist, set for Sunday in the larger town of Tulsa. This time around, their guest is veteran musician Vince DiMartino, who'll be taking the Jazz Depot stage with the NSU Big Band Sunday for the latest in the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame's Autumn Concert Series.
"He's a guy who's been around for a while," notes Gibson. "A world-renowned, internationally performing trumpet artist."
In addition to being a longtime music educator at the college level, the Kentucky-based DiMartino has played lead and solo trumpet in the bands of such well-known jazz figures as Lionel Hampton, Chuck Mangione, and Clark Terry. He has recorded extensively with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and, in 1996, was featured with fellow musicians Allen Vizzutti and Bobby Shew on the CD Trumpet Summit, released by Summit Records. DiMartino's resume includes performances at Lincoln Center with the Canadian Brass, the New York Philharmonic Brass and the New York Brass; among many other achievements, he was a featured artist and teacher at the Kiev International Trumpet Competition in 1998.
In a story posted on the Copious Notes website June 1, 2012, DiMartino told writer Rich Copley that he found joy in "being a catalyst for young people and being a support person to keep people achieving and to teach them to be fearless about their work and the time they spend and the value in spending time like that."
He'll be spending some of his time with the NSU Big Band Sunday, coming to the Jazz Depot for a single rehearsal prior to the show. It'll be the first time he's met with the student musicians, but Dr. Gibson is confident they'll be ready.
"I got the music ahead of time, so we've been rehearsing it and we'll be fine," he says. "We're in good shape. The kids work very hard at what they do. After we do the thing at the Hall of Fame, we'll be with him here [in Tahlequah] at the Jazz Lab on Monday, and he'll be doing a clinic here Monday afternoon.
"You know," he adds, "this is something NSU has been doing for a long time, having international guest artists. It's a great tradition at NSU - everybody from Wynton Marsalis to Benny Green to Mulgrew Miller has played here."
Like DiMartino, Dr. Gibson is a recording artist himself, recently heard on a CD with the Illinois-based Old Style Sextet and heading up a project, due out shortly, that recorded some formerly unreleased compositions intended for Charlie Parker and a string section. Both discs were done for the BluJazz Records label, based in Chicago.
And if having two recording acts on Sunday's show weren't enough, the NSU Big Band will also include four jazz players who were featured as both musicians and composers on the recent release Out Front by the NSU Jazz'tet. A CD supervised by Gibson's predecessor Tommy Poole - now the director of Jazz Studies at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater - it features original compositions by, among others, saxophonist Joe Barger, trumpeter Austin Stunkard, pianist Hiroki Ohsawa, and bassist Matt Butler. Dr. Gibson notes that all four are members of the NSU Big Band.
Copies of Out Front, as well as other jazz discs, will be available for purchase at the concert.
The NSU Big Band and Vince DiMartino are set to begin at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1, at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in downtown Tulsa's Jazz Depot, 111 E. First Street. For tickets, call 918-928-JAZZ or visit www.JazzHallTickets.com. Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame members and seniors enjoy discounted ticket prices at $10.00 each. General admission tickets are $15.00, reserved table seating $20.00. Admission is $5.00 for high school and middle school students.
The show is a part of the Jazz Hall's 2015 Autumn Concert Series.
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame
is a 501(c)(3) non-profit cultural and educational organization, with a mission to inspire creativity and improve the quality of life for all Oklahomans
through the preservation, education, and performance of jazz, our uniquely American art form.