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KASU to treat supporters to jazz concert

10/08/2013

JONESBORO, Ark. — KASU, Arkansas State University’s public radio service, is inviting its financial supporters to a jazz concert in Riceland Hall at Fowler Center, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m., featuring the Arkansas Jazz All-Stars. The group includes the Claudia Burson Trio, a piano, bass and percussion combo from Fayetteville, and trumpeter Gary Gazaway and his wife, vocalist Lisa Ahia of Pocahontas. The complimentary concert is the station’s way of thanking its contributors.

Supporters of KASU include individual listeners, known as members, who make financial contributions to the station, and underwriters – businesses that receive on-air recognition in exchange for sponsorship. The station conducts two membership drives each year and the 2013 fall drive is in progress October 12-23.

Members and underwriters received free tickets to the concert enclosed in the October “Wavelengths,” the station’s newsletter. The ticket entitles any KASU member to bring an unlimited number of guests. KASU Program Director Marty Scarbrough said, “Riceland Hall will seat about 900 music lovers and we want to fill as many of those seats as possible with people who appreciate great jazz provided by one of Arkansas’ premier musical alliances.”

On the night of the Arkansas Jazz All-Stars concert, KASU patrons should show up at Riceland Hall with their mailed tickets and accompanied by their designated guests. Members will be asked to sign in at the entrance. KASU Development Director Mark Smith said, “Anyone who becomes a new member by pledging during our current fall drive can attend the concert with guests. We’ll have a list of the new members at the Riceland Hall entrance so just check in with us.”

A 1975 A-State alumnus, Gary Gazaway is the friend of musicians all over the United States and in Latin America where he has lived, performed and recorded. He has played trumpet on stage and in the studio with legendary North American music figures in rock, rhythm-and-blues and country. Gazaway’s musical associations in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Puerto Rico include some of the best-known names in jazz-fusion, mambo, salsa and Afro-Cuban sounds. His musician friends from Latin America fondly bestowed the nickname “El Büho,” which means “The Owl” in English, upon him.

While Gazaway lived and performed in Hawaii, he met his wife Lisa Ahia, the daughter of Samuel Ahia, one of Hawaii’s premier jazz guitarists and Polynesian entertainers. She enjoys singing from the “Great American Songbook,” the timeless canon of popular songs with melodies and lyrics created by superb songwriters of the 1930s-1950s ranging from George Gershwin to Johnny Mercer.

KASU station manager Mike Doyle observed, “Since Gary and Lisa moved back to Pocahontas, they have developed a strong local fan base performing for KASU Bebopalooza, Blue Monday and Jazz Thursday events, the Jonesboro Public Library’s lawn concerts and at private functions throughout northeast Arkansas.

“Anyone who hears Lisa’s rich voice and Gary’s virtuoso trumpet skills wants to find out where and when they can hear them again. When I think of Gary and Lisa joining with the Claudia Burson Trio on the Riceland stage, I can imagine a concert that will be unforgettable for its superb quality.”’

The Claudia Burson trio, northwest Arkansas’ premier jazz combo, is in high demand for major events such as the 2011 grand opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and is a regular favorite at local nightspots in the Fayetteville-Springdale-Bentonville metro area.

KASU presents jazz programming six nights a week on 91.9 FM and streaming at www.kasu.org. Other musical programs on nights and weekends include classical, Celtic, folk, Americana, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rhythm and blues and world music with local and syndicated hosts.

For additional information, contact Doyle at (870) 972-3070 or e-mail him at mdoyle@astate.edu.

Gazaway and Ahia

Gary Gazaway and Lisa Ahia

Burson Trio

The Burson Trio
(from left) Drew Packard, Claudia Burson, Steve Wilkes