Valdosta Daily Times

November 19, 2013

Famed drummer joins VSU Jazz Ensemble

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Dennis Mackrel has been moving listeners to his beat for years. This week, he brings his singular drum work to Valdosta.

Mackrel is the featured guest with the Valdosta State University Jazz Ensemble’s concert scheduled for Thursday evening.

The VSU concert will include original compositions and arrangements by Mackrel and works by Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and McCoy Tyner, said David Springfield, VSU jazz studies director.

“Dennis Mackrel is a world-renowned drummer, composer and arranger. He was the drummer for the legendary Count Basie Orchestra from 1983-1987 and returned to lead the group from 2010-2013,” Springfield says. “He has performed and recorded with Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band and many others. His compositions and arrangements have been recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra and the McCoy Tyner Big Band on two Grammy-winning CDs.”

The VSU Jazz Ensemble, directed by David Springfield, with special guest drummer/composer Dennis Mackrel, plays 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, Whitehead Auditorium, VSU Fine Arts Building, corner of Oak and Brookwood. Admission: Free and open to the public.