Celebrating the release of Gary’s new CD, “Too Modern For Me,” this concert features eleven original compositions performed by Gary and the USM jazz faculty. We also celebrate his 30th year teaching in the University of Maine System.
This is Gary’s second vocal CD and features 11 songs written and performed by Wittner, featuring an all-star group of New England jazz musicians: Matt Langley (tenor sax), Les Harris, Jr. (drums) and Keala Kaumeheiwa (bass). The songs on “Too Modern for Me” are influenced in equal parts by the music of Thelonious Monk, and the wit of Mose Allison and Dave Frishberg. Some of Gary’s songs are serious, but most are written for humor – like his ode to turning 60 (“I’d Rather Stay Home”), his nod to technology (“Too Modern For Me”), and an amusing look at addictions (“I’ll Quit Tomorrow”). Maine jazz promoter Paul Lichter, whose performance series “Dimensions in Jazz” is a Portland institution, has referred to Gary’s vocal music as “Jazz Cabaret”. The CD will be available throughout northern New England at all Bull Moose stores, on the web at bullmoose.com, and digitally at iTunes and Spotify. There will be a CD release party at One Longfellow Square in Portland on September 15th.
Regardless of labels, Wittner has created a body of songs within the Jazz/Blues/Latin spectrum that combine witty, insightful, heartfelt lyrics with complex post-bop harmonies. Audiences and musicians alike have been entertained by Gary’s vocal tunes here in the USA, as well as in South America, Europe and Africa. Originally from New York, Wittner has lived in Maine since 1986, and since that time has played all kinds of gigs – high profile, low profile and no profile! Gary has represented the USA officially 4 times – twice as a Kennedy Center Jazz Ambassador, and once each as a Fulbright Specialist and a US Embassy Outreach Artist. He has played all over the world: in major urban markets (New York City, London, Warsaw, Paris, St. Petersburg, Boston, Capetown), for tribal royalty in Papua New Guinea and Fiji, jazz royalty (Thelonious Monk’s widow, Nellie) and at the largest arts festival on the African continent. In between all that he has played locally and regionally in Jazz, Latin, and Middle Eastern music settings. An acknowledged authority on the music and life of jazz icon Thelonious Monk, Gary has presented concert/lectures/workshops at some of the world’s most high profile music schools. His book Thelonious Monk for Guitar was published in 1999, and is still informing guitar players around the world today. Gary currently teaches guitar at the University of Southern Maine School of Music and Bowdoin College and keeps an active performing schedule locally and abroad.
The concert will be held at Corthell Concert Hall on the Gorham Campus. The University offers free parking for evening and weekend events in student or faculty lots. Tickets are $15 for adult, $10 for seniors, USM employees and alumni, $5 for students. To purchase tickets, call the Music Box Office: (207) 780-5555 // TTY: 780-5646, or purchase tickets online at www.usm.maine.edu/music/boxoffice.
Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, firstname.lastname@example.org. Hearing impaired: call USM’s telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.