Music Program

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.

$10 general, $8 students/seniors, $6 members

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New Buffalo Jazz Octet

Brendan Fitzgerald (conductor)
Tim Clarke (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Phil Sims (trombone, euphonium)
Kelly Bucheger (alto/tenor saxophones)
Nelson Rivera (soprano/tenor saxophones)
Steve Baczkowski (baritone saxophone)
Michael McNeill (piano)
Dave Arenius (contrabass)
John Bacon (drums, percussion)

Over the past five years, pianist Michael McNeill has become "one of the busiest freelance musicians in Buffalo" (Artvoice) and an integral part of that city's thriving creative music scene. His imaginative piano playing has found a home alongside jazz players ranging from Maynard Ferguson-alumnus Bruce Johnstone (on Kelly Bucheger's House of Relics) to local underground hero Steve Baczkowski, and he has developed a personal voice on the harmonium in crossover ensembles led by percussionist Ravi Padmanabha. McNeill performs composed music with the Wooden Cities New Music Collective, co-leads a jazz quintet with the polymath drummer John Bacon, and has collaborated with trumpet legend Paul Smoker on projects of standards and of original compositions. He also composes for, plays with, and facilitates the New Buffalo Jazz Octet, an ensemble made up of "…a veritable who's who list of killer regional jazz players…" - Buffalo News

"A little over a year ago saxophonist Kelly Bucheger and I talked about starting an octet to play some of our original jazz music. The musicians we gathered into the New Buffalo Jazz Octet were: tenor/soprano saxophonist Nelson Rivera, baritone saxophonist Steve Baczkowski, trumpeter Tim Clarke, trombonist Phil Sims, bassist Dave Arenius and drummer John Bacon. We also brought on board conductor Brendan Fitzgerald to help steer the band through the new material. Looking at this list of improvisers from disparate (though overlapping) scenes, with such distinct styles and approaches, I thought, 'This is so crazy, it has to work!'

If the palpable excitement in the band and in the audience at our first two concerts is any measure of the band's success, then this crazy conglomeration of musicians is working just great! I think we even surprised ourselves." - Michael McNeill in 2012

Hallwalls Music Program is made possible through the generous support of David Kennedy, Robert D. Bielecki (, a grant for jazz programming from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, & public funds from the Music program of the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency.