Multi-Grammy Award winning saxophonist Ernie Watts headlined as the guest soloist when the 67-member Symphonic Jazz Orchestra played to a full house at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center in Long Beach, which seats over one thousand.
The concert, which was free to the public, featured "Nightbird," a work especially written for Ernie by composer Michel Colombier. The show opened with the world premiere of "Trickster," by the runner-up of the recent George Duke Commissioning Competition, Rafael Piccolotto de Lima. Conductor Mitch Glickman led the SJO in a jazz reimagining of Elgar's "Enigma Variation IX" featuring Watts as sax soloist.
The March 20th performance was part of the Carpenter Center's "Arts for Life" concert series. It was made possible in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Music Performance Fund/Film Funds Trust Fund, Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, Knossos Foundation, Arts Council of Long Beach, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, and the Carpenter Performing Arts Center.