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CNY Jazz Orchestra comes back big in April


Larry Luttinger

CNY Jazz Orchestra comes back big in April

Le Moyne Jazzuits open show, new music director named

Syracuse NY – The acclaimed Central New York Jazz Orchestra, founded in 1996 and now in its 26th year, will perform a “comeback” cabaret concert in the historic Persian Terrace of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday April 10th. Joining them will be national guests Kim Nazarian of the New York Voices, Jay Ashby on trombone, and new Music Director Clay Jenkins conducting the 16-picee CNYJO. An opening set will be performed by the Le Moyne Jazzuits directed by Carol Jacobe, and Ms. Nazarian will sit in with the student vocal jazz ensemble as well. A cash bar and buffet will be available at extra charge. Tickets are on sale now at or 315-479-5299.

The long-postponed concert, originally scheduled for April 2020, will bring the orchestra back to the stage for the first time in over two years. “We had scheduled our first rehearsal for this concert in March 2020, and of course the shutdown ended all that,” said Larry Luttinger of CNY Jazz. “This comeback, after such a long hiatus, will be like a class reunion for the band and our audience. I guarantee that you will never see more impassioned playing and singing than you’ll encounter at this event.”

Both guest artists have strong ties to Central and Upstate New York. Kim Nazarian is a world renowned, Grammy-nominated jazz artist, educator, and clinician who has performed worldwide with the iconic vocal jazz quartet “New York Voices” for more than 30 years. An Ithaca College grad, she is a dedicated educator, still teaching at IC remotely. Besides her many recordings with the New York Voices, Kim Nazarian can be heard on many projects as a soloist. She has recorded with Paquito Rivera, Gary Burton, John Pizzarelli, and Sean Jones, among others, and was one of the featured voices chosen to sing on Bobby McFerrin’s “VOCAbuLarieS“ CD .

Her husband Jay Ashby, a native of Baldwinsville, will conduct and play trombone. A five-time Grammy Award-winning producer, he is known for his performances with such music icons as Paul Simon and Astrud Gilberto. Ashby has performed, toured, and recorded with some of the most renowned jazz artists in the industry. A member of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra and Dizzy’s Alumni All-Star Big Band, he has performed with jazz greats including Jon Faddis, Monty Alexander, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, Tania Maria, Claudio Roditi, and Bennie Green, among many others.

Music direction for the CNYJO portion of the concert will be undertaken by trumpeter Clay Jenkins, who will lead the band through a set of selections including some made famous by two bands that he has been a member of for many years, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and the Count Basie Orchestra. He also logged years of touring time with the Stan Kenton and Buddy Rich big bands. He has been a faculty member at the Eastman School of Music since 2000.

Concluded Larry Luttinger, “We’re honored to have Clay lead the band. He will lend excitement and virtuosity to our sound. The CNY Jazz Orchestra is poised for its next quarter century. May it last forever.”

The CNY Jazz Cabarets feature international talent in a club atmosphere, with cash bar and affordable food stations available. Valet parking is available, and holders of CNY Jazz Club Discount Cards will receive 10% off food and drink.

If You Go
Who: The Central New York Jazz Orchestra with Kim Nazarian and Jay Ashby
What: CNY Jazz Spring Cabaret Concert
Where: Persian Terrace, Marriott Syracuse Downtown, 100 E. Onondaga Street, Syracuse 13202
When: Sunday April 10th 4:00 p.m.
Tickets: $30.00 advance, $35.00 door, $10.00 student I.D. at or 315-479-5299

Kim Nazarian