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Shady Side Academy musicians to meet up with top saxophonist

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Shady Side Music director Stan Nevola rehearses with seniors Akul Mitra, Bruce Morrison and Harris Saqmad as they prepare for upcoming concert.

Musicians from Shady Side Academy plan to party like it's 1999 this weekend when they team up with saxophonist Marcus Anderson, who now shares the stage with Prince on his nationwide tour.

Anderson and fellow jazz performer Elan Trotman will showcase their skills alongside Shady Side's Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo during a holiday show at the Latitude 40 club, 200 Quinn Drive, North Fayette.

“A Smooth Jazz Holiday” will run from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 8. Tickets cost $40 for the all-age show and include dinner.

The school will receive a portion of the proceeds for any tickets sold at the campus along Fox Chapel Road. Tickets are available at the dean's office on weekdays in Rowe Hall.

“To have the kids performing with these musicians is a gift,” said Stan Nevola, music teacher at SSA for more than three decades.

“The jazz scene in Pittsburgh is bigger here than it is in New York. I hope the kids see the passion with which these guys are playing.”

Currently touring with Prince, Anderson is a former Capital Jazz Fest Challenge winner.

“His energy and sound stretch the definition of jazz,” Nevola said.

Anderson, also a flutist and vocalist, previously toured with Sheila E. and Anthony Hamilton, and is part of the Sax Pack with Jeff Kashiwa and Steve Cole.

Trotman, a fellow saxophonist, is equally a standout in the music scene, Nevola said.

A composer and vocalist, he has recorded with Roberta Flack, Johnny Gill and Kirk Whalum.

Senior Bruce Morrison, 18, said the sheer thought of the concert is a thrill.

“I just can't wait to jam with these guys,” said Morrison, a bass player.

“There's a language that we share.”

Classmate Harris Samad, 18, said the music is somewhat of a departure from the style he's used to, but he's eager to collaborate. The professionals play what Nevola called “smooth jazz” whereas he teaches more upbeat varieties such as swing and beebop.

“I'm excited because we don't get to be around other bands that often,” said Samad, a drummer.

There are 20 students who will perform at the event, including saxophonists Hayley Wyeth, Brad Steiner, Rakesh Ravi and Ben Leake; trumpet players Akul Mitra, Alex Gottlieb, Zachary Prizant and Enrico Ludwick; trombone players Maxwell Prizant, Anna Rosengart, Claire Holthaus and Gannon Geech; pianist Sarah Scheid; guitar players Tyler Gorse and Davis Ladley; bass players Bruce Morrison and Coleman Richards; drummers Zoe Schoen and Harris Samad; and vocalist Ginger White.

For more information about tickets, call 412-868-3000 or visit http:// smoothjazzholiday.bpt.me/.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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